Getting healthy isn’t just on the outside

Part 7 in my series about my journey to a healthier and fitter life

Cholesterol is going down!

Getting healthy isn’t just about looking slimmer or more toned and muscular, it is also about what is going on, on the inside. Back in 2019, I was not only overweight – I was in dangerous territory with a number of potential issues. Firstly I was categorized as being morbidly obese (Class III) – this is where you have a BMI of >40. My doctor was concerned. Coupled with this, my health numbers, especially my cholesterol levels were also at dangerous levels – basically I was heading for a stroke and/or a heart attack.

BMI categorization of obesity

In 2016, my mum suffered a series of strokes, yet it took me 3 years and my doctor being brutally honest with me to wake up and sort myself out. Before that my maternal paternal grandmother had also suffered strokes. I was heading in that direction!

If you have been following my series, you will recall that 2019 was the year of reckoning. I had to take charge of my health. It started on 31st July 2019. I didn’t want to go on medication for my cholesterol issue, instead I wanted to do this a more natural way – changing my diet to a plant based diet. So I was given 4 months under supervision of my doctor to see how this worked out. In November 2019, my numbers had moved in the right direction. By February 2021 (before I really got serious about exercise), I was almost in the standard range (under 200 is considered standard).

You will also know, that I do put a lot of stress on numbers – be it the scale, the labs or my workout stats – combined together it gives me focus on what I need to do to keep the numbers going in the right direction. Not all my numbers are doing well, my gender, age and the menopause impacts my vitamin levels – I am on the low end of the Vitamin B12 and am deficient with Vitamin D. For these I have started taking supplements, as my diet (even though I try to pick foods with high amounts) is not able to help increase this naturally.

In September of 2021, I realized that just because I was eating plant based, that alone wasn’t going to get me to where I NEED to be in order to be healthy. It was at this point that I started taking my exercising seriously.

I deliberately put off my annual exam for 2022, as I wanted to hit a weight milestone. However, this milestone just wasn’t happening, so rather begrudgingly, I made my appointment for July 2022. The really cool thing about the medical team I am under, is that my results come back to me very quickly – literally the same day! I was getting notifications less that 8 hours after my bloodwork was done. Not all results are in, but my key ones arrived. And after being rather anxious, so far my results are all looking good!

As you see in my first pic, my cholesterol is now in the “standard range”, still room for improvement, and I need to continue my efforts to keep it coming down. But for me, doing it “naturally” by changing my lifestyle has become my priority.

Next was my weight. And although I hadn’t hit a personal milestone, my doctor was happy to report that I have lost a substantial amount of weight and dropped from Class III to Class I obesity. This for me was a bag of mixed emotions. I really wanted to be out of the obesity range. However, I am doing all the right things to get me to my normal range, I just have to “keep doing what I am doing” (in the words of my doctor).

Having the numbers available to me will help me set goals. My next appointment is with my gynecologist – I am in menopause (in fact I may be post-menopausal), and this may be “hampering” my journey. Once I get more information, I will have a complete picture and will be able to set a path continuing my success.

My weight loss has slowed down significantly, and while my doctor has advised me to not focus wholly on this, she recognizes my frustration, and agrees that a consultation with the gynecologist is a great idea. I am hoping that I will be out of the obesity range by time I visit my gynecologist in October – something to work towards.

All this is on me. If I want to reduce my chances of getting a dangerous illness or disease, I need to take my health seriously. And that is exactly what I am doing.

I may not yet be the “picture of health”, but I am working hard to push myself, both with my exercise and my diet.

This past Sunday, while frustrated with the lack of movement on the scale, rather than taking that frustration out on a Chinese Takeaway, instead I took it out on my Peloton bike – and was rewarded with a new PR, beating my old one by 10kj – doesn’t sound a lot, but any improvement is good!

Beating my previous record

So although my scale isn’t doing much, I am committed to continuing to do all these great things, and make sure that not only on the outside, but on the inside too gets healthier each year.

When did you last have an annual check up? Even if you are “fit and healthy” – having a check up helps to makes sure your lifestyle is working for you, and you can work with your health care professional to get to where you need to be.

Thank you for reading my blogs – this was a short one, but I hope it helps you recognize the importance of the whole picture of you health – inside and out

Published by laurah66

Born and raised in England - moved to the US in 1998 - traveled all over. Animal lover, love to knit, write. Enjoy music, cooking, and since 2021 I have changed my lifestyle to include exercise as a priority in my life. I believe in humanity

One thought on “Getting healthy isn’t just on the outside

  1. Keep going Laura… I hear you!
    I’m filtering your journey and doing my own at the same time.
    It’ll be four years no cigarettes on Sept 22… From x2 bottles of wine a night to 3-4 single drinks in 6-8 weeks. Walking and running between 8-16kms a day.
    After getting engaged in Xmas day and seeing my photo. I weighed in and committed. 10.7kgs down, 14kgs to go!
    I hear your struggle with figures…
    One thing I also struggle with, so I now regret not taking measurements!

    Feels good to be healthier though huh? 💗

    Liked by 1 person

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