Don't Let's Call It a Diet, Health, I Sing the Body Electric, Mid-life Crisis

What’s Next?

I went to see the doctor this week, to check in on my blood pressure and get her advice about how to stay with my life change efforts. After a hiatus (planned) from tracking my food points and a hiatus (unplanned) from regular exercise, I need a little help getting my attitude back in order. I did return to tracking on January 1st, and whatever weight I gained while enjoying the Tastes of Christmas is off again, but my enthusiasm for focusing on this process seemed to be about equal to my excitement about exercising outdoors in sleet or rain. A very busy work schedule over the past ten days did not help, nor does my chronic Eustachian tube problem, which is worse in this kind of weather and particularly aggravated by spending time outdoors.

Happily, the visit to the doctor encouraged me in three ways.

First, she is delighted by my overall weight loss. It doesn’t matter to her that I merely maintained over Christmas, because being down 20 pounds since the end of September and 45 since the end of June is what matters. That served to remind me that while living a new way on a day to day basis matters, I need to remind myself of the long arc, too.

Second, my blood pressure looks great. (Or so they tell me. I would have liked to see a number lower than 130-something on top, but they were rhapsodic that it was over 70, instead of the 92 we saw in June and the 82 of September.)

Third, when I got on the old-fashioned scale, the nurse first put the bottom line weight at a number that was too low, and that reminded me that I look better than the numbers might suggest I should.

We talked about all that and more. I indicated that I knew I looked good in clothes but felt a heavy awareness of what lay beneath them.

She suggested it was time to join a gym and start doing some work with weights.

There is a special gym at the University of Southern Vacationland, about a four block walk from my house, that caters to the not young and glamorous among us. They do a fitness evaluation, teach you to use all the machines and basically set up a workout plan for you. I belonged to that gym for about six months when The Princess was a baby, and I remember people stopping me and saying, "You look great. Have you been working out?" It’s a little pricier than joining one of the chain gyms, but I’m going to try it for three months and try to get there three times a week. I’m waiting for a call back about the date for the evaluation, but it looks like it will be next Friday.

The doctor mentioned what weightlifting would do for my endorphins, and after my last post, I’m sure you would all agree that getting some action in that area would probably not be a bad idea.

Meanwhile, it’s cold and rainy out there, and I’m looking forward to the foot soak event in a few hours. It’s a good day for remembering the long arc.

Don't Let's Call It a Diet, Health, Mid-life Crisis

Check Engine, Redux

Some months ago I wrote about the Check Engine light on my car, and at the end of June I finally followed through and went to the doctor.

It has been fairly obvious that my efforts since then have been successful on the weight front, but today was the time to re-check my blood pressure. It had risen to 148 over 92, and that was the major caution raised by the doctor in June.

Today it was 132 over 82.

I can’t tell you how relieved I was.

We talked at length about the ways I’ve been taking better care of myself: going to Weight Watchers, making time for exercise, deliberately slowing down wherever possible. The doctor indicated that the weight range given by Weight Watchers was a little lower than hers and gave me a range to show them as being acceptable to her. It gives me a goal that actually feels reachable and maintainable, since I remember being in that range for more than five minutes at some point in the past.

She gave me referrals for a new therapist. It’s amazing what sort of things come up when you are making big life changes, and I would like to have someone to talk to about them.

Finally, we made an appointment to meet again in early January, to see how things are going.

I think she’s a very good doctor, and I will do my best to continue being a very good patient.

Health, Mid-life Crisis, Walking

Keeping At It

Today I went for my annual physical. Please don’t laugh when I say "annual," even though you may have heard me say it’s been considerably more than a year since I had a check-up of a general nature. But as promised in a post not too long ago, I went.

One of the reasons I avoid going to the doctor for this kind of regularly scheduled maintenance is a dread of the scale and any discussions about my weight. It’s been a long time since I undertook any sort of serious efforts in that area, anything that lasted longer than a month or had any formal structure. I knew there would be no avoiding it today.

The doctor is new to me, our new family practice physician, and I liked the way she talked to The Princess at her appointment last month. I told her both how concerned I felt about my overall condition and how anxious I felt about discussing it. She spoke kindly to me and made some suggestions, which I am mulling over this afternoon. 

Meanwhile, I went out walking early this morning with Pure Luck, and I am drinking water.

This post doesn’t seem to reflect the emotional roiling that goes on beneath the surface when it comes to the body. I brought home bagel sandwiches from our favorite local place, in honor of #1 Son’s return home. When Molly ate his (naughty girl!), I insisted he take mine and started to cry. The sense that I am responsible for everyone and no one is responsible for me eats a hole in my gut. The idea that I ought to be punished for being less than perfect while not judging others constricts my voice.  The notion that I am unlovable opens caverns one upon the other, each leading further and further toward an abyss, and the manner in which I have filled those caverns and tried to keep my balance on the edge of destruction only magnifies how deep and difficult to heal a person’s wounds may be.

At 46, locks shorn, I look at a different person in the mirror, a person whose work now seems to be rectifying past behaviors in order to fend off illness and death. It’s funny, just the other day I felt positively youthful. Why is that the perception so easy to change, when the others resist amendment?