It’s been a year since I had to confront the fact that my blood pressure was dangerously high and I had to make some important choices about my wellness. If you aren’t familiar with my story, check out my posts starting with I can’t fight genetics?
I’d love to say it’s been this linear progression of thoughtful action followed by measured results. If you plotted one point from April 2014 on my weight, blood pressure, heart rate, distance and speeds cycling/running/walking and one point for each of those today there’s clear improvement. But if you, say, increased your sample rate and plotted those changes weekly or even monthly, there were major ups and downs. Times when I thought, surely, I’m wasting these efforts and this money on therapy NOTHING IS CHANGING.
Then I look back on this video from an interview I did October 2013. I watch how I walk:
This was the visual benchmark I chose to help me see change. I’m aware that focusing too much on the visual (see Sam’s posts Athletic versus Aesthetic Values and The Power of Pictures) and not the metrics is a problem AND that rubs up against the fact that I’m a highly visual creature. When I self sooth with meditation or facing my fears I need an image to draw on. This video helps me remember that things have, in fact, changed a great deal for me.
My workouts lately have been inconsistent. I’ve had some of the most difficult emotional situations in my life over the past few months. Actually, if we mapped those, it could be argued things are worse now for me than a year ago, yet I’m feeling confident I can handle the challenges before me.
I’m mindful that a big part of my well-being has been the network of social support I’ve tapped in to. I’m in the privileged position of having benefits that cover therapy, massage and chiropractor. I also get to tap into YOU, the readers of my posts and other writers for this blog, who have great advice, feedback and sometime commiserate on shared challenges. What I fortunate person I am!
When I read through my posts this past year, I’m struck by that fact that I’ve often written about crying and anxiety as part of even positive experiences. I’m naturally inclined to be a bit maudlin but I often shield that part of myself from everyone but my immediate family. So I’m sure, were you to survey my friends, they’d report seeing a laughing, joyful person. I certainly try to stack the deck to be happy by doing things I enjoy with people I love. However, I’m much more aware of the eddies of anxiety and sadness now that I’ve stopped self soothing with overeating food and drinking a lot of alcohol. My posts reflect that as I dialogue with my fears instead of flipping them the bird.
I have a new visual benchmark now, an interview I did last week:
My face is comically expressive. I think I look healthier and more vibrant than I did in 2013. I certainly feel fitter and more confident, a little more bad-ass and a little less deflating skin suit.
Things have changed, are changing, even if it seems I’m at a plateau with workouts, weight and blood pressure. It’s a pleasant plateau where I’ve time to regroup and re-asses at my leisure, not because of crisis, and that is pretty dang awesome.