Sunday, September 11, 2016

How I Gave Myself High Cholesterol and It Saved My Life

I am not a doctor or a nurse or any kind of medical professional. I am simply a mom who was fat, unhealthy and staring down the barrel of developing a chronic disease like diabetes, cancer or heart disease.

When I decided I'd had enough and it was time to go back to bring low-carb and exercising again I knew it would affect my annual blood test numbers but I never knew how much until my primary care physician and nutritionist explained it to me.

Before I jump into those numbers let me tell you what changes I made. Keep in mind that none of this was done all at one time. I took baby steps and slowly changed my unhealthy ways.

First, I stopped drinking coffee and soda. I was up to 2 cups of coffee and a can of soda every day and I was still tired. I was also starting to get horrible stomach pains and thought maybe I was developing ulcers.  I decided that when I had reached a week of not drinking either than I could have one. Well, the first time I drank a coffee in a week I had instant stomach pains!  I was shocked. So I'd go another week and the same thing kept happening. Now, I did the same thing with my beloved red wine. I'd have a glass every night before bed to relax. I decided to cut it out for a week. Well, the first time I had 2 glasses at night I ended up vomiting in my sleep!  Talk about scary.

After I made those initial changes, I went back to following a low-carb/high fat diet. I started out at zero carbs per day to get my body back into ketosis so it would start burning fat for fuel instead of glycogen.

I was starting to feel better. The stomach pains happened less frequently as did the migraine headaches but I knew it wasn't enough. In May, I stumbled upon a theory called intermittent fasting.

I'm not going to lie, it was tough in the beginning and my stomach rumbled like crazy, but after a few days it seemed natural to me to eat my first meal later in the day. By fasting for 16 hours a day, I was able to loose 15 pounds rather quickly plus I was also allowing my stomach and gut to heal.

By July, my weight had stalled out and the migraines had come back. The last straw was when I had back to back debilitating migraines. Nothing I used got rid of them. I finally decided enough was enough and it was time to exercise again. Prior to my pregnancy I had worked out 5 days a week doing cardio and weights for about 10 years. Once I got pregnant that all but stopped. I got to the gym when I had the energy. I also did a session of pre-natal yoga. Of course, once I had my daughter I couldn't put her down long enough to exercise (that was just as much her fault as mine).  

Nearly 3 years after her birth, that attitude needed to change.

Long story short, I started running. Started out just going for time but quickly changed it to distance. Much to my chagrin I ran a mile straight for the first time in my life at the age of 37.

I felt great.

My body needed it so bad that I automatically started waking up early with energy to burn so I'd jump on the treadmill.

Who the hell was I?  

Those are all of the changes I made from January to July of 2015. How did they affect my blood test numbers?   Well, let me show you.

Disclaimer:  I am not a medical professional.  I definitely don't play one on TV.  Please, if you have medical concerns talk to your doctor.