Measuring for Improvement

Measuring for Improvement | happyliving.com - image via Death to the Stock Photo

Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement.
If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it.
If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.
(H. James Harrington)

Measurement is a powerful motivator. When we measure something, we focus our attention on it. This shift creates an unconscious inner-selection process that prioritizes the activity ahead of others. In the past ten years, I have learned how important measurement is to maintaining my health.

Measurement inspires change.

In 2005, I began measuring my cholesterol before my annual physical exam so I could review the results with my doctor. This process helped me identify some necessary lifestyle changes.

January 18, 2010, my total cholesterol measured 238. It had shot up 36 points since my last exam. My HDL cholesterol (the “good stuff”) measured 74, which is excellent, but my LDL (the so-called “bad stuff”) was 150. Generally, doctors consider an LDL measurement above 130 as borderline-high. I was not happy, and I wanted to fix the problem.

The idea of cleansing intrigued me before, but now I had the motivation to make it a priority. After my high cholesterol report, I started a daily program of Isagenix vitamins and supplements. I also began a monthly cleansing routine. For the next eight months I remained disciplined to the regimen.

By August 12, 2010, my total cholesterol dropped to 203 – a 35-point decrease! The details of this report revealed that my HDL cholesterol was 75 and my LDL dropped to 117. My levels were within the “near or above optimal” category. I was happier.

Measurement inspires learning.

Many doctors base their cholesterol-management strategies on the Framingham Heart Study, which started in 1948 and continues on today. In April 2008, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Diabetes Association (ADA) issued a consensus statement saying that the measurement of LDL particle number (LDL-P) is a more accurate method of quantifying cardiovascular risk than traditional measurement of LDL cholesterol (LDL-C). It’s the number of particles that carry cholesterol in the bloodstream, not the total amount of cholesterol, that increases the risk of heart disease. This article from Doc’s Opinion provides a helpful explanation.

My primary care doctor used this new science as a reference for my January, 2012 exam. My LDL-P levels were within the healthy range, and all my cholesterol markers were healthy using these standards. I was very happy.

I learned four lessons from this experience:

1. I felt perfectly healthy when I went in for my January 18, 2010 exam. Measuring helped me detect a potential health risk.

2. Measuring helped me make healthy changes to my routine. Facing the facts of my cholesterol tests motivated me to stick with my new program of daily supplements and monthly cleansing. I knew I was going to test my cholesterol again in eight months and I was determined to get better results.

3. Measuring helped me personally evaluate the effectiveness of the Isagenix supplements and cleansing program.

4. Measuring my cholesterol helped push me to learn about the latest science, so I could make wiser health decisions in the future.

Measuring inspires improvement.

When performance is not measured, it is in our nature to relax and remain with the status-quo. Measuring helps us learn about opportunities for growth. It also provides the data needed to maintain motivation. Measuring can help you strive for excellence in any area of life from nutrition and exercise, to sleep habits and budgets.

To learn more about cholesterol and LDL measurement, check out these resources:

Image via Death to the Stock Photo

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