Friday, June 27, 2014

What I've been up to recently, aside from reading

Well, living. Not just living in the most basic sense of the word, but trying to live healthily, both physically and mentally.

A month ago, the 26th of May to be exact, I got confined to the hospital due to a constantly elevated blood pressure of 220/120. Of course, they also took my vitals. The results were shocking. My heart rate was over 100 beats per minute, and my weight was 225 lbs., which was way, way, way over than the ideal 160 lbs. for my height of 5' 9".

My cardiologist (now one of my favorite persons in the whole world) told me that I need to make drastic lifestyle changes. Otherwise, I will literally die young. If my BP weren't diagnosed, I could've have toppled over and suffer a stroke any time, or probably have a heart attack. Up to now, this thought gives me nightmares.

A dietitian was also recommended to me. At first, she explained that I need to have a low-fat and low-salt diet. Seeing the list of food items to avoid was enough to make me cry: bacon, cream cheese, processed meat, butter, coffee, nuts, chocolate, full cream milk, instant noodles to name a few. Basically all the good and yummy stuff.

Then during the second time my dietitian visited me, she explained that my cardiologist wanted me to also have a strict 1,500-calorie-per-day diet. Good thing that she had resources for me, handouts telling me how many servings (or exchanges) of a certain food I can have per meal. I never knew that some fruits can have high caloric content. Mangoes and grapes, for example.

When I got discharged from the hospital after 3 days, I had the resolve to beat this. I thought I was way too young (even though I turned 40 this year) to have these medical conditions. Prior to my medical confinement, I had absolutely no intention of losing weight. That would be too much trouble. And losing weight means work and a lot of sacrifices. I'm not prepared to not have dessert! I love cupcakes too much.

But off to living healthier I did. I started to walk more, to use the stairs more often. Just small things that somehow seem to add up. Good thing I love walking. Now it's just a matter of adding more minutes to it. Now I walk continuously for 30 minutes every day, sometimes even to an hour if I can afford it.

And don't get me started on fancy diets. I decided early on that I will not follow a diet that's expensive, involves medication, requires exotic food, and is too fussy to implement. I also vowed not to totally deprive myself.

I discovered the wonders of portion control. It really is a marvelous thing. When we eat out, rather than having food wrapped to go at the end of the meal, I immediately get a small portion and have the waitstaff wrap everything else. This way, I don't see all the temptation in front of me. I was given a really evil hamburger (with a 1/3-pound beef patty) in the office last week. I made it last for 4 days, eating just a quarter of it every day as a snack.

I did give up junk food altogether, and also all kinds of soda, whether it's 'light' or sugar-free. I haven't touched a potato chip nor gotten near ice cream and cake for the past 4 weeks. Some days I do miss having something really salty though. So it hasn't always been easy. But as I've said, I'm determined to put on a fight.

I eat every time I go hungry though. But now, instead of just blindly eating (or eating just about anything I can get my hands on), I've become conscious of my snacking habits. Thank goodness for apples and slices of whole wheat bread. I now have these as a staple in my bag. Apples are a godsend: low in calories and yet very filling.

Oh, and sleep! I have never slept so deeply in years! Apparently, losing on sleep makes you prone to obesity and can cause problems if you have hypertension. I now try to get as much as 7 hours of sleep every night. It did cut my reading time though. But oh well, I've no complaints.

My weight's down to 201 lbs. this week. My BP's relatively stable at 120/80. My heart rate's a bit lower too, at 80. And I do feel lighter and less fatigued. I just couldn't be happier.

The battle is far from over though. I still see my cardiologist on a regular basis. And I have to undergo a few tests every now and then. I just did my first ever treadmill and stress test this week, and I found out that I'm at 96% capacity. So I've been cleared to do most forms of exercise.

Somehow, I can't believe that I'm experiencing all these things on the year I turned 40. If my life truly 'began' at this age, then I can't wait what it has to offer in the coming years.
The requisite 'before' and 'after' picture
4 weeks, baby!
One day, I'll be able to eat that cupcake again without the guilt.


Maan said...

Squeeee! Finally, the blog entry! Congrats, Peter! Stay fit and fab. You are an inspiration. :)

Peter S. said...

Awwwww... You flatter! But thanks, Maan! Mwah!

Louize Gonzales said...

Life begins at 40!
Congratulations again, Peter. Keep it up! ♥

Kaz said...

WOW Peter! Excellent effort!!! I'm really impressed with how you're going.

I'm SLOWLY dropping. I've got about 20 kilos to lose - thank you SO much drug side effects for THAT addition... My movement is still also quite limited, so it's very much about what and how much I eat, and I've got my bicycle on a trainer in the sunroom so I can get on and ride a few times a day - slowly building up how long I can cycle each time. It'll be a long haul, BUT, I'm equally determined, so you keep going, I'll keep going and we'll both get there eventually, right?!

Peter S. said...

Hello, Louize! Thanks!

Hi, Kaz! I do hope that we get there soon! All the best to you!

Jack said...

Good on you, Mate! This is the fight of your life, the fight for your life, and the fight that goes on for the rest of your life. Temptation will rise again, and again, and again. It will never end. Tape the fattest picture of yourself that you can find to your fridge, and when Mr. Tubby comes to you in those moments of weakness, you will be better able to resist his evil suggestions.

All the best, my brother; you da bomb!

Peter S. said...

Thanks so much for the positive thoughts, Jack!

I will do just that. Good thing that I have lots of pics of chubby me.

martine said...

Sometimes we need a shock to stir us into action. Well done on all the hard work you are putting in, I'm glad you are seeing benefits . best wishes martine

Peter S. said...

Thanks, Martine!

Cecille said...

Ang galing! Hope you don't mind if I share this also. :) Keep up the great work!

Jeane said...

You are inspiring. I am trying to eat healthier and exercise more, too. It's not easy!

Peter S. said...

Hi, Cecille! Sure, go ahead! Thanks!

Hello, Jeane! I'm sure you can do it too!

Ryan said...

Good job! I did the same thing in january. I have gone from a 38 inch waist, back down to a 33 inch waist.

Peter S. said...

Thanks, Ryan!