In January 2013 I had my blood work done. My cholesterol came back high. I was stunned. I was in denial about my weight, I felt healthy, it had to be wrong. I had it ordered again, it was high. I had it ordered again in October, it was higher. My total cholesterol was 201, normal is below 199. My LDL had shot up to 123, normal is below 99. LDL is bad cholesterol. This was bad news. The doctor advised me that I was now at risk for heart disease. She said that a large portion of my cholesterol issues were genetic but that I needed to change my diet and exercise. She also said that because my cholesterol was continuing to go up that I would have to be put on a medication for it, and it would be a lifetime medication. I was upset, because by this time I had been a member of the gym for seven months and had lost some weight so I considered myself fit, and fixed, and just fine.
On an unrelated visit to my OB, the nurse who does my annual and is a homeopathic doctor happened to glance at my lab work. I told her the doctor was insisting I go on medication. The nurse said, "NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT." She said that doctor was getting paid to tell me that, and there were so many natural remedies for high cholesterol. She told me to go to a vitamin shop and purchase:
Red yeast rice with COQ10
I went to Whole Foods and bought them, but you can get them at any pharmacy. I took them for three months and had my lab work retested. All of my levels had gotten lower. My HDL good cholesterol had gotten better. The doctor asked what I was doing and I told her all of the herbs. She looked down at her labs, looked back up at me and said, "off the record you made a really good choice, you never would have been able to stop taking the medication I would have prescribed you."
After that she did particle cholesterol. My cholesterol numbers were getting better but my heart disease danger was still very high. I made a choice to change my diet and exercise. I stopped the herbs, increased my workout and became very strict about eating healthy. I started cooking every thing I ate. I made whole, clean foods. I cut out almost all sugar. I decreased my dairy. If I eat gluten it's a whole grain, unbleached, natural product. I did this for three straight months. I worked out 3-4 times a week at the gym and focused on running both days on the weekends.
In three months, without a single herb, or doctors pill I managed to make my cholesterol 100% normal.
Total cholesterol 2013 – 201 Total cholesterol 2014 – 177 (as of this weekend)
LDL cholesterol 2013 – 123 LDL cholesterol 2014 – 95
I am no longer a risk for heart disease.
I wrote about this for one reason. When they first told me about my cholesterol and mentioned diet and exercise, I brushed them off. I told myself I was healthy. I was going to the gym, who cares if I was grabbing taco bell on the way home, I worked out, I was healthy. I ignored it all, and it got worse. Making the choice to change my life to eat clean, and healthy is the hardest choice I've ever made. I spend all day Sunday cooking now. I can't just have fast food on nights I'm exhausted and tired. I don't take weeks off from the gym. I went on vacation for my wedding anniversary and still tracked my calories, excluding dinner, and then went to the gym while there. When I go out to eat I try and order as clean as I can. If I splurge I do it at a local restaurant that uses locally sourced, organic, hand made foods. I don't consider Olive Garden an option for dining out now. If I want Mexican food I choose a local place that makes their sauce, their tortillas, etc. If I want Italian I find a bistro that makes their pasta and sauce. Then I know at least I'm taking in good calories, rather then over processed, over bleached, chemical filled, foods that are created not to expire on a shelf. I want to eat food that will expire because it doesn't have preservatives.
Choosing to cook all of my food. Choosing to not eat cookies all the time or junk food is hard. It cost more money, it takes time, it is not the easy choice.
But you guys, it's the best choice I've ever made. I feel good. I feel better then I've ever felt. I've lot 63 pounds. My attitude towards life has changed. People tell me my personality has changed for the better. I am visibly happier. I am more enthusiastic and energetic. I'm out doing stuff with my kids. I take them on runs. I take them on hikes. I try and get them moving. I get up and get stuff when I need it now. If something is upstairs and I'm downstairs I used to just say, "I don't need it that bad." Now I run upstairs and grab it. I'm more conscious of my time so I spend it doing better things. I make sure my kids have a healthy breakfast made daily. I take the time to pack their lunch and snack every single day so that they are also eating clean healthy foods. I take the time to make sure the dishes are done, the kitchen is clean and the house looks nice before I leave in the morning. That time used to be spent reading, sitting down in a chair.
I realize that some will argue that they need me time, and they NEED to relax and read a book, but you know what you NEED more? To live a long, healthy, problem free life.
I want you to know that it's possible to change your lab results with diet and exercise. That paying for a quick fix pill for your entire life is not the only choice. It's a pricey choice with many side effects. If you watch the Biggest Loser the same thing happens. They change their diet and exercise and suddenly they are no longer on medications, no longer using C-pap machines, no longer a diabetes risk.
You guys, what you put into your body matters. It really does. Next time you go to the doctor and they tell you something is wrong, your labs are off, you might be diabetic, or have high cholesterol, don't brush it off. Make yourself a three month deal like me. For three months commit to fitness, commit to eating clean, commit to making a life change. Then, redraw your blood and see if there is ANY change at all.
It took me an entire year. Nothing worth having comes easy though. It took time because I had to learn how to eat. I had to learn the difference between diet food and clean eating. I had to learn that I needed to eat, often, but high quality food. I needed to build muscle. I needed to not only focus on cardio and pick up some weights. I'm still learning. I have a trainer and I learn new stuff every week. I research clean eating online and learn something new daily. My eating is constantly changing for the better which means I will only get better. It may have cost me more money in food, I may have read less books but you know what? I probably added at least ten years to my life. I've improved my childrens lives and added years to their life. I've improved my marriage and my friendships. Please, don't ignore this. Don't get upset when the doctor mentions your weight. If they are mentioning it, it's probably necessary. Make the change. Just for three months. The time will pass no matter what, why not pass it in a healthy way?
One thought on “Managing high cholesterol…also known as…winning the cholesterol game”
201 ist NOT high cholesterol.
Don’t let the doctors scare you.