Needed a place to brag so this seem to fit.
In a couple different threads I've mentioned that my cholesterol was high enough that they prescribed me medicine. When they first told me about the meds, I was against it because I was always able to get it my total cholesterol under 200 by dieting and exercise. This time they said it was too high and you can't move the number enough that way. I agreed to the meds but when they arrived, I looked at the info sheet and it said "No Alcohol". I called them back (got the nurse) and told them I'm not taking something that doesn't let me drink. I don't drink a lot but I like to have a beer or two and the same with wine. They argued that the alcohol amount I was drinking was OK to still take the medicine. The issue is that the meds are hard on your liver and so is booze. I told them I didn't want to take it and I was going back to plan A. This of course led to a debate about how restrictive the diet would have to be and it would be a lifestyle change. Obstinate me explained that I had already started (getting the first call from them to go over the result was my wake up call) and have been doing it for about three weeks. I had already lost weight, was tracking everything through "myfitnesspal.com", researched things through the USDA and AHA and following those guidelines,and it was my body, my life so my choice. The doctor did call me to make sure I fully understood what I was doing diet wise and made some suggestions. She was supporting me in this and was happy for me. This is the doctor at the VA and at 52, I'm usually one of the younger ones there, and I think they are just used to people that are too set in their ways to change.
The labs that triggered all this were run 4/3/2012 and she gave me to the end of July to get it better and said when the results came in we would discuss the medicine again if I hadn't improved enough. She did say she'd give me another three months if I made enough of an improvement to show progress but didn't get under 200. So from mid April I've been eating better/smarter (I don't think of it as dieting; just making better decisions) and "sort of" exercising. I was worried about not exercising enough because they told me I would need to do both to move the number enough. Mostly I've only been stretching and swimming. The swimming has only started recently and has been on and off because of the weather.
I got the results of my follow up labs today. Cholesterol was 192! Down from 229. I also got my Triglycerides from 258 down to 159 (still needs to be lower but it moved 100 points). My LDL (bad) went from 140 (borderline high) to 127 (near optimal). It still need to go under 100 but I moved it enough that the results came with a note from them stating that I don't need to take medicine and to keep exercising and dieting.
In the result below you can see that my HDL went the wrong way but that is probably from my lack of aerobic exercise, which I'm now motivated to do.
I've lost 13 pounds. Most of that happened the first month. Was nice that I had to buy new pants and belt. I also can wear older pants that in March I was going to get rid of because the button was a couple inches from the button hole! I do the waist measurement at the belly button for consistency.
myfitnesspal was a big help. Not only does it track foods and progress, but gives you great insight as to what you're getting out of it; sodium, potassium, trans fat etc. The apps you can get make it uber easy; like scan the bar code from a jar or wrapper and it logs everything.
Of course my wife has been a tremendous help. Buying the right foods and snacks, making healthy meals and logging everything on her account so I only had to copy it over. She's even weighs out exact portions for us. She's been dieting and exercising (hard) and is doing and looking great. She coaches me on nutrition and has no problem giving me the stink eye when I might be getting ready to make a bad choice. We do however give ourselves days when some of the choices aren't that good and we do it without guilt. The difference between before and now is now it is a decision and before it was an uneducated mistake.
Anyway. This wasn't hard. I eased into it and as I got used to certain things I would make more restrictions. Like I had to first get Sodium under 3000mg, then 2500 and now I have it set at 1500mg, which is the recommendation for my age group.
Thanks for reading,