Saturday, November 2, 2013

By the numbers

The paleo shelf in my pantry.

Hey, everyone! Remember way back in August when I did a little check-in and mentioned that I had my annual physical coming up? And I promised to share the results? Well, they're in and here I am!

First of all, there have been a few dietary changes since August. I've finally managed to kick my shameful Starbucks soy latte habit! YES. I can't claim I won't cave and have one while traveling, but here in my little hometown when I'm just off to appointments or errands or kid shuttling or whatever, I've been planning ahead (a constant supply of cold brew in the fridge helps) and making my own damn lattes with coconut milk and a little stevia or maple syrup. SO much better.

And also I've cut WAY back on my alcohol consumption. I'll wait while those of you who know me well pick yourselves up off the floor. There you go. You'll be okay. Yeah, I had been drinking at least 1-2 drinks EVERY NIGHT between dinner and bedtime and that was kind of stupid. It started as a self-medication kind of thing, you know, unwinding from the stress of my day so I could sleep. But lately I've found that I handle stress much better than I used to, and I sleep MUCH MUCH better when I don't drink than when I do. Not to mention that I was sabotaging all my clean eating efforts during the day with that crap, stressing out my liver and whatnot. So yeah, now I am down to seriously like ONE drink every 7-10 days, if that. Do I miss it? A little bit. But I'm grateful my dependence on it is/was psychological rather than physical. I drank because I liked the way it made me feel. It doesn't make me feel that way anymore, so I (mostly, kind of) quit. No brainer.

So yeah! Feeling pretty good about both of those changes. And feeling pretty good about how my physical went, too. (Insert disclaimer about how I'm not claiming these results are typical or desirable, your mileage may vary, yadda yadda.) Let's get right to those numbers, shall we?

Height: 5'5"
Weight: 122 lbs.
Waist: 27.5"
BP: 108/68

Let's talk about those for just a sec. In the spring/summer of 2012 I set a weight-loss goal, with my goal weight being 120 lbs. I've already written about losing the weight. It was a desire to maintain this weight loss without too much effort, calorie counting, butt-busting exercise, etc. that led me to the paleo diet in the first place. Since going paleo at the beginning of the year, my weight tends to fluctuate between 117 and 122 lbs., depending on the scale and whether I'm fully clothed (as I was at this doctor appointment).

Before I lost the weight last year, my waist measured 32 inches. I reached my goal weight in September 2012, and my current waist measurement in December 2012 (after adopting a modified paleo diet but still eating small amounts of grain occasionally). So my waist measurement has remained exactly the same for the past 11 months. I do use a standing workstation most of the time and try to work functional movement into my day, but really, I think that is AT LEAST 90% due to my diet. Which means it's been damn near effortless. I'm not claiming to be special because of that, I'm just saying ... PALEO DIET, you guys. I wanted to maintain my weight loss and it appears to be working.

On the blood pressure front, I've always been a 110/70 kind of gal, but over the past couple of years, as I gained the weight, I started creeping up more into the 120/80 category. I thought maybe it was just an age thing. I don't know enough about blood pressure to know the details of what causes it to go up and what doesn't, but I know my mom was a bit worried about the amount of sodium in my diet (now that I snack on jerky, pork rinds and nuts instead of pretzel sticks, chips and peanut M&Ms) and it would appear that it's not an issue, at least as far as my blood pressure is concerned. Very pleased with 108/68.

Okay, but you want to know about the lipid panel, right? Because that's what my dad was worried about. Here it is:

Total cholesterol: 192
HDL: 91
LDL: 90
Triglycerides: 53
Risk ratio LDL/HDL: 0.99

So. Let's talk about THOSE numbers. The last time I had a lipid panel was three years ago. Since that time, my total cholesterol has gone up 37 points. I know that sounds kind of alarming, but hey, my total is still under 200! It was CRAZY low before. I've been doing a lot of reading lately about how high your cholesterol actually should be for neurological health, and whether or not "high" cholesterol is even an indicator for heart disease like it's been thought to be (for more info, I refer you to David Perlmutter's Grain Brain and to Jonny Bowden & Stephen Sinatra's The Great Cholesterol Myth), but either way I'm happy with 192, and so is my doctor.

Three years ago my HDL was 69 and my LDL was 72. So like most Americans, my LDL was higher than my HDL. Now they're more or less equal, and from what I've read, that's better. Also, they're both still within "desirable" ranges according to conventional medical wisdom. No complaints there.

In 2010 my triglycerides were 68. So that came down 15 points. Not too shabby! Docs want to see triglycerides less than 150 mg/dl, so I am sitting at about a third of that. I'll take it.

They tested bunches of other stuff too, of course: glucose and sodium and protein and whatnot, and I'm happy to provide those numbers if anyone is interested. Just leave a comment or shoot me an email and I'll respond. The only thing on the whole panel that fell outside of desirable ranges was my potassium, which at 5.6 meq/l was a bit high. Not sure what that's about but I've read it can be due to dehydration. I drink a lot of water, but who knows? I was fasting that morning; maybe I didn't drink enough.

So yeah. Those are my results after nearly a year of paleo. So far it looks like I've managed not to kill myself by eating this way, yay me! And I just plain FEEL better since eating this way. I mean, if this diet got me to give up (mostly, kind of) alcohol, you know shit is real. I'm going to stay the course.

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