Sat with Nat

My high blood pressure 7 year anniversary. Notes to my younger self.

Recommended soundtrack: feeling groovy by Simon & Garfunkel

My social media memories nudged me this week with a series of posts about getting a high blood pressure diagnosis.

Re-reading my first post about my thoughts and feelings

https://fitisafeministissue.com/2014/04/13/i-cant-fight-genetics-guest-post/

I wish I could whisper a few words in my younger self’s ear. I can’t change the past 7 years but maybe you know someone who can benefit from this hard earned wisdom.

Bar none, the thing that made the biggest difference was medication. When I look at the most effective and clearly linked to outcomes, the choice to take my morning pill is #1.

I wish I hadn’t worried so much about food and alcohol. I eat now pretty much how I did then but there was a lot of hand wringing and pointless worrying. I was already eating in accordance with Canada’s Food Guide. Lots of vegetables, a little grain & protein and fruit.

For alcohol, I went sober, renegotiated my relationship with alcohol, chose to drink again and feel good about how my alcohol use feels like a choice.

I’ve done lots of movement, some of it is “working out” but the thing that has stuck and remains my foundation is walking. A lot. Like 10 km a day. It feels easy. It feels sustainable and it doesn’t hurt my body.

I did not go for gastric bypass and I’m glad. My weight has fluctuated from 268 to 200 and all over the place in the last 7 years. My blood pressure remained the same. It’s my veins, not my weight, that are my challenge.

Yoga makes regular appearances in my routine and my relationship with it has blossomed into one of deep appreciation and respect.

There is no one thing that will regulate my blood pressure, it’s a complicated system. I’ve learned to chill the fuck out about a lot of things.

Having a robust social, emotional, physical and fitness support network has definitely been the best part of the past 7 years. I like to think my sharing has contributed to that great support.

So my advice, if you or someone you love is looking, is relax. Access the kinds of health services that make sense to you. Figure out the small things you can change and sustain. And then chill. The. Fuck. Out.

It really works!

A picture of Natalie smiling with her progressive lenses on and much longer hair than she’s had in a very long time. And look at that smile.

4 thoughts on “My high blood pressure 7 year anniversary. Notes to my younger self.

  1. My lesson about blood pressure and medication came from a very small and very fit university staff member who had very high blood pressure when not medicated. She made me realize that when I boasted of my terrific blood pressure and cholesterol etc (because I thought physically active even though fat) I was really just announcing my genetic luck and taking credit for it. There’s a lot about our health we don’t have control over and medication can be terrific thing. Glad you’ve found a way to chill out and enjoy life.

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    1. It’s very humbling to realize just how little is under our direct control. It occasionally still insults my intelligence that I can’t fight genetics.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ditto type 2 diabetes. I know some people for whom the lifestyle changes make a big difference and other people who need drugs no matter how big the changes are they make

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