Me and my HDL...A 40 day challenge
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Well I have finally got the cholesterol thing straight in my head. Triglycerides high-bad, LDL- high bad, HDL- low bad. The past couple of years my triglycerides have been the issue going from high to higher, to dangerously high. This year, those dudes are under control. My HDL on the other hand, isn't. I was reading last nite about HDL and raising the numbers.
Turns out the number is really significant on HDL. This is the thing that cleans cholesterol out of the arteries, protecting against plaque build-up and blockage. On the lab reports, normal is shown between 40-60 however the Mayo Clinic site says women normally have a higher number here and should be at 50+, higher is better with this number. I'm at 38.
The recommendations for raising HDL are the heart healthy things we all know;
don't smoke, maintain a healthy weight-even the loss of a few pounds helps a lot, choosing healthier fats-avoid transfats, drink only in moderation-it's a spark friendly health plan.
The one recommendation that hit me in the face-I don't know why, but I'm seeing this everywhere I look- is exercise more. More physical activity-Mayo Clinic recommends 30 min 5x a week-and it doesn't have to be hard exercise, just get the heart rate up and sustain it for at least 30 min. This makes the scouring action of HDL most effective. Niacin is also recommended as it has been shown to increase HDL by 30%. It's on my shopping list today.
The bottom line was watch the fat and the salt and maintain a healthy weight.
My doctor gave me a 40 day challenge; raise the HDL-she didn't say how much-just raise it- or go back on cholesterol meds. The meds aren't terrible, I would just prefer not to take them. So here is my plan;
Exercise- 40 min a day minimum of cardio; strength training every other day
Food-I eat really well. I do eat animal protein at almost every lunch and dinner, my goal here is vegetarian 4 lunches and 3 dinners a week. And I am committing to 5 days a week at the low end of my cal and fat range.
I also tend to be loose in my food planning, pretty much seat of my pants stuff. I am going to make a weekly meal plan for the next 40 days, something new and I'll see where it gets me.
Weight-I'm going for my 2lbs a month here. 149 by September 1.
That's my plan, it's in writing. All I have to do now is execute!