Last week, I had my annual physical. Always big fun. This appointment came with a bonus tetanus shot, the gift that kept on giving in the form of a sore arm for days. Of course, a sore arm is much better than actual tetanus, so I’ll take it.
I’m not a thin woman, so my doc is always watching my weight. I’m on meds that lead to some weight gain, but I’ve managed to keep it stable over the last year, so that’s a plus. I would like to see a downward trend, but I’m doing what I can.
The big thing that my doc wants to check is my cholesterol. For no apparent reason, my cholesterol levels aren’t great. The prescription is that I should eat a low cholesterol diet and exercise.
Well, I’ve got the exercise thing down. We’ll discuss the diet in a bit. First, the actual numbers.
Total Cholesterol – 210. Under 200 is desirable, 200-239 is mildly high. So this is something that needs to change.
Triglycerides – 150. Less than 150 is ideal, 150-199 is mildly high. I’m right on the border, so I’m not too worried.
HDL – 45.5. This is the good cholesterol, so higher is better. Less than 50 in women is considered a risk factor for heart disease. That’s not good.
LDL – 134.7. Ideal is less than 100, 100-129 is near normal, and 130-159 is borderline high. Yet another strike against me.
So what am I going to do about this? I started researching a low cholesterol diet on WebMD. LDL is linked with saturated fats and trans fats in the diet. That’s something I do watch, so not really a change I can make. HDL can be helped by eating healthy fats and it helps by removing the bad cholesterol. So more healthy fats! For triglycerides, “people who are overweight, inactive, smokers, or heavy drinkers tend to have high triglycerides, as do those who eat a very high-carb diet.” Well, one of those five things applies to me. So the weight loss goal is a good one.
Studies have shown that dietary cholesterol doesn’t have much of an effect on cholesterol levels, so eggs aren’t bad (not that I eat more than 4 a month). I do eat a bunch of fiber, which is also a good thing. But I clearly need to step things up.
I’m going to continue my weight loss goals, trying to eat a minimum of 85 grams of protein a day and balancing that with eating fewer carbs and mainly healthy carbs. I also setup my diary on My Fitness Pal to track trans fats and saturated fat to see if it’s sneaking in (a quick survey of an average week shows no trans fats and very low saturated fat numbers).
Anyone else have suggestions on how to improve my cholesterol numbers?