About three years ago I was diagnosed with second stage Renal Disease, also known as Kidney Failure or End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). About that same time I was diagnosed with 2 leaky valves in my heart, an irregular heart rate and premature ventricular contractions (PVCs). I had sought medical assistance as I was getting very short of breath while walking up the slightest incline and I could feel my heart pulsating, speeding up and slowing down coupled with occasional dizziness. I have to give my Apple watch credit here as it was showing that, during these episodes, my heart rate would dip as low as 37 then back up to 175 within a matter of seconds and while I was at rest. In other words, it backed up what I was feeling.
This was all a huge shock to me as I am not somebody who gets sick often or who has had many serious health issues. After all, I was only 46 years old, and although I didn't have a specific, daily exercise regime, I was active and always on the go. I climbed stairs frequently and had been working on decreasing my stress level. How could I have such health issues already?
What I had failed to recognize fully or admit to myself was just how much excess weight I'd put on. From my goal weight and what should be a healthy weight for my body, I was 50 pounds to the wrong side. The pounds had snuck up on me over the years like decay in an abandoned building. One day, it was just there and I hadn't even notice to what degree.
I think many of us fall in this cycle and we make excuses for the way we feel and we fail to admit to ourselves just how much weight we've put on. It just creeps up on us and we just buy bigger clothes and perpetuate our denial. Well, I decided enough was enough and six months ago I decided to pay conscious attention to what I was putting in my body. I counted calories and became very aware of which foods had how many calories. I started eating more fruits and vegetables and in appropriate portions. I am happy to report that, after 6 months, I have found myself having lost enough weight that I am having to pull up my pants throughout the day. I am now met with the pleasant dilemma of whether to buy a new belt or punch another hole in the one I have. Additionally, I am no longer getting short of breath and fatigued, I am no longer having palpitations and I am no longer taking any medication other than a daily multivitamin. My energy has also increased and I feel healthier and happier. Yes, proper nutrition can affect your mood too.
I didn't not take any drastic measures to achieve this and my motivations were my own health, how I was feeling and the fact that I was in a new relationship with a great man. We all have to find our personal motivations and drive. I enjoy my life and I let myself enjoy food without deprivation. But I plan ahead and I am aware of my food choices and it has made all of the difference in my life. So, can proper nutrition reverse health conditions? I say emphatically....YES!
One of my favorite tools was the introduction of healthy smoothies into my life. I love smoothies as they are easy to make, they are cool, taste great and are packed with the nutrition out bodies need. Smoothies are filling and can provide an entire meal on the go. That is why I support The Smoothie Diet as a healthy way to fuel your body, feel energized and lose weight. I encourage you to check it out at the link below.
LoriBeth Bykerk RN, MSN
PREVENT! Fire & Life Safety Specialists
CERT Team Responder