Heart of the matter

As a part of the process to get to the route cause of my recent high blood pressure, I’ve been having different tests and scans.

Blood tests are always a challenge, especially if I’ve had to fast first. My veins just disappear into my body and I end up looking like a bruised pincushion! Of course I bruise easily just to add insult to injury.

My high blood pressure was first apparent in April, my GP regularly monitors my blood pressure as I take the oral contraceptive pill. I put it down to stress caused by work. It didn’t improve and my readings over the course of 24 hours were sky high and so I started taking medication. My GP also referred me on to a consultant for further investigations.

So far, I’ve had blood tests done. This showed that my levels of renin and aldosterone were high. To investigate further, I had a CT scan with contrast dye of my kidneys. Thankfully, my veins behaved that day and although it took two radiographers to insert the canula, it was successful. Its an odd sensation having the dye injected. First there’s the metallic taste, then, much more bizarrely is the warm sensation and feeling that you have wet yourself. I’ve had a few CT scans in my time but that is still the weirdest feeling!

Today’s test was an ECG. This was to see how my heart is functioning and to check if the high blood pressure has caused the muscle of my heart to thicken. Thankfully my heart is normal size and there is no thickening of the muscle. Its quite something to see and hear your heart beating on the screen. I really realised how much I take it for granted. There it is, beating away countless times over my forty years keeping me alive.

It really does make e appreciate the work it does. I really do need to kickstart my weight loss, I haven’t quite got back on track after my birthday. Time to get back on the low carb lifestyle and exercise – my heart and I deserve it and I want to be as healthy as I can to start a family. No more excuses. ❤️

This keto life

I decided to give the keto diet a go in my mission to shift the excess weight that I’ve been carrying. I’ve done my research and although not everything I’ve read is positive – ‘keto flu’ does not sound fun – people lose weight and keep it off.

I’m still trying to get my head around it if I’m honest; frying foods and using butter and cream feel alien. Its against everything we’re ever told. Conventional wisdom is always cut fat for weight loss. Well I’ve tried that so why not try the opposite?!

I will admit that I’m terrified of gaining weight and getting it wrong. Maybe that’s just because any of the diets I’ve done in my adult life (Slimming World, Weight Watchers, etc.) are about low fat. I’ve never been a huge fan of low fat products. If they’re removing fat (flavour) them they need to replace it with something. That something seems to me to be chemical sweeteners and I worry about putting that into my body. I know that sounds rich coming from a chocoholic sugar fan but there you go!

Sugar worries me too. Its definitely addictive. Its also empty calories. It gives your body a boost/ rush but then comes the crash and the craving for more. I know that genetically we are pre-disposed to prefer sweet fats as a throwback to our hunter- gather days. I also know that those days are long gone. Growing up, sweet treats were exactly that: treats. Over the years that I gained the weight, they ceased to be treats and became a more regular part of my diet.

There does seem to be something sensible to me about eating natural fats; olive oil, butter, cheeses, avocados rather than processed foods/ oils. So far I’m still eating all the fresh vegetables and salad ingredients that I was before. I’m still eating chicken, fish and eggs. The only difference is that I’m using butter more and cream is no longer the enemy.

I’m four days in and I don’t miss carbs or chocolate. I have no cravings and I feel satisfied. I’m eating till I’m full and being more mindful in my eating – no more hoovering my food. I’m taking time to taste it and enjoy it. I think I’ve found what will work for me long term, I’ve lost 2 pounds so far and I feel good.

I haven’t cut carbs for good, I’ll still enjoy roast potatoes as part of my Christmas dinner and order pasta as a main if I’m out for dinner. Dessert will also be on the menu, but they will be treats and I’ll enjoy them as such.

You are what you eat

I haven’t eaten great recently, there’s been far too many takeaways, bars of chocolate, baked treats and big portions. I’m aware that I’m not eating right and putting pressure on myself to lose weight as my big birthday approaches. This just makes things worse as I go into full on sabotage mode.

I’m also back at my consultant for my high blood pressure in the next few weeks too. I agreed to exercise much more regularly and keep up my healthy lifestyle at my last appointment. Last time I weighed myself I’d gained back all the weight I’d lost. My jeans are too tight and I feel very bloated and uncomfortable. It hasn’t stopped me eating though.

I’m risking my health. I’m already on medication for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. My excess weight is doing nothing to help my asthma either. I’m quite an intelligent person, so what is going on with my food choices?!?

I was never overweight growing up, as a family we ate healthily and had sweets/ chocolate as a treat. All my bad food choices have been made as an adult. My weight gain started when I moved into my own flat after I finished at university. I ate well at university (we’ll ignore the terrible food in the catered halls of residence that led to the Tuesday chinese takeaway, Super noodles or the contents of the vending machine.)

I LOVE food. I think about food a lot. After breakfast I think about my lunch and after lunch I think about my dinner. I love trying new things and eating out. I can cook. I love cooking and love baking too. I get pleasure from food. I think my problem is that I don’t listen to my body. I get excited and I eat quickly. I don’t give my stomach time to signal to my brain that I’m full. I also eat mindlessly, I can easily eat biscuits/ chocolate/ cake whilst waiting for the kettle to boil and then have more biscuits/ chocolate/ cake with my cup of tea. I’m also very bad for nibbling while I’m cooking.

I have lost weight before, I lost 3 stones nearly 10 years ago doing WeightWatchers. Then I had 2 car accidents and would cheer myself up eating treats. I gained back all the weight that I lost. My weight has been pretty steady since then. I don’t see treat foods as treat foods, they’re part of my regular diet. I still turn to food to cheer me up. I have a very sweet tooth too. I know what all my pitfalls are and what I need to do. I just can’t seem to get my head into the right mindset to make the necessary changes.

I don’t want to die young. I don’t want to have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. What am I waiting for? I have to act. Tomorrow is another day. It will be the day that I start to lose weight for good. I have to. I want to live a healthy life. Time to put my money where my mouth is. If you are what you eat, starting tomorrow I’m going to be wholesome and healthy.

Self sabotage and me

I’ve noticed that this can be something I have a tendency to do. Let me explain what I mean. For the past few months I’ve been trying to lose weight, exercise more and get healthy. For the last few weeks, while I’ve been battling my anxiety, I’ve ordered a couple of takeaways and am in real danger of falling back into my old and bad habits. I’m well on the way. Not only am I sabotaging my weight loss (I’ve gained 2 pounds) I’m also sabotaging myself financially. Not great considering I’m now on half pay.

My sleep is another example. I’m not a great sleeper at the best of times but recently I’m finding myself staying up later, its like I’m trying to extend the day or delay going to bed to prevent the next day happening. This is particularly true as the week progresses and Monday approaches again. My anxiety definitely increases from Wednesday.

My work situation is another. I know I need to deal with the difficulty and make a decision which way I’d like HR to proceed. I’ve been delaying this decision. I’m a procrastinator at the best of times but I know I’m avoiding this. I also know I’m very anxious about the process but more so about the consequences of taking this action. Its a catch 22, I want something to happen before I feel ready to go back to work but by not doing anything, nothing will change and I won’t feel ready to go back.

Similarly, I’ve started to update my CV and think about what other jobs I could do but haven’t as yet had the confidence to apply for other jobs. My confidence has definitely been knocked by this. I hadn’t realised how much. I’m also really annoyed at myself that I didn’t take action about the work thing months ago. Instead, the harder I tried, the worse it got. I couldn’t do right for doing wrong and it didn’t matter what I did, nothing changed.

It took me months before I could tell anyone. I felt like I’d failed and that it was my fault. My mental health was such that I thought those close to me would be disappointed in me and judge me. I felt that I’d be stigmatised. Writing this know, makes me feel so angry. My family and friends would NEVER do this. My parents have always said no matter what, I can tell them anything and go home if I need to. My friends that I’ve spoken to have both supported me and identified that it sounds like bullying. Not only that, I know it is something that my friends have experienced, dealt with and successfully moved on to bigger and better things. I know I need to be proactive and take action.

So, tomorrow is the day. I’m scared and stressed and worried and anxious but I have to start to take back my control.