Did you know that 1 in 5 children (ages 6-19) have high cholesterol? Did you know that 12.1% of adults have high cholesterol? Did you know that more than a third of American adults are pre-diabetic? These are the most recent statistics from the CDC website.
I’m sure you’ve seen these statistics before and maybe not paid attention to them especially if you don’t fit into any of these buckets. I know I certainly have, until these statistics affected me personally.
Neither my husband nor I have ever been considered overweight. In fact, back in 2013-14 most people who knew us would say that we were quite active because we love water sports, snow sports and generally just “playing” together. However, we also love good food and took for granted the fact that because we weren’t overweight we thought we could eat whatever we wanted. Ha!
Around the beginning of 2014 my husband came home from the doctor’s office with a skyrocketing cholesterol report. It was so high for his age (not even 40!) that the doctor almost put him on cholesterol medication right away. He held off on the medication to see if lifestyle changes would help. Sure enough within a few weeks, we started an exercise program and shortly after that we started revamping our diet. We both lost weight and his cholesterol levels became somewhat more normalized. Disaster averted!
In October, it was time for my annual physical and I remember telling the doctor how great I felt that I was exercising, eating well and generally felt that I was in the best shape of my life. She listened, nodded and then told me that my blood sugar was too high and in the pre-diabetic range. What!?! I’ve made even more dietary changes and waiting to see if this has made a difference.
Four things that helped us get back on track:
- SMALLER PORTIONS – This is a great first step because it doesn’t mean cutting out anything but just re-evaluating how much is appropriate. I would read package labels for the correct serving size and measure that out for every type of food to keep myself accountable. I continue to do this because I don’t always trust my eyes.
- MOVE – Start by getting a pedometer or something simple and work towards 10,000 steps a day. Walking is so easy because you don’t need any equipment. Eventually, you’ll need to up your intensity but if you are starting from 0 this is the easiest way to do it. Turn it into a competition with a friend or your spouse.
- VEGETABLES – They are your friends. Figure out they ways that you like them (without a lot of heavy sauces) and make sure half of your plate is covered with them. Eat a rainbow!
- WHOLE GRAINS – White is bad, brown is good. If you eat a lot of pasta, bread or rice make sure it is brown and not more than a half-cup. This can be the hardest one particularly if you are of Asian descent and love to eat white rice. You can always cook half white rice and half brown together and adjust the ratio until you get to 100 percent. You may eventually find that you like the nutty flavor of brown rice.
This is still a journey for me and my family. I’d love to hear from you and hear about your journey.