A few years ago my total cholesterol was 315. My "good" cholesterol numbers were great and my "bad" cholesterol numbers were not terrible....it was the total number that was the real issue.
I went and took a two month free "heart healthy" course at a local hospital. It focused on eating better and exercising more. Which I did. They really promoted getting enough of something called "plant stanols" in the diet. At the time, someone made a smoothie with plant stanols, and you got enough of it in one smoothie a day. They stopped selling those....I have to believe it's because pharmaceutical companies didn't like it.
Anyways, in the two months, I only lost two pounds, but I was in better shape...went down two sizes, felt better. Most importantly, with just eating better (NOT dieting!) and exercise, my total cholesterol went down below 200.
I now take an OTC product called "Cholest-Off" which has plant stanols. My dr did have me try statins back then, but the muscle aches just killed me, and I won't go on them again.
So, try not to stress about the minutae of "dieting"....just eat better...lots of fruits and vegs, and get some exercise in.
I know everyone is different, but I was really shocked that it worked so well for me.
And, just for statistical info, I was in my mid-forties at the time...now enjoying fabulous 50!