Posts Tagged cholesterol

Different Views About High Cholesterol

My brother, Michael, stayed at my house a few days and said that I am obsessed with food, and that he was uncomfortable eating with me, believing that I am judging him for eating “badly.” “I like to eat what I want,” he said, “and if it means I live a couple of years less, who cares. I’m not willing to give up those foods I like so much.” My argument about how some people get their endorphin high from food instead of exercise doesn’t seem to apply in his case, because for many years he did triathlons, and at 53 still does one leg of those races. He also goes to the gym once a week or more.

When I mentioned that maybe his diet and high cholesterol numbers—I think he is near the 240-plus that I read is heart attack range—might cost him 10 or 20 years, not just two, and that he was setting himself up for a heart attack, he said that I was overreacting. He pointed out that our father had a cholesterol count of 300 and lived to 88. It’s just genetic for him, and nothing he does lowers his count. So why worry about high numbers or attempt to do anything that isn’t going change them.

HERE IS MY BROTHER’S RESPONSE TO THE TWO PARAGRAPHS ABOVE.

Ira, a couple of things as I remember them:

I observed that you are obsessed with Dying, and eating correctly is a part of that. You are obsessed over cholesterol, I am less of a fanatic. I am not “uncomfortable” eating with you, I enjoy eating with you, we have great conversations. I feel that you are often lecturing that “what works for you” should be the standard for everyone. I have read many relatively new reports that imply that the cholesterol connection has been flawed, and we have 3 generations of doctors who have been taught that this is gospel. The AMA doesn’t want to admit they made a mistake! They don’t want to tell you that cholesterol is totally necessary for proper brain function, and that the drugs they have prescribed for years may be the cause of some alzheimers patients, in addition to the known liver damage, kidney damage, and possibly cancers people seem to be having.

I don’t give up anything, but I eat and drink everything in moderation. When at your house, I eat all those great cheeses you supposedly buy for us. I never have them (unless someone gives them as presents) except at your house, or the occasional party. Are you then buying them for us, or for you?

I don’t get an endorphin high from eating, or biking, or running, or cycling, or tennis. No need to go into details about when I do get that high by the way!

My cholesterol is around 235. Doctors (who insist it should be under 200) still want to put me on cholesterol medicine to bring it down. I refuse—the fix is more damaging then the cholesterol. I am not a heart attack candidate, I am not significantly overweight, I can out run, out swim, and out cycle most of my peers, and many who are 15 years younger than me. Read the rest of this entry »

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Managing Your Food…If You Can

I have learned that as undisciplined as I am when it comes to exercising, I am very disciplined compared to others when it comes to eating. My father always said that “You are what you eat.” My wife calls me the “food police.” Since high school when I weighed 170, I have reached 185 pounds and dropped to 163 or so. But that drop was during a brief period when I jogged for a couple of months on a dare to run in a seven-mile road race.

It took me years to realize that when my clothes became tight, it was NOT because they were shrinking in the wash—I was gaining fat. So I would then give up the desserts I love and bread and muffins and lose the weight. I was that disciplined. Once the pounds were gone, I was back to ice cream every night, and sometimes three desserts a day between Thanksgiving and New Years. Predictably I regained 10 pounds each December…that I would then lose over the next few months.

About two years ago, my cholesterol rocketed up to 239, which is almost heart attack range I read—so I instantly changed my diet and my life. I began exercising daily on a rowing machine that had been gathering dust, gave up ice cream, chicken skin, sea urchin and many other high cholesterol foods. Within three months I was down to a cholesterol number of 178. Amazed everyone. I stopped the rowing. Now the number is 204. Not bad. Much safer.

But I asked my doctor at this year’s physical why people who say they want to lose weight continue to eat foods that are clearly fattening. “I can’t lose weight,” they whine, and then they drink almost a whole bottle of wine, snort that blue cheese down or have just a “tiny” spoonful or two of cake or ice cream at most meals. “Not everyone is as disciplined as you,” doc pointed out. “They don’t want to give up those good tasting foods that you can avoid.” Even though some of them go to the gym more than I do, spend an hour on a machine to lose 300 calories and then have one drink or dessert that in five minutes puts all those calories right back on them. Not logical…but people aren’t logical. Read the rest of this entry »

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