Thursday, June 27, 2013

Glycogen, Cholesterol and eating cleaner!

Hi, all.

Yes, it's been awhile! Good to see you all in the blogging world.

Since this blog is mostly dedicated to my attempt at a healthier lifestyle, I wanted to post an update on all kinds of health-related milestones in the Miller household.

Firstly, I can say for the first time since marrying him: Marc no longer has high cholesterol. There it is! After years of working to try to get it down, he has succeeded.

Here are his numbers from when he began testing until just a couple of weeks ago (2010-2013):

And for those of you who need reminders, LDL is "bad" cholesterol, which you should strive to have lower than 130. HDL is "good" cholesterol, which you should strive to have above 50. Anything above 60 is considered "optimal" (we won't talk about how mine is 103 WOOT WOOT!). Total cholesterol should be under 200 to not be considered high.

2010 LDL: 173
2012 LDL: 144
2013 LDL: 120!!!

2010 HDL: 55
2012 HDL: 56
2013 HDL: 55

2010 total cholesterol: 243
2012 total cholesterol: 226
2013 total cholesterol: 195 !!!!!!!!!!!!!

The only number I am slightly unhappy with (or more like, surprised by) is the HDL. To raise your HDL, it takes consistent exercise, which Marc has been keeping up with quite a bit, but perhaps he needs to be in that routine of vigorous exercise for a longer period to see that number go up more. I'm sure when the test is repeated next year the numbers will continue to improve.

Marc is a living example of how one can go from sedentary to active and from ignorant to aware. 1) he maintains a healthy weight through daily cardio exercise. 2) he juices fruits and vegetables to get more nutrients at once. 3) he cuts down on foods that cause inflammation. 4) he cuts out animal products from his diet to once a day. 5) he does not eat egg yolks, EVER. 6) he trains with weights and does not just do cardio. 7) he eats lots of berries and apples, which contain antioxidants and properties that essentially block bad cholesterol. 8) he got rid of all of his excuses.

And he does this while maintaining a full time job. But how? Because it's a priority.

And then there is yours truly. Even though my workouts are really no longer mine, I have been trying to keep my health in the forefront of my mind. A lot of younger people I know have recently been suffering from health problems, the most scary of those is cancer. I know my immune system is strong but what am I REALLY doing to try to prevent chronic or acute illnesses such as cancer?

I thought about the one thing I was NOT doing: cutting out artificial sweeteners and striving to eat whole grains instead of things made from white flour. Artificial sweeteners and white flour are two things that are strongly believed to be cancer-causing.

I kept making excuses that if I had low blood sugar, I could eat any carbohydrate I wanted because my body would just need the glycogen. However, all of that crappy stuff is still going into my body.

Two weeks ago I stopped using Splenda in my coffee, I no longer drink Diet Coke, and I replaced all of my pastas and grains with whole wheat products. I also make sure that a high percentage of my foods don't contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms). A lot of things that claim to be whole wheat or whole grain still have yeast made from GMOs. This sounds very extreme of me, but I don't want things to come up with my health that I could have prevented just by substituting one thing for another. I'm going to turn 29 in a couple of weeks and as I start to get older (and no, I know I'm not OLD), I realize a lot of my actions with diet and health will yield more severe consequences.

The biggest update I have in my life is my management of my energy levels! I have finally replenished all of my once-depleted glycogen! And now that I am doing it with cleaner foods, my workouts and classes have never been better. I teach 11 classes a week and I don't find myself constantly hovering in the red zone. I know the exact pace I need to keep in a class. A lot of it was from going past the point of no return but it's been a very long time since I've been down that road. I also find that the classes I teach are safer. It's not that the pace is slower or easier, but it is more purposeful and technical.

On Sunday I am going on a week-long vacation to North Carolina! I'm excited to take on the challenge of keeping fit without a gym. I'll post about the workouts I completed on the beach! Have a wonderful end of June.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. argh! This thing posted my comment twice and then deleted both. Attempt 2 :)

    Did marc ever have to go on meds? And how did you keep your cholesterol in a healthy range while helping him get his lower - mine is soooo low (LDL....64?) I am actually trying to eat more!

    And ps - yay for Marc!
    - Erin

  3. p.p.s - like Marc, I can't get my HDL to budge out of the 50s. If you guys figure out the solution to that, let me know! :D

  4. Erin! Marc was never on meds for his cholesterol. The doctor wanted to see if he could first improve it through diet and exercise before going on medication. I spoke to a med student last week who was astounded that with his family history that he was able to lower it without medication and doesn't predict that he will be able to sustain it in the long term. Sounds like a challenge to me!

    I wouldn't be worried about a low LDL. Mine is only 55 and my doctor said I don't have to try to avoid fat. She didn't suggest that I try to eat more fat though..she said it might help my energy levels but didn't say "oh you have to get your LDL higher." So I just focus on helping Marc keep his down.

    in regards to HDL, I read that a high HDL is part genes, part diet/exercise. I think mine is so high because there was never a point in the last decade where I wasn't exercising. I know you are active but I am not sure how consistent you are to be able to say one way or the other that you're doing all you can. "Experts" say moderately intense exercise for at least 30 minutes on MOST days of the week will help considerably.

    I know you're a healthy eater, but known HDL boosters are orange juice, soy, apples, and obviously oatmeal. A British study actually concluded that three cups of orange juice a day could raise HDL up to 21%...but wow that's about 300 calories of orange juice!

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  6. I had a high cholesterol test (~190) in 2004 and was prescribed lovastatin, which progressively made my joints ache beyond my years. I complained to my doctor repeatedly, then refused to take any more. We tried a few other drugs, but all had side effects, until success with generic Lipitor about 5 years ago (10mg keeps my cholesterol below 150). I exercise a lot and love salads now, and still enjoy mexican food or pizza once in a while, thanks to Generic Lipitor.

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