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Changing the Routine
Tuesday, 2006 July 25 - 10:36 pm
I'm faced with having to make a lifestyle change.

About three years ago, my dentist started to take my blood pressure at every visit. They didn't do anything with the information, they just told me what it was, in case I wasn't watching it myself.

Well, they started to notice my blood pressure going up. I didn't make anything of it at first. I just chalked it up to dentist anxiety (what they call "white coat syndrome") and inaccurate measuring equipment. I've never been overweight, and I've generally stayed pretty healthy.

But after a few consecutive elevated measurements, I decided I'd get my own blood pressure measuring device, and start keeping track at home. At first, my theory was vindicated: my blood pressure was in the normal range, and stayed pretty steady. "Aha, those dang medical 'professionals' and their inferior equipment."

So I didn't worry about it for a while. And then, a couple of weeks ago, I measured again.

136 over 87. That's in the pre-hypertension range. I made two measurements to be sure.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I haven't been exercising much; I've been eating badly (lots of salty snacks); I've been drinking a fair amount. And Dad had high blood pressure too.

Also, remember the jeans I bought a while back? They're really, really snug now. In the pre-Amy days, that would have been my primary concern. I would have been worried that I didn't look good. But now, my main thought is that I want to live a long, long time so I can take good care of my hunny boo.

I'm still not overweight. But I'm horribly out of shape. I tried to run on Sunday... I didn't even manage to run the whole two miles. I had to stop and walk for two separate quarter-mile stretches. My total time was 22:03. That's totally unacceptable.

So the lifestyle change starts today. I'm going back to exercising regularly. I'm going to avoid salty snacks. I'm going to drink waaaay more water. I'm going to get more fiber and potassium. (Good thing I like bananas.) And I'll, uh, drink slightly less vodka.

But here's the key: I'm going to let myself cheat every now and then. I know that restaurant food is frequently horribly unhealthy, but I'm not going to stop going out to eat. A diet shouldn't feel like you're depriving yourself. It should feel like a good thing. If I have an unbearable craving for something, I'm going to have it. I'm just going to avoid the smaller, less urgent temptations. Like at work: they give us free chips and pop, and so I have a habit of just chowing on that stuff all day just because it's there. That's gonna stop.

Weight loss isn't my main goal, but that'll be a nice side benefit. My goal is to have normal blood pressure again by the end of the year, and to have my two-mile time back down to 17:00. I can totally do it.

For those of you interested in the Kato diet, it goes something like this:

Breakfast: fruit smoothie. 1/4 cup each of fresh pineapple, orange juice, bananas, and guava nectar. Blend with ice. (125 calories.)

Lunch: spinach and arugula salad with 3 oz grilled chicken, five croutons, and fat-free dressing. (225 calories.)

Dinner: 4 oz lean beef, steamed vegetables, and whole wheat bread with tomato and basil. (500 calories.)

That's 850 calories for three tasty and nutritious meals. And my total sodium intake for the day is very low, only a couple hundred milligrams. I can still eat a full 550 calories worth of snacks, dessert, and vodka, and that puts me on a 1400 calorie/day diet. If I average 1400 calories a day and exercise five times a week, I should lose 1.5 pounds a week. And knowing that I'm more concerned with health than I am with weight loss, that means I can eat a bit more from time to time without worrying about it. I can totally do it.

To all the people out there who have struggled with weight loss, please know that I don't mean to trivialize the effort. I know that it's much more difficult for some people than others, especially for women, who have naturally lower metabolism. But I believe that if you're really committed to a lifestyle change, you can make a difference.

I'll keep you appraised on my progress.
Permalink  7 Comment   Bookmark and Share
Posted by Ken in: foodlife


Comment #1 from Crouching Hamster (Guest)
2006 Jul 26 - 2:45 am : #
Ken? Is that you?
I know you can do it.
You'll be back to fightin' weight (and BP) in no time!

P.S. - whole foods only, no partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, and everything in moderation (looks like that's what you're leaning towards)
Comment #2 from JohnC (Guest)
2006 Jul 26 - 7:08 am : #
Wow. 850 calories... is not a lot. being 6'2 215 227 I could never eat that little.
Comment #3 from olafandy (Guest)
2006 Jul 26 - 9:23 am : #
Good luck, Ken! As Rob Schneider said in "The Waterboy," "You can DO eet!"

For what it's worth, I did more of a personal lifestyle change. I didn't really go on a diet as much as I changed what I ate more of. More salmon, veggies, little fast food. I still indulged myself with steaks and such, but I always made sure when I did that, I balanced it off with a lighter meal. You're right, you can't cut out the things you like to eat completely or else you'll just resent it and then gord yourself on it later on.
Comment #4 from DonnaF (Guest)
2006 Jul 26 - 11:59 am : #
Sounds like you are on the right track. Cutting down on salt helped me a lot. Good luck with it all!
Comment #5 from Cori (Guest)
2006 Jul 26 - 12:35 pm : #
After 2 years and over 50 pounds lost, I find that eating more wisely actually relaxes me; when I'm forced to eat out too often I end up longing for the simpler fare that keeps me on track. And it's nice to know that, having lost that weight, if I slip up a bit I can always get back, because I know how to eat healthily without feeling as if I'm denying myself anything I enjoy.
Comment #6 from Noelle (Guest)
2006 Jul 26 - 1:25 pm : #
They GIVE you free chips and soda at work? Man, I can't imagine all the other wonderful perks a person must get when they don't work for a non-profit....
Comment #7 from Phil (Guest)
2006 Jul 26 - 2:09 pm : #
Speaking as another Asian man of a certain age who drifted through many years thinking "wow, this is easy -- I don't have to do anything and yet my blood pressure stays low and my weight stays even" and then one day you discover, "wait a minute -- the last year's measurements were real" and "oh yeah, everybody in my family has heart disease".... I hear ya, man.

Good luck.

For a variety of reasons, I've recently decided to take a big cut to my meat-eating habits. I imagine that will help my health, too, as long as I don't substitute assloads of cheese.

Ditto on the Rob Schneider quote.

Comments are closed for this post.

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