I remember when it was recommended to visit the doctor once a year. A few years ago, I started to take statin drugs for high cholesterol, so I had to get my blood checked - and subsequently visit the doctor - every three months. About a year ago I stopped taking these meds - mostly so I could enjoy the grapefruits on the tree in our backyard - and I also stopped going to the doctor. I have tried to eat less starches and sweets, and partake of foods with "good oils" (raw nuts) and more fiber.
I finally decided to change from a "family practice" doctor to an internist who was recommended to me by a friend. My previous doctor really, really, really wanted me to take the statins. Some people cannot tolerate statins (my DH was on them for a while, and had noticable weakening of his muscles). My new doctor advocates natural methods before drugs, and gave me a referral to a nutritionist before I asked her to do so. Since I'm not taking any meds, I don't have to go back for six months.
I went to my class yesterday ("Hi, I'm Mary, and I'm here to educate my cholesterols"). It turns out that I'm already following most of the food guidelines for improving my cholesterol situation. DH and I have been vegetarians - off and on - for several years, but we've recently gone back full-bore to vegetarianism for health reasons. Within the past week, I have increased my evening dog-walk from 10 minutes to 20 minutes, and then to 30 minutes. If I do this at least five times each week, I will have done much to correct my calorie-intake vs. calorie expenditure imbalance. Within the past few months I have been more conscious of what I eat and when I eat it. My weight has started to go back down, but I do have at least 10 lbs to lose, and 20 would be more to my liking.
I have last year's blood numbers, so I guess that's my real base line. I had a blood draw this morning, and I'm looking forward to seeing if the numbers have improved and determining how far I am from my goals.