Client Spotlight on Sam – How to Lower Your Cholesterol with Dietary Changes
Sam came to me in late September after visiting his doctor for some annual blood work. He struggled with genetically high cholesterol and had recently been trying to lose weight with Intermittent Fasting. Unfortunately, this approach had backfired on him and although he lost 10 lbs., his APO B (bad LDL) cholesterol had increased to a level that his doctor wanted to put him on additional medications. He asked his doctor to give him some time to try working with diet and although his doctor was skeptical, he gave him until December to see what he could accomplish.
Sam was exercising a good amount when he came to me and doing Intermittent fasting. The fasting was the only change he made that seemed to cause this spike in bad cholesterol so we both agreed that we would forgo that and just work on healthy eating to reduce his cholesterol.
When I did a deep dive into his eating habits I found that he really was trying to eat healthy foods most of the time but as he found out, what is healthy is not always going to work when you are trying to reduce hereditary hypercholesterolemia.
He was choosing foods with too many carbs which turn to sugar in the body along with fast food dinners a few nights a week. The other nights he was using a meal service that was providing easy meals but not necessarily within healthy guidelines. Adding to this some wine 3-4 times a week and the picture he painted showed that his sugar and saturated fat were too high and fiber too low for him to see any reduction in cholesterol.
Sam was motivated and a great student. He followed his Lifestyle Plan and we tweaked it as needed to meet the goals I set for him. He quickly lost the rest of his weight, increased his energy and felt great. Fast forward 3 months after he started and his doctor called to report that his blood work was stellar. His LDL cholesterol dropped from 79 to 63 and APO lipoprotein B dropped from 79 to 60. He also lost 12 lbs. to meet his goal weight. After the doctor saw these results, he said to continue with nutrition and no longer was recommending the additional medication.
When I asked Sam what helped him to be successful in reaching his goals he told me:
1. Implementing in Two Steps: The comprehensive Lifestyle Plan made everything clear and simple. There were several changes to make but they all made sense. I decided to implement in two phases which worked well for me. First phase (first week) was to change my breakfast and lunch choices and to get used to using the app to track nutrition. The second phase (one week later) was getting into the kitchen and learning how to cook healthier dinners. We found several recipes that my family loved, that tasted great and were healthy.
2. Learning to Make Healthy Choices: Once I understood how to select foods that were high in fiber and low in saturated fat, then everything became very simple. In reality, there were only 3 major changes that lead to the weight loss and improved lab work & health. These are lifestyle changes that I am optimistic that I can continue: a) Stop eating after dinner. No more late-night snacking. I look forward to waking up hungry and eating breakfast – it makes breakfast better! b) Snacking on fruits and vegetables in between meals, instead of fried potato chips. I’m a “grazer/snacker” but I was eating all the wrong high-carb snacks with no fiber. I now snack on avocado, carrots, veggie chips, grapes, and high-fiber crackers. c) Eating healthy dinners – whether eating at home or going out, I learned to make better choices for dinner.
3. Mary’s daily messages through the app (coaching): Mary’s steady guidance helped to reinforce the good decisions and understand any bad trends.
Congratulations Sam! This is always such great news to watch someone really improve their health along with weight loss and learn how to eat for a lifetime versus going on a diet. I wish you continued success and the best of health always.
Are you looking to transform your health? Mary works with clients all over the country developing personalized nutrition and exercise plans for weight loss and health. If you’re ready to get started on your journey to health and wellness contact her today!