guest post: know your numbers.

18 Dec

Hi everyone! As you may know, I am participating in the blog challenge #Elf4Health.  Today’s challenge is to “share your expertise” so I thought a guest post swap would work well for that.


Samalee Allen, who blogs over @ Life from the Center of the Pie, is sharing her expertise on my little corner of the web and it’s all about debunking cholesterol numbers (and I am guest posting for her about how to become a spin instructor)

Without further ado, here’s Samalee…

“Ms. Allen?”


“I have the results of your recent blood work. All is normal.”


“Yes. Have a nice day.”

”WAIT! I need to know what those numbers are.”

“Would you understand what those numbers meant, if I told you?”

“Yes! See, I’ve been working really hard for a long time and want to know if it paid off.”

“Your total Cholesterol is 177 and your TSH is 1.96.”


When you’ve struggled with with lousy, high cholesterol all of your adult life…

When 1/3 of your momma’s heart doesn’t work due to a major heart attack…

When the average weight for everyone on the maternal-side of your family is at 200+ lbs…

When you’re genetically predisposed to high cholesterol…

When your grandmother and bio-dad died of heart disease…

…you want to know your numbers!

Let’s Break Down the Numbers

know-your-numbers numbers

source: Google Images

Cholesterol is a fatty substance manufactured by our liver. Lipoproteins are fat and protein vehicles that transport Cholesterol. There are several kinds of vehicles, but we’ll keep to the 2 major types everybody talks about, LDL and HDL.

LDL (low-density Lipoprotein) – the wheelbarrow transporting cholesterol to the vessels and arteries.

HDL (high-density Lipoprotein) – the Amtrak transporting cholesterol out of the body

An easy way to remember which is which:

LDL = “Lousy”-density Lipoprotein (eL-evating the risk for heart attack)

HDL = “Healthy”-density Lipoprotein (hauling-out the risk for heart attack)

The average healthy person should have an LDL of <200, even better to have <130. For those who have risk factors (genetics, heart disease, obesity, smoking, hypothyroidism, fatty diet and an inactive lifestyle), the good doctors desire to push the LDL numbers down below 100. This is really a hard feat without the help of meds, nutrition and fitness working together. The target HDL of an average healthy person is >60. If the HDL number is lower, this increases the risk for heart attack.

My Experience with the Numbers

My total Cholesterol has been over 260 since my early twenties when it was tested. I am genetically predisposed for high cholesterol, but helped to keep it high with my poor nutritional choices. And, at some point, my thyroid decided to stop functioning efficiently. The thyroid aids in ushering out the LDL. Mine wasn’t doing it’s job. So, three years ago I started taking Levothyroxine (Synthroid) to keep my thyroid active and hoping to bring both thyroid and LDL numbers down. Still, the numbers remained unhealthily high.

When the doctor decided to ward off the potential for a heart attack, he prescribed Atorvastatin (Lipitor) and I cried like a baby. I felt like a failure and a geriatric. I now refer to my meds as “vitamins.” Again, there was little change in the LDL numbers, even while being semi-active.

December 1, 2012, through prayer I felt like God was encouraging me to go on a partial fast eating only fruits, veggies, nuts and whole grains while avoiding animal proteins and sugar. Not easy for a couple of weeks. Then, on December 18, my husband suffered a heart attack…about the time of the arrival of my Forks Over Knives cookbook. I watched the documentary by the same name in the Critical Care Unit at Vanderbilt Hospital as Terry slept.

The church where we attend was focusing on a 40-Day Prayer Challenge. One of my prayer “seeds” is to receive healing from this lifelong battle with lousy, high LDL…even if God has me work for it!

Jan 2010: Total Cholesterol 336, LDL 250, TSH 11.45

Mar 2010: Total Cholesterol 313, LDL 225, TSH 6.18

May 2011: Total Cholesterol 339, LDL 256, TSH 3.47

Sep 2011: Total Cholesterol 250, LDL 173, TSH 6.12

Feb 2012: Total Cholesterol 207, LDL 130, TSH .92

Mar 2013: Total Cholesterol 177, LDL 98, TSH 1.96

So, what brought my numbers down?

I am convinced that without spiritual intervention, my numbers wouldn’t have changed so dramatically. I continue to pursue healthy, nutritional choices with plant-based foods on a daily basis and consuming meat only once-per-month. Consistently, my fitness includes 2-3 hours of cardio (including Zumba), each week, and recently adding light weight training. And, I still take my “vitamins.” It is my prayer to be taken off the cholesterol drug although my age (50 in June) and the odds are against it. I believe in God’s odds as my prayers are being answered and my numbers finally reflect a change!

Thanks, Samalee! Go check out her blog — Life from the Center of the Pie.

Let me know — what are YOU and “expert” at? 

2 Responses to “guest post: know your numbers.”

  1. samaleeallen December 18, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    Thanks, Gillian (my fellow #elf4health)! I’m thankful for the team-up! Now, let’s go have a Merry Christmas!


  1. #elf4health week 4 in review. | That's G - December 22, 2013

    […] respective areas of expertise.  I posted about how to become a spin instructor, and I published her post all about de-coding your cholesterol […]

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