Two years ago, I received the results of my annual physical. My cholesterol was 328- way too high. It should be under 200. I had been feeling sluggish and sick. My diet wasn’t the greatest.
I rose at 4:15am to catch the bus by 5:05am. I would eat breakfast when I got to work at about 7:20am. Since I was always tired, I snacked throughout the day, usually on high-energy foods, aka sugar and high fats.
I got off work at 3:45pm, ate again, and caught the first bus home. After the second bus dropped me off around 6:45pm, I had a 5 ½-mile bicycle trip home. Then it was a heavy dinner, shower, make lunch and snacks for the next day, go to bed around 8:30pm.
My weight was around 160-170 pounds. Way too high. I figured it was because of my schedule. I couldn’t do anything about it. I began to eat less, but felt more tired and lost no weight.
When my doctor at the VA told me my cholesterol was too high, I had to do something. I explained my schedule. I figured because I went to bed with a heavy meal, my body was storing the calories instead of burning them. I had an excuse, you see.
After keeping a food diary for a week, I saw I had no excuse. Almost everything I chose for energy was high sugar, fat and very little nutrition.
I began to choose different foods. Some of the changes I made were:
- Instead of potato chips, I eat no-butter popcorn popped on the stove. I’d prefer air-popped. Microwave popcorn has too much oil and additives for me.
- Instead of snack cakes, I would rather have a piece of toast with jam. I buy the flavors, black currant, blackberry, cherry and so on at the grocery store. I purchase small jars because of the expense. A single piece of toast with unsalted butter- yes, butter instead of margarine- and a tablespoon of jam is satisfying.
- Instead of a frozen TV dinner with enough food to feed two or three people, I choose healthier dinners and add frozen veggies, fresh fruit and home made bread.
- Instead of having a soda when I feel tired, I have a glass of iced tea. Only one teaspoon per 20oz cup. Perhaps a little lemon when I feel fancy.
- Instead of eating until I feel full, I stick to serving sizes. It does take a little discipline. I can add more diversity to my plate that way. Healthy choices only.
I didn’t concentrate too much on the particular numbers and what they meant. I simply aimed for the whole enchilada- me.
The cholesterol medication my doctor gave me overwhelmed my system with side effects. I stopped taking it.
Within a year, my cholesterol was 182. My doctor wanted to know what I did. I told her what I just told you.
During that time, I quit my job and followed my dream of being a full-time freelance writer. I get more sleep, eat less and the weight came off. My cholesterol has stayed low and my energy is steady and high.