Listen to your body… it knows more than you think

Hello!

I started my day with something delicious.

Can you not see that?

Here, let me show you again

SO GOOD.

Lunch

My favorite wrap

  • Sabra Garlic Hummus
  • mashed kidney beans
  • 1 sliced green onion
  • feta
  • garden lettuce

And a cookie 😉

Then in the afternoon I had a session with my high school fitness group! I led the girls in this workout

5 minutes cardio warmup

Do this x3:

  • Dumbbell Front Raise –  12 each side (shoulders)
  • Plie Squats – 12 (inner thigh, glutes)
  • Side Plank – 30 seconds each side (obliques)
  • Jumping Jacks 1 minute
  • Wall squat 30 seconds (thighs, glutes, hamstrings, core)
  • Hammer Curl – 10 each side (biceps)
  • Chair Dips – 6-10 (triceps)
  • Stability Ball Back Extension – 6-8 (lower back)
  • Plank – 1 minute (core)
  • High Knees 1 minute

It was fun, but I had a tough time with the transition from cardio to wall squats and I had to take more breaks that I thought I would. I mention a lot that I support listening to your body. Taking rest days when you feel you need one, eating a cupcake if you really feel like you need something sweet, etc. There is a reason why (and its a little wordy, and dramatic, and not meant at all to draw any kind of sympathy, but as a cautionary tale).

Two years ago, my dad had a heart attack. A BIG heart attack. You know what’s an awful feeling? Getting a phone call saying “Your father’s had an emergency. You or your mother need to get here immediately.” No explanation, no word if he was awake, okay, alive, nothing. Erm flew there with me in the car as a nervous wreck. When I got to the club (he was playing golf on a simulator that day) an EMT came out and said “I need to prepare you for what you’re going to see in there.” (Any EMTs out there, that’s a nice thing to say as long as the other person knows the patient is still alive). “Your father had to be resuscitated.” BIG EXHALE.

I’m not sure what I thought happened.. I think I just figured he had passed out. Until I was riding in the front seat of the ambulance (they wouldn’t let me in the back with him, they were still working on him) and had the conversation with the driver…

Me: “Do you know what happened?” Him: “I didn’t see him go down. But I do know that if they didn’t have that AED at the club, your Dad would not be alive.” Me: “But what happened to him? Did he have a heart attack?” Him: “Yes.”

And I burst into tears. I don’t think the driver was expecting that. I wasn’t really expecting it, to tell you the truth. But… heart attack. That’s what got me. Well, that and the fact that if that little machine hadn’t been in the same building as him, this story would not have had a happy ending. It was also very shocking (NO pun intended)… my Dad likes steak, but his diet was pretty much lean meats and salads/vegetables. He’s tall and slim. Doesn’t smoke. Not someone you’d look at and think “heart disease”. Turns out his arteries were only 40% clogged (very good for someone his age) and he had one of those fluke heart attacks where a piece of plaque slipped off and all hell broke loose in his circulatory system.

I was in between jobs, so I became my dad’s caretaker while he was out of work. I hung out with him, I took him to cardiac rehab, I drove him wherever he wanted to go. Actually, looking back, once he was feeling okay, we had some great times in those weeks. Cardiac rehab was great for him, but also great for me. I learned a lot about the benefits of regular exercise, a healthy diet, etc. I think this may have been my healthy tipping point. And when I cooked for him or bought food, my orders were LOW SODIUM everything. So I got used to eating low sodium everything. Heart disease runs in my family now, and I figure I should get a jump start on it.

So when I did my food shopping… low sodium everything. No more salt on anything. It was no fun, since I love salt. Boxes of chocolate go weeks, months in my house uneaten. But chips? Salty/stinky cheese? Don’t stand a chance. I was craving salt big time, but not letting myself have it. Since I was doing it for my heart and waging a war against heart disease, I committed myself to going with as little salt as possible. This year for Lent, I gave up fried food. Fried food includes french fries (duh), donuts, chips… lots more than I thought about when I decided to give it up. It was actually tough at first, but after a few weeks I didn’t even miss it. I even noticed less tummy issues, hooray!

I took a personal day in March to have a day to myself. I had a lot to do so I decided to do my normal circuit in my living room. After a minute of lunge jumps, some pushups and a plank, I got up to get some water and felt a little sick to my stomach. I had trouble catching my breath. And I couldn’t see any more. I could hear my heart pounding in my ears and my legs started getting weak and I started falling down. I thought “oh my God. This is it. I am having a heart attack. Erm is going to come home and find me on the floor”. I groped around for the couch and held onto it as I went down.

I woke up about 20 seconds later and thought woohoo! I’m alive! Then I thought jeez, what just happened? I had never passed out before. (which is why I thought I was dying, dramatic, much?) And I was doing the same workout I had been doing for a few weeks, its not like I was pushing myself extra hard. And I’ve been eating so healthily. I called Erm and told him what happened and he told me to go to the hospital but… I didn’t. I figured it was fine, although I did feel a little funny. I decided to go food shopping and had chest pains and realized… I needed to go see someone. So to the hospital I went.

VERY dramatic

From the tests that were run there and over the following 4 weeks it was determined that I had a Neurocardiogenic Syncope incident and I also suffer from Orthostatic Hypotension. Basically, when I stop moving too abruptly or stand up too fast, my blood pools in my legs and away from my head. I did both of those things that day, which is why I passed out.

Ways for me to prevent passing out? Long cooldowns after cardio, for sure. Making sure I drink a lot of water, which I’m pretty good at. And salt is my friend. I actually need more salt in my diet, rather than less. I’m convinced that it was because I had given up a lot of the foods that I had been getting my salt from (fried foods, for Lent) that contributed to this event. I also think that this is why I crave salt! I was sent home from the hospital with two directions. Eat some chips, and don’t work out for a little while. Whaaaaaaaat? The not working out part was tough. The chips were not 😉 Not that I’m a crazy chip eater, but sometimes, they’re good. I get salt into my diet by putting feta on my salads/wraps/etc, I don’t buy low-sodium products and sometimes… I eat chips.

The moral of the story? You know it, listen to your body. If you’re really craving something sweet, HAVE IT. Your body probably needs the sugar. If you really want something with salt, EAT IT. Your body probably needs the sodium. Thirsty? Hungry? Feed yourself. Also, everything in moderation. Eating a bag of chips every day would not be good, and having 3 pieces of cake probably isn’t good for you. But most things are fine in small amounts.

Also, many people have low blood pressure and pass out and I know this may have been a tad dramatic, but I really wanted to convey how important it is to listen to your body and not deprive yourself of something that you feel you NEED because you are trying to lose weight. You can’t enjoy a healthy body from a hospital bed!

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2 Responses to Listen to your body… it knows more than you think

  1. shaine says:

    Love the post. But, what if just part of you wants to? What does that mean?

  2. Great post! I appreciate you sharing your personal story – it really drives home the point! Our bodies really do know best.

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