We’re bringing back some of our favorite posts from the archives for #TBT. This post originally published in June 2011. Since then, Jackie has gone on to complete more triathlons than we can count, including an Ironman. 🙌
My fitness “aha!” moment was two years ago during nursing school. I was sitting in the skills lab with my classmates, practicing taking each others’ vital signs. I figured I’d always been a relatively healthy person. Yes, I have a problem with binge eating but I always tried to balance that out with binge exercising. I mean, if I drink and eat tons of pizza almost every night, endless amounts of flaming hot cheetos, buckets of fried chicken, and whatever else I have managed to wrap in bacon that week BUT still manage to do triathlons/runs/bike rides, then I’m all good, right? WRONG!! Turns out, that fateful day in skills lab was when I learned that there are consequences to my lifestyle choices.
Yes, that was the day I was slapped in the face by hypertension. Not high-normal watch out you’re pretty high up there but still ok blood-pressure. Not whoa, wake up, you’re in the pre-hypertension range. No, I was textbook Stage 1, verging on Stage 2, hypertensive. My peers and instructors couldn’t believe it. I had four different people take my blood pressure to confirm it.
That was when I decided I needed to drastically change the way I lived, especially since I want to avoid all the problems that come with hypertension (go blind? No thanks!). Ok, actually the decision came about two weeks (months) later because I was still in denial and needed to keep taking my blood pressure everyday in lab to confirm it. I wasn’t ready to give up my nightly runs (drives) to the taco truck, SPAM, or ramen.
I’m never going to be ready to give it all up. I love delicious, salty, artery-clogging goodies way too much. I am a product of fast food and poor choices. What gets me moving is that blasted blood pressure monitor sitting on my nightstand. Yes, I often cheat on my low-sodium diet (I mean, who wouldn’t?) and have endless excuses to not exercise, but at the end of the day, it’s those two stupid numbers that I have to report to…and the list of long-term consequences of hypertension I have taped to the back of it.