When I retired last year, my wife and I decided to move away from the cold Wisconsin winters, and closer to our young grandchildren in southern California. As an active couple, we were excited to enjoy all that California had to offer.
Things were going great. We took every advantage of the temperate weather in our new home and spent time walking through area parks, taking the grand kids to the beach, and even learning to sail. I’d never felt healthier.
The Not-So-Good News
That’s why the results of my first physical with my new doctor took me completely by surprise. When I went in for the follow up, to find out the results from my lab tests, my doctor informed me that my cholesterol was dangerously high. With numbers like mine, I was at increased risk of heart disease and stroke, and I needed to turn things around.
Knowing that I was already physically active, my doctor suggested that I meet with a nutritionist to look at ways I could help lower my cholesterol through dietary changes. I’ll be honest; I’m a meat and potatoes kind of guy. Always have been. Changing up my diet didn’t just sound unpleasant, it sounded scary. I did some research on nutritionists and what exactly they do (this site was helpful)
Time for a Change
I didn’t know if I could make the kinds of changes I figured I would have to make, but I knew I wanted to be around a long time. I was loving retirement, spending time with my wife, with the grand kids, enjoying all life had to offer. I made the appointment.
Meeting with the nutritionist (don’t confuse nutritionist vs dietitian) actually turned out to be one of the best things I could have done. My wife went with me, so we could learn together about the healthy changes we’d have to make in my diet.
The nutritionist showed me several ways I could improve my cholesterol quickly. Ideas like cutting back the saturated fat in my diet and changing the kinds of oils and spreads we were using could make a lot of difference. I didn’t know a lot about different types of fats, and we’d used the same margarine for years. I had no idea that there were buttery-tasting spreads that not only didn’t raise your cholesterol, but contained ingredients to help lower it.
She also advised me to increase my fiber intake. I learned that fiber rich foods are important in managing cholesterol levels, and they help maintain colon health, too
Finally, the nutritionist convinced me to try more fresh fish, and even provided us with some great recipes. Living close to some of the best fish markets in the world, we had no excuse not to add more of these powerful cholesterol fighting meals, full of omega-3 fatty acids, to our menu.
In the weeks and months following my physical, I’ve seen a lot of positive changes. My cholesterol has come down significantly and I even lost some stubborn abdominal fat. As great as I was feeling before I found out about my high cholesterol, I am feeling even better now.
Changing my diet wasn’t as daunting as I thought it would be. My wife cooks with olive oil now, and we’re choosier about the spreads we use, saving butter for special treats. I grill more fish than steaks, having found several selections we enjoy. And we’ve really increased the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables we eat, visiting farmers’ markets together and enjoying the bounty of the local growers.
If you have high cholesterol, or better yet, before you have a problem, see a nutritionist and see what healthy changes you can make. I know you’ll be glad you did.