In my position of writer/communications coordinator for Mount Nittany Health, I have had the opportunity to interview many physicians and nurses, including a very special certified registered nurse practitioner with Mount Nittany Physician Group Susan Trainor, who also sits on the board of People Centred on Diabetes.
Trainor is the one who encouraged me to tell my story.
I dont have diabetes thankfully. I write this column today because a life-changing, life-giving, possibly life-saving project that I accomplished in honor of my 60th birthday may keep me from ever getting diabetes.
Coming into my 60th year, I was experiencing a lot of changes a major move, a new job. And, my mom died. As most people know, change, whether good or bad, brings stress.
I began to notice the symptoms sleeplessness, overeating, headaches, and anxiety. A medical check-up confirmed another problem hypertension. My blood pressure was registering at between 156 to 180/97. Normal blood pressure is 130/80, or less.
My family doctor wanted me to go on medication, because the past few months of monitoring my blood pressure had proven that the high numbers were becoming a dangerous tendency.
Was medication the only answer? I was concerned about side effects. And, I worried that I would continue down the path of bad habits that had brought me to this doorstep.
As a professional in health care, I would like to state here that I am not opposed to medicine, or any recommended treatment that may improve the quality of life. My resistance to taking medication for my condition did not spring from my desire to be alternative. It came from my research.
Every doctor I had interviewed over the past year for stories about heart disease, sleep apnea, diabetes and obesity said the same thing: Proper nutrition, weight control and exercise will make a difference. In some cases, it can reverse the course of the problem or disease.
Suddenly it hit me that I could make a difference in my own health in a major way by taking the advice of all those doctors in so many different specialties. It was then that I hatched my plan for 60@60. I kicked off my regime of 60 minutes of exercise, six days a week for 60 days, while feeding my body the best, most nutritious food I could buy. It didnt happen overnight. I started planning in December for my March 15 start date.
For several months I took Zumba and yoga classes, walked the dog, rode my bike to work and planned three-hour hikes in the woods on the weekend. This helped me design my exercise regime.
I chose a food plan that consisted of mostly organic, whole foods no
processed foods (this goes a long way toward reducing salt), mostly raw and vegetarian, with fish twice a week.
On March 15, I began my 60@60. The hardest part was giving myself permission to take the time each day the time to exercise and the time to prepare food just for myself. May 10. Happy Birthday to me. My blood pressure is 122/78 and I lost 22 pounds since the December prep time. My doctor friends tell me that the really hard part comes next. In order to stay healthy I need to keep doing the things that lead to my success. Sustaining change may be even harder than making change. Shall we check in again in six months?
If you have comments or questions about 60@60 contact Elle Morgan at email@example.com.