"Healthy" is a relative term

On paper, my lifestyle looks pretty healthy. Thanks to my allergies I eat a lot of whole foods and not much in the way of ‘junk’, although I do like my dark chocolate and gluten free ginger biscuits. I don’t smoke and so far this year I have had a grand total of five alcoholic drinks (I know, what a rebel!). I am at the lower end of healthy on the BMI scale, I get my periods and take my vitamins. I go out running three times a week, but I don’t overdo it or run when I’m injured. My blood pressure and pulse are nice and low.

But actually, I don’t feel very healthy at all. It’s that last point that trips me up. I have low blood pressure for genetic reasons – my mum has always had low BP too, even though she’s a little overweight. When she was pregnant with my sister she was nearly hospitalised for it. This morning I went to see my GP about the fact that the palpitations I’ve had for most of my life have been getting a lot worse recently, and my BP was 90/60, which isn’t much higher than when I was very underweight. That would explain why I keep getting dizzy, then! My BP has never been as high as 120/80 but 90/60 at this weight is taking the michael a little even for me. Apparently this is also what’s aggravating my palpitations. My GP thinks they are harmless from my description. Some people get palpitations when their heart rate climbs too high, but in my case, if I check my pulse when they are happening, it’s around 50 bpm. Combined with my blood pressure, that’s not so great.

I don’t think I’m eating any less than I was a few months ago when my heart was behaving – my weight is pretty much the same. I certainly don’t restrict anything which could have a bearing on my blood pressure, like carbs, fat, salt…calories! I think the difference is probably the exercise. Being fit lowers your pulse and BP, but mine didn’t really need lowering! I don’t want to have to stop running again, but what can I do? Eat more salt? Drink more water? Try to gain another half a stone? I don’t want to have to think about the way I eat in detail anymore, I had enough of that last year when I was gaining weight. I want to get on with my life now, grumblegrumble. But it’s hard to get on with your life when your heart backfires every ten minutes, scaring the crap out of you and making you wonder if you’ll actually wake up the next morning or not. If I want to carry on running, I’m going to have to be a bit more careful about my intake. There’s no way I’m going back to counting calories again, but having bigger portions of carbs and fat at meals and being more conscientious about eating snacks would help.

My body and my diet might seem pretty healthy, but I’m not feeling it. Today I am dizzy, my head is foggy and my heart feels…kind of tickly. It’s not very pleasant and I have no intention of putting up with it for the rest of my life. I might eat healthily and my weight might be technically okay, but if I don’t feel good, it’s not doing me any good. I think that more calories, more salt, less exercise and another 5lb gain are probably called for. That would be the opposite of most guidelines for a healthier lifestyle, but who cares? My body has different needs to the majority of the population, and I’m willing to do what it takes to accommodate that.


I am off to Durham tomorrow to stay with J. I have four houses to look around on Wednesday, one landlord with several places to show me on Thursday (and I’ll be meeting Laura for coffee!), and an estate agent to meet on Friday. I think I’ve given myself a really good chance of finding somewhere. On Saturday I shall be dragging J to York so we can visit my favourite restaurant 😀 vegan sticky toffee pudding, here I come! I hope everyone reading this has a lovely week 🙂


11 responses to “"Healthy" is a relative term

  1. Ugh, sorry to hear about the heart palpitations and BP issues. I think it’s good to experiment with the things you said — more salt, more calories, less exercise, 5 lb gain. See how it goes. My blood pressure is right around the 120/80 range now, but I don’t do much in the way of exercise, and I eat a good amount of calories and salt. I think most of it is genetic, though. Hope you feel better soon!

  2. I can totally relate to this post. For years, from the outside my life looked so ‘healthy’ but it really wasnt. When I got blood work done my tests were TERRIBLE!!!! I was completely far from health. But I ate ‘salads’ and ‘ran’, its that what healthy people do? ughhhh!!! Drives me nuts. anyway, we all need different things for our bodies to be healthy. We all have such unique bodies that it would be crazy to think we could all do the same thing and wind up ‘healthy’. Some people cant eat milk, others need A LOT of calories to function, some need less. I would say if you have a hunch that you need to gain more and exercise less, your probally right. I would go with your instinct. I remember feeling my body wasnt happy 5 llbs ago, i just new it wasnt right for me. I hope it gets better for you hun, you deserve to be healthy 🙂

    Dana xo

  3. Sounds terrible. 😦 Hang in there.

  4. I imagine it’s extremely frustrating to have worked so hard to regain your health, and continue to do so, while your body is still not cooperating. I’m so glad you’re willing to do what it takes to try to give your body everything it needs. it would be easy to just tell yourself you’ve worked hard enough, you’re weight is fine, etc. But you have a life to live and don’t need anything holding you back.

  5. I agree with Echo, it must be frustrating after all that hard work, and I really hope you can find some kind of happy medium either by tweaking food/weight/exercise or something. It might indeed be worth experimenting to try and find an optimal solution, because you’ve got alot to look forward to 🙂

    Good luck in the househunting – can’t wait to hear how it goes…even if you don’t find something right away, the process itself is just so fun and interesting and it gives you a much better idea of what you do and don’t like.

    Sarah x

  6. This is an interesting thing that I’ve also observed. Being vegan also means being pretty healthy: I have to work hard to get my nutritional balance right, I eat mainly whole foods, plenty of fruit and veg, wholegrains etc etc, everything they say is good for us. But sometimes, still after years of maintaining a healthy weight, I feel dizzy or lightheaded, my blood pressure is the lower end of normal and I can feel pretty weak and pathetic. What makes it better? Eating a bit of ‘junk’!

    It used to really pis me off in recovery, as I tried so hard to stick to my safe, ‘healthy’ foods when my Mum used to say, ever so patronisingly, that a little bit of junk now and then never did anyone any harm , or even that you need to eat some junk occasionally. How could you need to eat cake? Ice cream? Fizzy drinks? I didn’t believe her, but now I think that maybe she might have had a point.

    I’m not sure if the reasons that it works are biological or psychological, or both, but I treat such foods as one of the essential food groups and it certainly seems to help! I also don’t exercise very much because I can get very lightheaded when I do, especially doing things like yoga. I walk everywhere and make sure I go fast enough to raise my heart rate at least once a day, and short bursts of activity like cycling seem to be ok, and hopefully that’s enough.

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re not feeling so great. I hope that you find a solution that works for you. And good luck with the househunting!!!


  7. I’m sorry you’re not feeling as healthy as you should be… it’s incredibly, incredibly frustrating to know that you’re doing everything right and still not see any of the benefits from that! I wish I could be more helpful… :/

    ❤ ❤

  8. Oh that sounds really crappy, like nervous fluttering of your heart x 100 I imagine – sorry to hear you’re not feeling great. Argh, why can’t our bodies just get their act’s together already?!!

    Sounds like you’ll be a busy bee this week, looking forward to your fine company chick!

  9. Shelley (findinghappinessandhealth)

    i think it is amazing that you are able toevaluate yourself in such an objective way & see what your body truly needs and is asking for right now. I am sorry to hear about your struggles but I know you are strong and can get through it.
    Good luck with everything going on this week!! Hope you get some down time to relax 🙂


  10. I’m really sorry you’re feeling so crappy, but I can totally relate to this as well. I now have very low blood pressure–it’s lower now than it ever was when I was underweight–and in the past few weeks especially I’ve been feeling horribly tired and dizzy and just in a haze, which frustrates me to no end. And it really helps to see you put those concrete steps out there–it makes me realize there are things I can do and that other people are doing them too.

    Anyway, I hope you have a great time in Durham and that you find a place 🙂

  11. I’m so sorry to hear you are not feeling so good. I get the low blood pressure, I am always eating a lot of salt, sounds extremely unhealthy to other people, James always tells me off for my salt addiction, but having low blood pressure feels awful. Especially in this kind of very hot weather.
    My advice, do what you need to do to feel better, forget what other people think is healthy and do what makes you feel healthier.

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