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Lab Results

LoseFatNotFaith's picture

Today's Run: 3.0m / 4.8km
Run Time: 26:27m (8:49/mile or 5:48/km)
Total Miles to Date: 678.7m / 1,092km

Thoughts on the Run:

I'm glad that I took a break last week. I slowed down my fast runs, skipped a run and took a shorter "long" run. The result? When I hit the treadmill today, I felt great. No stiff knees or tired joints, just a fast, hard run. My daughter then played some tennis with me downstairs afterwards. We threw on a CD upstairs and danced around for awhile ... a lot of fun.

I received my lab results. It was very interesting and changes my game plan a bit.

Here is the breakdown.

Cholesterol was 177 overall. This is great and well within limits. One concern people have with my nutrition is that I'm not afraid of fats. They still mistakenly believe that fats cause cholesterol. I believe that surplus calories, especially in the form of carbohydrates, cause elevated serum cholesterol. In other words, if you are maintaining or losing weight, consuming fats (yes, even those evil saturated ones) shouldn't be of major concern (I wrote about this in Fat Unhealthy Lies). I've been consuming things like whole eggs, heavy cream, all-natural bacon, dark chicken meat, etc for almost a decade now. Again, don't take this as "this proves ..." etc, it doesn't, it only shows what happens to ME specifically. I have family history of high blood pressure and cholesterol so having normal blood pressure and lower cholesterol was great.

The LDL level was 109. Optimal is less than 100, but the next tier is 100 to 129. I'm going off traditional numbers, not the new artificially altered guidelines designed to increase the sale of cholesterol-lowering medications. So that's well within level. Even if it was high, I wouldn't be as concerned as the medical community. People get up in arms at this but I'm just listening to a different set of doctors who share that we may have our notions backwards when it comes to cholesterol. I'll let you read and decide for yourself.

What was interesting was HDL. The medical community used to suggest 35 as an optimal level, now it's been adjusted to 40. Mine was 35. It's definitely low.

Of course the doctor was quick to suggest that I "start an exercise regimen." LOL. Doc, I think I have that one covered! There are just a few ways to raise this cholesterol (very few medications do it and I wouldn't consider them unless there was some other serious condition that warranted it).

First, exercise raises it. Been there, done that.

Second, weight loss tends to raise it. There's an area I could definitely work on. I'm at 215 right now. I'm comfortable at 199 and shredded at 180 so there's a lot of room to pay with (I was well over 245 at my heaviest). I've been eating healthy but not counting calories and exercising, but the weight hasn't budged. I think I know why ... but that will be covered in a minute. So, here is one variable to play with.

The third, and most ironic, is alcohol. Moderate alcohol consumption raises healthy cholesterol levels! The key is that the levels rise even when consumption is small. Not a prescription for heavy drinking but something to consider. Perhaps instead of abstaining completely until my race day, I should re-integrate the occasional glass of wine and bottle of beer?

My triglycerides were borderline high at 167. We'd like to see them less than 150, "high" is 150 - 199 so I'm not in the danger zone. However, I know exactly why these were elevated. I've been eating too many of the wrong carbohydrates. A little more white pasta than whole wheat, bread when I should be getting grains, starches when it should be vegetables. So that we can attack.

The most interesting finding, and the one that caused concern, was my thyroid. My mother has hypothyroidism and is on medication for that. My levels were borderline low ... definitely at the low end of the range. Now, I'm going to let the doctors do their tests and let me know but based on what I know, I'm guessing there are a few factors at play.

1. Genetics ... that is always a major factor
2. Soy consumption ... I've been very strong in my opinion that soy consumption is fine, but now my hormone levels are low and it is a possible culprit. I'll be the first to say, "My mistake" if I discover a connection. However, before I explore the soy link, I am more interested in the ...
3. Caffeine consumption ... yes, seems strange, but there are lots of anecdotal reports and even some doctors who believe chronic, high caffeine consumption can lead to suppressed thyroid and similar symptoms.

So in this one, I'm taking a two-phased approach. First, I'm cutting back on caffeine. I'll be the first to admit I go overboard (I figure, if I'm going to have a vice, why not one that is calorie-free?) So I have lots of cups of coffee. So, it's back to one cup max per day and then some caffeine from green tea but that's it. We'll do that for awhile and then if it doesn't have a positive impact, explore cutting out soy as well. I'll keep you posted and it will be interesting if I have to change my views on this!

So ... that's it in a nutshell. To manage my calories, I almost always turn to Diet Power. It has always led me to my goal weight within a pound to the day. It is amazing software and you can search my journals, blogs, and articles on the site to read more about how it has positively impacted me.

This time, however, I'm going to use a free tool called FitDay. Unlike Diet Power, it does not automatically adjust calories based on your progress and activity. This is what makes Diet Power so powerful. However, FitDay allows me to publicly share my journal so I can give you a link every day to see my nutrition. Because I know my calories and have experience with what Diet Power does automatically, I'm going this route and sharing my journey with you.

So, the plan is to start a baseline of 1800 calories. That seems low to a lot of people but with my slower metabolism and the fact that I keep detailed journals and know how I was successful in the past, this is the right baseline. I'll add 100 calories per mile on days I run. So if I plan to run 3 miles, my calories will be 2100. If I have a long run of 20 miles, my calories will be 3800. This will even out my weight loss with the fuel I need for my runs.

We'll make adjustments if I don't see the desired changes. I don't know when I'll go back for more testing or when I'll draw another full profile but I'll keep you posted with everything!

Have a blessed day,

Originally Posted: Lab Results 

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2 Comments

shantihhh's picture
Genetics ... that is always a major factor for sure according to the medical community-so we do all we can to compensate for "bad" genes if they exist. You must be quite tall at
Ganesh.Dutta's picture
yes running is very useful for us because its helps lower blood pressure by maintaining the elasticity of the arteries. As a person runs, his or her arteries expand and contract more than usual, keeping the arteries elastic and the blood pressure low. In fact, most serious runners have unusually low blood pressure. Running also helps maximize the lungs’ potential, as it keeps them strong and powerful. While deep breaths force the lungs to use more tissue, the 50% of normally unused lung potential is utilized. Even smokers can sometimes recover full lung potential through running. Finally, running strengthens the heart and helps prevent heart attacks. The large muscle exercise it provides helps keep the cardio system efficient and strong. In fact, the heart of an inactive person beats 36,000 more times each day than that of a runner, as running keep the arteries open and the blood flowing smoothly