Friday, March 23, 2012

Fitness Friday

Last Friday, I promised you some back story on why I am so determined to get rid of this weight that keeps plaguing me and become strong and healthy. I don't like to get really "heavy" on this blog...I mean...I don't even review books that I didn't like, but if I'm going to put it all out there, I might as well put it ALL out there. 

Growing up, I was a chubby kid. Starting around age 8, I really started plumping up and stopped growing taller. I played outside all the time, but I also really liked to just sit around and read too, and my food of choice was always something sweet. My brother and I ate pretty terribly, as both of my parents worked really long hours at poorly paying jobs, and despite my mom being an amazing cook, a lot of the food we ate was convenience food. From boxed Hamburger Helper, corn dogs, boxed mac and cheese, etc.

When I was 9, my father died of a sudden, massive heart attack, all of his arteries were 99% blocked. He was 38. His favorite foods were fried bologna sandwiches, burgers with mayo, and whiskey. He also never exercised and smoked. My mom became a single parent at 36 on a waitress salary. My brother and I were taken into the doctor for a full health workout and it turned out I had the cholesterol level of an obese adult...things started to turn around. 

My mom kicked the health stuff into high gear. She started going to college to become a nutritionist, she ended up working as a personal trainer at a gym, and my brother and I became active in sports. Our diets were completely revamped and we ALL became healthy. I played soccer and softball and in high school was a cheerleader. We ate healthy, we made good choices, and despite losing my dad at such a young age, I was healthy.

Despite my best health efforts, when I was around 19, I was diagnosed with chronic hypertension and high cholesterol. I was a healthy weight for my height at that point and it was determined, after a whole lot of testing, that I was simply a "genetics case." My genetics are just out to get me. I've been on medication ever since and I absolutely despise having to take them. I feel like a 70-year-old when I go to the pharmacy and pick up my Diovan and Lipitor, but if I have to take it, then I'll take it. Sometimes we do what we have to do, right?

But then, the world really came crashing down. Ready for this?

When I was 25 I became pregnant with my first son. Delivered him 3 months early due to health complications and after 4 months in the NICU he passed away. 2 months later, completely unexpectedly, my mother died of a brain hemorrhage, brought on by untreated hypertension. She was 53. 6 months after that, my grandfather, age 76, died of a stroke. I had a miscarriage of our 2nd baby 2 months after that. A year after that, miscarriage #2. 6 months later, my grandmother died of a massive stroke. And then I delivered Elliott 2 months early, due to hypertension issues. I am not quite 29 and BOTH my parents and both my maternal grandparents are dead due to cardiovascular issues. It's a scary and disgusting cycle that seems to be happening in my family and I am SO determined to break it. 

I've already been told by multiple doctors that I may be on medication for hypertension and cholesterol for the rest of my life, but that doesn't mean I have to die from something related to those problems. Or, at least, I don't have to die at 38 or 53 or 73. It also doesn't mean I have to be overweight and a couch potato. I don't smoke, I only drink occasionally, I eat quite healthy, and now I just need to exercise on a daily basis. REALLY exercise, not just a stroll around the block. And I'm going to do it. I just need you all to keep me accountable. 

(image from Community Ethics, via Pinterest)

Again, I'm going to keep saying, I don't want to be skinny. I just want to be able to run 3 miles without dying. I want to be able to go to the doctor's office and have them not freak out at my blood pressure. I want to go to sleep at night thinking about things other than whether or not I'm going to die at 38 like my dad or 53 like my mom. I just want health.


jpetroroy said...

Thank you so much for your honesty and vulnerability here. I'm so sorry for your losses and am here if you need encouragernent.

Sarah said...

Amanda, these are amazing reasons for getting healthy. Sad ones but also great motivation. I'm sorry for your massive losses one after another. That does not help one want to exercise, at least not for me. You seem so strong and ready to tackle anything though so I think you're on the page you need to be now.

BookBelle said...

Amanda: I'm a long-time reader of your blog. I've followed some of your story. You are a sweet girl. I'm glad you're sharing here on your blog. It takes courage. Keep up the good work. Skinny is overrated. Healthy means being able to maintain a healthy weight - as simple as that. Whether it's at the top of the healthy weight range or in the middle or on the bottom. It shouldn't matter to anyone. Find a weight you can maintain and be content. I've struggled with weight. I know where you're at. Belle

Debi said...

Oh Amanda. Sheesh, lady, you are amazing. I'm sitting here with tears running down my face. I just can't believe you went through so much during the time I lost touch with most of the blogging world. I know I don't know you very well, but I've always liked you so very much--you're just so kind and so sweet and so down-to-earth. I had no idea you were also so strong and courageous. I'm just so incredibly sorry for all the loss you've endured. And I'm so very inspired by your determination.

Mrs.Robertson said...

Thanks for sharing your's also important that you stay/be healthy for your child because you don't want him to lose a mom early in his life either. So get out and do something! When you feel less motivated... let us know and we'll help kick your butt off the couch!
I have complete faith that you will be able to get healthy and stay healthy. (I personally love the couch to 5K app)
Good luck and keep letting your blogger friends know how you're doing.

Ami said...

And we want you around for a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG time!

What has never ceased to amaze me about you is your positive attitude and refusal to give up and play the victim. There were time during those really bad years when God had ME yelling at him, ("Are you SERIOUS??? What is WRONG with you??? Enough already!") but, while I know you grieved, you never let it consume you. Any one of those things would have worn the rest of us down, but you just gather yourself together and look to see what you can do to go forward. You are one amazing lady:) (Oh, and Aaron's pretty cool, too.)