About a year ago, I found out my cholesterol was dangerously high. This was news to me. I’m pretty healthy, I work out regularly and I eat right. But something was going on and I spent this year trying to figure out what it was. In this year, I learned some pretty important things about myself:
Do Your Research. When I heard the news about my health, the first thing I did was research. I needed to figure out the causes for high cholesterol so I’d know what to do to fix it. And the research was helpful. Why? Because instead of worrying; I figured things out. I read about the causes for high cholesterol and the recommendations to lower high cholesterol. And now I had a plan for what I needed to do.
Everything can be improved. Sure, I traditionally eat healthy, but I love junk food – specifically sugar. And I was eating way too much. I read that an excess of sugar can have similar damaging effects of cholesterol. And I figured out the change I needed to make. I needed to make my sugar intake count.
- Eliminate Hidden Sugars. It is unbelievable how much sugar is in regular food items like yogurt, pasta sauce and juice. I eliminated most of the sugar with these items by making smart switches. Look at the labels to help you make smarter decisions. If the sugar content seems high, it probably is.
- Use sugar wisely. I used to add just a little sugar to my morning fruit smoothies just for sweetness. Now I add Greek yogurt instead. This switch keeps my flavor and eliminates my general sugar. I’ve also reduced the sugar in my homemade cakes and cookies.
- Eat more protein. I read that many times when you crave sugar, you’re not getting enough protein. I looked up ways to increase healthy protein and found that in addition to lean meats, I could also eat beans and some whole grains. I found the more that I eat both of these items, the more I feel full and satisfied all day.
Think about other factors for unhealthy habits. I’ve also realized I think about food way too much and it’s hard for me to realize when I’m really full. I’ve found that pre-packaging normal portions when I’m not hungry has been helpful to keep portion sizes more realistic. I’ve also tried to do other things before I want to eat – drink water, take a walk or do something else. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it does work!
I’m happy to report that my health results have improved. My cholesterol is back to normal range, my blood pressure has returned to the “great” zone.
Being healthy is a work in progress. I’ve made great progress in both of these areas, but still have things I’d like to improve – so I’ll be using this strategy when I’m on to my next goal, because it works!