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The Starting Line

Updated: Oct 9, 2021

June 21, 2011. Written by Leila Ruth Novales

If you are facing in the right direction, all you need to do is keep on walking.

– Buddhist saying

May 29:    163/98     154/104

May 30:    153/98     142/98

May 31:    148/71     154/104

June 1:     153/95     158/107

June 2:    163/107     154/108

Nope, these aren’t some winning lottery combination.  (Wish they were!)  These numbers are actually my blood pressure readings first thing in the morning and before I slept in the evening for 5 days before I decided to just quit monitoring my blood pressure.  Why did I quit?  Because after 2 weeks of healthy eating and light activity  and continuous medication, the numbers weren’t getting any better and even seemed like going higher.  This was starting to alarm me and cause me even greater anxiety.  So I just stopped altogether and decided to just let it go.

But since renewing my efforts (on June 18, Saturday) to make lifestyle changes to help lower my blood pressure (which includes this blog), I started taking my blood pressure readings again.  And here they are:

June 18:    163/107     142/89

June 19:    154/97       143/88

This morning, I was not able to take my blood pressure reading because I woke up late and had to rush (not good!).  I must have been so soundly asleep because I did not wake up to my alarm at all.  Really unusual as I’m usually a light sleeper.

The numbers still don’t look good.  This is what I’m working on improving.  I’m pleased to note, though, that during the past two days, my blood pressure readings in the evenings have improved ever so slightly.  That’s a start!

What did I do?  I started thinking more positive thoughts, laughed more with my daughter, took life more lightly, and started cooking again!  I had been too caught up with work and with my dissatisfaction with my current job, being so anxious and angry inside, that I just did not have the energy to cook and to eat well.  Now, I’ll need to continue with cooking healthy meals at home instead of eating out so much.  You never know what nasty stuff is lurking in restaurant food.  I bet the sodium content of restaurant food is sky high! Hmmm…which may explain why my blood pressure has not been going down the past month even though I tried to eat healthy–but I was trying to eat healthy at restaurants!  What a laugh!

I’d like to thank those who have written me–supporting me and encouraging me on this journey and giving me suggestions.  It means a lot to me and helps me stay motivated!

It is my hope that this journey shall also, in some way, help others who are in the same (or similar) boat as I am.  For starters, here’s a mini-book from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health called Your Guide to Lowering Blood Pressure.

I haven’t really been able to go through all of it yet but basically it lists 6 action items to help lower blood pressure:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight.

  2. Be physically active.

  3. Follow a healthy eating plan.

  4. Reduce sodium in your diet.

  5. Drink alcohol only in moderation.

  6. Take prescribed drugs as directed.

So, here I have the framework from which to work on lowering my blood pressure.  However, I feel that it is missing two more action items: 7.  Get enough sleep and rest. and 8.  Reduce stress and anxiety.  I think a healthy mental attitude, positive outlook and a peaceful mind can also contribute loads to lowering blood pressure.  After all, “What the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.” (Napoleon Hill)

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