Earlier this week, I had to take a blood test, and I called for the results on Thursday. It turns out that my cholesterol is borderline high, and my doctor is thinking of putting me on medication . . . except that she will give me four months to bring it down through diet and exercise first.
At first, I was stunned. We eat hardly any red meat at all and we use only skim milk and Smart Balance. Even though I do eat eggs and cheese, I don't go overboard with either one.
After reflection, I think I have a pretty good idea what is causing it. First, I'm right on the cusp of menopause, so I no longer have the same protection by estrogen that I once did. Second, during the last few months when we've had scarcely enough work, I've been doing a lot of comfort eating. Occasional mochas and muffins from the coffee shop, low fat cookies before bed, and corn chips (a major vice) every day. One thing my doctor said is that if I want to try the dietary changes, I need to cut down on carbohydrates.
So I'm going to start counting my calories and my carbs, and I'm going to try to significantly cut down things made with white flour and sugar and corn meal. I'll try to make most of the carbs I consume be complex carbohydrates. We already use whole grain bread and cereals; it's just those darn comfort foods that are the culprits.
So where does the good news come into this?
I'm going to turn 50 in just a little over three months. One goal for 2008 was to lose 12 to 15 pounds before I hit that milestone, but after 5 pounds, I hit a plateau and lost interest. This news is a kick in the butt to get moving on that goal again.
Second, both my mother and older brother have adult-onset diabetes. I've known for some time that I should stop consuming so much sugar and foods that convert easily to sugar in the bloodstream, but again, I haven't been motivated to do it. This scare will help me to make those lifestyle changes.
I do not want to take statins unless I have to. So wish me luck and say a prayer that I can develop some new disciplines by the time I have to take another blood test in October.
Oh, and there is one more way that I'm fortunate. Heart-healthy Cheerios are already my favorite breakfast food.