Back in late December my doctor and my blood pressure cruelly ganged up on me. They told me my “blood pressure was too high” and I “needed to lose some weight”. I was so offended that I nearly dropped my giant bag of candy. How dare they say I wasn’t in peak physical form? Maybe I naturally have a blood pressure so high that it scares the doctor!
To be fair, my doctor was very very gentle about telling me to lose weight. She presented all the factors that can raise blood pressure, as listed on the Heart and Stroke foundation documentation, and gave me a moment to realize that all the factors I could control led back to the same goal: weight loss. She was almost too subtle about it. It would have saved us some time if she could have channeled the spirit of a gruff 1950’s doctor and said “Lose some weight, fattie!”
And let us be very frank about one thing: I was fat. Not husky, not hefty, not chubby. I used all those terms to refer to myself, in the guise of supporting a positive self-image. But for me, it was actually a way to pretend my gut wasn’t as large as it was, having grown tremendously over the last 4 years. My delusion was pretty powerful, a testament to the human mind and its ability to only see what it wants to see. I’d go to the gym and think ‘huh, this exercise shirt is shorter than I remember. Must be shrinking.’ Dear reader, it was not shrinking. I was expanding. But the crowning achievement of my motivated reasoning came as I was cooking one day. My front porch overhand of a gut brushed against the edge of a hot frying pan, giving me a small burn. And I was puzzled: Am I cooking differently? Did the pan get larger? DID THE PAN GET LARGER???? No, you deluded dingus, you got larger.
I had told myself that I’d start working on dropping the excess pounds if my doctor ever told me to. And then she did. F*#k. So I pouted for a bit, then I got down to business. I’ll give you the short version of the important part: I stopped overeating. I measure my food and eat enough calories worth of food each day that I lose a half a pound each week. It’s monotonous measuring out my meals every single day. But I know where making special exceptions and excuses will get me: right back to FatTown! Yes, even on my birthday, I kept track of my food. And yes, it did decrease my celebratory mood slightly. But you know what is a real buzz kill? Catastrophic stroke.
Well I can tell you now, after 9+ months of more exercise, more fruits and veggies, and no overeating, that they were completely right. I’ve lost 26 pounds of fat. My blood pressure has come down out of the danger zone, and my doctor has stopped looking Very Concerned when I see see her. My blood pressure isn’t low enough to get her all the way to Not Concerned yet, but I’m working on it. Do I miss gorging? You bet your sweet ass I do.