Challenge Time. That’s right! December is going to be fun. Coach Demitrius is currently in his second month of the “Junk Food Challenge” and is doing exceptionally well. Along with over 100 of our fans he has made the commitment to better his diet and inspire others. I too have been inspired and have decided that it’s about time I challenge myself and battle one of my demons. My cholesterol!
Three years ago I saw my physician for a routine checkup. He went through his normal routine and everything checked out o.k. Before I left they drew some blood to send off to the lab. It seemed routine and I was not worried about it one bit. Then I received a call a couple weeks later. He informed me that my cholesterol levels were “High” for someone my age. I was shocked. How was that possible? I have been an athlete all my life. I just spent nearly 5 years in the Marine Corps. (We exercised a lot!) I still sustain a moderate level of physical activity. I’m only 26 years old and I maintain a fairly healthy diet. It didn’t make any sense to me. My Doc suggested that I start attending “Heart Smart” classes. “I’m not doing that,” I told myself. I’ll cut out my rare and random trips to the fast food joints and that should be enough.
Well…… It wasn’t! About a year later I went into the lab for more blood work and guess what? Yep, you guessed it. Blood Cholesterol levels were still high. And to my amazement they actually went up. Let’s fast forward about 2 years to this past July. (5 months ago)
Different Doctor, same results! Except for this time the number was the highest it has been in the last 3 years. “Are you kidding me,” I told myself. I have cut out fast food, cut way back on fried foods, I’ll have an occasional steak, and I work out several days a week. I have also been supplementing with fiber tablets and fish oil (omega-3). Well it wasn’t enough. The new Doctor informed me that the synthesis of cholesterol in my body was more than likely hereditary. Now the Doc is recommending that I take Lipitor (a cholesterol lowering medication) in order to get my levels in check. Well, I refused. I don’t want to take some pill for the rest of my life. I’ll just do more to finally take care of this issue.
So the past 5 months have been similar to the last year. I don’t eat fast food, I’ll occasionally eat fried foods and red meat, I still supplement the fiber and fish oils, and I still consume a lot of what I considered to be “lean cuts” of meat. And….If I’m being honest with myself. I doubt the number is going to budge much if I continue down this path. I have since started to consider the Docs recommendation. Should I take the Lipitor prescription?
NO!…….And thus the challenge! Demitrius and I recently watched Forks Over Knives with our families. In this documentary there were several subjects who not only increased their overall health, but decreased their cholesterol levels significantly by adhering to a whole foods plant based diet. In one instance a subject lowered his by over 100 points in about 6 weeks. Well…..here we go! Let’s give it a try! If this is what it’s going to take to ensure that I stick around throughout my later years then so be it. I’m going to start by challenging
myself during the month of December and then hopefully I can make the
transition thereafter. I have listed my challenge goals below:
My cholesterol levels back in July were in the 250‘s. According to the American Heart Association: A person with this level has more than twice the risk of coronary heart disease as someone whose cholesterol is below 200 mg/dL.
My goal is for that number to be greatly reduced when I go and get it rechecked around the first of the New Year. I also hope that my body undergoes a change both internally and in its appearance. I am doing this for Health reasons but I am also eager to see the physical results. Therefore, I have taken a before picture. I will share it with you now and will hopefully have good results to post in a month when I share the after picture and results of my blood test.
My wife is also taking part in this challenge. She weighed herself and took before pictures yesterday as well. I will update you and share her results at the end of the month. I also wanted to share with everyone two pictures of my new best friends for the month of December!
I wish all of you who are undertaking this challenge the best of luck. Keep us updated on your progress and let us know how you do. No one said that it is going to be easy, but I can assure you that come the end of December we will be better because of it.
(Be sure to get your Doctors recommendation before undertaking a whole foods plant based diet)