Creeping Cholesterol and Burgeoning Blood Sugar

This is me! While recent bloodwork did not show any anomalies that might contribute to the fatigue I’m currently experiencing, it did show my cholesterol and blood sugar levels edging higher. Although these afflictions are not a foregone conclusion in midlife, I have to face the fact that at 55, being a couch potato with an affinity for crunchy, salty things (fries, potato chips, etc., etc.!) is catching up to me!

And in this, I suspect I am not alone. Much of what I have read about health at menopause cites ways to either overcome or prevent these symptoms as well as the ‘middle-aged spread’ that is often both cause and culprit of them. Not to mention the serious health issues to which they can lead – heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

This is also not the first time I have had this warning. The same thing happened eight or nine years ago. At that time, I tweaked my diet, which is quite healthy on the whole. I started walking daily and lost fifteen pounds. The numbers improved and I have kept the weight off, so all was well, I figured.

Except that, in recent years, my walking habit has become sporadic, and for the last six months nonexistent. Cooking for one, and a lot of time travelling has been a hit to healthier eating as well. Being honest, a degree of complacency had set in.

Time to get back on track!

I consider myself lucky that I am not yet at the point where medication is required. My doctor would rather that I try to get my numbers under control with diet and exercise once again, for which I am grateful. It requires more of me right now but will be preferable in the long run. However, I will, of course, accept his counsel and his prescription if it means preserving my health.

For now, he has given me a written recommendation to try the Mediterranean Diet – not quite a prescription, but darned close. This diet seems to focus on lots of fruit, veggies, legumes, healthy oils and lean/low-fat protein. It also looks to be in line with many general recommendations for healthy eating that we see on the News or the Internet every week. Nor does it appear to be too much of a stretch from my current menu of chicken and fish, each twice a week, as well as a meatless Monday.

So again, I will adjust – take out some of the beef and pork (bye, bye bacon!!), add in some more beans and pile on the vegetables and fruit. There is even a regular allowance for wine, if you choose - my kind of diet! The hardest part will be making better choices when I eat out. A gourmet burger lounge five minutes from home, plus the ready availability of battered fish here will surely test my resolve!

The Doc also asked me to get active on the regular again. So, I have eased back into walking, slowly and gently at his recommendation. However, I go almost every day and am up to at least half an hour. Some days the pace is unbelievably slow – think a herd of turtles stampeding through molasses – but I do it.

I have a follow up to re-do the blood work after three months and am hoping that the effort I put in, will pay off once more. Everything I have learned highlights the fact that it becomes more difficult to lose weight at this point, especially that spare tire, and I also have a low thyroid working against me on this.

So, if I can get my metrics going in the right direction (down!), I might just be a bit more conscientious about making these good habits stick this time!

If you’ve had success in beating the Midlife Midriff, I’d love to hear any tips, tricks or hints you’d like to share!

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