Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Fitness snapshot

Life is made up of small victories: finishing the sixth week of my C25K plan and starting week seven with a beautiful outdoor run in fall sunshine.

Life is made up of small setbacks: eating fried food out at restaurants two days in a row and watching the scale not budge for a week straight.

Life is full of small compromises: deciding onion rings were going to satisfy my cravings more than beer, and skipping the beer.

Life is full of promise: a solid total cholesterol score (124).

Life is full of caution: a terrible HDL score (25) tells me I need to pay more attention to healthy fats.

That last one deserves some more commentary. I did a simple cholesterol screening at work; it only gave me a couple numbers and it was meant to trigger more conversation with my doctor not serve as a real guideline. But the 124 number was improved over what I remember my numbers being a couple years ago. The 25 number, though, is new.

HDL values above 60 are healthy. HDL values from 40 to 60 are normal. Values below 40 increase your risk of heart problems.

25 is significantly below 40.

The technician asked me if I exercised regularly, and I felt guiltless in saying "yes". I did more research on HDL. Exercise and weight loss are the two biggest predictors of HDL increases, and I'm working on both those. But what's also important is eating enough healthy fats: avacados, fish, olives, nuts. And as a ruthless calorie cutter, I know I'm guilty of throwing out the good with the bad.

So now I have a dietary action item other than losing weight. And next time I see my doctor, I'll ask for a full blood workup. I'll need to understand if what I'm doing is good enough.

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