In November 2008 I started an experiment on my body. I significantly reduced my carbohydrate intake (no formal diet, just focusing on not eating high-carb foods), which resulted in a measurable improvement in my overall cholesterol, and a large improvement in my HDL (the good cholesterol). It also peeled 35 pounds off me, without even thinking about it.
My last cholesterol check was January 2009. My total was 175, with HDL 50. Since then I’ve been bicycling long distance, but not too many times, and running a bit. We had a health screening at work today, and as much as I love pasta, I think I’m done with it:
- Cholesterol: 152
- HDL: 50
- Triglycerides: 102
- Blood pressure: 104/63
- Body fat percentage: 10.7
That gives me an HDL ratio of 3, when the goal is to be under 5 and excellent is under 3.5, so I can’t complain there.
The blood pressure is good. My blood pressure was 100/60 when I was twenty so that’s about as good as I can hope for. Right after I changed my diet my blood pressure tested at about 130/75, so I was concerned that the diet change was causing that, but it seems to have corrected itself.
The body fat is puzzling. My scale at home says 20%. 10.7% is really low. I’m going to ask them to do it again.
EDIT: I had them test a second time, with a second instrument, and the result was the same. I checked with many other people at the office, and all the readings people received seemed reasonable, so I have to think that 10.7 is close to accurate. Given that, I’m really pleased. Losing weight wasn’t the original goal, but when I thought I was stuck at 20% body fat I wondered why. Now I don’t have to wonder, since 10.7% body fat is about as low as you can expect without extreme measures.
For anyone who’s interested in the diet, it’s basically low carb, but with no set rules. Other than a bite or two now and then, I don’t eat any rice, bread, pasta, potatoes, or sugary drinks (soda or fruit juice). I don’t have Instant Breakfast or Ovaltine for breakfast anymore (I really miss that). I eat limited amounts of things like beans and chips.
I significantly increased my consumption of nuts, and I generally have an apple and peanut butter for breakfast. I eat more salads. I switched back to whole milk (lower ratio of carbohydrate calories). I eat more meat, but not that much. I eat more eggs.
I eat enough of the low carb foods that I’m not often hungry, so it’s not that hard to keep with it. The first month was a little rough, since new foods felt strange in my stomach, but that went away and now it’s pretty easy. I just need to make sure I have enough of the right foods on hand.