My Cholesterol

So, a lot has changed for me in the past year or so. My wife and I decided to have a baby, and I was forced to make a lot of lifestyle changes as a result. One thing that my wife insisted on was getting life insurance, which I did back in March. As part of the application process I was required to get my cholesterol screened, and the results came back that I was slightly elevated. As a result, I stopped buying steaks every week from the grocery store and stopped eating roast beef on my sandwiches for lunch every day. I also tried to cut out the Farm Fresh spicy wing zings that I am absolutely addicted to. During that time I spoke to my father, as my grandfather died from a heart attack at a relatively early age, and red meat was always at our dinner table several times a week. My dad told me that his cholesterol was 280, and I thought I was doing OK as he does not eat very healthy at all and basically eats junk all the time.

As the end of the year is here I decided to take advantage of my health insurance eye plan and get my checkup and free pair of eyeglasses for the year, and as I had some downtime between job contracts I decided to go in and get a full physical and see how I was doing. My wife recently upgraded her YMCA membership to a family plan to take advantage of the 2 hours of babysitting so that she can go back to the gym and I’ve decided to go back as well. I had been working out pretty regularly when we started dating but I’ve been in rough shape the past few years and wanted to get a physical before I started doing anything too crazy. I was diagnosed with a heart murmur when I was 15 and haven’t had it checked out since, so I wanted to get it checked out and scheduled a full physical. They took 4 or 6 vials of blood at the doctors and told me that they were going to do a very thorough screening. Well I got the results last week and it turns out that my cholesterol was over 280, so it’s apparent that some more serious lifestyle changes are in order.

I was actually surprised at some of the junkier foods that are cholesterol free, most notably my favorite Oreos, as well as Doritos and snack foods. It’s the meat and dairy products that I love so much that are killing me. I’ve spent the past two days looking at labels on everything I’m eating, and I’m trying to figure out the best way to keep track of my daily consumption. I don’t want to go crazy and keep track of everything, but I do want to keep notes on my specific cholesterol intake so that I can establish a baseline that will be helpful at determining any additional changes after my next screening. The last thing I want to do is go on some kind of pill cure, so I’m determined to fix this myself. I’m just not sure what’s the best tool to keep track of things. I’ve been using my iPhone to track my auto maintenance and workout regimen, so that’s my first choice, however an initial scan of the apps out there didn’t show any sure fire one that will let me track my portions against a daily goal.

I do know one thing though, I’m going to have to be very careful about eating out from here on out. My usual faves are Buffalo wings and potato skins, and looking at the nutrition information for my last meal at Smokey Bones it looks like I ate way over my daily goal (300mg) with just one appetizer. I’m going to have to make a point to ask for the information or pull it up on my phone before ordering from now on.

There’s some additional analysis that I need to do on my detailed results, which were broken down by HDL, LDL and a dozen other factors. There’s one in particular that has a genetic component that I’ll have to take a closer look at, and it also turns out that I’ve actually got a bit of a vitamin D deficiency that needs correction with a supplement. My short term goal is to keep an accurate record of my cholesterol intake until my next screening, which I want to happen in the next 3-12 weeks. Hopefully I will see a reduction in my cholesterol count and fix my vitamin D issue, and then we’ll see where we are.

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