The results came in last evening, all except for my vitamin D test, which typically takes a week or so. So compared to last year, my cholesterol levels are looking pretty good. I lowered my bad cholesterol and my triglycerides, but my good cholesterol also dropped. I'm still in the normal range of good cholesterol, but I'm closer to the lower end and this is one reading you want to be higher. My blood sugar was also on the high end, 1 point over normal, which is concerning. Before, when I was in horrible health, my triglycerides were really high, my good cholesterol was really low and my blood sugars were high. Some of the numbers improved dramatically when I started South Beach Diet, but my doctor told me for some people, the only way to improve HDL (good cholesterol) and get their blood sugars lower is to add exercise. It worked for me in the past, so I think, even though my numbers are in the normal range, they are borderline and that's not good enough for me. I am doing this to improve my health and these tests are the best indicators I've got. Besides, this morning as I was getting my boots on to take my dog out, I felt an annoying twinge of sciatica kick in and I realized I am not really honestly treating my body in a way it needs in order to stay strong and flexible, and to help me avoid pain. Now that our move is behind us, I have to make exercise a priority. My excuses to this point are this: my husband, when he works, gets up at 4:15am and he is on our stationary bike at 4:30am. By the time I get up at 5am, there is just enough time for me to get the dog out (because he takes so stinking long to go), eat breakfast, get myself ready for work, get my kids ready for school and get them to the bus stop. I get a quick 10 minutes after they get on the bus before I have to leave for work, which I usually spend petting the dog or playing with him. I work until 5PM, then when I get home I have to take the dog out again, help the kids with homework, then cook for myself and them. By that time, it is usally 8pm ish and I don't want to work out too close to bed or I have a hard time sleeping. But my excuse is weak. My husband works a continuous shift, which means he doesn't work every day during the week, some weeks he only works 2 days because he worked 12 hour shifts all weekend prior. So, on the days he works, he'll be up using the bike, so I can dance or do strength or something else in our bedroom while he's on the bike. That means getting up at 4:30. Honestly, his alarm wakes me most mornings and enough times I have a hard time falling back asleep anyway. The days he doesn't work he sleeps in so I can go use the bike. I didn't think of that plan before, probably because I like having an excuse so I don't have to exert myself! I have been going to bed around 9:30 so getting up at 4:30 should be no big deal. I thought about doing a quick workout after work, which could be an option, but it's so much harder when the kids and dog are all awake and demanding attention. So, mornings are best, plus it'll boost my mood and energy before I head out into the blustery winter for the day. I am hoping that next year when I get the tests run again, my numbers should simply sparkle! That's the goal at least. I really don't like my blood sugar numbers being high, especially since I am not eating sweets right now. It makes me cringe to thing of what my numbers would have been if I'd done that test over the summer when I was eating candy every day at work. Diabetes does run in the family, but I plan to avoid it. I am not planning any drastic changes in diet, I don't want to get obssessive about food again, but I will add exercise. That's not too much to ask of myself, it'll make me feel good and improve my health. Now, had I tried to start doing it all at once, changing my diet and sacrificing sleep for workouts, I think I would have dropped out by now, but since I already have a strong foundation of eating under control, I think a half hour of exercise each morning is not that much of a commitment or sacrifice.
One interesting thing I found about raising good cholesterol levels was that having one alcoholic drink a day is actually a scientifically proven way to improve good cholesterol readings. Since all my liver and kidney labs were really good, I may impliment that, keeping sugars in mind. Exercise is key, but wine might be a nice treat at dinner. Oh the things I have to go through in the name of health, lol.
So that's my new plan. I will get the calcium scoring, and get moving, and have more wine. I am also still looking into getting myself to ditch the carbs at breakfast, I have heard that it makes eating lower carb throughout the day easier. I will just have to suck it up and cook a little bit in the already-short-on-time morning. So I have enough to try and get figured out as I try to kick it up a notch. I think I am ready for this. I have a year to make good progress, and hopefully by then it will become a habit just like the eating has. Hopping on the rollercoaster, I'm either going to freak out or have the time of my life. Either way, I'll never know if I don't get on.