From the Blog

A Resolution, Of Sorts

I dislike New Years resolutions. I don’t think the concept of resolution in itself is bad. I get irritated with the hype and the commercialization. Like, you can’t hope to improve yourself without spending money at a gym.

And you do need to improve yourself. You couldn’t possibly be just fine the way you are. There is certainly something wrong with you somewhere, and you ought to be ashamed. But buy this breakfast shake! Go gluten free! Buy this suite of organizational products! Eat this obscure berry! Buy a treadmill!

So I may be repeating myself because I’ve written about this before. Anti Resolutions and the Gaping Void (2011), and, No, Again On The Resolutions (2012).

But, okay. Last night, I made roasted chicken. I got some rosemary, lemon zest and some butter and I smeared it on the bird. I cut up potatoes, parsnips and celery and put them in the bottom of the roasting pan. As the bird roasted, the butter and juices from the chicken dripped down onto the veggies. I wondered if there might not be enough liquid to keep the veggies from getting scorched. But I shouldn’t have worried. The bottom of the pan was soaked with drippings, buttery, lemony, rosemary-y. And it was good. The veggies were delicious. It was a labor intensive, but enjoyable treat.

Early this morning, I was up in the middle of the night, and I thought about that meal. I served it, so I was the one to scoop the potatoes and parsnips out of the pan. The pan was a pool of grease. Enjoyable grease, but grease nonetheless. The veggies were soaked with butter and fat. I couldn’t sleep, and I thought about that meal for a long time.

And I swear, as much as this might surprise you, I am not always a rational person. Especially in the foggy depths of the wee hours, when I ought to be sleeping, but my hamster brain scatters around with buzzy energy. I thought about that meal and I swear, I had heart palpitations, thinking about that grease. I thought about fatty plaque in my arteries. I thought about that cold, yellowy fat you find on a raw chicken, and how that fat was now taking up residence in my irregularly beating heart.


A few years ago, I had my cholesterol tested. And it was a shock. The number was shocking. I think it was 284. I was in my late 30s at the time. My cholesterol was waaay too high, and I was waaaay too young. I’m not one of those people who has naturally low cholesterol. I have to work to keep it low.

That year, it was 2010, we went on a cholesterol reduction diet. Basically, I stopped eating fried foods. And cheese. And anything with lots of animal fat or lots of saturated fat. I took fish oil pills and ate lots of oatmeal. We sort of reduced portions also, because honestly, there was less fun food to eat.

By the middle of 2010, I had lost over 20 pounds. I wasn’t really exercising, because exercising sort of sucks. But I had my cholesterol tested later in 2010, and it had dropped 60 points. It felt like VICTORY!

But even with a fairly strict diet, my cholesterol was still well over 200 points. So I’m just one of those people. I’m going to be one of those people who has to work SUPER FRICKEN HARD to keep my cholesterol down.

The roasted chicken dinner last night, and those veggies. I thought about it for a long time.

So I suppose this is a resolution, but really, it’s more a public declaration: I’m going back to that low cholesterol diet. I’m fucking doing it. I’m going to pick the cheese out of salads. I’m not going to eat fried food. I’ll get the fat free creamer for my coffee. I’ll take fish oil and flax. I’m going to eat so much goddamed oatmeal, it will be like my bottom system is going to the gym. Take THAT, 24 Hour Fitness!

It would be nice if I lost weight, but that will be a side benefit. I’ve done this before, and I know it worked. It wasn’t easy, and besides the weight reduction, it’s hard to know if I’m “succeeding.” But I have to do this. I can’t have gobs of chicken fat in my arteries.

I don’t believe in wooy bullshit, like there will be some sort of reaction from the benevolent universe to help guide my efforts. But I do believe in making intentions public, so that I have to explain myself if I don’t live up to my goals. I’m telling YOU this, the internet YOU, my friends and family YOU, the random stranger YOU, that I am embarking on this low cholesterol management diet, and YOU have complete license, nay, RESPONSIBILITY, to ridicule me if I fail.

I’m fucking doing it.


  1. The cheese industry would really take a hit if I had made this resolution. I would say ‘good luck’ but it’s not luck here, is it? So happy slaving to your cardiovascular health!

  2. Beckyjopdx says

    Hrm. Have you got to a more updated doctor regarding this? I’d check your animal fats facts a bit. IMHO. And some other stuff. Just a thought. Perhaps, since you’ve got DH’s insurance, get a few more opinions? I think your doc is severely dated. Like the kind of doc that thinks you can get iron from spinach sort of dated. Is dangerous.

  3. Beckyjopdx says

    Sorry. None of my business.

    • Thanks, Becky. I haven’t talked to my doctor about cholesterol since the second test, when I had dropped 60 points. So, over two years ago, I think. We didn’t talk about diet so much. I basically tried to eat healthy. It wasn’t under a prescribed plan.

  4. Yay! I think it’s a great decision. It’s a lifestyle change. I’m trying here too. More veggies and exercise. Less fried/fatty foods.

  5. I should stipulate: No cheese, EXCEPT for parmesan, in small quantities, which is essentially a spice anyway. Amirite?

  6. Uh, what Becky said – specifically I’d ask about the relationship between dietary fat and the impact it has on your own cholesterol numbers. Recent studies have dismissed the idea that eating a diet high in saturated fats leads to high cholesterol, fyi, and I’m also way suspicious of the extra added chemical goodness (or higher sugar counts, for example) that often accompanies ‘fat-free’ products.

    Why do I say this? I lowered my own cholesterol 30+pts (from 200ish to 169) in part by eliminating ‘heart-heathy’ polyunsaturated oils) and veering sharply in the direction of saturated fats – butter, bacon, animal fats, etc. Your chicken meal sounds right up my alley, frankly. But of course, YMMV…

    BUT I will also add Becky’s caveat as well. And finish with this – anything that you tackle with the goal of being healthier is awesome, of course!

  7. Yeah, I don’t usually go for non-fat substitutes of high-fat food. I just use less of the real stuff, or none at all.

    I’m basically going tried and true: Oatmeal, fatty fish, flax, red wine, etc, and cut back on fried food, cheese and fatty meats (cheese burgers, etc.)

    I’ll read up on new studies, since we learn something new all the time. But I know I can go with what works while studies are replicated and the results are proven or disproven.

  8. i truly and enthusiastically wish you luck and success on this jjourney. every fucking day i say i am NOT going to indulge in excess sugars and/or cookies. and 6 days out of 7 i fail. (the one day i succeed, i have such a blinding headache, i eat a bag of cookies the next day in self defense). but. each day i renew the vow. i am hoping eventually it will become part of my very essence.
    seriously though, success to YoU!!

  9. Beckyjopdx says

    I mean well. I have a healthy fear and mistrust of statins. An outdated doc/nutritional advice will keep your numbers high and an outdated doc could suggest statins. I only speak up because I care. B-out

  10. Good luck, Heather!

    Do stay in touch with your doctor to monitor your numbers, but if you have a program that you know works for you, then I say go with it! Doctors aren’t always that up on nutrition, and even when you find one that is, it’s an ongoing process as a individual to figure out what’s healthiest for you.

    Happy New Year!

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