August 23, 2023

Wednesday Weigh-In: Week 117 (and other stats)

Holy smokes! My heart feels so full of love and kindness from the comments on yesterday's post, and I can't tell you how grateful I am to have connected with so many of you. I've had a lot of amazing opportunities come my way since I started Runs for Cookies, but nothing compares to all of the friends I've made (whether online or in person). I don't just mean that in regards to yesterday's post, either. It's kind of mind-blowing to me how one little portion of my life (losing weight in 2009-2010) led to making friends all over the world.

I have some exciting numbers to post today, and I'm not referring to my weight (although I'm happy with that). I had my annual lipid profile done a couple of days ago! First, though, my weigh-in:

I was at 131.0 last time (two weeks ago), and my weight was at 129.8 today. So, I'm down 1.2 pounds and this time, I know it wasn't due to feeling overwhelmed. During my week away from the computer, I ate regular, healthy meals and it felt great to get back to a good routine.

I still haven't had any sweets--I think it's been about a month now?--which is totally unlike me. However, I *know* that if I do eat something sweet, I'm going to start craving more big time. I even made some peanut butter brownies today for my mom's birthday and I asked Noah and Eli to taste test them for me.

In the past, if I decided to forgo dessert, it was because I was trying to save on calories. Now, it's entirely based on the fact that it makes me crave sugar so much that I end up giving in--over and over. I don't think there is anything wrong with eating dessert now and then if I can control it, but I hate dealing with the cravings that follow.

Anyway, I was very nervous to get my lipid panel done; I have to get it checked every year for health insurance purposes. Last year, I'd been eating vegan for about nine months and my numbers improved. But this year, I've continued eating vegan and I felt like the bloodwork would be an accurate gauge of how my diet has improved my health (or not).

Background: Several of my family members have high cholesterol. And for the 20 years I've been having my cholesterol checked yearly, my total number has been high. My doctor has always said it's fine because I have an abnormally high amount of HDL ("good") cholesterol--it's always hovered between 90-100-ish. Every year, my doctor would write a note for the health insurance company stating that my risk of heart disease was negligible, and that the total is high because the HDL is high. (The insurance company charges a premium if your total cholesterol is high.)

When my total cholesterol hit a high of 285 a couple of years ago, I started looking more closely at the individual HDL and LDL ("bad" cholesterol) numbers. And when I saw how high the LDL was (173), I knew that the HDL wasn't going to out-benefit that number. It was scary-high.

I started a vegan diet January of 2022--and that was solely due to ethical and environmental reasons. I hoped my health would benefit, but that didn't play a part in my decision (if it had, I would have started eating vegan a long time ago). I know that my diet isn't "the norm"--especially in my family.

I never say anything about my diet unless someone asks, and I always hope that no one mentions it when I decline food at a get-together. I certainly don't expect people to cater to my diet. I don't want to feel like I have to explain my choices to people who have their minds set on what they perceive is the ideal diet. (It's kind of like when people ask why I don't drink. I'm usually the oddball for not drinking and if I explain why, they usually say something like "I could never do that". I don't ask people why they drink or why they eat meat--it's a personal decision for everybody.

When I get the questions/statements about "Where do you get your protein?" and "I could never eat that many carbs and lose weight", I don't bother to explain because they've already made up their minds that my diet is not healthy. (I actually eat more protein now than I ever did when eating meat and dairy. And I eat a LOT of carbs--rice, pasta, beans, bread--I love them.)

Even though I'm vegan for reasons other than health, I still want to be healthy. So, I was nervous about my lipid numbers. If they hadn't improved, I would maybe start to wonder if my diet isn't as healthy as I think it is. I want *proof* that I could, in fact, lower my cholesterol with diet alone.

I've always wanted to get my total number under 200. It has NEVER--not once--been under 200. Even in 2016, when I was at my lowest weight and running the best I've ever run, my total cholesterol was 226.

Since I became vegan, I stopped counting calories and focused on eating more fiber and more nutrient-rich foods. I haven't been running (which isn't a good thing, I know, but I only mention it because it won't have affected the numbers). Basically, I was hoping that getting my test results would give me proof that my diet is working well for me.

Finally, the numbers (compared with my numbers from before eating vegan)...

Total cholesterol (ideal is less than 200): 196! ("normal" for the first time ever). Down from 285.
HDL ("good"; ideal is more than 40): 95 (up from 92)
LDL ("bad"; ideal is less than 130): 92 (down from 173; the ideal is less than 130)

It's crazy to me that my LDL went down SO drastically. My doctor also ordered a test for my iron and ferritin, a CBC, and a basic metabolic profile. Last year, when I learned that the symptoms that had been bothering me for YEARS were likely from iron deficiency without anemia (low ferritin, borderline-low iron), I was desperate to get my ferritin level up. I was so tired of being freezing cold all the time and my ice chewing habit was out of control (I was eating the equivalent of a gallon of water a day in ice). Yes, it's ironic--freezing cold, but craving ice.

A few months ago, I started taking a high-dose iron supplement (vegan *and* easy on my stomach!) and I really hoped it would work to get my ferritin up. Last year, it was at an 8... and the normal range is 11-307 (ideally being over 100). My symptoms went away really quickly, so I was sure it was working. When I had it checked a couple of days ago, it was at 39. Still on the low side, but definitely an improvement from 8! I'm going to continue taking supplements and hopefully I'll get it up higher.

All of that aside, all of my numbers were in the "normal" range. I was actually kind of giddy when I got my results, haha--it was very validating to see that my choices are working well for me.

Thank you again for being so supportive and nice and understanding and just... wonderful. xo


  1. Yes, I HATE explaining what I eat/don't eat and why. You've already decided that whatever I answer doesn't work for you, so don't bother asking. Its very annoying. I usually don't say a word and don't ever even bother telling people because then its either "why do you do that" or really helpful make a special dish for one person. I don't like the attention. I eat what I want, just like everyone else.

  2. I am hosting a pool/birthday party Saturday. I decided to order pizza and asked for pizza favorites. I actually had a relative tell me I couldn't get pizza where I was going to because theirs is not soy free. I was SHOCKED! Bring your own damn soy free pizza. I'm so bad.
    Congrats on your numbers, that is a big deal! I had a friend pass away from a stroke yesterday...way too young, only 44. I looked up the causes and she had probably all of them. It was definitely a gut punch to look at my health.

  3. WOW!! This if fabulous. Congratulations on all the things. Big hugs too.

  4. Congratulations on your numbers they are fantastic.


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