It’s been almost 3 months since my Wellbeing Check flagged I had high cholesterol. It was going so well: blood sugar – tick, BMI – tick, lung capacity – tick, cholesterol – high!
“Perhaps you’ve had a glass of milk before the test” the Occ Health Advisor asked. “Er, no?”, “Have you eaten some yoghurt?” “Yes, I have yoghurt every day for breakfast” “Low fat?” “God no! Thick and creamy, full fat every time – those low fat ones are full of goodness knows what!” “Hmm, I see” she continued, “what about cheese?” “What about it?” “How do you eat it?” I must have looked confused because she added: “Do you grate it?” “Erm, mostly I just chop off a chunk and eat it, but I will grate it for sandwiches”. “Hmm” she said, “what about fat on meat – do you cut it off?” “Heavens, no! It’s the best bit, I eat that” “And what about chicken, do you eat the skin?” My mind cast back to the previous evening’s meal out – chicken chasseur, covered in creamy sauce and yes, the skin was on – oh dear! “Yes” I replied meekly, beginning to spot the trend……….. “Have you ever grilled a piece of chicken skin and seen what’s left?” she asked. I felt my brow furrow, “no?” I ventured. “Well, you should try it and see how much fat comes out, there’s literally nothing left, my husband feeds it to our cats.” Slam dunk !! “Not to worry though” she said brightly, with a few tweaks to your diet, you’ll be able to get this down naturally, without medication”.
I headed back to HR, processing the info: I probably do eat far too much dairy and I have been saying for a while I should stop eating the fat off meat but I also say that I should make more effort with my hair or paint my nails once in a while and that doesn’t get done either!
“I have high cholesterol” I tell my colleagues, “no way!” they say.
I get home from work and rummage around for last year’s Wellbeing results as I have a faint recollection that cholesterol was mentioned then. I find them and yes, it was “slightly high”. So, that’s it, it’s on the up – numbers don’t lie!!
I ring my dad and tell him about my cholesterol, he’s been on statins for high cholesterol for a few years and commiserated with me, telling me he thinks it’s in his side of the family.
I speak with my brother who tells me that when he had some random blood tests done his cholesterol was so high the doctor put him on statins immediately! He’s surprised our cousin Michael doesn’t have high cholesterol as he eats all things bad, and even puts butter on his bacon and egg sandwiches!! Hmmm, I think: I put butter on my bacon and egg sandwiches!!
I sulk all weekend.
I visit my in laws and share the story with them, father in law is also on statins for high cholesterol (does anyone have low cholesterol?!) he gives me a fact sheet he was given to help him make better choices with his diet. My eyes scan the A4 sheet which is divided into 3 columns: eat with abundance, eat in moderation and the last column: avoid. I realise that the last column could easily be my weekly shopping list!!
A few weeks down the line I have some blood tests done with my GP, “you’re cholesterol is higher than I would like” she says. “Isn’t it split into good and bad?” I venture, hopefully. “Yes, but yours has more bad – it’s a common thing with skinnies, I see it all the time” Dietary tweaks should sort me out she says and recommends some re-tests in about 6 months.
Having been in total denial and continued with my 40 odd years of eating habits, it finally takes a lamb shank to make the change. I take a fork full of lovely juicy meat and fat and as I pass it up to my mouth I think: not the fat, quickly followed by: oh, it will be OK and that’s when I have the light bulb moment: got to start somewhere otherwise nothing’s going to change! Brain engaged! So I put down the forkful, discard the fat and eat the meat. We have begun!!
Slight set back at my next grocery shop at Sainsburys, my favourite full fat thick and creamy yoghurts are 25% off!! The aisles seem to be full of goodies that I just can’t have – this is what it must be like to be on a diet I muse – sad face L
So, I switch to soya yoghurt, I no longer slap mayonnaise all over my sandwiches switching instead to hummous, I cut the rind off bacon, stop having butter on bread, take the fat off meat, switch to skimmed milk on my breakfast cereal and no longer eat chunks of cheese – gone are the days of salami and brie on all butter croissants for Sunday breakfast!!
I am so hungry!!! Fat, it seems, keeps you full!! Who knew?
So, 3 months on how am I doing? Well, I’m good thanks, my cholesterol and what I’m eating no longer occupies my every thought, I’ve got used to the new choices I make and don’t really think about it any more.
So the morale of the tale is this: I really must start making more effort with my hair!