I'm being a grown-up and doing medical stuff for the first time in…ever. I mean, I pretty much stopped getting checkups when I stopped reproducing. I only went to the doctor when one of my kids was sick or injured, and today I only go to the vet when one of the dogs is sick or injured. Or smells funny. Or seems depressed. Okay, I might be over the top with my bulldog, but broads of a certain age have to look out for each other. She's one of us.
So this year I decided to have everything checked over. Mainly because I'm fifty-nine and my mom only made it to sixty plus eighteen days. So you know, that's in my head. Funsies! But it's more than that, too. I have a lot to do yet. Big plans. Huge. And my grandkids are amazing. It is so fun to watch them become adults. Wow. And I have two greats now, just itty bitties getting a foothold in their physicalness. It's like watching angels at recess, watching those two. I have decided to aspire to great-great many times over. And that means making sure everything is hanging where it's supposed to be hanging, doing what it's supposed to be doing.
I've been adulting a lot lately. I even got real glasses from a real eye doctor to replace my magnifiers from Walgreen's. (You can't tell here but the metal frames are orange and purple.) Maybe adulting a little too much, but that's a different post. This one's an adulting post.
So here I am, vegan since late January, and a pretty healthy vegan. I've been minimizing oil and sugar and using whole grain flours and raw sugar. Well, I was doing all that. And then I started discovering all the fun processed vegan foods out there. Those lovely breaded not-chicken patties, and the not-beef burgers and the not-cow-cheeses and the ohmygoddess Panda Chocolates. I went from not eating that stuff at all to eating it pretty regularly ever since that visit to Wegmans. (I would like to put a choir of angels sound effect in whenever I type “Wegmans.”) But still, I wasn't eating what I would think of as a lot. And processed vegan food is still way healthier than meat and dairy.
I fully expected my lab work to come back so sparkling that the doctor would think it had to be an error and order a do-over.
Nope. My cholesterol is high. Now granted, I have no idea where it was before I changed to a plant-based diet. I can only assume it must be a lot better. I am also aware it could be a genetic thing but I don't think so. I was so disappointed. But also determined to fix it. And of course, I do whatever it takes to not need a medication.
I'm going to do another layer of cleaning to my diet, because most of the processed foods, vegan or not, organic or not, have quite a bit of oil in them. The Impossible and Beyond burgers have a saturated fat content that's as bad as actual beef. I don't buy them often, but have had 2 this year. Most of the others brands really do try to keep it to a minimum. A gram or two of saturated fat per serving. But if my levels are high, then common sense tells me that my daily recommended allowance of saturated fat should be zero. Negative, if possible. So I'm going to read labels and really avoid the bad stuff as much as possible.
My research indicates that aerobic exercise (the kind that raises your heart rate, not the kind with leg warmers) might help reduce the bad numbers. My first reaction to that was, “Shit, I still have to exercise?” I mean seriously, I really kind of thought by sixty that would no longer be a part of my day. I already walk a lot, but leisurely, you know? They seem to want me to break a sweat. Ew.
So today I thought about what sort of workout I felt like I could do without hurting myself. I tend to go too hard too fast, because I have absolutely zero sense of my own age. I usually injure something within the first week or two of “getting active again,” and then I'm done. I own every workout DVD (and yes, some tapes) known to exist. But the one I found myself wanting was one I did back in the Stone Age, wearing a leotard, a headband, and yes, leg warmers. Jane Fonda's Step Aerobics. I still had the stepper in the attic. And of course, because of the wonders of the internet, I found the video on YouTube. (I couldn't find a leotard. But I'm pretty sure I still have some leg warmers around here somewhere. Remember that brief period when we used to layer them in different colors, scrunched down to show both, or all three shades? If our granddaughters knew how freaking cool we were, they'd DIE.)
I grabbed a towel and some water, dusted off the stepper and clicked play, Aside from the annoying commercial smack in the middle of a move (who does that?) it was wonderful. I remembered the routine by heart. I even knew every single time my favorite instructor, Laurel, was going to say, “Move your body now!” in perfect synch with the music.
I had 48 minutes of pure joy doing that moldy old step routine. Worked up a good sweat, got my heart rate going, closed the rings on my watch, and felt great after. I tried to take it easy but I'm not very good at that. I put my stepper on the low setting, and then changed my mind and returned it to the high one. The inside comes out and flips over to elevate it. It's a really nice stepper. I've had it since '92. Longer than I've been a published author. Oh, wow, what a hoot thinking about that!
I forgot how fun those old workouts were back in the day. The newer ones are all so serious and way more demanding. But this one was pretty easy-going. Well, you know, I had to ice my shoulders after, just from all that arm swinging. (Arthritic changes the doc said. To which I replied with the utmost love and respect, “Fuck you, doc.”)
So that's life today. Doing a workout I haven't done since I was thirty freaking years old, almost thirty freaking years later. Guess I can't complain.