Friday Fitness: Cholesterol

I found out this week that my cholesterol count is stellar, and my LDLs are at 92!! I was just having a conversation the other day too about how to lower your cholesterol. Turns out, I’m actually doing alright.  I was so excited I decided to post about it! 😀

Basically, for good cholesterol levels, do this:

  • Exercise most days of the week. Even a brisk walk for thirty minutes is something.
  • Eat enough foods rich in “good” fats, like nuts, fish, avocados, olive oil and canola oil. Around one-third of the calories in our diets need to come from fat, most of which should come from these “good” fats. These fats boost your “good” cholesterol – the HDLs – which act like garbage trucks that float through your blood stream and collect the “bad” cholesterol – the LDLs.  Just remember that one gram of fat has twice as many calories per gram of carbs or protein.
  • Eat enough fiber from fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains (drink plenty of water in the process too). Most people should get around 30g of fiber a day. Fiber binds to cholesterol in the digestive tract and carries it out of the body.
  • Avoid “bad” fats as much as possible; saturated fat and trans fat come in many forms (see choosemyplate.gov for great information). 2005 Dietary Guidelines recommend no more than 20g of saturated fat each day for a 2000 calorie diet.
  • And, seriously, don’t smoke or drink.

Image courtesy of lds.org

Click here for a copy of my diet tracking spreadsheet that I use to help me remember to get the foods I need in my diet.

The Mayo Clinic has a lot of great insight into cholesterol. Check out a few links below:

Cholesterol levels: What numbers should you aim for?
Cholesterol: Top 5 foods to lower your numbers
Top 5 lifestyle changes to reduce cholesterol
In-Depth look at cholesterol

My source:  “Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition” By Sharon Rady Rolfes, Kathryn Pinna, Ellie Whitney

Wednesday Wellness: Humility

Being humble doesn’t mean being weak. Being humble simply means acknowledging God’s hand in my life and attributing all of life’s gifts to His tender mercy. Humility even means attributing life’s trials to His perfect understanding of what I need and what I am capable of.
After losing so much weight, my sweet mother sent me a note saying, “don’t let it get to your head.” At first I thought she was suggesting that I was being prideful, or bragging about my success. Then I realized that what she really meant was to stay humble and not forget where my success had come from. She wanted to make sure that I wasn’t getting lazy because things were going so well, or to slack off in a false sense of security. She has a very good point.
It would be so easy to give up. It would be easy to fall back into old habits and start being careless about my health or my responsibilities. It is so much easier to sit around or to eat junk all the time, to give up on exercising and trying to eat well. It is ingrained in my nature – human nature – to take the path of least resistance, to give in to carnal cravings or make excuses. It’s natural, but I don’t think giving into my nature is what is best for my long-term success or happiness. I know it would be easy to give in to these things, but I can’t let down the divinity within me that is rooting me on to keep going and never give up! I have to acknowledge that as a steward of my body and mind I cannot forsake the knowledge I’ve been given to care for this gift that God has given me. Besides, at any moment I could lose everything. I could become ill. I could get injured and lose my capacity to do basic functions. I could become unable to care for myself or my family at any moment, and the inevitability of the end of this life constantly looms like a shadow, even at my age. Life is a gift that can be taken away at any moment.
I know that seems depressing. It happens to people all the time. I’m always impressed by people who take on physical challenges and overcome them as though it were not a handicap at all, but a great catalyst to success! (See Paul Schulte, and Stephanie Nielsen) I don’t know if I have that much strength within me to do that! I don’t want to find out either! So I live each day in grace knowing that I must do my very best and the Lord will do the rest!

Elder Bednar said it best in “The Tender Mercies of the Lord”:

The Lord’s tender mercies do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Faithfulness and obedience enable us to receive these important gifts and, frequently, the Lord’s timing helps us to recognize them…We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord’s tender mercies. The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live. When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance (see 1 Nephi 1:20).

Wednesday Wellness: Biggest Loser

I recently read this great article called “Big loser a big winner” from the BYU alumni website about a BYU alum who was on the Biggest Loser.

What a great inspiration he is.

“Weight loss and being healthy are two completely different things.  Too many people focus so much on that scale, on getting that number as low as they can, that they tend to do things that are really not healthy” (Kinikini, in the video).

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Losing weight and being “skinny” does not always a healthy person make.  Being healthy is keeping a lifestyle that keeps your body clean, healthy, strong, lean (as in muscle), and consists of eating well, and exercising regularly.  It is curbing your cravings, planning and tracking your meals, moderation in “empty calories”, and forcing yourself to exercise even a little each day.  There are no quick fixes or easy answers for health.  It is a lifestyle and a commitment you have to make forever!

The article lists five ways to “eat smart”.  Great tips:

Eat SMART

In addition to exercise, get fit by following these 5 SMART food tips from Diana Harman McGuire (BS ’74), a retired BYU food science professor who has taught weight management techniques for more than 20 years.

1. Sustain.  Mentally decide to eat healthy for a lifetime. And plan! You must plan to shop for, prepare, and eat healthy foods.

2. Measure Portions. When you can’t control food choices, you can control portions. Even “healthy foods” need portion control. Avoid the BLTs: bites, licks, and tastes. They add up.

3.  Account. Have a means of accountability. You will feel better if you check your progress. But eliminate defeatist thinking—“on the diet or off the diet.” Healthy eating is a matter of healthier food choices one at a time.

4.  Regularly Eat. Never get too hungry. You should feel moderate hunger before eating and moderate satisfaction after eating. Most people should eat at least three meals plus two or three snacks a day.

5. Take in Types. Don’t exclude any food groups. You need the nutrients from every group. Balance, variety, and moderation are key. Try low-fat or fat-free items.