I recently went to the doctor to have my cholesterol checked. Previously, the doctor had prescribed medication to help control it. The doctor and I were both pleasantly surprised that my LDL was down 95 points and my total cholesterol was down 88 points! Then she said, “The medication is really working for you. ” Well, surprise, I hadn’t been taking the medication she prescribed. What I had done was make three little changes in my life — nothing drastic or dramatic, but obviously effective.
I had always been fairly conscientious about my diet, eating balanced meals and keeping junk food to a minimum. I was less than 20 pounds over my ideal weight, and I did a modicum of exercise. Despite this semihealthy lifestyle, my cholesterol levels had been creeping up over the past 12 years.
I read everything I could find about cholesterol. I finally narrowed the success factors down to three: elimination of saturated and trans fats, increased fiber intake and regular exercise.
It was fairly easy to substitute olive oil for butter or margarine. The mild/light version does not have an oily taste; as a matter of fact, it is almost tasteless. For foods that demand a butter flavor, I add butter buds to the oil. Also, my day now starts with whole-grain cereal to which I add golden raisins and 1-percent or 2-percent low-fat milk.
These two adjustments are the only actual changes I have made to my diet. I have always eaten whole-grain bread, brown rice, plenty of vegetables and more chicken than beef. Just imagine if I hadn’t!
The final lifestyle change was to exercise on a regular basis. After all these years and many attempts, I have accepted the fact that I cannot do this on my own; I must belong to a class. I exercise at least three times a week for 30 to 40 minutes each time.
So, those are my three little lifestyle changes. They are quite painless, but very effective. The bottom line is that my doctor told me that my cholesterol figures indicated I no longer needed to take medication!