Pressure.

So I checked my blood pressure the other day and it was at 118/81. This is a heck of a lot better than the beginning of the year when I was 156/98. I think there’s quite a few contributing factors to the lowering of my blood pressure, including the new position at work I started in April, my love of flying, my increase in exercise and probably the blood pressure medicine. I have been prescribed Norvasc 5 mg daily.

The Norvasc makes me feel like crap. I have a constant headache, I feel heavy and my neck and shoulder muscles constantly feel tight. I took Norvasc in the early ’00s for a year and while it did lower my blood pressure, I also gained 20 pounds. I’ve gained 8 lbs since starting Norvasc again. Last time I stopped taking the medicine and my weight went back to where it should be and the headaches stopped. I’m going to check with my physician about stopping the medicine again.

I hate the idea of being dependent on a medication. Some will tell me that it comes with the territory when we age, but there’s a part of me that hopes that’s not completely true, because I really don’t want to have my body chemistry altered if it doesn’t really need to be. There’s a hippy-dippy granola type in me at times that believes that if we eat right, maintain regular exercise and live a reasonable lifestyle, our body will find the balance that it strives to obtain. I’m not a huge fan of pharmaceuticals anyway, they lost me when they started advertising on television.

I’m going to carefully monitor my blood pressure for the next few weeks and see if I can maintain these lower numbers and then see about getting off the medicine. I know that once I’m prescription free I’ll feel much better.

Routine.

Iíve been pretty lazy for the past month or so. I havenít been riding my bike as much as I usually do at this time of year and my body is feeling the effects of that. Sleeping in until I need to go downstairs for work has pretty much been my norm. While I have enjoyed the extra sleep, I have to admit that I havenít liked the way Iíve physically felt during the day as a result of not doing some sort of exercise in the morning.

This morning I decided to change this.

After riding in the ďTour de CureĒ at the beginning of the month, I discovered that the rear tire on my bike wouldnít hold air overnight. Itíd be fine for a short ride; I could go 10-15 miles and itíd be fine when I got back to the house, but I wasnít comfortable with the fact that the next morning the tire would be completely flat so last night I decided to do something about it. Now, Iíve changed tires on the side of the road at least a dozen times, but I just could not get the tire back on the rim last night. A quick trip to Bikes and Boards, where they changed the tire in less than five minutes and I was ready to get back to my old routine this morning.

Even though I was working from home, I set the alarm for 5:45 a.m., did a quick check of my email and then I went for an 18 mile ride (in 80 minutes). The sky had that look of impending rain, but Mother Nature held off. The ride was enjoyable and more importantly, I felt amazing upon arriving home.

Itís all a matter of routine for me.†

My challenge for tomorrow is to maintain the routine again and to resist the urge to sleep in until work time. †Iím going to do it, but itís going to be a challenge.

Iím looking forward to how I feel at this time tomorrow.†

Pistachios.

So Iíve been trying to tame my sweet tooth and staying away from sugary snacks. Granted, I just started this effort yesterday, but I have been successful for the past 28 hours or so, so I think Iím onto something. Still feeling hungry but not wanting to have a cookie or a muffin, I opted to give pistachios another try.

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I love pistachios. Thereís a little bit of work involved with getting to the sweetish nutty goodness but I find they are an excellent snack for the workday. The caveat to this is that I must keep the portions under control. I canít have a whole bag nearby, I need to portion out a 1/4 cup for the day and then store the rest in a time-locked, fireproof, tamperproof safe.

Ok, that might be a little extreme, but not by much.

I first started eating pistachios at my previous job. Munching and crunching helped keep the stress of dealing with customers all day at bay. In fact, that approach probably contributed to the 20 pounds I gained while working there – stress plus non-stop eating equals jolly with love handles.

Iíve eaten my allotment of pistachios for the day and I feel quite satisfied. Iím not gnawing on my desk or anything. Not even with syrup.

Move.

So this morning I weighed myself and verified that I have gained 10 pounds since my trip to Minneapolis in mid-November. I’m not surprised at my weight gain, after all, there’s been plenty of holiday meals, other celebrations and a trip to Disney. Couple this with a lack of outdoor activity and my basic hatred of the gym during these wonderful winter months and it all adds up. A while ago I would have been sad about this but today I’m just more determined. On the bright side, it’s only a third of what I originally lost.

The thing is, I’m over what I consider my personal tipping point. When I’m above a certain weight my blood pressure tends to go up and I can just feel it. I need to get below that point and get back into a healthier place. Instead of freaking out and drop-kicking the scale, I did a couple of things today to get my mind back to where it belongs:

1. I’m standing at my home-office desk again. Sitting in a chair all day is awful on the human body. I don’t believe we were really designed for this and this is one of the reasons that I am feeling sluggish.

2. I’m headed back to the chiropractor today. I’ve had some schedule collisions with my regular chiropractor appointments and it’s been five weeks since my last visit. I need to get back on that regular schedule. Some debate the merits of chiropractic care, but I know that when I go to the chiropractor on a regular basis I always feel better. I have a cold for the first time in a couple of years and I think part of that is because I haven’t been to the chiropractor recently.

3. I recently passed my FAA Class 3 Medical Exam, which certifies me as being healthy enough to fly an airplane with a private pilots’ certificate. That is great, but the truth of the matter is that I want to be more than a private pilot, I want to be a Certified Flight Instructor someday, and in order to do that I’ll need to pass an FAA Class 2 Medical Exam. When I went in for my exam on Friday, I was worried about my blood pressure readings, which actually increased my blood pressure. The FAA requirements are actually quite liberal (my doctor would yell at me for having a higher blood pressure if I was well within the FAA requirements, which is at least 155/95) and to think that I needed to calm down to get my blood pressure below that liberal threshold kind of scares me. As I mentioned before, my blood pressure tends to creep up with my weight, so I need to get my weight down to naturally pull my blood pressure down.

4. Most importantly, I need to move. When I work from home I ride my stationary bike at least twice a day. While it’s movement, I don’t think it’s doing much for me, despite what the calorie indicator says. So today I went outside and walked, despite the snow roads and the cold temperatures. I walked my summertime route this morning and I felt fantastic afterwards.

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It was most refreshing.

5. I started concentrating on eating *sensible* calories instead of just eating calories. I’ve been keeping track of my calories right along with the MyFitnessPal app, but the fact of the matter is, sometimes it’s eating the right calories that actually counts. So that’s where my focus is again.

I’m not hysterical and I’m not really disappointed in my recent weight gain. I’m sure I can lose the extra weight and then some just by getting back on track again.

Now, if I just had a magic way to make the weather cooperate!

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Move.

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So this morning Earl was up before sunrise so he could head off to the Hudson Valley for a business meeting. I woke up with him and took a look at the weather: it was clear and the sky was gorgeous, but it was cold at 38¬ļF. When it’s that cold it’s a little too chilly for cycling. I have gone on bike rides when it’s been that cold but I haven’t enjoyed the experience.

Besides, the warm blankets were feeling extra awesome this morning.

Since I had slept like a rock* and I was feeling great, albeit all comfy, I knew I had to get myself out of bed and do something that resembled exercise in lieu of my planned bike ride. I didn’t really have time to head to the gym and back before work so I opted to go for a walk instead.

I bundled myself up with sweat pants and a couple of layers of shirts and ended up walking for about 45 minutes this morning. The sunrise was beautiful, the air was crisp and though it was chilly, it wasn’t bad walking (versus having the breeze from cycling in my face). It was a wonderful experience and I feel like my day got off to a good start.

I need to remember this more often. While staying in bed snuggled up in the blankets is perfectly fine for the moment, and I will certainly opt for that from time to time, in the context of the entire day, getting a bit of exercise to get things going is certainly worthwhile.

Tomorrow’s forecast won’t be as autumn like so I’ll probably ride again in the morning. But this morning’s walk was certainly enjoyable.

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Lunch.

Must husband made me a salad for lunch today. There is much rejoicing.

Yes, I’m one of those geeks that uses the Internet to share what he had for lunch.

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Sized.

So when I made a conscious effort to start losing weight last Labor Day I had a size 36-inch waist. My pants would fit kind of tight but shorts were comfortable.

Today I am wearing size 33-inch slacks to work for the first time in a long, long while. They’re a little tight but comfortable.


I’m a little excited about the fact that I’m wearing pants this size, but they’re still a little tight, especially when you lean back in the Jeep and try to take a respectable photo of your crotch. I’m used to having a fluffer for these types of photo shoots.

Because I’m wearing smaller pants my stomach is a little confused at the moment. My stomach is saying “eat! eat!” and then saying “but your pants are tight! Your pants are tight!”. This creates a conflict within that can only be resolved by staring at a Dunkin’ Donuts cookie whilst chewing sugarless gum.

At least I still feel motivated, I guess.

Ride.

“What’s the weather?”

This is the first thing that I say in the morning. Up until fairly recently, this was something that I croaked out in the darkness, hoping for a response from my loving husband. But then bigger, faster, powerful technology entered our bedroom so now I croak this question at my smartphone. Sometimes Siri says something completely unrelated to my question like, “Playing ‘Stumblin’ In’ by Suzi Quattro’, but most of the time the Google Search woman says something like “it’s 49 and clear.” She sounds friendly but robotic.

I don’t know where Siri and Google Search get their answers from, but whoever answered me this morning was not correct in their assessment of the current weather conditions. Ignorant beyond belief, I dressed for cycling in 49F weather. I wore my shorts, threw a t-shirt on under my jersey and then put on my windbreaker and reflective vest. Once downstairs I put on my safety gear and hit the road.

It was then that I froze my ass off.

My legs were cold, but riding one or two hundred miles a week not only bulks my legs up enough to push a small Hyundai with them, but I also have legs that pretty much generate their own heat. It was not the most comfortable my legs have ever been but I could deal. No, it was my fingers. My fingerless gloves obviously weren’t built for whatever temperature it really was and they were starting to complain about 1 1/2 miles into the ride.

My original thought was to ride up into the hills this morning but because I paid absolutely no attention to Mr. Besaw, my freshman Earth Science teacher, I couldn’t remember if the temperature would get warmer or colder if I did that so I thought I’d play it safe and ride around town where the houses were closer together and thus, it would be warmer.


I ended up riding around 12 miles this morning and once the sun came up, I found the whole ordeal to be bearable. My fingers did their own sun salute with the sunrise this morning. There was joy coming from my digits once they felt the warmth of Sol.

And then I found happiness riding my bike again.

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Cold.

Since the return of my bicycle from the shop on Monday I have been determined to get outside and enjoy one of my favorite activities this week. I have been up at 0530 ET each morning with the intent of burning many calories and enjoying the open road.

This morning it was 32¬ļF.

Not to be deterred, I ended up wearing five layers of clothes for the ride, including my snowmobiling gloves and a wool hat under my bike helmet. To be truthful, the ride wasn’t too bad though it was still chilly. I probably should have wrapped a scarf around my face to keep my cheeks from getting cold but when all was said and done I logged just shy of 10 miles over some pretty good sized hills in 53 minutes.

One of my goals this year is to not stick to the east-west routes all the time and to enjoy the challenge of the hills more often. Yesterday I road down the long hill on our road where I can usually hit almost 40 MPH on the bike, however, I only hit 30 MPH and I didn’t feel the need to ride faster. Riding down that hill is usually reserved for later in the season but apparently my exercising efforts over the winter paid off because I was able to get up the hill with relative ease.

It’s amazing how much better I feel during the workday when I do some sort of exercise in the morning. I feel energized and motivated. Tomorrow’s weather forecast shows that’ll be much warmer than it was this morning.

It’ll be good to ride without five layers of clothes on. I’ll settle for three.

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Why.

I eat dry toast and cardboard that is scented like bacon. My sandwiches are devoid of bread at lunchtime because the carbs are bad for me, so they say. Any soup I have tastes and looks like it is just rinse water that was ran over a cow. I count calories, compute body fat and bargain with the scale every morning.

I want a cheeseburger. I want a double Big Mac with a super-size fries and a Gloomberg-defying 32 oz diet pop (must watch the calories, after all). I want to relax for a moment. I want to consider a bloomin’ onion without the masses shrieking in horror. I would kill for a hearty soup. I would rejoice over a reuben made with corned beef instead of a healthier turkey substitute. And pile on the sauerkraut while you’re at it, honey. And yes, double the Russian dressing, double it.

The old scale and the new scale are arguing over four pounds. The new scale won’t budge on his number. He’s a mean, spiteful, son-of-a-bitch that goes and tattles to the world what he just read my numbers as via a nifty wi-fi connection. Who’s friggin’ idea was that? Why does my phone care as to why I weigh? Old scale, always filled with the fear of another dropkick, gives me a number that I can deal with.

I went to the gym last night and spent an hour working out at a pretty good clip. It was a cardio experience. There was lots of sweat, horrible infomercials on the screens and toothpicky people working out for a mere 5 minutes all around me, all so they could go enjoy an evening snack consisting more of inhaling the cat’s food vapors. Not me. You better work it, boy. You might earn a dried grape if you work off 800 calories. I’d rather eat a dog biscuit. I did my tricks.

Somehow I gained 3% body fat in my sleep last night, according to the new scale. Well the new scale can go suck it, as far as I’m concerned.

And today I will soldier on. Cheers to you with a piece of dry, toasted cardboard!