Last fall I went to the doctor for some seemingly small reason and learned that for the first time ever my blood pressure was elevated. It wasn’t in the danger zone and frankly I was more annoyed by the doc’s insistence that it wasn’t a “really” bad thing. Trust me, while my mother’s high blood pressure didn’t exactly kill her, a decade plus of high blood pressure wasn’t exactly a plus either when she was critically ill. I take things like high blood pressure pretty seriously since being Black, slightly overweight and having high blood pressure is one of those norms in the Black community that I am convinced plays a huge role in our leaving this dusty rock sooner than our white counterparts.
Since last fall, I have been quietly making changes in my eating habits, while I am not sure I will ever go back to the vegetarian life, meat continues to play an ever decreasing role in my diet. Most of the mindless snacking that I am prone to doing under stress has been replaced with more intentional eating and healthier snacks. Raw nuts anyone? I broke up with Starbucks and gave up my daily coffee like after work beverage and my digestive tract has been thanking me ever since. The results after several months are that I am no longer gaining weight, my weight has stabilized and as I learned a couple of weeks ago, my blood pressure is back in the comfort zone.
Now I wish all these changes were enough but the truth, they are not. I need consistent physical activity and more importantly that extra 15 pounds that is comfortably settled in my mid-section has got to go. Mid-section excess is more than just unsightly when trying to look sweet and sexy, it seems it can cause health issues and I am finally willing to acknowledge that and actually do something about it.
The problem is that deep down, I am still the same person with the dubious distinction of failing gym in high school for three years straight. I hate gyms; I am not a work out gal. Yet 40 year old me no longer responds to just diet changes alone and while yoga is the one physical thing that I love, it is not enough. So I have been trying to figure out what I can do that can fit into my life more or less every day, and won’t cost me an arm and a leg. Enter running.
It seems most of my friends are into running, on the surface what is not to love? Relatively cheap, and it seems easy to do. After all, the last time I ran I am pretty sure it involved catching a train or bus in Chicago…back in 2002.
So yesterday I grabbed the ole man and we made our way over to the local cemetery that also serves as a local trail and broke out into a light jog. You can start laughing at this point. Lawdie B… that was really uncomfortable. For starters, I was jiggling, I was trying to focus on my breath and all I could notice was my ample derriere going up and down. OK. Then there was the twins known in adult language as breasts. Slap, slap, slap. How is that even possible, I don’t exactly have a rack, yet that up and down jiggle was actually hurting me. Lastly the knees, ouch squared. Let’s just say that run/jog ended quickly and instead I went for the power walk around the trail that ended with a mild sweat and some pressure in my legs.
Not a bad first step and thanks to Mother Nature deciding we should have rain today, I don’t have to try it again today. But make no mistake, I will try again…so BGIM went running, or was it more of a prance, gallop or sashay?
Change isn’t always easy or wanted but sometimes we do it anyway. So here is to new beginnings. Besides if running doesn’t stick, I can get some leg weights and take up prancercising instead.
Note: I know for some people talk of diet/life changes is hard but as always this is just one Black girl in Maine telling her story. People need to do what works best for them and their bodies. I know my family history and I know what is best for me.