OK, it's time for another update. New blood numbers from last week (8/21) -- about 18 weeks after my previous comprehensive update.
This round has components of good, bad, and ugly. It's the first update where I haven't had huge improvements to brag about, too.
First, the good! My cured diabetes stayed cured -- A1C remained rock solid at 5.2, prompting my doctor to reduce my last diabetes med (metformin) from 500mg twice a day to 500mg once a day.
The bad? My weight loss has stalled completely, at a level that's still much too high for good long-term health. Using the clinic weights (including clothes and considerable pocket contents) I went from 358 to 364, a slight gain. My own numbers are more chaotic, showing me having bounced around between 351 and 360 (endpoints) with lows as low as 347 and highs up to 366.
And now, the ugly: my blood lipids numbers have mostly gotten worse, where they were formerly improving (remember that I am also on a small dose of a statin):
Total Cholesterol: 195 (up from 126)
LDL Cholesterol: 130 (up from 71)
HDL Cholesterol: 31 (up from 29, only one still improving)
Triglycerides: 169 (up from 130)
Perhaps "ugly" is too strong a word; these are not ugly numbers, and they remain uniformly better than before I started eating plant-based. But the arrow of change points robustly in the wrong direction. Ugh.
One potentially confounding factor is that I had some weird symptoms in early August, and spent a week or two not taking any meds in order to see if I was having side effect issues. So that may have affected my blood lipids at the time of the lab. I won't worry unduly until my next lipids panel in three months.
However, when combined with the lack of ongoing weight loss, I'm not content to rest wholly upon comfortable excuses. Last update I noticed slowing weight loss and wrote about changes in my diet, including minor blemishes in the oil-free program relating to buffet eating and free refreshments at casinos, as well as a shift toward more breads and (more often than "rarely") some peanut butter. This time around I would say that I'd made great strides in sharply reducing (not quite eliminating) the peanut butter, but a few more nuts crept in elsewhere. The free ice cream I said last time was no temptation has been sometimes slipping into the bottom of my coffee cup, nor did the cocoa stop doing so. Breads I have managed to sharply reduce, compensating with more potatoes. Though I didn't notice it at the time, I think I may have become less fanatical/suspicious about inspecting buffet foods for oily sheen, when it's foods that shouldn't have oil anyway. And another thing, possibly relevant, was a shift in how I eat my signature mixed grains; for quite awhile this summer when fresh fruit was most plentiful and cheap, I was making the mix with more brown rice (and less of other, more fibrous grains like spelt and kamut and rye and oats) and eating it mixed with cut fresh fruit (rather than my savory bean mixes as formerly).
Resolutions going forward, which may or may not be successfully implemented, include:
1) put more chewy grains (especially oats) back into my grains mix;
2) eat just a bit less fruit (winter will force this anyway);
3) drive the last nail into the coffin of the peanut-butter habit (difficult, as an active jar used by others is always within my field of view in the kitchen);
4) strive for an Esselstyn-like level of zealous zero tolerance for adding dairy/oil adulterants to my coffee cup when drinking free coffee in casinos (not gonna be easy; "it's just a tiny bit!") or switch to tea, which is easier for me to enjoy as-is.
5) shift my habits when eating out still yet further along the spectrum from "possibly oily but looks OK" to "clearly and verifiably oil-free". (I've already been making progress here, by finding more ways to enjoy eating the clearly oil-free items -- salad bar cut raw veggies, baked potatoes, rice still in the steamer -- so that I'm less tempted by the beans and cooked veggie items that ought not, but so often do, have oil. Basic strategy: better improvisation of flavorful toppings and dressings using safe condiments.)
Absent from this list are "get more exercise" and "eat more sensible amounts at more sensible times" -- not because these aren't essential goals (they are) but because they are unchanged from previous reporting periods, and I was achieving good weight loss and blood numbers despite my problems in these areas.
So, work to do and backsliding to avoid. But I'm not demoralized in the slightest; I'm still vastly healthier than I was, enormously happier with the way my body functions and serves me, and delighted to be on just a few, ever-diminishing, $4.00-generic meds.
Just read your amazing story mixed grains.....terrific and inspiring to see how well this WOE works. Any updates lately??/ thanks Dlee