A high cholesterol level can often be quite intimidating to deal with, given that it puts you at risk for further complications. However, with a resolve to opt for a healthy lifestyle in 2023 with a few proven weight loss tips, you can manage and control the extent to which this impacts your life. Undoubtedly, this resolution will come with its fair bit of challenges. However, none of it is impossible, and with great discipline and patience, there is nothing that you cannot achieve.
Table Of Contents
- What’s the deal with cholesterol, anyway?
- Good cholesterol, bad cholesterol
- Important numbers
- Cholesterol, and women
- Cholesterol screenings for women
- Proven tips for weight loss
What’s the deal with cholesterol, anyway?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is either manufactured by the body or absorbed from the food you eat. With its presence in every cell, cholesterol exerts its importance by facilitating the creation of key hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, and Vitamin D. It’s also important during the fat digestion process, due to the fact that it is utilized to make bile acids in the liver. The amount of cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream determines your cholesterol level in totality. This includes low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL).
Good cholesterol, bad cholesterol
The LDL component of cholesterol is considered bad, whereas the HDL component is labeled “good cholesterol.” VLDL is a precursor to LDL. LDL tends to attach itself to various crevices, such as the lining of arteries, leading to an inflammatory response, which converts this to plaque, thereby making blood vessels stiff and narrow. With a lack of flexibility and space, LDL essentially functions in a way where blood flow to crucial areas is restricted. This can lead to high blood pressure, with pieces of it breaking free and leading to a heart attack or stroke. This entire phenomenon can begin in your 20s if due attention is not given.
You want to avoid high cholesterol levels at all costs. In order to do so, there are certain numbers of which you must be aware. Your ideal LDL levels should be less than 70 mg/dl and HDL levels should be around 50 mg/dl. If your total cholesterol levels are far below 200 mg/dl, you’re in a good space.
Cholesterol and women
If you’re here, it means that you’re either suffering from high cholesterol levels, or you’re doing preventative research. Either way, you should know that you’re not alone. Erin Michos, M.D., who is the associate director of preventive cardiology at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease, has stated previously that nearly 45% of women who are over 20 years old may have elevated cholesterol levels, without even knowing about it. In fact, Michos is quoted to have said that as per a survey by the American Heart Association, about 76% are unaware of their cholesterol levels.
Additionally, women are often at risk of developing high cholesterol levels due to many factors, but menopause plays a huge role in this scenario. Being mindful of your health becomes all the more pertinent, especially due to the fact that even if you have experienced good cholesterol levels throughout the course of your life, menopause can shift the narrative, potentially elevating these levels. Other factors will also come into play, of course.
Cholesterol screenings for women
As a woman, you must be regular with scheduling your medical check-ups. If you’re someone in your 20s, you should schedule a cholesterol screening at least every 5 years. However, if you suffer from any risk factors for heart disease, you should go for check-ups far more regularly. Monitoring cholesterol levels after menopause at regular intervals is also vital, with screenings recommended every 1 to 2 years for women between the ages of 55 to 65. If you’re older than that, you should have your cholesterol checked every year.
Proven tips for weight loss
The following guide will walk you through some tried and tested methods that have proven to be beneficial for women with high cholesterol levels who are trying to opt for a healthier lifestyle. With consistency and discipline, you can transform the way you enter 2023.
1. Know what to eat
One of the first tips to keep in mind is to alter your diet. You want to reach for food items that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like certain types of fish and nuts. This is because these food items do not impact your LDL cholesterol, while being extremely nutritional, and providing benefits like a decrease in blood pressure. You should also eat food that is higher in soluble fiber, such as apples, beans, and oats, given that this helps in reducing the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed into your bloodstream. You must also choose food that is low in saturated fat, such as lean cuts of meat without the skin, alongside unprocessed sources of protein. You can also load up on fruits and vegetables, with the exception of white potatoes.
2. Know what to avoid
Ideally, you should be reducing your intake of saturated fats, such as those present in red meat and full-fat dairy products, as they are guilty of raising your total cholesterol level. Trans fats, which are often found in cookies, margarine, cakes, and the like, mask themselves as “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” and must be eliminated from your diet. You should also cut back on food that is high in salt and sugar, alongside fried food items. All of these work in a way that is unhealthy and non-nutritious, almost always leading to weight gain.
3. Incorporate physical activity into your everyday routine
Should your medical professional allow this, make sure you incorporate some form of physical movement each day in your routine. You can choose something you love doing, like maybe yoga or swimming, and you can even include your friends in the process. This is simply because a fair amount of physical activity can increase the amount of good cholesterol in your system. If you feel like you can’t find the time in one go, break up your exercise into short intervals, and make the movement of any kind a priority.
4. Develop a relationship with your food
When you form a bond with your food through habits such as reading labels, cooking at home, and measuring quantities, you’re in more control of your intake. You can also control your portion size this way, by swapping out your big plates with small ones. Additionally, you can change the way you snack after developing a better understanding of ingredients and quantities, switching to lighter, more nutritious food items on which you can munch. Similarly, when you’re highly in sync with what you can and cannot consume, instances, where you eat out with your friends, won’t end up becoming problematic, given that you’ll always look for food that benefits you, regardless of where you are.
5. Cut back on smoking and alcohol
If you quit smoking, you’re actually doing your body a huge favor. You’ll see results within minutes, given that 20 minutes into quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate mellow down after a rise caused by the cigarettes. Within months, you’ll feel the benefits manifest in various ways. Your HDL cholesterol levels will also improve. With alcohol, you want to cut back, simply because it’s non-nutritious and leads to weight gain. You can still drink in moderate amounts, but you should remember that consuming alcohol in high amounts can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, and strokes.
6. Track your progress
Tracking your progress will help you keep numerous factors in check. By creating a physical map of your eating habits, activities, and emotions related to these elements, you can work out potential problem areas that can be addressed. The Healthi app is great at tracking your progress in a plethora of ways, doubling as a meal and activity tracker, and a food journal.
7. Watch your coffee intake
The research on this goes back years and can be bewildering. For example, a 1997 research indicated that the amount of caffeine in coffee is not what impacts cholesterol levels. Instead, the naturally present oils in the coffee beans can tamper with the same. However, a 2016 study indicated that higher cholesterol levels are, indeed, associated with coffee consumption. The best way to move forward would be to keep your coffee intake in check. Knowing exactly how much you can consume, alongside the kind of coffee that is best suited to your condition.
8. Stay consistent
The process can be long-winded, but it’s absolutely essential. Be patient with the journey, and show yourself kindness throughout. As long as you’re giving it your absolute best each day – keeping in mind that your absolute best will differ from moment to moment – you’ll find yourself benefiting greatly due to these proven weight loss tips. You must also understand that you’re doing this for the long haul. You don’t want to be consistent till you see results and then quit. Making this a lifestyle is the best way to go into the whole process.
To conclude, use this guide to help you maneuver through your weight loss journey, making sure you’re entering 2023 with a fresh attitude and the undying drive to be and do better.