05 August 2006

As the Heel Turns

Okay, it's a dumb heading. It's 4AM & I don't care. I turned the heel tonight while David & I were watching Billy Elliot (Somehow he'd managed never to have seen it, even though I've had the DVD for a few years. I can't hear Swan Lake now without bawling). So now the sock looks like something you might actually wear on your foot.


I may even be able to finish a sock before I get killed off in Sock Wars. I had to stop after I finished the heel, though, as my left hand was hurting. It's usually the tendons in my right hand that start screaming at me first, so I'm not quite sure why the left was bothering me so much more. It may behoove me to go down to size 0 (2mm) needles to do the heel in the future, though, so I can knit more loosely and save my hands while maintaining gauge.

On the Diet Wagon

Today's mail brought me results of bloodwork I had drawn in Hawai'i at the conference. The AVMA has their own group health plan, and the company that manages it always sets up a health fair where AVMA members can get a lipid panel and some other basic bloodwork done at no charge (Otherwise, they suck, but that's beside the point). For $10 we can also get our rabies antibody titers checked (mine are high, as always), which is a very important thing to keep tabs on in this profession. Most of our staff are currently receiving boosters after treating a wolf-dog hybrid while I was away that turned out to be rabid.

I digress a bit, but the upshot is that my total cholesterol and triglyceride levels are in the high range. They've been slowly creeping up - part of my paternal inheritance - and finally they're high. They're not horrible. They could be much, much worse. But this comes the day after my mother called me to tell me that one of her cousins had just dropped dead of a massive heart attack at the age of 47 - only ten years older than me.

So I immediately signed up with eDiets and went out to stock the larder with provisions that fit the diet plan. The only problem is that I don't do recipes. I also don't do pre-fab meals. I love to cook, but a recipe to me is a suggestion, a rough template that I can adapt to my needs and desires. A handmaiden to my palate, if you will. My hope, though, is that just the fact of weighing in and using a plan as a rough guide will assist me in sticking to a healthful diet on which I can lose some poundage.

I don't expect any miracles. I have never had six pack abs and will never have them, and I really don't care. Nonetheless, I don't want to end up on Lipitor like my father (who, at age 59, only has a little bit of a spare tire), or worse, dead before I hit 50.


Anonymous said...

eesh - what a wake-up call. If I remember correctly, eDiets has about 80gazillion diet plans to choose from - which tactic are you taking? Personally, the few times that I have tackled a food intake change - it's really hard for the first few months - just b/c it's a lot of mental effort to change how you cook etc. But then it becomes second nature - and you can use food as a suggestion/starting point as you do now - just differently.

re our kids seeing the life cycle of things - yup - having pets alone will do that, as will witnessing viscious kitty attacks of mice :)

--Sara, of SaraSkates

JoVE said...

Okay, I'm well known to be anti-diet. But here is my specific question. Why are you using your weight as a measure? If the problem is that your cholesterol is high, shouldn't you be changing your diet to include more of those things that reduce bad cholesterol (like some fish) and reduce intake of things that increase your cholesterol? And if you did those things, mightn't your cholesterol stay in a good range without your weight changing at all?

I can see that it is sensible to change your diet to take your cholesterol problem into account. What I really don't understand is how this has anything to do with your weight.

Norma said...

I'm told by multiple doctors (and this is why I'm doing it, too) that 10 pounds on the scale can mean 10 points lower LDL and triglycerides -- and the same holds true for the ratio of poundage to blood pressure.

After our chat the other day, it's pretty clear to me that you and I have similar family histories, similar profiles, and the same exact blood type (some people believe blood type plays a role in it -- and I've found great success in the blood type diet) -- and with your and my family histories and profiles, there is no amount of exercise that is enough and no amount of "healthy eating" that seems enough, without the weight loss in addition. Trust me, I've tried everything. The first time they told me what my cholesterol was, I said, "You must be mistaken. There was an elderly lady ahead of me. Do you think you got the samples mixed up?" Hee. Can you say, "Denial"?????

AND I had a cousin drop dead of a heart attack at age 39. (but he smoked and drank heavily, so I try to think I'm different than him....)

Good for you for taking hold of it and for not jumping on the statin bandwagon. We can cheer each other on. I love that eDiets has so many plans to choose from and it's so economical, as well as the "not having to go to meetings" thing. I chose low-sodium blood type diet, and I've loved their recipes (which I also use just as guidance).

Norma said...

Oh, shoot. forgot to mention, we LOVE Billy Elliot in this house. We have it on video, not DVD, since we only just got a DVD player last year. :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jove.... if you're worried about your lipid profile... change your diet to reflect that concern. I recommend red wine, DHA supplements (from algae of course), psyllium fiber added to your batters and recipes (it'll add bulk to your meals, without adding calories or messing with the taste), green tea, an occasional starvation day, and a serving of pure unsweetened dark chocolate every day (sweeten it yourself with whatever healthful source you prefer.... I like to add blueberry pomegranate juice). Even though the jury is still out on each of these things individually, when I've added them altogether, they've reduced my ldl, and raised my HDL substantially more than my parent's use of lipitor has.

Also, try to have food "themes" each day... kind of like the "hot-dog diet", but choose a different theme every 1-3 days. The key is: don't make the tastes too complex, and your body will naturally be less hungry. (That's why junk food always includes lots of salts, carbs, etc... it stimulates additional taste sensations and makes you eat more than you would otherwise).

Finally, I don't understand what you have against lipitor. (Unless you're worried about liver/side effects). Lipid profile does not have as much predictive power for cardiovascular consequences as you may think. One of the weird things about lipitor is that the studies I've read seem to suggest that it reduces risk of cardiovascular outcomes, AND mortality (studied independently) to a GREATER extent than would be predicted simply by looking at its effect on the lipid profile. It seems like Lipitor reduces risk of mortality by influencing risk factors that medical science hasn't even identified yet. I made both my parents go on Lipitor.

Finally, finally... if you can hold out a few more years, maybe you can just wait for the grehlin vaccine to become available. =)

Anonymous said...

BTW.... I have my 6-pack back!


FiberQat said...

Do what you need to do, Mel. The road is tricky and tough. You understand how complex the human body is in handling the many chemicals it needs to operate, so if you find your magic bullet congratulations!

TheBunny said...

My mom is a CCU nurse and she and her nursey friends looked at the South Beach Diet and gave it the thumbs up. The flashy name is just to sell it. It is basically the American Heart Association's cardiac/diabetic diet. I think eDiets does include it in it's "diet menu." And actually, I have gotten some pretty killer recipes off the AHA's website.

Sean said...

I hate dieting...I hate eating right! LOL. But I'm thinking of turning things around again. I'm not getting any younger.

And Billy Elliot...just wonderful! I saw an advant-garde production of Swan Lake in which the adult Billy Elliot performed. Not tough to watch!

mehitabel said...

You're taking the right steps--being aware that there's a problem waiting to happen, and doing what you need to do to correct it. eDiets can give you suggestions, even if you don't follow their recipes to the letter. Avoiding any extra drugs is a good thing to do, IF you can. I'm currently on a triglyceride-reducing drug, since on my own my cholesterol is great but the tri-g's are sky-high. Heredity is a bitch! Lipitor gave me massive muscle cramps so it's not the panacea. However you do it, get those numbers down, please, so you'll be around for a good long time!

knittingboykit said...

Yo, Mel,
It seems like the only thing you need to do is bag the milk fat. And walk to the end of Haley Road and back every day. Not to mention the dark chocolate =)


Tallguy said...

Mel, good for you to take some action and change a few things. You were given a warning, and are heeding it. That is a lot more than most Americans do!

However, I do agree with Jove -- weight is only part of the problem, and may not have anything to do with your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, altho they probably come about from the same source. Making some adjustments to what you are eating is a start, and will make a bit of difference. Also, you will have to make some adjustments to your activities.

However, I don't think your diet is going to make much of a difference. This is your genetic make-up and that is the direction your body wants to go. Lots of work to be done there! But the most important thing is that the American food is sorely lacking in the proper nutrients necessary to give your body optimum health. The soil is depleted so where are the minerals going to come from? The animals are being fed inappropriate waste products, and you expect quality meat from that? Take a very close look where your food is coming from and you will get a good idea why you are sick. I'm just saying.