Top 10 Ways to Help Lower Your Cholesterol

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Four years ago I went in to have my yearly bio-metric screening through work for my health insurance. I’m sure most of you out there have to do this as well. You may even get perks for having a clean bill of health, but for those of you who don’t it is a normal screening where they check blood pressure, cholesterol, BMI, etc… Everything checked out except they said my cholesterol was a bit high. Not high enough to be too concerning, but definitively need to work on my diet and exercise. So I didn’t think a lot of it and I was already working on my nutrition so figured with a healthy diet I would be fine…

Then the next year they said it had increased again.

Then by the next year they said it had gotten so high that the next time I came in if I didn’t show a decrease I would most likely need to go on medication. This was an “OH SHIT” moment for me. I knew it was time to really get my but in gear and do something about it. Having high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease, lead to heart attacks, clogged arteries, and liver failure. After some research and talking to my mom, I found out high cholesterol runs in the family. My grandma would try changing everything in her diet, but never saw results. That was a bit discouraging, but I was already working on eating a cleaner diet so I figured I would do what I can until next year’s test.

Well the time just came and GUESS WHAT!? I lowered my cholesterol levels by a CRAZY amount! My doctor was honestly shocked. She said she has never seen someone stay so dedicated and actually drop their levels like I did! So I thought I would share the top 10 things I changed about my lifestyle to drop my cholesterol levels.

  1. Exercise
    1. Physical activity is going to help raise your HDL levels which is the “good” cholesterol your body needs. Either 20 minutes of moderate activity five days a week or 30 minutes of high intensity cardio 3 days a week.
    2. If you are looking for a way to get motivated in a workout or advice on workouts in general check out my page on how to join my 30 days to a better you challenge.
  2. Reduce saturated fats like red meats and high fat dairy products
    1. These saturated fats will increase your LDL or “bad” cholesterol. You don’t have to completely eliminate them from your diet but try to not eat red meat more than one to times a month. If you want to completely eliminate though even better! Note: if you have high cholesterol I don’t recommend doing the Keto Diet (learned this the hard way!)
  3. Add in monosaturated fats… Did you say avocados!?
    1. Adding monosaturated fats will help to decrease LDL while raising your HDL. These are the “good” fats you want in your diet. You can get these from avocados, canola oil, tree nuts, chia seeds, olives.
  4. Eat non-processed foods to avoid trans fats
    1. Most packaged and processed foods will contain a trans fat, also labeled as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (the FDA is working on banning partially hydrogenated vegetable oil by January 2021!) Other places you may find trans fats are in margarine and butter substitutes. Use the real stuff folks just in moderation! Or look into avocado and sunflower oils!
  5. Eat more Soluble Fiber!
    1. Soluble fiber is going to help reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Examples of high fiber foods are brussels sprouts, apples, citrus fruits, oatmeal, barley, beans, peas, & lentils (all great FFCs to work into your meals if you follow 2Bminset)
  1. Drink your Superfoods
    1. Wondering how the heck you can balance getting in everything I just listed above? How about by drinking a yummy shake everyday!? I drink a daily vegan superfood shake that has a dense focus of everything listed above PLUS more like pre-and pro-biotics that help aid in a balanced tummy. Want information on how to get this shake? Send me an email and I will be happy to hook you up!
  2. Drink Alcohol in MODERATION
    1. I won’t lie to you this one was tough for me and I still am not the best at it, BUT I have cut back how much wine I drink during the week and focus on having a beverage only 1-2 days out of the week.
  3. Slim that waistline!
    1. If you do 1-7 you will most likely see your weight drop (I would be surprised if you didn’t!) Carrying extra pounds is a direct link to higher cholesterol levels, but note this is not always the case. Even if you are within your BMI bracket for your height you could still have high cholesterol. My grandmother was a very tiny woman and she still had high cholesterol. Always talk to your doctor about what a healthy weight for you is.
  4. Quit Smoking (if you do!)
    1. I am not a smoker but grew up in a household with both parents who smoke. There are a million reasons why you shouldn’t smoke, but if lowering your cholesterol is the reason that will get you to stop I wanted to throw it on the list!
  5. DRINK MORE WATER
    1. So this isn’t directly linked to lowering your cholesterol BUT it is going to help you lose weight, flush toxins, cut cravings, and fight hunger sooo might as well be linked to it! You should be drinking half your body weight in ounces daily.

I do have to note that I am not a certified nutritionist or doctor so always consult your doctor when changing your diet or exercise routine, Changing your diet may not always be enough and there are medications out there to help regulate your cholesterol if it ends up not being enough, but these are the steps I took to lowering my cholesterol so I wouldn’t have to go on a medication and it WORKED! So before you jump to pills try making changes to your life and build better habits!

Top 10 ways to STAY HEALTHY during the Holidays

The holidays are the hardest time of the year to stay on track with your health and fitness goals. It’s cold and dark outside so you’re more inclined to stay in bed, there are goodies and treats EVERYWHERE you look, and your social calendar seems to be over booked!

It doesn’t have to be this way though.. I’ve got 10 tips for you on how to keep focused, stay on track, and not let those holiday pounds creep up on you once again this year!

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#1 It’s not “ALL OR NOTHING”

Moderation is the key to success over the holiday season. It’s not about being 100% restrictive and missing out on all the joys of it being the holidays, but a little bit can go a long way! You don’t need to stuff yourself silly on thanksgiving, and how about just a taste of desert instead of a plate full. The trick is at a holiday meal fill half your plate with veggies so there is only a quarter left for carbs and protein (that you probably top with gravy)

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#2 WATER FIRST

The holidays are definitely a time where the amount of nights you drink and how much will probably increase, so just don’t forget the golden rule of water first and water most! you should drink half of your body weight in ounces of water daily. Drinking water will not only fill you up but it will also help ease the pain of those pesky hangovers, that only get worse with age. You will thank me tomorrow for that one!

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#3 Get moving with your friends and family!

Plan a fun activity that get’s the whole family involved!

  • Flag Football
  • Take a walk around the block
  • Get everyone up for a morning yoga session
  • Break out the Wii for some Dance Dance Revolution or Bowling!
  • Laps around the mall on Black Friday
  • Heck do some squats with the frozen turkey while you’re in the kitchen!

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#4 Offer to bring a healthy dish!

Always check with the host to see if you can bring something you know is on your plan, doing so will not only make you seem like a gracious guest but it will help you make better choices while at a dinner party and put you in control! It will also give you a chance to share what you have been doing to look so dang good!!!

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#5 Slow Down!!!!

It’s not a race my friends, take time to eat slowly and enjoy your company. Engage in conversation and enjoy the meal and every savory morsel for what it is! Eating slower is also going to help you notice when you are actually full. When you eat quickly we tend to not notice once we are full and over eat.

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#6 Don’t slack on your workout routine!

I know it’s cold and I know it’s dark earlier, but the more you get out of your routine the harder it will be to get back in after the holidays are over. Also working out is a stress reliever and we all know even though the holidays are fun and enjoyable they can also be stressful with traveling, deadlines, and family drama. So take time yourself and sweat it out, remember your why and your goals you want to achieve and keep reaching!

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#7 Write it ALL DOWN and start a food journal

If you don’t do it already start a food journal, there are tons of free apps out there or even just in the notes section of your phone! You will be shocked by all the nibbles and snacking that you may do throughout the day. It will also help you notice what is working in your diet and what is not throughout the holidays.

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#8 Challenge yourself and your family!

Everyone loves a little competition especially if its a sibling or cousin rivalry, so sign everyone up for a local turkey trot or challenge them to a game of  football or soccer outside! See who can reign supreme year after year at one event making it a new family tradition!

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#9 Treat yo-self

That’s right I said it! Don’t deprive yourself of the good stuff or you will be more inclined to binge at some point. Enjoy a little here and there and just make up for it on other days by sticking to your routine, diet, plan, whatever you are following! You can also try out some new recipes that are maybe a healthier alternative so you don’t feel like you are over indulging.

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#10 Stop stressing over the small stuff!!

This time of year can be very overwhelming or emotional for some people so don’t let the scale be one more thing to add to that pressure. Live your life with an open mind, full heart, and lots of love! Food and your body are not the enemy so don’t let them be. Think of all the things you have to be grateful for this season and write them down… Then I want you to read through them each morning to remind yourself what life is all about and all the things you can be grateful for.

What I am grateful for…

  • My family and friends
  • Matt
  • My health
  • My tribe and accountability partners
  • The roof over my head
  • The food I’m able to eat
  • My ability to laugh and smile
  • All the opportunities that have been opened to me

 

XOXO,

Carson