Under Pressure

It has been a while since I offered an update on my health improvements.  That is mainly due to my boring routine of gaining and losing the same eight pounds over and over and over again for more than two months.  If swings like that seem large to you, don’t forget to factor in the ratio/proportion effect.  As a man who weighs more than 1/8th of a ton, eight pounds lost or gained isn’t the same kind of swing as it would be in a 90 pound yoga instructor, who probably wouldn’t be in that kind of predicament in the first place.

Well I am happy to say that I am out of the 260’s… again… and for the last time dammit.  I’ve dipped to within 7 pounds of my most recent low of 251.  For the last several weeks I have been a very committed plant-based dieter, watching my fat AND my carbs.  I don’t count them or anything, but I have been avoiding bread, pasta, rice, and corn.  Quinoa and beans are some of the carbs I’ve been having in small amounts.  My main method of eating is to wash several pieces of produce and then to eat them like a manatee.  No, not floating around in a pool, although I’d do that in a hot second if I had a pool.  I just imagine those slow bobbing Buddhas eating heads of lettuce in two bites~ and I have been imitating them.  Why add vinegar or dressing or sauce?  This food is amazing by the raw handful and it makes me feel like a teenager.

In addition to the less refined food plan that I’ve been on, Shannon and I have been walk-running daily and pumping iron on the used-yet-awesome Olympic weight bench we bought from a graduating senior on Craigslist.  Thanks to that young man’s inability to get into the Masters program he wanted, I have a lot more muscle mass than I had before.  I know that muscle weighs more than fat, so while my body is being reupholstered in muscle, I will not be as focused on the scale.  Instead, I can rely on the looseness of clothes and some other important numbers, like those pictured above.

My blood pressure was crazy bad on Atkins but I never knew it.  I had perpetual light headaches and dizziness but I never really looked into it because I was loosing weight and getting ‘healthier.’  I may have even wondered quietly if everyone dropping pounds had light headaches and the need to steady themselves on walls and nearby strangers from time to time.  No wonder I am a great poker player.  If I can lie to myself that well, imagine what I can convince the rest of the table to believe.

Fortunately, all my bluffs were being called at the Health Fair I got tricked into going to a couple years ago.  Did you know that most of these so called “Fairs” don’t have a single ride, pony, country music star, OR funnel cake stand.  Personally, I think it’s this kind of extreme false advertising that is ruining our country.  Instead, there was the opposite of fun: latex gloves, needles, and cuffs.  Unless that’s your thing, because I don’t judge.  I’ve been around the block a few times.

It turns out that medical personnel have tools that can measure certain bodily functions and quantify the health of said functions.  Since I tend to skip doctors and go straight to the emergency room, I wasn’t as familiar with these basic measurements.  It also turns out when all of your bodily functions indicate that you are lucky to be vertical AND breathing, the medical personnel get very excitable and insistent on further tests.  With more needles.  I’m surprised they didn’t call it a Doctor Party with Clowns and Cake to trick me into going.

The Health Fair con artists and my doctor all agreed that my blood pressure was dreadful.  There were enough other problems to write a novella about, but the blood pressure was especially bad.  I was consistently in the high 140’s over the high 90’s and at one point actually saw 150 over 101.  Even with numerical evidence I argued with my doctor about taking prescription medication for it.  Old people medicine?  I was 37 years old and around 300 pounds at the time, with blood pressure so high the automatic BP cuff at the grocery store made the sad trombone sound effect when it displayed the readings.  What the Hell was he thinking anyway?

Taking the BP meds brought the number down slowly over the last couple years.  My fad dieting escapades didn’t help but eventually I was reading in the 135/85 area consistently.

However, eating like a healthy veganaut and exercising is giving me very consistent good news like this.  I agree with my current doctor about staying on the prescription until I get closer to 230 pounds and then weaning off of it once and for all.  It is a great motivator.  I may love the thought of wearing my old XL Jimmy Buffett t-shirt collection again, but kicking this drug habit is a much more exciting goal for me to think about while deciding whether or not to jog another lap around the block before hitting the weight bench.

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About jasongillett

I'm Jason Gillett, 2 year VEGAN, and a 41 year old family man. My wife & I teach in a FL school. I am using a blog to chronicle our family's new life. https://howilost150pounds.wordpress.com/ View all posts by jasongillett

8 responses to “Under Pressure

  • jasongillett

    Granted, the pulse is a little high, but this wasn’t taken at a complete resting heart-rate. I am looking forward to having that come down around 20 points in the next few months.

  • Somer

    Hey, but your other stats are rockin’! Your title has the queen/bowie song stuck in my head, which is not entirely unwelcome.

    Plateaus are tricky, but eating like the Conan O’Brien sexy manatee should totally bust that.

    • jasongillett

      I usually walk-run with a mental playlist of songs you’d probably approve of as well : ) I’ve got my climbing gloves and harness on, I’m slipping over the edge of this plateau and finding the toe and hand holds easy to find.

  • Jennifer

    I just broke through a little plateau in weight loss myself this weekend, and I know that reaching a goal is so worth the days of “invisible progress.” Sounds like you had better get ready to price some smaller Jimmy Buffet shirts (though at $100 + for an “official” button-down you might consider getting lookalikes and treating yourself to a new vegan toy like a pressure cooker!)

    • jasongillett

      Excellent! Plateaus are best viewed from a distance- like on a post card. Well done!

      I got most of my JB shirts in the early 90’s in t-shirt format. They are so old at this point they will be mostly for mowing the lawn, but I will wear them like trophies. Until they get too baggy : )

      Thanks for the encouragement and support~ it helps!!

  • thecrueltyfreereview

    Hey, I’ve been one of those health fair con artists before. But you’re right, we really need a better advertising campaign. Maybe if the country stars do the needle poking people would be less intimidated? Hmm, maybe not.
    Anywho, congrats on improving your BP and to make you feel even better I have nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award! http://thecrueltyfreereview.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/on-lovely-blog-award/

    • jasongillett

      Firstly- I am glad my district school board put on the health fair. I needed CE points for my certificate and wanted to grab a few easy points after school one day. I never dreamed that all my number would be so bad. It was possibly a lifesaver. I remember that when I went, I had recently lost 20 pounds on Atkins and expected good news, not bad. So thank Hippocrates for the medical people that put together the “fair” : )

      Secondly- THANK YOU! That is spectacular news!! I am honored and I can’t wait to pass the torch forward. I have located so many awesome blogs thanks to these awards as well as a much bigger head. It is a good thing my hats are adjustable! Gratsi!!

  • Wendy Gillooly

    I am feeling you my brutha! (phonetically spelled) I too got an eye opener several years ago after visiting the “health fair” and after bad numbers ended up finding out I had a silent heart attack at 41. (You think I would have learned then.) Oh no. I did the Atkins and exercising too and lost 20lbs. but felt like crap all the time. But it is not a diet you can live on so I soon went back to my gluttonous and sloth ways.

    I’ve spent the last three years like an ostrich with my head in the sand. It has now come back to bite me in my ass! I am getting the crap kicked out of me medically. I’m taking more meds than a 60 year old. The BP has come down and stabalized but the diabetes numbers as not good. I don’t know that I can go truly vegan but I am trying to balance some good carbs (whole grains, veggies and fresh fruit) with low-fat meats and fish. Biggest drawback is having to kick the beer. I LOVE BEER!! WTH! I am reducing and switched to a lower carb brand but I’m just not ready to swear it off. How about you?

    Shannon sent me the link and I can say I got quite a chuckle from your blog. I see some of the same struggles and hope I can get some of the same success as well. You are awesome and I am glad you are making these difficult yet beneficial changes to your life. Hopefully we can both be around a lot longer due to these healthy changes.

    Wendy G.

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