I just had my annual check up with my doctor and had some interesting results. Every year I have blood work done to check my cholesterol, blood sugar, thyroid, etc.
Last year this time I was killing it on all fronts: losing weight, dropping cholesterol, and decreasing my need for antidepressants. Most of this was rooted in adopting a new diet in the fall of 2017. I started following the Wahls Protocol, an anti-inflammatory diet, aimed at people with MS. My mom has MS and I wondered if I was predisposed to it, too. (Genetic counselors say no, but I was still nervous!)
And since there is no one-size-fits-all diet, I also consulted the Eat Right 4 Your Type guidelines (I’m blood type O). The two diets overlapped a lot, and I was having wild success.
I should say, I was having wild success while I followed the food guidelines religiously. But, as we all know, it’s all too easy to fall off the wagon when we are stressed, sick, sleep deprived or a little complacent.
So this past year, roughly from last spring till now, I have been under a lot of stress. I won’t bore you with the details because it’s all normal life stuff: working, going to school, parenting, paying bills, etc.
Stress knocked me off my health wagon quite easily and repeatedly. Have you ever heard of stress eating? My name should be in the dictionary next to the definition. Sometimes I literally can’t function without dark chocolate! And then after I get my semi-sweet fix I might need some salty snacks, you know, so it’s all balanced out. 😉
Fast forward to February and I have to face the music – my doctor is getting my blood work and I can’t avoid it. I did some things wrong in the past year healthwise: eating too much and being inconsistent with my healthy diet goals. On the other hand, I did a few things right: I did eat the right foods more often than not, and I started running.
So what happened at the appointment I wanted to skip? I found out that I gained back a lot of the weight I’d lost the year before (no surprise). That hurt, because I didn’t want to be a yo-yo dieter. BUT, something good was also revealed: my cholesterol continued to drop! I can’t tell you how much that knowledge made my day/ month/ year!
It turns out that making the effort, even imperfectly, to eat the right foods DID make a difference to my heart health over the long run. In fact, my doctor was shocked because I have a history of high cholesterol on my mom’s side of the family. She said she’s never had a patient successfully eat their way out of family history cholesterol. I was so damn happy!
So as you see, you win some and you lose some. I gained weight but dropped cholesterol. I found out I still had more work to do, but that there were some good results already happening.
I hope this inspires you to keep making an effort on the healthy eating front, even if you don’t do it perfectly. Getting it done a majority of the time will still benefit your long term health. So, cut yourself some slack and get back in the game, your heart will thank you for it!
If you are not familiar with the Wahls Diet, an easy way to jump start is to immediately ditch dairy and gluten, while eating more veggies. I also recommend looking up the Eat Right 4 Your Type books by Dr. D’Adamo.
Have a great week, and look for ways to start or restart your own success story!