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.