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High Cholesterol (cont.)

Making Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes are important to help control high cholesterol, especially if you have other risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

Even if your doctor has prescribed medicine for you, you may still need to make changes at home to lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk. Some people can even take less medicine after making these changes.

What changes do you need to make?

Photo of a man

One Man's Story:

Joe, 61

"The walking was the easy part for me. I get out every evening for a walk. The food part took some thought. Each week, I added a food that was good for me and took something away that was bad for me."—Joe

Read more about how Joe is improving his cholesterol by making one change at a time.

Make these lifestyle changes to help lower your cholesterol:

Eat healthy foods

Making healthy eating habits a part of your daily life is one of the best things you can do to lower your cholesterol. Your doctor may recommend that you follow the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet. The diet's main focus is to reduce the amount of saturated fat you eat, because saturated fat raises your cholesterol.

Click here to view an Actionset.High Cholesterol: Using the TLC Diet

If you have questions about which diet to follow, talk to your doctor.

For more information about food and high cholesterol, see:

Lose extra weight

Losing just 5 lb to 10 lb (2.3 kg to 4.5 kg) can lower your cholesterol. Losing weight can also help lower your blood pressure.

For help, see:

Click here to view an Actionset.Healthy Eating: Starting a Plan for Change.
Click here to view an Actionset.Weight Management: Stop Negative Thoughts.
Get active

Regular physical activity raises "good" HDL cholesterol. Getting active has many other benefits too. It can help you lose weight. And it can lower your blood pressure.

For tips, see:

Click here to view an Actionset.High Cholesterol: Raising Your HDL Level
Click here to view an Actionset.Fitness: Adding More Activity to Your Life
Exercise and Physical Activity Ideas
Quick Tips: Getting Active at Home
Don't smoke

Quitting can help raise your HDL and improve your heart health. "Good" HDL levels often go up soon after a person quits smoking.

For more information, see:

Quitting Smoking.
Click here to view an Actionset.Quitting Smoking: Getting Support.
Click here to view an Actionset.Quitting Smoking: Coping With Cravings and Withdrawal.
Click here to view an Actionset.Quitting Smoking: Preventing Slips or Relapses.

Photo of a woman

One Woman's Story:

Linda, 56

"Terri's heart attack scared me to death. I decided that this time, I'm doing the whole package. I'm quitting smoking for good."—Linda

Read more about Linda and how quitting smoking improved her cholesterol.

If high cholesterol runs in your family, these lifestyle changes may not be enough. You may need to take medicine too. But no matter what treatment you use, you can lower your high cholesterol.

How do you make lifestyle changes?

Photo of a man

One Man's Story:

Joe, 61

"I'm just not that type of person who can change everything at once."—Joe

Read more about Joe and how using the TLC plan helped him take charge of his cholesterol.

You can learn simple steps to help you make lifestyle changes, like setting goals. Work on one small goal at a time. Expect slip-ups. Get support from others. Reward yourself for each success. To find out more about making healthy lifestyle changes, see Change a Habit by Setting Goals.

When changing a lifestyle habit, barriers can sometimes get in your way. Figuring out what those barriers are and how you can get around them can help you reach your healthy eating goals.

For help, see:

Click here to view an Actionset.Healthy Eating: Overcoming Barriers to Change.
Fitness: Getting Around Barriers to Exercise.

Photo of a man

One Man's Story:

Joe, 61

"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.

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