Yesterday I took another step in achieving some goals (I'm avoiding the word 'resolution') for this year -- I walked to the Rec Center on campus and walked a mile on the track, then walked back to my office (which is about 1/2 mile from the Rec, so that gives me 2 miles). My plan is to get over to the Rec at least 3 times a week to walk and, maybe eventually, do some other exercises. As a K-State employee, I can join the Rec, which has excellent facilities, for a modest fee, deducted from my paycheck. And I figure by actually paying for a Rec membership, it will be added incentive to follow through on this goal.
I had my annual physical just before Christmas and it was something of an eye-opener. I realized that heredity and age were catching up with me. My bad cholesterol was high, my good cholesterol was low, and I weigh more than I've ever weighed in my life (including pregnancies). My knees hurt and my general fitness level is low. On top of that, I've had more symptoms related to my mitral valve prolapse. The only good thing was my blood pressure, which has always been low.
I don't want to be overly dramatic -- I'm certainly not at death's door or anything. It's just that I realized I needed to make some changes before it was too late. I've never been obsessive about my weight, but it's gradually crept up over the years and I can feel the difference. But weight alone was never an incentive for me. But my dad had double bypass surgery when he was 62 -- and he wasn't overweight, his cholesterol was only 140, and his blood pressure was fine. So I know heredity is probably working against me.
I know that it's hard to make big changes all at once, so I'm trying to take some baby steps. I'm taking the medication the doctor prescribed, I'm cutting way back on the soda pop (I have a major addiction to Welch's Grape Soda) and drinking more water instead, choosing low-fat foods and whole grains, and walking. I'm also drinking less coffee and cutting back on caffeine in general (which helps the mitral valve thing, as does drinking more water and eating less sugar). It's going to be hard when it gets warm and the cherry-limeades from Sonic call out to me, but I can always drink the diet version. And there's nothing wrong with a treat once in a while.
My health insurance provider has some good tools and resources on its Web site, and some of it is available to nonmembers. Here's a couple more resources:
SmallStep.gov has lots of tips and tools and encouragement to take small steps toward big changes.
Aim for a Healthy Weight is part of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. It has lots of tools and information.
The same institute's TLC Diet information includes an interactive tool to help you develop a healthy eating plan.
We'll see how this goes. I'm not always good at following through with this kind of thing, but maybe writing about it on the blog will help keep me accountable. Hopefully by the time my birthday rolls around this fall, there will be less of me to turn 50!