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High Cholesterol Message Board

High Cholesterol Board Index

By diet and exercise, I was able to lower my total cholesterol from around 240 to an average of 190 without a drop in HDL. From what I have read, most people will see a drop in numbers with proper diet and exercise. There are some people who, despite doing everything right, will not be able to lower their numbers. I feel for them!

Getting to my proper weight was key for me, so I huffed and puffed off 15 pounds. Now, I walk one mile every morning, which only takes 18 minutes with one of my Leslie Sansone one mile walking tapes. I put on the coffee, go do my walk, then come back to freshly made coffee. Ayyyy! I also walk a mile or two every night, especially those times when I want to snack. It feels so good to walk, and I usually feel so self-righteous afterwards that I don't want to spoil it by eating bad food. :D

I cut out all trans fat, found so often in processed food. Any treats had to be homemade where I could control the ingredients. This also meant a reduction in saturated fat, since I am not a big meat eater so most of it came from processed food.

Lean chicken and turkey as well as the occasional lean ham slice are the meats I eat. I get good fats from olive oil, walnuts and flax seeds. I take fish oil -- one in the AM, one in the PM. Like others, I get in about half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day. Also, I use Smart Balance Light and have now added some Benecol Light.

For me, the key has been to concentrate on all of the good foods that I CAN eat rather than concentrate on all the bad foods that I should NOT eat. There are so many tasty foods out there that are good for you although sometimes who have to tweak them. I am sure the fact that I eat at home most of the time helps. My mother has high cholesterol, but because she eats out daily, she cannot keep it down. When she tries hard, she is able to lower it in range -- but then, she falls back into her old ways and up go the numbers. My father dangling bacon in front of her doesn't help either! She cannot take the meds, so I am trying to get her to make small changes such as replacing the cream in her coffee with low % milk as well as not eating those butter/margarine products in restaurants. She is trying but is kicking and screaming the whole way. Once she quiets down, I am going to suggest she ask her doctor about Niaspan. ;)

Individualizing your cholesterol plan is important -- oatmeal every morning is not for everybody! But, oat bran used in place of flour can make some mighty fine treats. If you eat foods you like, you will be much more likely to stick with your plan. I am a tomato sauce addict, so homemade pizzas are a favorite of mine. I make a whole wheat thin crust, load it down with tomato sauce, then sprinkle a teaspoon of parmesan cheese or a tablespoon of part-skim mozzarella cheese. After it bakes, I add more olive oil. Not your typical pizza, but for my tastes, it's perfect.

I have just started going all whole wheat since there are so many good whole wheat products in the market now, my favorite being those mini-bagels (which I make into mini-subs by adding olive oil, oregano, lettuce, tomato, turkey breast and a teaspoon of part-skim mozzarello). Yummy!

Also, make sure your thyroid is tested. I am hypothyroid, but unfortunately, I could not blame my cholesterol on that. Darn! Some people can, so it should always be tested before taking meds.

Finally, don't stress about your cholesterol while you are making your changes. Some research shows that stress raises cholesterol. :D If your doctor sees a downward trend in your numbers, chances are you can talk him into more time before going on meds.

Good luck and keep exercising and eating as well as you can!

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