Monday, March 7, 2011

CHOLESTEROL...the good, the bad, and the ugly

Cholesterol is a soft, wax-like substance found in all parts of the body. Your body needs a little bit of cholesterol to work properly. But too much cholesterol can clog your arteries and lead to heart disease.

For many of you readers out there, you know that this whole journey of {eating clean} started when I was told that my cholesterol levels weren't where they needed to be for optimal heart health.  I was determined to make a change in my life.  I was determined to be a healthier mom, wife, and friend for future years to come.

Do you know your cholesterol numbers? 
HDL? LDL? Do you even know that there are bad and good cholesterols? 

Whether you have high cholesterol levels, fantastic cholesterol levels, or don't even know your levels I'm sure you are very curious as to weather or not {clean eating} made a difference in my life. So...let's get to the numbers...

The first test I took was back in late August 2010 and had the following results:

Total Cholesterol:  221         <200  
Triglycerides:        143         <150  
HDL:                      36          >/=46

LDL:                      156        <130

Let me take a minute to break down a bit about cholesterol so you aren't completely overwhelmed...

Total Cholesterol is the good and bad numbers combined for an overall number.  Many people like to just go off that number, but my doctor is more concerned about the LDL (bad) cholesterol number on it's own. (156)

Triglycerides are a type of lipid found in our blood.  Triglycerides also come from the food you eat. When we eat, our body uses carbohydrate calories for immediate energy. Leftover calories are turned into triglycerides and stored in fat cells for later use. If we eat more calories than our body needs, your triglyceride level may be high. (which mine are getting close to high)

LDL cholesterol is known as "bad" cholesterol. High levels of LDL puts you at risk for heart disease. 

HDL cholesterol is known as "good" cholesterol, because high levels of HDL seem to protect against heart attack. It appears to "clean" the walls of the bad cholesterol. Low levels of HDL (less than 46 mg/dL) also increase the risk of heart disease. (which mine are are low) 

Ok, enough talk about the old...let's move on to the new numbers.  The new numbers are in orange.

Total Cholesterol:  221 191        <200  
Triglycerides:        143  80         <150  
HDL:                      36  35           >/=46

LDL:                      156  140        <130

All in all, it was GREAT results!  However, I was kinda disappointed in my GOOD HDL number since I had upped my working out & lost weight, but I'll take it!  And look at those triglycerides...WOW!  I am only 10 points away from my LDL to be normal.  It's truly a rewarding feeling to change your health for the better (plus, not going on medication).

Since starting the {eat clean} lifestyle I have dropped 10lbs. I don't count calories, I just read labels and make things from scratch.  Knowing what goes in to our bodies is clearly important and I have the results to prove it!  

Side note:  There was a lot of educating myself that went into my {clean eating} journey before it could actually begin. I probably didn't get fully up to speed with the {clean eating} until October/November. I have been living 85%(that's an estimate) {clean} since January 1st.  I say 85% because there are still a few things that I haven't created {clean} yet, I still continue to drink wine about 2-4 times a month, and we eat out about 2-3 times a month. 

I go back in 3-4 months to get my levels tested again...hoping they still continue to change for the positive...stay tuned...  

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