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  1. Hello All, I really could use your help with trying to gain weight and keep my cholesterol down. I'm going to post my story and I apologize in advance if it's long! I'm 37 and have been working out on and off since I was about 24. I'm 5'11" and naturally very skinny. The most I ever weighed was 170 lb. But 160 was more my average when I was working out consistently and eating a typical bodybuilder diet (lots of meat, protein powders, protein bars, weight gainers, etc.). I also have been "cursed" with very high cholesterol, and I tried being vegan once about 5 years ago. However, I cheated a lot, and ate a lot of sugars and oils. My cholesterol stayed high, my weight dropped down to about 145 and I gave up. About 4-5 months ago I tried it again, but this time I did it right. I followed the McDougall/Esselstyn diet: No meat, eggs, dairy, oil, refined sugars. My total fat calories are less than 10% of total calories, I get almost no saturated fat, and obviously no dietary cholesterol. This time my cholesterol dropped -- from 265 to 177 and I hope to drop it down to 150. In the process, though my weight dropped from about 150lb to less than 135! There are definitely some things I like: my waist is only 30in (was about 33 before), I have little to no fat on my body and I am starting to see my abs. But the disadvantages outweigh the advantages: I lost a lot of muscle, my arms are very skinny. I am much weaker than before and can’t lift nearly as much weight. At my strongest, I could bench 225. Now my one rep max is probably around 165. Also, I play music in a band and I’m constantly moving around large amplifiers and speaker cabinets. It’s becoming more and more difficult. My typical daily meal plan is: Meal 1: 1.5 cup vanilla almond milk, 1 cup berries, 1 cup frozen bananas, 4 slices whole wheat toast. Meal 2: 1 cup black beans, 1 cup brown rice, ½ bag frozen veggies, 1 apple Meal 3: same as meal 2 Meal 4: 2 cups vanilla almond milk, 3 cups Kashi Go Lean cereal This only gets me about 2500 calories, but it’s really hard to eat that much, believe it or not! Also, I am just very very reluctant to change anything because I feel I’ve found the answer to the cholesterol problem and I don’t want to screw it up while trying to build muscle. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!
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