Regular readers of my blog will know that I am very wary of the word "diet". I have seen too many people get into the yo-yo syndrome - losing weight then putting it on again - or, even worse, actually endangering their health by going on a restrictive diet.
However I am delighted to share Jacqui's success story. Not because she succeeded in losing nearly two stones, though that was a bonus for her, but because she made real changes to her health through the right food choices. Well done Jacqui! This is the happy ending to her story:
"Back in July Sue kindly included an entry from me about how I had significantly changed my food regime - I don’t like to use the word diet - in order to address a bad cholesterol problem. Read here: http://over60andoverhere.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/cutting-out-column-3-pounds-lost.html
"Up until that point I had never looked at the content of saturated fat in anything I ate and, although I knew my weight had steadily increased over the years, I never gave any thought to what it was doing to my health. I felt fit, I wasn’t breathless or struggling to do things, and so it was a big surprise to be told I had high cholesterol and needed to sort it out or they would put me on statins. Now, I know there is a field of thinking that everyone over the age of 50 should be on them as a norm, but I don’t agree with taking medication long term if not completely avoidable so I discussed other options with my doctor and basically, changing my diet and losing some weight could be enough.
"Originally I gave myself 3 months to make a significant improvement but events rather changed that timescale as further tests showed I had already got a heart condition that needed urgent attention and the month of September saw me in surgery having a heart pacemaker fitted to correct the condition. As you can probably guess, my focus wasn’t so much on my cholesterol for a few weeks while I recovered, but my lovely husband continued to prepare healthy meals for me and despite my lack of exercise for a few weeks I managed not to put any of the lost weight back on.
"I did have a blood test done before my operation but the results had been disappointing, as the bad cholesterol had only come down from +3 to +2.8 and I needed to get it below +2.3. What was more surprising was that my good cholesterol was too low and this wasn’t helping, as the good cholesterol binds with the bad to carry the bad cholesterol away. I needed to find a way to increase the good cholesterol while continuing to reduce the bad.
"Back on the internet (how did we ever research things before this wonderful invention?) and I found that food is not a good way for increasing levels of good cholesterol, that is done predominantly through weight loss and increased exercise, both of which would be difficult in the immediate weeks after my operation, but as soon as I was adequately recovered I would deal with it.
"And so at the end of October I booked my blood test for 4th December, I needed a focus to work towards. I started walking more and began using the Wii again. I continued with the foods I had become used to. Actually, during my weeks of recuperation, my husband treated me to a pizza. Previously, I loved pizza, I could eat it 2 or 3 times a week. It was to be a treat for going through my operation, which had not been as simple as expected. I was so looking forward to my treat. And I was so disappointed, I cannot tell you how uncomfortable that level of fat made me feel after I’d eaten it. It seems my stomach has become intolerant of high fat content foods and I have not had a pizza since, the very thought of it makes me feel ill. Wow, what a change.
"So, that brings us to today. I sit here the day after getting my latest cholesterol results, almost 2 stone lighter and 2 dress sizes smaller, never hungry and not bored with my food choice. And the results?
"All my cholesterol levels are normal. Overall is now 5.5, my triglycerides are 1.7, down from 2.8 and my good cholesterol has returned to normal levels. I am off the threat of statins and feel very pleased to have turned this around in 6 months.
"I only added one item to my changed food regime – the new magic food/drink.
I read an article on beetroot juice and now daily have a shot glass of the juice which is sweetened with Apple juice. Whether it really is as magic as it reads I’ll never know, but it will be on my shopping list for years to come.
"I can now relax a little and enjoy Christmas. And although I think my eating habits are now changed permanently, I have booked a further blood test for March, just to make sure I keep it on track."
What an inspiring story! Enjoy your Christmas, Jacqui, and a happy, healthy New Year to you all!