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Kicking And Screaming Burn Calories

March 1, 2016

Have you ever seen a small child throw a fit? I mean a truly epic fit. Pounding on the floor with their fists, kicking their legs, screaming until they’re red in the face, and then screaming some more. That looks like a workout.

I think I’ve solved my problem.

The truth is that it’s been so long since I cared about my personal health that I no longer feel guilty indulging in a chicken skin snack before dinner, or grabbing a spoonful or three of ice cream out of the freezer whenever it strikes my fancy. And besides an increasingly rare set of pushups before hopping into the shower, the thought of exercising hasn’t really crossed my mind for the past couple of years.

Now I have to come up with a plan. Because yesterday I went to the doctor, and while I’m in surprisingly good health considering my irresponsible diet and shocking disinterest in exercise, my cholesterol numbers need to come down.

Fortunately, from a diet and exercise perspective, the only way to go is up.

Yes, I could just take a pill. But you should know by now that I’m a stubborn piece of work. Before I succumb to a lifetime of medicine, I’m going to spend six months to see if there’s an alternative. And to do that, I’m going to take some drastic steps. Steps that promise to make me even grouchier than I am already.

Will I still eat crappy food? Sure. On occasion. But the pace of that eating will slow down. My health isn’t so bad that a heart attack is an imminent threat. I’m fine. I just need to make some changes so that I’m here for a long time to come.

So I scoured the Internet pulling out all the little tidbits of things to do to lower your cholesterol, naturally. For the most part I took out the supplements, although there is one that sounded interesting. But I’m wondering if you’ve heard of something different that’s not on the below list. Because why shouldn’t I crowdsource my way to better health?

As far as I can tell, the two best things I can do are:
1) Exercise
2) Lose 10 pounds

While I may want to throw a fit every day, I think I’m going to try alternating YouTube yoga for beginners with Xbox dancing video games. Believe it or not, I do love to dance. But you’re never going to get me on a dance floor because I just become a big sweaty mess. And I hate sweating. Maybe this will be the year that I get over it.

Ten pounds is a lot to lose. In fact it’s probably too much. I think I’d look sickly ten pounds lighter. Eight pounds would bring me down to my high school weight.

The less sensible plan involves mucking around with the foods I eat to optimize my diet for reducing bad cholesterol levels. My good cholesterol is fine. Some of those ideas are:

More fiber (minimum 25 grams of dietary fiber per day) from oats & beans
More sardines & herring
More olive oil
More nuts, especially walnuts
A clove of garlic a day
An avocado a day
Whey protein
Red wine
Black tea
Dark chocolate
Four egg yolks per week maximum
Cook with canola, safflower, sunflower, olive, grapeseed, and peanut oils,
Colorful fruits and vegetables
Avoid refined sugars and grains
Remember, fat is better than sugar
Season foods with turmeric, coriander, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and ginger

That’s probably going to be the easy part. The harder part will be limiting the foods I love, like:

French fries
Fried chicken
Bacon & Sausage
Ice Cream
Cured meats

None of the sources online listed gravy as something to avoid, but I’m guessing that’s just an oversight and gravy is on the “do not eat” list as well. Donuts too.

I’m going to have to start thinking about portion sizes again. And I’m going to need to figure out the balance between eating heart healthy foods, exercising more, and losing weight. Because if I ate all those things on the good list, I’d be a big fat pig.

The saddest part is that I wanted to grab a deep fried hamburger with a new friend this month. Maybe if I throw a big enough fit, I can burn enough calories to justify the hit. But I think that’s back to being a once a year indulgence. And this year, I think I’m going to save it for after the next round of blood work.

It’s fine and good to look after your health so you can live a long and healthful life. But it’s also important to have something to live for. Family, is probably the popular sentiment. A deep-fried hamburger is more tangible.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 1, 2016 11:09 am

    If you hate to sweat start swimming – it’s a great workout, you have some time to yourself, and you get to blow bubbles – all good for the soul, too. And you can do this until you’re really, really old, like me. (:

  2. Sue H permalink
    March 1, 2016 1:17 pm

    Dan, it sounds like you have a great plan. I started my resolution of being more mindful of what I eat as well and I’ve been exercising on my exercise bike an hour daily. It has made me feel better. Actually eating healthier makes you feel better when u get use to it. I haven’t lost much but feeling better. I eat meatless a lot of days and lots of greens and veggies. I know you can get your numbers down without medication and should. Those mess are so not good to take.

  3. March 1, 2016 7:48 pm


  4. March 2, 2016 12:03 am

    Well, I was in your shoes about a year ago. I haven’t been yet to my annual checkup, so I don’t have test numbers to see what impact the habit changes hath wrought on my bloodwork. Habit #1 was getting more exercise, I was a half step above catatonic before. So, I even went to physical therapy to fix some pain that I was having so I could start lifting weights n’ stuff. Once I had that habit (thanks to the 2x weekly PT, it was easy to commit to gym time on my own after), time for Habit #2. I decided to collect data on my diet, so I started tracking my food intake. Just tracking, not trying to set a weight loss/calorie goal. For 2 weeks I collected that data. So, I had a baseline of what kept me at this weight. And I calculated a mild deficit of calories, and try to stick to that. I noticed that I was loading up on starches and sugars, then fats, then protein. I also was missing out on a lot of micronutrients, especially vitamin c and a. So, now habit #3 – eat more veg and fruit to get micros and fiber. As that is going well, I’m now adding habit #4 – at least 100g of protein per day. I lift, and eat to fuel that, so my weight is still pretty high, but I’ve lost 4 1/2″ on my waist, 3″ on my hips and about 1″ on my upper thighs, AND I’m getting better sleep, have more energy, and feel better in general. I’m super curious to see if my triglycerides are better now.

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