All About Cholesterol
Marnie Nussbaum, MD
Marnie Nussbaum, M.D.
Chief resident in dermatology, New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Hospital, New York City
Her risks: Her mom has high cholesterol and is being treated with statins. Dr. Nussbaum has never been overweight but leads a stressful life. During her busy years in medical school she lived on candy and french fries and "never went to the gym, ever -- I know, I'm a doctor and that's terrible! Then my husband and I were ordering Chinese food or pizza every night."
Her wake-up call: Her blood test in 2008 showed her HDL was pretty good at 58, but her LDL and her total cholesterol were high. "I thought it was my family history and there was nothing I could do about it," she says.
Her action plan: She went to cardiologist Holly Andersen, MD, who insisted that Dr. Nussbaum eat a healthier diet and start exercising. "I told my husband, and he became the enforcer," she says. While he would run, she'd walk and sometimes jog along with him. Although she felt intimidated at first, she started taking a strength-training class. Instead of the greasy takeout foods the couple usually ordered, they began cooking on weeknights and ordering in only every couple of weeks. While her weight didn't change, Dr. Nussbaum's efforts brought her numbers back to healthy levels.
Her challenges: "I used to eat candy throughout the day. I still love it, but now I just have a 'fun size' or two." She cut down on her french-fry intake, and she only allows herself to have the chocolate-chip banana pancakes she loves every two weeks. "I was shocked at what a difference all the changes made," she says.