My cholesterol was never particularly high. The Mayo Clinic defines desirable total cholesterol readings as lower than 200 mg/dl. Borderline high readings are 200 mg/dl to 239 mg/dl. Even though I was about 70 pounds overweight for about 30 years, my readings were never higher than slightly over 200 mg/dl, which was borderline high. This is the story of how I lowered my cholesterol.
Although I obtained a moderate amount of exercise on the job and my other activities, I had a weight problem. I ate a lot of fruit and vegetables, but I also consumed a lot of meat and pasta. I ate three dips of ice cream most nights and drank several cans of soda sweetened with sugar. My problem was that I just enjoyed food too much and showed little restraint with types and quantity of food. With that kind of diet, I was fortunate that my cholesterol was not dangerously high. I attribute that to my genetic makeup. I must have been the recipient of favorable genes, in that respect.
On My Diet, I Resorted to Counting Grapes
When I was 63, I was diagnosed with diabetes. My doctor told me my first priority was to lose weight. He placed me on an 1800 calories-per-day diet. I even resorted to counting the number of grapes on my bowl of cereal; fourteen medium sized grapes were considered one serving. I ate a lot of salads using low-calorie Italian dressing. I followed the diet faithfully, but I rewarded myself with a small dish of ice cream every Saturday night.
I began walking 5 days a week on our community walking trail, for at least an hour. The WebMD website states that exercise raises the beneficial HDL cholesterol levels.
For 30 Years, I Ate With Little Restraint
I loved to eat and read while taking a tub bath. One night I decided to eat a large chef salad while in the tub. My hands were slippery and just as I started to eat my salad, the bowl slipped from hands. I juggled the bowl for a few seconds, but to no avail. I had a mixture of lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, olives and cucumbers floating around me in the suds of my bubble bath. Needless to say, it took quite a while to clean the tub. I did not abandon my bathtub dining, but I did not try to eat salads again.
After Dieting, My Weight Equaled My Weight at 20
After several months of my diet and exercise, I lost 42 pounds. I weighed the same as I did when I was 20 years-of-age. That was a marvelous feeling. Although lowering my total cholesterol was not my main goal, the cholesterol lab reading on my next doctor’s visit was 150 mg/dl.
I have since regained part of my weight loss and do not exercise as much, due to my advanced age. I still eat moderate amounts of meat and a lot of fruit and vegetables. My total cholesterol readings are between 160 mg/dl and 175 mg/dl, which is well below the 200 plus readings I had when I was seriously overweight. A recent carotid artery test showed I have about 50 percent restriction. My doctor said he was not concerned with readings below 70 percent.
Lifestyle Change is the Secret of How I Lowered My Cholesterol
Basically, my lower cholesterol readings are maintained by totally changing my eating pattern. I no longer eat everything I want. When eating in a restaurant, I often bring one-half of the entree home to eat later. I eat fruit, ice cream and pastries with no sugar added. Most importantly, I try to maintain my weight at a reasonable level. I am now 80 years of age. With a combination of good genes and reasonable restraint, I hope to live several more years.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional. This article is for informational purposes only. I am only relating my opinions and experiences. Any actions you take or do not take as a result of reading this article, you take at your own risk. Always seek advice from a doctor before making any health care decisions
“High Cholesterol”/Mayo Clinic
“High cholesterol: Exercise for a Healthy Heart”WebMD