My New Cholesterol Numbers – FAIL?
Alright, I’m rolling up my sleeves now, friends. I recently had some blood work done to track the changes in my blood cholesterol since I quit eating sugar. I’ve been on a strict low-carb diet. And I say with all honesty, that I’ve been firmly sticking to it and have never once eaten sugar except that which occurs naturally such as in some vegetables. I’ve lost 20+ pounds. I feel better and healthier and look much healthier. So when I looked at my recent cholesterol results, I was hoping to see some good news.
On my lab results page that I received from my doctor’s office was a comment that said, “Excellent Chemistry _____” I couldn’t make out the last word. So I was excited to see that, though I didn’t realize that this probably referred to other tests that were done, not to my cholesterol results. Naturally, I assumed my doc was talking about my cholesterol and that the results were excellent. But my cholesterol results weren’t on this specific form. So I arranged to pick up a complete copy of my results from my doctor’s office. When I got home and looked them over, oddly, the cholesterol results weren’t included. But that was probably because the lab that checks LDL particle size also had the overall cholesterol results as well. So I logged into my online account to see if the updated lab results were available. They were. When I looked at them, I suddenly felt a sinking feeling. The results I got were disappointing. They weren’t all bad, but still, while some markers got better, some got worse and it left me wondering what went wrong.
The Fact of the Matter…
Even though I was anticipating better numbers from my cholesterol results, there were two facts that had me worried and anxious about getting my results back. First, heart disease runs on my dad’s side of the family and with it, heart attacks and bypass surgery. Second, I’ve had high cholesterol for many years now, which might mean it’s going to take more than three months of eating better to correct it. I’ve heard so many stories about people having high cholesterol, eating low-carb such as Atkins, and their cholesterol numbers get better as a result. Well, it seems that this was not my case. I haven’t discussed the results with my doctor yet, but he seems to be a big fan of statins. In all fairness, that might not be true, but I’ve been afraid to tell him that I’m eating a high-fat, low-carb diet because it likely runs completely counter to his medical training and all established “authorities” of nutrition and medicine. I’m thinking about giving him a copy of “Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It” since it has the fact-based science and research that shows how a low-carb diet is healthy and a high-carb (low-fat) diet is actually dangerous. Either way, I don’t plan on going back to taking statins so I have no choice but to hunker down and get this right, with or without his blessings. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m rolling up my sleeves and I’m getting ready for a battle and I’m ready for it!
Well, one of the members of the Quitting Sugar Facebook page, Connie, is an ICU nurse and associates with some of this country’s best cardiologists. She’s currently reviewing my results and is also going to consult a couple of cardiologists regarding my numbers and health history. So now, it looks as though I have a “team” working in my corner. [Thanks, Connie!] And you know what? It’s okay. It’s okay that my cholesterol isn’t behaving. It’s okay that its not going down without a fight. But, I assure you, it IS going down.
What I didn’t realize is how strongly the genetic component would factor into my effort of improving my cholesterol numbers. So for those of you who are in my shoes, who have heart disease, or if heart disease runs in your family, my journey might be of particular importance to you if you’re just getting started with trying to improve your cholesterol. I’m going to do some of the work for you ahead of time. I’ll keep you posted on the changes I make and what I learn in the process.
I’m still sorting out my results and trying to get my mind wrapped around them. Once I have a clearer picture, I’ll do an update and get a little more into my family health history, my diet, and exercise habits. But for now, you can see the results for yourself. My October 2011 results are in the far right column and the January 2012 results are to the left.
Doing the Right Thing
In spite of what may seem like a setback, I can tell you that I am still 100 percent confident that I’m doing the right thing, in that I’m trying what I think will work. I’m eating low-carb, but now I have to make some adjustments for my specific needs. However, I have to be prepared to accept the possibility that my results prove something entirely different than what I’ve come to expect. The science seems to show that eating a l0w-carb diet is a good and healthy diet. But that’s why I’m going through the trouble of having specific tests done and tracking my results. I need to prove that it works…or that it doesn’t. However, I’m trying to avoid diet bias so I’m planning to cast my net wide. In addition to the team I already have working in my corner, I’m going to contact some additional people and get as much information as I can. I have the strength and power of my deep conviction that I will improve my cholesterol, get fit, and feel (and look) awesome!
Stay tuned, friends, I’m just beginning!
ATTENTION: If you’re a medical professional who is familiar with Atkins and you have any suggestions based on my numbers, please leave a comment or contact me. I’ll be taking notes. 🙂 Also, if you’re doing a study and want to include or track my progress, contact me to work out the specifics.