High Cholesterol - Making Lifestyle Changes
3. Measure how your health has improved
Before you make lifestyle changes, ask your doctor
to write down your cholesterol levels for you. You may also want to record your blood pressure and your weight. Then, as you make changes and have your cholesterol level, blood pressure, and weight checked again, you will begin to see improvement.
4. Prepare for slip-ups
One Man's Story:
"I've learned to not beat myself up [when I slip up]. Instead, I refocus on my plan and get right back to eating healthy food. What keeps me going is the results-I've lost weight, my cholesterol's getting better, and I feel younger every day."-Joe
Read more about how Joe is controlling his cholesterol.
It's perfectly normal to try to change a habit, go
along fine for a while, and then have a setback. Lots of people try and try
again before they reach their goals.
What are the things that
might cause a setback for you? If you have tried to make lifestyle changes
before, think about what helped you and what got in your way.
thinking about these barriers now, you can plan ahead for how to deal with them
if they happen.
Here's one person's list of barriers to taking a brisk 30-minute walk every day, along with some possible solutions:
"I might be too busy."
- My backup plan will be to break my
usual 30-minute walk into two 15-minute walks or three 10-minute walks.
"I might get bored."
- I'll listen to music or a podcast
while I walk.
- I'll get my neighbor to walk with me.
"It might rain."
- My backup plan will be to use an
exercise DVD or a treadmill in front of my TV when the weather's bad.
personal action plan(What is a PDF document?) to write down your barriers and backup plans.
will be times when you slip up and don't make your goal for the week. When that
happens, don't get mad at yourself. Learn from the experience. Ask yourself
what got in the way of making your goal. Positive thinking goes a long way when
you're making lifestyle changes.
- Positive Thinking: Stopping Unwanted Thoughts
4. Get support
more support you have for making lifestyle changes, the easier it is to make
You can use this
personal action plan(What is a PDF document?) to organize your support system.
Tips for getting support
- Get a partner. It's motivating to know that someone is trying to make the same
lifestyle change that you're making, like being more active or changing your
eating habits. You have someone who is counting on you to help him or her
succeed. That person can also remind you how far you've come.
- Get friends and family involved. They can exercise with
you or encourage you by saying how they admire you. Family members can join you
in your healthy eating efforts. Don't be afraid to tell family and friends that
their encouragement makes a big difference to you.
- Healthy Eating: Getting Support When Changing Your Eating Habits
- Quitting Smoking: Getting Support
- Join a class or workout group. People in these groups often have some of the same
barriers you have. They can give you support when you don't feel like staying
with your plan. They can boost your morale when you need a lift. You'll also
find a number of online support groups for people with high cholesterol.
- Give yourself positive reinforcement. When you feel like giving up, don't waste energy feeling
bad about yourself. Remember your reason for wanting to change, think about the
progress you've made, and give yourself a pep talk and a pat on the back.
- Get professional help. A
registered dietitian can help you make your diet
healthier while still allowing you to eat foods that you enjoy. An exercise
physiologist can help design an exercise program that is fun and easy to stay
social worker, or your doctor can help you overcome
hurdles, reduce stress, or quit smoking.