Welcome to our healthy lifestyle challenge lead by our program dietitian Vicki Bovee and her husband, Bill. Because we can always do better to live a healthier lifestyle Vicki and Bill decided to work on a weekly challenge together to provide support and accountability for each other and hopefully inspire you to make healthy changes. Follow along with them as they tackle a variety of challenges to eat better, eat more mindfully, and improve physical health and emotional well-being. Vicki and Bill invite you to participate and accept the challenges to improve your lifestyle too. Some of them may be difficult and please feel free to modify the challenges to accommodate your dietary needs and physical abilities.

Challenge #32 TLC for heart health
High blood cholesterol can affect anyone. I should know because I have high cholesterol. Thanks Mom and Dad for dealing me the bad lipid card. My lipid panel was always acceptable until menopause. After that, my cholesterol level crept up. I don’t smoke, I maintain a healthy body weight, I exercise almost every day, I eat a healthy diet and I limit saturated fats. Every time I went to see my PCP he wanted to prescribe statins. I wasn’t too keen on taking a med. But about a year ago at my visit, my blood cholesterol went up to 256 and then he didn’t give me the choice. The only thing left for me to do was eat oatmeal every day and that wasn’t going to take care of the problem. So now I take Lipitor daily and that has taken care of my high cholesterol levels. I still work hard every day to maintain my weight, exercise, and eat healthy because I don’t want heart disease. I just had my lipid panel done and all was fine and I will continue to take my prescription medication.

How do you manage your blood cholesterol levels whether or not you have the bad lipid card? Well, you cannot change your age or gender but you sure can work on your weight and diet. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has a heart healthy eating plan called Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes, or TLC. The TLC diet, which is endorsed by the American Heart Association, calls for:
• Less than 7 percent of your daily calories from saturated fat
• Less than 200mg cholesterol per day
• 25-35 percent of your daily calories from total fat (includes saturated fats)
• Diet options you can use for more LDL lowering
o 2 grams per day of plant stanols or sterols
o 10-25 grams per day of soluble fiber
• Only enough calories to reach or maintain a healthy weight
• At least 30 minutes of a moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking, on most, preferably all, days of the week

As you would expect, this challenge required us to keep a food record. How else would we know if we were meeting the guidelines listed above? My results were:
• Less than 7 percent of your daily calories from saturated fat √ I averaged 4%
• Less than 200mg cholesterol per day √ I averaged 90mg/day, range 56mg – 154mg
• 25-35 percent of your daily calories from total fat (includes saturated fats)√ I averaged 22%/day, range 22%-32%
• Diet options you can use for more LDL lowering
o 2 grams per day of plant stanols or sterols- I didn’t do this
o 10-25 grams per day of soluble fiber √ I averaged 11g/day, range 6 – 20
• Only enough calories to reach or maintain a healthy weight √ I averaged 1633/day, range 1478-1829
• At least 30 minutes of a moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking, on most, preferably all, days of the week √ I averaged 37 minutes of walking/day, range 0–75 minutes

Vicki’s observations:
•  My dad took Lipitor and ate whatever he wanted, i.e., lots of junk food. He figured if he took a pill he could eat whatever he wanted. He did live to the age of 92 but I wouldn’t recommend his approach.
• I was able to keep my cholesterol below the recommendations because I didn’t eat any eggs this week. I like eggs, especially for breakfast on Sunday. We had oatmeal with blueberries and chopped walnuts instead. I know I don’t want to stop eating eggs but I do limit them to 2 to 3 a week.
• Ever since challenge #2 way back in July to limit cheese, my cheese consumption has gone way down. We seldom eat red meat, I use low fat dairy, and I don’t eat fried foods so I don’t have any major sources of saturated fat in my diet.
• My total fat intake was low but that’s because I have been eating low fat for a long time. The kind of fat you eat is important. I avoid the saturated fats and include the heart healthy fats. I cook with olive oil and avocado oil. We do use butter but most days we don’t even eat it.
• Even though I have no problem meeting my total fiber goals (challenge#27) I have never taken the time to distinguish between soluble and insoluble fiber. I was able to eat the amount of soluble fiber on most days by eating oats, berries, apples, and bananas.

Bill’s observations:
• Life happens and it happened to me during this week. My close friend and business buddy had a heart attack and passed away. I went back to Chicago for services and didn’t keep my food record while I was there. I also didn’t really focus on the challenge before I went because I was too busy with handling our business dealings with his passing.
• I did keep the food record for the first three days of the challenge but I was too distracted to look at what I was doing. I found that I ate way over on my fat and sugars grams each day. This probably came from eating too much peanut butter for lunch and my nightly helping of ice cream. The peanut butter is not a regular part of my diet BUT everyone knows I don’t miss my ice cream often.
• I do much better when I keep my food record. I better get back to basics now that my life is getting back to more normal.

U.S. News & World Report rated the TLC diet #2 in the categories of best diets overall, best heart-healthy diets, and best diets for healthy eating. NIH has a complete guide that explains why cholesterol matters, determining your heart disease risk factors, treating high LDL cholesterol, and more detailed dietary and exercise information. To improve your health download a copy here TLC diet guidelines

Next week Bill has withdrawal and I am enjoying the silence.

Eat Smarter…
Vicki Bovee, MS, RDN, LD

Want to catch up on what you’ve missed?

The road to success is always under constructionhttps://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-weekly-lifestyle-challenge/
Challenge #1 Eat everything sitting down. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-weekly-lifestyle-challenge-week-one/
Challenge #2 Eliminate cheese as an ingredient. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-two/
Challenge #3 Walk sideways in your home. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-three/
Challenge #4 Include a fresh herb in your daily meal plan. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-four/
Challenge #5 If there is food in your mouth there should be nothing in your hand. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-weekly-challenge-week-five/
Challenge #6 Eat the MyPlate recommendations for fruits and vegetables. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-6/
Challenge #7  Stand (and walk if possible) while talking on the phone. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-7/
Challenge # 8 Don’t eat out of the package. Put your food on a plate or in a bowl. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-8/
Challenge # 9 Keep a food record. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-nine/
Challenge # 10 Power down while eating. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-10/
Challenge # 11 Eating to reduce inflammation. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-11/
Challenge # 12 Eating to help our environment. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-12/
Challenge # 13 Switch it up. https://www.westernbariatricinstitute.com/?p=2576
Challenge # 14 The road to success is still under construction. https://www.westernbariatricinstitute.com/?p=2583
Challenge # 15 Little bites. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-15/
Challenge # 16 Drink your water. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-16/
Challenge # 17 Count your chews. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-16/
Challenge # 18 The 100 Bite Diet. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-18/
Challenge # 19 Start your day right. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-19/
Challenge # 20 Holiday moves. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-health-lifestyle-challenge-week-20/
Challenge # 21 Limit TV time. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/limit-tv-time-wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-21/
Challenge # 22 The Paleo Diet: Eat Like a Caveman. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/eat-like-a-caveman-wbi-weekly-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-22/
Challenge # 23 Sweet dreams. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/sweet-dreams-wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-23/
Challenge # 24 What color is your plate? https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/what-color-is-your-plate-wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-24/
Challenge # 25 Six month reflections https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/six-month-reflection-wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-25/
Challenge # 26 Retro-walking. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/retro-walking-challenge-26-of-our-healthy-lifestyle-challenge/
Challenge # 27 Gimme a high fiber https://www.westernbariatricinstitute.com/?p=2861
Challenge # 28 The Half Plate Rule https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/the-half-plate-rule-challenge-28-of-our-weekly-healthy-lifestyle-challenge/
Challenge #29 Feel Good Week https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/feel-good-week-challenge-29-of-our-weekly-healthy-lifestye-challenge/
Challenge #30 Try one new healthy food a day https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/try-one-new-healthy-food-a-day-challenge-30-of-our-weekly-healthy-lifestyle-challenge/
Challenge #31 It’s a stretch https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/its-a-stretch-challenge-31-of-our-weekly-healthy-lifestyle-challenge/