Healthy Living

I Start a Year of Trying to Improve My Health

I was born in October,1955. In just a few days, I will mark the end of my 59th year here on Earth. That day I will end one decade and start a new one.

One very good thing about growing older is that you get to keep all the other ages you’ve been. Hopefully I’ve gleaned some wisdom and learned how to live well within my world. Each previous decade had a sort of theme…growing up in my 20s, taking responsibility in my 30s, becoming “co-dependent no more” in my 40s, and spiritual and emotional growth in my 50s.

The theme of my sixth decade is health.

While I was working on all those other themes and trying to make the most of all that came my way, I neglected my health. Oh sure, I dieted and sometimes I exercised. I fretted and worried about the growing, softening flesh around my middle. But I chose to concentrate on other things and didn’t take seriously the warnings that doctors and my own body gave me.

I was warned that if I didn’t lose weight and keep it off I would develop hypertension and high blood pressure. And I did … develop high blood pressure and hypertension. I was warned about my blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol, but I didn’t take care of those problems either. I was told that I should take medications for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. Nope…I didn’t do that either.

I looked at my weight as more a vanity problem than a medical problem. I was more concerned that the extra weight made me unattractive than that it made me unhealthy.

Last year when I had a physical, the nurse practitioner told me my cholesterol, triglyceride, and sugar levels were unacceptable. She said she would give me a reprieve of a year before she prescribed Lipitor and other pharmaceuticals to improve my numbers if I would do what she directed. I asked what I should do…she said I needed to lose weight and “get fit.”

Not what I wanted to hear.

I said I would do that. I would get on it right away. I left her office thinking of how great it would be to have pants that actually fit around the waist.

And then…I didn’t do a cotton-pickin’ thing about it. Like the old joke says: I wanted to lose ten pounds this year and I only have thirteen to go.

A few days ago, I found the lab report she had given me at that appointment. I put my cream cheese laced strawberry pastry on a plate and I sat down at the table to read the report while I drank coffee and ate my strawberry and cream cheese pastry.
All the numbers were there in black and white. They were alarming.

Triglycerides: 362
Good Cholesterol: Low
Bad Cholesterol: High
Glucose: 115 after a fasting blood sugar test.
Blood pressure: Stable with medication.

Suddenly I could clearly see the health indicators that I’d blown off less than a year before. I threw the pastry in the trashcan and decided I had to change. I have to change my lifestyle or I will face chronic illnesses like type-2 diabetes, organ damage from hypertension, and a general decrease in physical quality of life.

So I’m starting now…at the very beginning of this new decade of life. My theme for the next ten years is regaining my health before it betrays me with serious chronic illness.

I will be chronicling my new theme weekly here at ZestNow. I hope to find solutions to my problems and to be persistent enough to overcome my weaknesses. Please travel with me on this journey toward good health and a new lifestyle. I could use your encouragement, your support, and your own stories.

by: Peggy Browning

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One Comment

  • Gina

    It’s great that you’ve finally taken heed and have decided to do something positive for your health. That decision was some four months ago now, how have you got on? It’s never too late to start exercising or to change your dietary intake. I’ve met many ladies in their 60s + who have improved their health and reduced their medications through some small but consistent changes. I wish you luck!

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