Today is a happy day. In fact, I might even go out on the limb and say that it’s one of my happiest days all year. I literally did a happy dance without an ounce of shame.
I went to the Doctor’s the other day to have my blood lipid levels checked out. Previously, my levels were sky high – a triglyceride count of 234 isn’t a happy number. You know something’s wrong when the nurse is nervously trying to break the news gently that you “just might want to make an appointment with the doctor…soon” when she looks over the results (I had my blood work done at work at one of their “health” days). From that day on, I was on a mission. No more ostrich moments for me.
I had never heard of triglycerides prior to the test. I had heard of cholesterol, sure, especially since it runs in the family, but I had never heard of fat from food existing in the blood (I thought it just went to my thighs and ankles). Hearing that I have high cholesterol wasn’t a surprise. Hearing that I had a lot of fat running around my body was a shock.
So began the changes that brought my 234 down to a wonderfully happy 87.
- Buy very little processed food. There are whole aisles I don’t go down anymore and truthfully, I don’t miss it. If I want macaroni and cheese, I’ll make it. If I want soup, I’ll make it. If I want cake…erm…I’ll make cheesecake *cough*
- Exercise and stop making excuses. All too often I made excuses for my lack of consistent exercise. I would bike 3 times a week and call that good. I would skip out if I had something else to do that day, etc. It took a broken bike and a courageous first step to find out that I like to run. This was a shock since if you had asked me just a week ago if I liked to run, I would have laughed. Me? Run? Ha! I hadn’t actually tried to run since those dreaded “Presidential Health” thingies we had to do in High School. I can’t do a marathon by any means (I worked up to a mile before the weather became too cold), but the freedom that came from just letting go and running was exhilarating. Plus, I noticed tighter muscles and a slimmer feel. Now I use exercise DVDs every day and alternate routines to keep me interested, and I don’t allow myself to “excuse” out of it.
- Don’t buy sweets or snacks outside of what you absolutely need to keep yourself from going crazy. I don’t believe in the all or nothing diet. Those that cut things out of their diets completely end up caving 9 times out of 10 because they truly liked the food to begin with and couldn’t take it (even people who profess to be vegetarians one day usually renege after a while – happily, not all). Instead, buy the healthy version of one of those items and keep it around, but indulge moderately. For example, I have a box of reduced fat Wheat Thins in my cabinet for those emergency cave-ins. The rest of the time I hit the yogurt (Chobani!) or the fruit. If it’s not in the house, you’re less tempted to eat it.
- Don’t be afraid to splurge on birthdays or holidays. I want to enjoy life while living it to its fullest (and healthiest). If it’s a holiday, I’ll watch myself but I’ll also splurge. That’s why we’re still making a triple chocolate cheesecake on Saturday even though normally I wouldn’t even dream of fixing it (plus, there will be a lot of people here to eat it for me so that we won’t have leftovers like there would be otherwise).
- That could be a tip all on its own: if you have to bake, bake and then have your significant other take it with them to work. 🙂 This way you get your craving out of the way but you don’t consume all of the calories. Not to mention it makes everyone at work think that you’re a chef and your s.o. gets (literally) brownie points.
Those are some of the changes I’ve done which have helped me get to where I am – nine pounds lighter with blood lipid levels in a happy place. Will it work for everyone? Nah. But it’s been a wonderful ride to get to where I am and I plan to stay here.