BloodPressure

3/19/16

One concept I've been using lately is something shared with me by my son that is a principle from addiction treatment. It is called "Fast-forward the fantasy." The concept is that when we are tempted to indulge in something that we know is not good for us, the draw to it can be extremely powerful. During those moments of temptation, we seem to only think about the physical pleasure we will receive if we indulge. Our minds quickly supply all the rationalization we may need: "you can start over tomorrow," "just once won't hurt," or "you deserve it because life has been so ... (Fill in the blank...stressful, empty, etc." But, rather than giving in to the temptation, one can instead fast-forward in time past the point of indulging in whatever it is that we are trying to overcome. Often, after a moment of pleasure comes reality -- guilt, regret, emptiness, helplessness, frustration, and a literal feeling of "coming down" off of whatever artificial high the addiction has produced. The trick behind fast forwarding the fantasy is to think about and even try to experience in advance those feelings that will come if you do decide to indulge. They are much less alluring than the feelings that lead one to indulge in the first place. For me, this has been really helpful in the areas of salty foods and sugary foods. Sugary foods make me week and give me acid reflux. Instead of imagining the sugar-high produced after eating them, if I instead think of the feeling of physical weakness and the acidic feeling in my stomach, I find that the temptation loses much of its allure. Likewise, if I think of salty foods as drying up my body of the moisture it needs and raising my blood pressure, the trade off hardly seems worth it. I hope to continue assembling tools like this to fight the addictions I face relating to food, and I'm grateful to my son for sharing these ideas with me.





1/22/16

Slept in late again this morning. The alarms went off at 5:30 - 5:45 and no one woke up. We've been getting much less sleep since the kids have been back to their school schedule (with Ryan having Seminary at 6:30 every morning), so we've been getting up to ready family scriptures together at 5:45 each morning. The late start led to me getting right to work as quickly as I could, which led to me just eating a banana for breakfast. Now, it is 12:10pm and all I've eaten for the day so far is a banana. I need to get up and go find sometimes more to eat so I don't get too weak. 

My blood pressure has been pretty good recently, with a whole string of readings below 120/80. So, I cut my Atenolol blood pressure medicine down to 25mg for one of the two doses per day, leaving the other at 50mg. That seems to have raised it back up just a bit as I've now been getting readings between 120-130 for the top number and between 80-90 for the bottom number. I notice the cleaner I eat and the more hydrated I am, the better these readings tend to be. I need to keep up the good eating and drinking lots of water and see how it responds on this new level of medicine. 

I am starting to get worried about eating on our upcoming 3 week vacation. Two of the weeks are a cruise -- to Italy and Spain -- and the remaining week is a tour of some other European countries, including France and England. Kathy indicated on our registration forms that I need a diet low in sodium, cholesterol and sugar, but Norweigian Cruise Lines operate using a freestyle dining system, meaning you aren't just going to the same dining room every day to eat, so I am not sure how they will keep track of dietary needs when they never know where or when I will be eating. But I suppose my greater concerns have to do with trying to justify myself in not maintaining my 80% green light, 20% yellow light and 0% red light food commitment. One or two steps down the slope of just indulging in whatever I want, since it is a vacation, and I will so easily tumble back into old patterns, put on 10-15 pounds and be right back where I started. So, I've got to come up with some good plans that balance a way to enjoy the freedoms of vacation while also eating healthy foods. And I want to consciously plan to be active physically as well so that I feel much better with the time adjustments that will be required.





1/11/16

 started by taking my blood pressure this morning and it was the best reading I have had in decades. It is interesting that it has been able to go so low so quickly. There are only two things I can think of that are different:

  • Clean eating
  • Taking a new medication at night that helps with sleep

I am sure that eating clean has been a significant contributor, since nothing in the past has worked, not even two prescriptions plus an over-the-counter medicine for blood pressure. The interesting thing, though, is I have not lost a ton of weight so far...it has mostly be in the range of 5 lbs so far. But my blood pressure has responded really well. I will need to likely go down to 25 mg for one or both doses rather than continuing at 50 mg (of Atenolol, which affects my blood pressure as well as pulse)





1/6/16

Crazy busy day today. Which meant that I actually hardly ate anything--worked at my computer the entire day from about 7 am until now (11:30pm). Redesigned the website to have more useful stuff on it. I like how it is looking, so I'm hopeful from here on out just to add content.

I changed the daily checkins for weight to be a chart, so I'll need to keep adding data to it rather than posting separate check-in entries.

For breakfast, I had a piece of whole grain bread (12 grain, made by a couple in our ward that owns a bakers) and had a Shakeology smoothie around lunchtime. Then I ate nothing until night, when I had a healthy pre-packaged meal from a service we were trying out. It seemed a bit high in sodium and I didn't like that meat was the primary focus of the meal. But the risotto and broccolini were good...