I come from a long line of bean poles. And by that I mean, body type. My mom was five-foot-ten most of her life; my brother is over six feet tall, I’m almost five-eight. Our combined weight is only around 400 pounds. (My dad is no longer with us.)
When we have the good fortune to be together on the occasional holiday, and guests are around, we usually get smiles and comments like, You’re obviously all from the same family. The Tall and Skinny Family!
However, skinny does not necessarily healthy make. All of us have high cholesterol. Yeah, it’s genetic. We’re scrawny and yet candidates for a heart attack.
The first time I got my cholesterol tested, it was well over 200, and my doc said, OK, here’s the thing. Your cholesterol is high and unless you want to go on Lipitor, like your mom, you have to do something about this.
You need to get regular exercise, eat a low-fat diet, and take in lots of fiber. (recommended fiber intake here)
I didn’t want to go on meds, and I also wasn’t excited about having a heart attack, so I took his words to heart. Joined a gym, actually went to the gym, cut out fatty stuff like red meat, and added things like All-Bran and more fresh fruit and veggies to my diet.
I was pretty excited when I went back a year later, got tested, and found that my cholesterol had dropped to under 200.
Since I know that my cholesterol struggle is hereditary, I also know I can’t ever ease up on what I’m doing to keep it lowered. Therein lies the challenge.
I’ve had a couple of experiences that demonstrated that my body has gotten used to my dietary adjustments. I went to some friends’ house for dinner, and everything they served was deep-fried. It was very good, but barely an hour later, I felt like I had a boulder in my gut. I didn’t think anything about it until the next time I went to their house and experienced the same thing: deep-fried food and a gut-ache afterward.
So, sometimes it takes me a while to connect dots, but I got them connected after that second meal.
My body really doesn’t like heavy concentrations of fatty stuff. So in addition to the doctor’s exhortation, I have a natural check in my brain to keep eating right.
The working out at the gym has paid off in other ways as well. I found that after a good solid workout, I was tired, but mentally I was rockin’ it. What a great feeling that was! And a bit addictive, may I add. So now I want to get to the gym not only to keep that cholesterol dragon at bay but also to keep those feel-good endorphins flowing.
I’m still skinny but I can fairly confidently say that I’m healthy. I rarely get sick. I have stamina to work physically for long hours. And I’m pretty sure the heart attack is in the back seat of the theater now. Yeah, baby!