Dear Rona, Why did it take a Pandemic…for me to drop kick hypertension?

Dear Rona, Why did it take a Pandemic? [The Series]

I thought it was time to do a little reflecting on the good things that have come out of this pandemic because it puts me in a better headspace when I take the time to count my blessings and because on those days that are tough, it’s my faith and these precious moments that renew my resolve. The underlying themes being time spent with family and self-care. I hope that at least one of these posts will encourage you to reflect on those bright spots that continue to bring you joy. Today’s post is about my journey to prevent heart disease.

Hypertension Defined (Oxford English Dictionary): Abnormally high blood pressure. A state of great physiological distress.

Visit the American Heart Association to learn more.

1st Things 1st, Let’s Be Clear!

I am not claiming to have hypertension. Let me not go speaking that into the atmosphere. I am however declaring that I am finally doing everything I can to prevent it! According to my doctor, I am borderline. The thing is, this is not a new conversation. She’s brought this fact to my attention over the course of my last 3 annual visits. Each visit has gone the same. “You don’t need medicine yet, but you’re very close” and then there’s, “The fat sitting around your midsection…you need to lose weight” and finally my favorite, “As a Black woman, you’re at a higher risk…not just for heart disease…”

Let me just be candid. In 2017 I was 213 pounds. At my height, that makes me obese. Never in my life had I ever been this weight. In fact, I always had a lean, sista-curvy body. I was that girl who was always working out. I was even a fitness instructor for a while with my Mom. We taught Kukuwa Fitness, an African dance workout (that you’ll definitely want to learn more about) and I was in the best shape of my life.

Check Out Kukuwa Fitness ( I think I need to get back to doing her workouts):

Where, When or How Did I Stop Trying?

I can’t even pinpoint where I fell off the wagon but when I did, I fell hard. I love to cook and I love to eat but my zeal for working out was absolutely M.I.A. But then there was (and still is) a pandemic. When I learned that I would be working from home, I knew that I had a decision to make. I had reached my fork in the road moment. I could continue on in my rather sedentary lifestyle and likely also stress eat while sitting on my couch while working from home or I could take my life back and commit to radical self-care so that I don’t end up with heart disease. I chose life! I continue to choose life and I am grateful to God for helping me get my ‘want to’ back! While there have been many good choices that have come since that pivotal moment, I have a book that I read about 3-4 years ago that I want to tell you about because it sowed a seed that I will never forget.

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander | an Award-Winning Children’s Book Written in Verse

Josh & Jordan Bell are twins and they are both really great at playing basketball. Their mom is the assistant principal at their school and their dad is a retired basketball player. An injury took him out of the game for good. He’s an awesome, fun-loving dad and husband who has hypertension. It’s genetic. It’s how his own father died and even though his wife tries to tell him (over and over again) that he needs to take better care of himself, he chooses not to. He doesn’t see the harm in getting his donuts regularly and eating all manner of unhealthy foods. When he ends up hospitalized after having a heart attack, Josh is sitting by his bedside. They’re engaged in an intimate conversation by which Josh basically asks his father why he never chose to take care of himself? That question crushed me. It stuck with me and it’s the question that came to the forefront for me in March (2020) because I don’t want to be the one lying in a hospital bed with my family asking me why I didn’t take action.

Pausing During a Pandemic

Why was I choosing not to take care of myself? I certainly have excuses…I’m too busy. I don’t feel like working out after work. Who has time to prep healthy meals? Take-out is easier. Honestly, if it weren’t for this Pandemic, I don’t know that I would have stopped heading down a destructive, unhealthy path. So yeah, Dear Rona, thank you for giving me enough time to pause and reflect and to take my health back! I don’t know if Kwame Alexander will ever know how much The Crossover means to me but I do know that I will continue to keep sharing it with my students (as I have) for years to come.

Today, I am 25 pounds lighter than I was in 2017, 20 of which I’ve lost since March 2020! Yes, you heard that right. I’ll talk more about how in another post but in the meantime, here’s some never before shared pictures of my journey. If you have been struggling like I did to get your ‘want to’ back, I pray that your resolve would be renewed today.

The Past 3 Years
Today in my Driveway


Find The Crossover by Kwame Alexander through my affiliate link on Book Shop:

Visit Kuwkwa Fitness



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s