Welcome to another entry in my Frugal Grit series. Caution: hardcore behavior change ahead.
Well, better late than never. Hello, I am finally back with my health report update. Just in case you’re new, back in June I posted some very grim cholesterol results. Now, don’t be mistaken, this is a frugal blog, not a health focused site. However, heart disease runs in my family and let me tell you, open heart surgery is expensive. Unfortunately, I got to witness this first hand from my Dad. That poor fellow has numerous cardiac issues due to poor cholesterol. And the medical bills that follow poor cardiovascular health can destroy your wealth building ability.
I have personally seen hard working self-made individuals lose their financial independence simply because they didn’t have the means or the technology to be proactive in tackling their crappy health situation. I do not want us to be affected by this tragic act.
Personally, my fear is that I will spend all my health trying to gain wealth, then waste all my wealth just to gain a little health. I do not wish to spend the golden years of my life living below the poverty line. Moreover, I wish to retire early and keep my wealth earning on auto-pilot with passive income while I live a long life of doing more, giving more and living more.
Cholesterol Stat Review
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor am I qualified to give any medical advice. This post is me sharing health discoveries. That’s it. Now that I have that out of the way, let’s talk about results. As a reminder, the screenshot below is where I started.
- Status Note:
- Total = Mod Risk for heart disease
- LDL = Mod Risk for heart disease
- HDL = High Risk for heart disease
- Triglycerides = Mod Risk for heart disease
Those stats above were frightening to me because I am a thin guy in my early 30s who ate moderately healthy and exercised 3 days per week.
Change in mindset
After seeing the stats above, I made some drastic changes in my diet. Keep in mind, I only committed to this diet during the week. During the weekend, I relaxed a bit and gave in to my cravings. This is because I knew that if I introduced too much change at once, I would fail.
I have found that long periods in between milestones causes me to become anxious and even fatalistic. I like most humans, like instant gratification. And seeing progress every 90 days keeps me motivated.
A Harvard Study backs up my sentiment,
“Not Systematically Planning For and Creating Short-Term Wins
Real transformation takes time, and a renewal effort risks losing momentum if there are no short-term goals to meet and celebrate.
Without short-term wins, too many people give up or actively join the ranks of those people who have been resisting change.
Creating short-term wins is different from hoping for short-term wins. The latter is passive, the former active.
When it becomes clear to people that major change will take a long time, urgency levels can drop. Commitments to produce short-term wins help keep the urgency level up and force detailed analytical thinking that can clarify or revise visions.”
So I will continue to test my cholesterol levels every 90 days and report back on my progress.
Change in Diet
Monday thru Friday, here is what I removed from my life:
- Any type of fast food
- No more than two cups of coffee.
- Any type of sugar (aside from a little organic honey in my tea).
Additions to Diet
- Breakfast: Shake 2 cups of organic kale, 1 cup of raw gluten free oatmeal, 1 banana, 1 cup of coconut milk, a splash of water.
- Lunch: leftovers from the weekend batch cooking session (a future article will explain this in detail). This normally consisted of a veggie soup with beans, or a chicken breast with a healthy dose of butternut squash, celery served over quinoa.
- Dinner: See lunch
- Snack: Homemade Gluten Free Oatmeal Flax seed bread
In a Future post I will share the recipe
There were variations to my lunch and dinner meals to mix up the taste. But the base of the items were the same to ensure I was receiving enough protein and calories. For the specific reasons as to why I introduced the changes, see the first post in this series here.
I also introduced Intermittent Fasting. This was for self-control reasons. I found that when I was hungry, I was more likely to eat sugar or junk food when I was on the road for work. There are some funny things that your body goes through when you go 12-14 hours without food. Purposely going this long without food a few times per week, gave me the willpower to say “no thanks” when I was tempted by horrible food options during the week.
A few notes, I have cleared myself of the high risk level for my HDL Cholesterol! I am very happy about this milestone. I am making progress. This is not all good news though. My triglyceride levels have gotten worse. From my research, this may be due to the amount of Coconut milk and coconut oil I consume. Coconut milk and Coconut Oil are both very high in saturated fat. Saturated fat can increase triglyceride levels.
There is still much work to do
These new stats have helped me feel good about the progress I have made. To improve my triglyceride levels I am going to increase cardio workouts swap coconut milk for almond milk and reduce the amount of coconut oil I use in my homemade bread.
In a few months, I am going to take another test and see if I continue to make progress. I will keep everyone posted on the results. Please have a happy Thanks Giving!