Friday, September 23, 2011

Clueless Wife: getting that cholesterol down

So we found out recently that my husband has high cholesterol. Real high. It's been kindof scary for me, because I immediately start thinking of heart attacks and being a widow..ha yeah I have an AtoZ kind of thought process. But also, I just want him to be healthy, I want him to feel healthy and be his very best.

So over the past four months we have made some extreme--or us-- diet modifications. I did not want any medications pumping through him if we could do it naturally. My dad describes LDL as the dirt in the carpet, and HDL as the vacuum cleaner. Increase HDL (diet&exercise) and we can start decreasing the LDL hopefully! So over the past four months we've changed diet, and invested in an exercise he loves, And would you know it--it's working!

Here's what we did in detail:

1) Cut down, Fiber Up:

---Every morning, hubby eats a bowl of whole oats with honey. Now, this is hard folks. My husband is a foodie. He was really dreading this. But would you know it, he loves this meal! I keep it out on the counter so he can snack on some homemade granola too before dinner, Which. He. Loves. Who knew?!

For lunch, almost every day Justin has a smoothie, which I make in bulk on Sunday or Monday (he mostly eats monster smoothies but also sometimes fruit smoothies with peanut butter and whey protein added) Also, we're eating fish 1x/week. I know we're supposed to have two...but Honeybear always eats our leftovers and I don't want him having too much mercury (probably 2times/week would be fine...). We were already eating only whole wheat bread and staying away from sugar (I only make desserts once or twice per month). We also cut down our red meat to *only* when we go out to eat. (or pizza every other week--if my hub is cycling). Lastly, we added fish oil tablets 3x/day to hub's diet.

In summary:
-Fish once/week
-Whole oats&honey for breakfast, sometimes granola
-Only snacking on fruits/granola
-Smoothie lunches
-Cut down desserts
-Fish oil tablets 3x/day

2) Investing in an Activity He Loves.

This was another hard one. I was really determined to get him exercising more, but it has always ended up with me--sometimes forcefully--shoving him out of bed and telling him he has to get up and go running. Not his favorite way to wake up. Or forcing him into the car with me to go swimming (which was easier when my brother was living with us, aka free childcare!). My husband is actually very athletically-gifted, but never has been able to maintain a sport consistently (other than rock-climbing in college). Then...he met a friend who was all into cycling.
We invested in a nice bike and gear (part of his 30th birthday gift)
And now I can barely keep him home! He rides 20-30 miles twice a week and 50miles once a week. That's around 80 miles a week!! He's training for the Lance Armstrong Livestrong 90mile race next month :D
I'm not saying every man will do this...but the reason this worked for him was because
a) He had someone to do it with
b) He loved the toys accompanying it (my husband loves toys, not to mention the engineering of putting bike parts together)
c) He really enjoyed the speed and feel of the activity.

The cost of this hobby wasn't cheap at the outset. But, it is a one-time cost that will save us in cholesterol medications in the future! Plus he gets to wear spandex! Ha

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