Triglycerides, anxiety and weed

posted by Jeff | Saturday, February 10, 2024, 3:48 PM | comments: 0

My mid-year lipid panel was, as I expected, not great for triglycerides. Cholesterol is still great (statins are a medical miracle), but something about my body doesn't connect the two as others might. While I've never had the crazy high levels, like 500 mg/dL, normal is under 150, and my best score over the years has been 190. This time I came in at 294, after a somewhat more palatable 222 in July. This is not a medical mystery... I've fallen off of the exercise train, I'm eating my feelings, and I'm addicted to carbs. I gotta have my tots.

You move that number by way of diet and exercise, so let me take one at a time. My diet is, oddly enough, not full of as many terrible things as you might expect. I don't have soda at home, as I stopped buying it years ago. We don't usually have a ton of chips or snacks lying around, except when we have people over. I haven't had red meat in over 15 years. Mostly I don't eat after 7. I generally try to pay attention to sodium intake. But I do eat a lot of rice, and I'll have chips and a Coke when I'm out. Alcohol can spike the tri's as well, but I doubt that a couple of drinks on the weekend are the problem relative to running through a 2-pound bag of tots every two weeks. I love carbs.

But it's also likely what I'm not eating, like broccoli and brown rice. (Sidebar: Is Chipotle the only fast casual chain that still has brown rice? Pei Wei and Bento both dropped it.) I know I can get down to five or six tots at lunch, and I just need to start making batches of brown rice to have around, as it reheats much better than white.

Exercise is the other half of the equation, and I actually got into a pretty good rhythm pre-Europe last summer. I have a treadmill in my office, and I'd just start the first hour of my day on it, and shower after that. It's easy enough to bang out two plus miles every morning that way, and I know I feel better when I do it. But this hasn't just been a matter of "just do it."

I've been struggling with anxiety since the pandemic started. Job situations made it worse. These days it's more because of parenting. Some of it may just be chemistry, and for the bits that aren't, I'm working with my therapist to figure that out. Anxiety isn't like stress, where you feel pressure in the moment for certain things to happen. Anxiety is more about the future and what might happen. My brain won't shut off, and it's like a multi-threaded stream of nonstop, ADHD-fueled thoughts. This in turn has led to pretty serious insomnia, where I can't fall asleep after hours lying in bed, and then I get up every hour or two. Needless to say, that makes me tired, most of the time, and I can't bring myself to do a lot of things beyond work. Exercise is the first thing to go. I'm not exaggerating when I say that it has become a quality of life issue.

So I need to treat the anxiety. As I said, therapy is part of that, including realizing that so many of the things I worry about are not in my control. I'm trying to reduce CPU time on those things. I feel like the biggest thing to get back on track is consistent sleep, and that requires turning off the brain. I know from very infrequent use of lorazepam that it helps a ton. It's like getting off the freeway on to an empty road with no other cars and no landscape to look at. But that stuff is highly addictive, and it's there mostly just for the increasingly rare panic attack. I also know that medical marijuana works, as little as 2.5mg of THC. So since it's legal in Florida, that's what we're gonna try to get the sleep normalized.

And to get political for a moment, reclassifying weed at the federal level is long overdue. It's pretty clear that there are some benefits when used in certain ways, but the classification prevents quality research from happening. We don't ban alcohol, and it has absolutely zero medicinal value, at all. It makes no sense.


No comments yet.

Post your comment: