G’s Driver’s License Weight Challenge – Behind the Scenes

Before these past couple of weeks, September 1st was the last day I exercised. What happened? I got the all-clear from my cardiologist to work out again! I’ve never been so relieved.

While this blog shows you everything I did to lose over 26 pounds the healthy way, I wasn’t feeling all that healthy. For months, I’ve been feeling weak and fatigued, I’ve been having this cold sensation around my mouth, my fingernails have been blue/purple, and I’ve been dizzy and lightheaded to the point I fainted and went to the ER – completely contradictory to being in the best shape of my life.

When I started my fitness journey (5 years ago today!), the nurses asking about my low heart rate became a recurring theme at my regular doctor checkups. Adults typically have a resting heart rate between 60 and 100 beats per minute (bpm). Mine averages somewhere in the low 50s, and I even see it dip into the 40s and even 30s at times. Apparently, athletes and physically fit people tend to have lower heart rates – something about their hearts working more efficiently. I was secretly proud of this “fitness indicator”, especially as my doctor visits confirmed my overall health and fitness.

Well, a low heart rate is generally overlooked unless you show the symptoms above that I started to experience during this challenge. After visiting my primary care doctor, we pretty much eliminated the possibility of dehydration and lack of nutrients being the cause, as we reviewed my nutrition plan I was on during this challenge. As you know, I drank plenty of water and ate a healthy, balanced diet.

I usually feel the lightheadedness I mentioned when I get up from bed or stand up from the couch. What I learned is that when you stand up, your body has to compensate for gravity and adjust your blood pressure. So, we started keeping a close look at my blood pressure and noticed that this, too, is lower than normal. Per the Mayo Clinic, most doctors consider blood pressure too low only if it causes symptoms. Some experts define low blood pressure as readings lower than 90 mm Hg systolic (the first number they give you) or 60 mm HG distolic (the second number). If either falls below that, your pressure is lower than normal and mine is always low in at least one of these, and sometimes both! And so, to cut a very long story short, I was referred to a cardiologist and was put through a series of tests:

  • Multiple EKG/ECGs
  • 24-hr Holter monitor (see my BTS video on IGTV @gi_rah)
  • Blood work to check my thyroid, cholesterol, and to do a complete metabolic profile
  • Echocardiogram
  • 24-hr blood pressure monitor (see my BTS video on IGTV @gi_rah)
  • Stress test (the one on the treadmill)
  • 5-day event monitor

Deep in my heart (pun intended), I believed nothing was wrong. If this “willed” me to receive negative results, then so be it. I choose to thank God that all of these tests came back proving that I am as healthy as I can be, much of it due to the lifestyle I choose to live. My cardiologist calls it essential hypotension – just as some people tend to have high blood pressure, I have the opposite. While there are medications I can take to increase my blood pressure, I can also increase my salt intake. But most importantly, as long as I keep health and fitness as a focus, which for me has to be a constant and conscious decision, and as long as I sit up and stand up slowly, I will be okay and I leave the rest up to my genetics and up to God.

It’s so easy for me to revert back to my old habits and gain all of the old weight back. We all know I love #food 🙂 It’s time to re-focus and, for me, I need a new challenge. What’s it to be, guys??

Oh, and by the way, don’t forget to recognize and deliver love today! ❤ G

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