VHALKYRIE   16,233
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I'm Free At Last

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Some might be wondering how my culinary adventures have been going since my dietary change to grainless low-carb. It is different, but not in the way you'd think. Since I started learning how to cook just a mere 7 years ago, I had been using ingredients like 2% milk, low fat cheese and olive oil. Was trying to avoid fatty foods. I still use olive oil, but now my cooking repertoire has opened up to using heavy cream, butter, coconut oil, and hollandaise sauce! I'm attempting to make creme fraiche for desserts and cream sauces.

I had strawberries and cream for dessert the other day. I replaced mashed potatoes with cauliflower gratin.

For lunch yesterday, I had 4oz seared tuna, salmon sashimi, and a salad topped with blue cheese, avocado, cucumber and strawberries. I took an iced latte with whole milk for dessert to go. Find me the dietitian that says this is an unhealthy lunch!

Dinner was a salad (no croutons), steak, asparagus, and a glass of wine. The only thing I cleaned off my plate was the asparagus. I got an 8oz steak. I used to have to cut my food in half before I started eating so I would know when to stop. Now, because my appetite is under control, it just stops when it is supposed to. I ate half my steak, and my brain flicked off again, saying "I'm done".

I was elated. I can't tell you how liberating it is to be free. I feel like I'm living life. I thought always being hungry was just normal. It was my high insulin and fat starvation. It's unbelievable, and at the same time, very believable, that a single hormone was driving my stark lunatic hunger. I mean, ladies, be honest. Many of us have hormones drive us crazy at certain times of the month! If you are uncontrollably hungry, or can't stop yourself from eating a whole package of cookies while on a high carb diet, that's your insulin controlling you. You aren't weak willed. 2 months ago, I wouldn't have believed it myself.

As my body adjusts to my new way of eating, it just gets better and better.

I did have a brief period where I was unusually hungry. Remember I told you about how my pancreas was overshooting the amount of insulin I needed. It does indeed seem to be adapting. I'll write a "low carb survival guide" for this kind of stuff soon. I think a lot of people start low carb, feel sluggish, then feel hungry, and they give up, thinking it wasn't working. What they didn't know was it WAS working. Your body has to reset. This means some things will swing up and down as your body tries to figure out what's going on. You aren't behaving like you used to.

And then it settles down. And then you are free.

A long time ago, I dismissed the Atkins diet because I thought it was silly that people could eat as much steak and bacon as they wanted. I still think it is silly. Even though calories in - calories out is somewhat misleading, you still have to consume less than your body uses. Seems contradictory, but it's not. If you eat enough to meet your needs, your body won't turn to stored bodyfat to makeup energy shortfall. However, it will not store excess energy UNLESS you drive your insulin up with something like breadsticks before dinner, or a big piece of cake.

I am not doing Atkins, btw. I'm doing Protein Power. It is less restrictive, and more flexible than Atkins. See my previous blog for references.

I do not eat as much bacon and steak as I want. Overeating is never a good idea, I don't care what diet you are on. But there is something else. I can't. I find it very hard to overeat steak anymore. My "I'm done" switch goes off, and I stop eating. Overeating looks unappetizing. It's something I have never understood before. How were skinny people able to just stop eating? How did they have that much control?

Now I know.

Here's something we were inadvertently doing when we started eating low fat diets. We removed the nutrition, and the part that makes your "stop eating" switch go off. Fat. A very easy experiment you can try at home. Drink a cup of skim milk and wait about 20 minutes. It is not satisfying. You don't feel full. Now drink a cup of whole milk or heavy cream. In 20 minutes, you feel satisfied. It's not the calories. It's the fat. Fortified vitamin D skim milk is pointless. Vitamin D is fat soluable. You can't process the vitamin D without fat.

When you separate the yolk from the egg to make your low fat omelet, you are removing the part that contains vitamin A, D, E, K, and the important omega-3 fatty acid. 100% of those are contained ONLY in the yolk. 90%+ calcium, B6, B12, iron, thiamin, and folate are contained in the yolk. You're also removing the part that makes you feel not hungry after eating it - the fat.

It is not hard to see vitamin D deficiencies are on the rise, not just due to lack of spending time outdoors.

Not only was my insulin load driving hunger, but the lack of fat and nutrition. I wasn't just figuratively starving, I was actually starving. Overweight and nutritionally starved. That is modern America.

Edit: I know SparkPeople are SmartPeople, but I have to say this for the benefit of the concerned. If you are taking any medications for any medical conditions, please talk to your doctor before making changes to your diet.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LHIEBEL 6/13/2011 5:23PM

  Yes, yes, yes, and YES!!!

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BTVMADS 6/12/2011 12:43PM

    I took some pictures of my dinner last night, and will again over the next few days, to show folks (and remind myself!) of just how much delicious food someone can eat on a low-carb, high protein, "almost paleo" diet. Eating like this is just an opportunity for creativity and some organized meal planning!

Granted, my grocery bill was about $20 more than usual this week, but it's worth it to know that I probably used about $50 fewer dollars in subsidized corn products and petroleum-based fuels and fertilizers!

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I.M.MAGIC 6/12/2011 11:20AM

    I like that your experimentation is working so well for you... and the one thing I REALLY like is the disclaimer to people with medical issues to seek their physicians' advice! A lot of people forget about that... I have dietary restrictions because of my poor kidney function, and have to be careful about certain vegetables and fruits as well, because they contain nutrients that my body can't process properly--or that interfer with the meds I take to protect my kidneys from further damage.

I really do appreciate your conscientiousness on that, believe me! WELL DONE!

Kathy emoticon

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PZF144 6/12/2011 10:06AM

    Your blogs are fantastic. I've been reading Dr. Eades for years, and only recently (the past 2-3 weeks) have I truly gone LC. I used to just up my protein: add more meat sauce to my huge plate of pasta, and think, well my proportions of protein and fat are higher; I should lose weight. Of course I did not lose weight, and my enormo hunger cravings for yes, and entire box of cookies, wouldn't stop. So now, I'm VLC (about 30 g/day), and still going through "Induction Flu". I did not have thrush, but I had a horrible sore throat which actually caused a loss of my voice! It's only now, today, coming back, as my strep mutans/lactobacilli are being starved off.

I'm very much like you physically: I was always so "cute" in the 115-125 range, but at my highest, I got to 163 (5'2"0. I'm at 153 today and sticking with LC. I read Dr. Eades blog every day.

Keep up your great work, and your great writing. You have a gift of communication!

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ANDREA409 6/12/2011 9:39AM

    Feels great, doesn't it? emoticon

As usual, I agree with every word.

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Going Down the Rabbit Hole

Saturday, June 11, 2011

I realize that I've been rather evangelical about my new found discovery. I'm not trying to reach the skeptics. I'm hoping to reach the person like me who was diligently following the plan, and got nowhere. In some cases, maybe they even got worse.

A lot of the pushback I get is "Glad low carb worked for you, but it won't work for everyone." I actually like that argument, because then the corollary to that is "High carb/low fat diet doesn't work for everyone, either."

If you have no insulin resistance, then high carb/low fat diet will most likely work for you, and you'll have no idea why anyone else has trouble losing weight. Those of us who can't lose weight must be eating fast food, or eating cookies, or maybe we're just stupid. We're not trying hard enough. In other words, the blame has been shifted on us. Can't lose weight? It's your fault. Maybe it's your genetics, so just accept being fat, and that you're going to get diabetes and heart disease.

I'm glad I'm not a person that takes no for an answer. No one tells me what I can or can't do.

So what led me to go deeper down the rabbit hole is this notion a calorie is a calorie, and calories in - calories out and all will be well. Except as we ALL know, weight loss rarely ever fits neatly into that equation. The explanation is then, "Well we can't predict what the body does. There's a lot of variables."

I'm a math and science minded person. That notion of "other variables" tickled at the back of my mind.

One of the reasons my boss both loves and hates me is because I question everything. I don't know why, but I have an instinct for when something isn't quite correct. And I start searching. I have been called a "bloodhound" for problems. Maybe not a term of endearment, but I'm not bothered by it. I take it as a compliment. I care more about being effective, than being popular. I work in aerospace. I happen to work in an industry where finding problems in your coworker's logic is rewarded. It saves lives.

I was once told by my favorite professor that all of science is based on discrediting your colleague's theories. It was on that premise that I started wondering why we just accept high carb/low fat is the only healthy way to live. How did scientists decide that fat and cholesterol was killing us? There was contradictory information. My grandfather had bacon and eggs for breakfast every day. He went into his 70s without diabetes and never took a single statin. He died of cancer due to smoking. The egg yolk didn't kill him.

Fortunately, I live in an age when there is lots of information available.

I want to take a short minute to thank sparkers SparkBirdy and LadyRose who helped point me in the right direction. I was able to find what I was looking for in very short order. I might have spun my wheels a bit longer if I wasn't able to hone in on it right away. I checked out "The Paleo Diet" and "Protein Power". It clicked.

I found a very interesting interview with Gary Taubes, author of "Good Calories, Bad Calories". He said he was writing an article about salt and had an interview with a shady scientist. This scientist claimed he successfully convinced the nation that salt raised blood pressure, and he also helped turn everyone against fat and saturated fat. He hung up the phone and called his editor. If this guy had anything to do with the health mantra of low fat diets, then something wasn't right.

I'll let you make up your own minds. If you have a lot of weight to lose and have found it near impossible to lose fat. If you have an uncontrollable addiction to sweets. If you are impossibly hungry all the time. If you constantly overeat even when you aren't hungry, and don't know why you can't stop. If you have tried the standard diet over and over and failed. If you have insulin resistance, and it keeps getting worse, not better.

I offer the chance to take the blue pill, or the red pill. Don't read any of these, and continue on your way. Take the red pill if you want to see what they don't want you to see about diet and nutrition.

"The Paleo Diet" by Loren Cordain. This isn't personally my favorite book, but it was the first one I read that encouraged me to look further. I have heard "The Primal Blueprint" is better, but I haven't personally read it yet. These might appeal to you if you are at all interested in learning how our species has eaten for 2.5 million years. Low fat diets have only been around 30 years. We were not built to tolerate grains very well. We could very well adapt to a high grain diet, but it will take another 10,000 years of evolution eating it. You and I will most likely get sick and die eating a high grain/low protein diet.

"Protein Power" by Drs. Michael and Mary Eades. Now this one is my favorite. It is a very detailed explanation on how the metabolism works. Insulin and insulin's effect of fat storage is in every first year medical textbook. I can't make sense why doctors continue to treat obese patients with more carbohydrates, since carbs stimulate insulin. Lightbulbs went off in my head. I couldn't lose fat because I kept pushing my insulin up with carbs. I was only eating "whole wheat" carbs, but it didn't matter. I'm insulin resistant enough that it prevents my fat loss. Hallelujah. This was my red pill.

"The 30 Day Low Carb Diet Solution" by Drs. Michael and Mary Eades. This is a less biochemistry detailed version of "Protein Power". If you just want to know the basics in layman's terms with an easy to follow meal plan, this is it. See shocking details like the USDA food pyramid is identical to a pig farmer's feed formula. Want to be as skinny as a pig? Then eat according to the government dietary recommendations.

If you are middle aged, try "The 6-Week Cure for the Middle-Aged Middle" also by the Eades.

"Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes. I avoided this book for so long when my eyes were shut. If you believe a calorie is just a calorie, then this book is anathema. I should have read this years ago - this is would have opened my eyes earlier. This is a VERY science and research heavy book, though. If you are a science minded person, this one will appeal to you. If you would prefer a condensed, more reader-friendly book, then read "Why We Get Fat, And What to Do About it". I have not read the latter, but I have heard that it is an easier read.

Don't have time to read? Try watching "Fat Head" by Tom Naughton. It is on Hulu, and you can also watch it on streaming Netflix. You should be able to get enough intro knowledge into all of the things that I have been going on and on about for weeks.

Skeptical? This is all fad diet nonsense? I'm not going to try and convince you. I still invite you to check out the books and make up your own mind.

Some will read this and immediately hate it because it challenges everything they thought they knew. Believe me, I know how you feel. That's fine. Don't try to digest it all right now. Come back to it later.

For those with an open mind, come with me, and take a deeper look.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LADYIRISH317 6/12/2011 11:53AM

    You're yet more proof that there is no one "right" answer for everybody. You're doing what works for you, that's all that matters. Congratulations on the progress you've made!

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EGRAMMY 6/11/2011 9:48PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon Thank you.

I was a self styled carb poisoner of me. Had to shake that habit.

I appreciate your intelligent information along with Sparkbirdy so I can talk with friends and relatives. Also to find excellent references.

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JUSTBIRDY 6/11/2011 6:41PM

    Hey, thanx for the plug! The only reason I am so vocal about it is that I was in so much misery on my old plan, and then found a successful way. I am also in an industry where I get paid to break people's stuff. I think that as a tekkie, Protein Power really appeals to me. The 30 day book is a great book for people who really don't want to think much about it.
So, have you visited the Jack Kruse blog (er.... black hole) yet?

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CAROLJEAN64 6/11/2011 3:46PM

    Thanks for your thoughtful and fact filled reply to some of the criticisms you must have received. I know I was skeptical when I I read your initial post. I appreciate your replying with class! My son is using the Paleo diet, I'm not sure how it's working for him. I agree we may have the same or very similar digestive process we had 10,000 years ago, but the pace of our lives and the stressors are different. I do know, however, that I feel more satisfied longer after I have a meal with protein and that a protein bar is my favorite snack for a full filling.

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LUCYSUNFLOWER 6/11/2011 11:49AM

    Thanks to you I am getting (saved to my wishlist for now!) Eades' "30 Day Low Carb Diet Solution". I am in grad school and just don't have any leftover brain power for complexity, so your summaries are greatly appreciated... emoticon

I am not addicted to sugar, but pasta is my weakness - even whole wheat. Carbs have been easier for me to prepare, but the lack of weight loss has been frustrating. And the hunger that flares up is REALLY frustrating. Just a few days of low carb eating has made some positive changes. I don't expect the weight to just fall off, and I am not weighing myself. I am going to pay attention to how I feel - blood sugar stability, energy, mental focus, etc. I need all that more than I need a smaller butt!

I really truly deeply appreciate your blogs that chart your exploration and journey. Your scientific approach appeals to me (if it weren't for school I'd be right in there with you!) and I am so glad you're sharing what you're learning.


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TERP_TERP 6/11/2011 11:31AM

    A lot of what you say makes sense. I have never read any of the books, but I totally agree that each body reacts differently to different foods. Thanks for the information! emoticon

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ANDREA409 6/11/2011 10:27AM

    Like you, I'm a "never settle for no as an answer." I'll dig and dig for information on my hunches. I remembered being a size 4 ten years ago. Now I'm a 12. Clearly my body is capable of being a 4 and enjoyed being a 4. So, it's not that my body wasn't capable of losing the weight. (The problem now is my shot adrenals, but that's not pertinent here. Or is it?) If I would have discovered this 'solution' of sorts years ago, I could have stopped abusing my body with grains and the never-ending ups and downs of sugar spikes and crashes, which ultimately ruined them. I can't stress ENOUGH how important the info you are putting out there really is.

Don't ever stop listening to your gut. Your intuition seems to be dead on. I think of the people who destroy their bodies in so many different ways, but the root cause always seems to be the same: diet. Many go on suffering for decades, because they trust what the doctors are telling them. I feel for those people.

I gotta check out that Taubes' book. I've read Primal Blueprint, and it was a lot of fun. Thanks for the Eades' recommendation as well.

Continue down the rabbit hole...because at the end of the day, no one cares about your health and well-being nearly as much as you do. Who else is going to fight for answers? It's in your hands and yours alone.

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BEARCLAW6 6/11/2011 9:39AM

    Ok, ok....between you and Sparkbirdy, I guess you have finally convinced me to read the Protein Power book. Good work!

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SHEL1181 6/11/2011 8:53AM

    I agree that everyone's body has different needs and what may work for one person won't work for another. I'm a Type 1 diabetic so the higher protein diets work well for me. Truly the only carbs I refuse to do without are fruits and potatoes (unfortunately in the form of fried things) emoticon My sugar levels are greatly improved with less carbs though so I limit the fried potato usage to maybe once a week.
The idea that eggs cause high cholesterol I think is a load of you know what but it's been ingrained in everyone's brains and it's hard to disbelieve something that has been forced down our throats for so many years.

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Stretchmarks like Rings on a Tree

Friday, June 10, 2011

I weighed in this morning, and I was in shock.


I haven't seen that number in...I don't know how long. College? After college? Before the boyfriend that nearly wrecked my life?

Here is the condensed story of "me".

I was never overweight as a child or teenager. I was moderately active in high school and college with soccer and martial arts. After college, I got my first "real" job that wasn't minimum wage. It was a desk job as a computer programmer, and I was "on-call" 24-7. I worked somewhere between 60-80 per week. A coworker and I became romantically involved. We ate out at almost every meal. McDonalds for breakfast, Mexican for lunch, and Chili's or Applebee's for dinner. I went from about 127 to 160 in a very short period.

I drank about 32-64oz of fully leaded Coke per day. Why I did this, I don't know. Obviously this was bad for me. Why I blamed "old age" (at 26) for "slowing metabolism", I don't know. I can only conclude it was arrogance. I arrogantly believed I could eat and drink like this without consequence.

Anyway, dear boyfriend was financially irresponsible. He nearly destroyed my immaculate credit record by draining our bank accounts and my credit card. The one smart thing I did was kept a personal savings account with my own money in it hidden from him. When I left him, I used that money to leave and move to Seattle.

So I moved to Seattle broke and fat.

It took me 5 years, but I paid off the debt while maintaining my great credit record (tip: always pay on time). I didn't have to declare bankruptcy. I borrowed a little from my parents towards the end, then paid them back. I got rid of the last of my financial baggage from that relationship.

But I still carried the weight. I was able to lose a lot with a healthier lifestyle in Seattle, but I could never quite get below the 130 threshold. I got to 127 once before the new boyfriend (now fiance) and I went to Jamaica, but it quickly rebounded.

Here's a sample of a day before I cut starchy carbs.

Breakfast: Blueberries, yogurt, 1 cup Kashi cereal.
Lunch: Udon noodles with asparagus, onions and bell peppers, and poached egg.
Dinner: Stir fry with pork tenderloin, 1 cup rice.
Snack: Grapefruit

Sounds pretty healthy. I didn't lose any weight eating this kind of stuff on a daily basis, though. So this must have been a high fat/high calorie day, right? Wrong.

Calories: 1249
Carbs/Fat/Protein: 190/47/66
Ratio: 52/30/18

Calories in - Calories out completely failed. According to Spark, this should be the perfectly balanced ratios.

I was maintaining my weight and bodyfat. Where is the junk? So unfair to have junk in my trunk and I didn't even get the benefit of being "bad".

With the exception of the breakfast, my meal was fairly typical of an Asian diet. I have often pondered why my Asians relatives can eat rice at every meal, and yet not have the overweight/obesity problem.

Well, I think it really comes down to they consume a lot less sugar than Westerners, especially Americans. We buy 12oz cans of Coke. In Asia, coke cans are 6oz, and most kids share a can with a sibling or friend. They drink it maybe once a month as a treat, not everyday like Americans. Asian desserts are not very sweet compared to American cakes. Most of my friends in school didn't like my Korean sweet red bean and rice dessert because they weren't as sweet as a Twinkie.

If we were to look at the mitochondria of Americans, we would find signatures for corn. Corn in the form of high fructose corn sugar.

Which is what I did with those 32oz Big Gulps. I used to buy them because they were a "good value". $1 for that much Coke - what a steal.

There is always a price. My price was damaging my metabolism. Fructose in high quantities has been shown to damage insulin receptors, increasing insulin resistance. Higher insulin resistance means less able to tolerate carbohydrates. It means weight gain, difficulty in losing weight, and higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome like diabetes. High fructose corn sugar found in soda is a super concentrated form of fructose.

If I had just eaten fruit, I'd probably never have developed an insulin problem, so I don't want anyone to think I'm saying "fruit is bad!". But super concentrated fructose like soda...well. It is unnatural. You'd never find that much fructose in an orange as you do a can of Coke. That was damage. Time will tell how much I can heal. It is unlikely I will be able to recover the sensitivity that I had before my weight gain. I feel relieved that I at least know what is going on, and I can at least halt the progression.

No doubt some people will have done the same or worse than me, and were able to bounce back, no problem. I was not so blessed. My body is clearly telling me "no more".

I am half Asian, and if Asians generally eat less sugar, then it makes sense that Asians probably have less tolerance to it than other ethnic groups. Studies have shown that Japanese who immigrate to Hawaii tend to develop diabetes at a much greater rate than European immigrants. Most likely due to adopting a higher sugar western diet that they have not adapted to. While I am also half German, I think I have inherited less tolerance to high carb/sugar from my Asian ancestry.

I feel lucky that I can do something about this before I do develop metabolic syndrome. No doubt if I had developed detectable levels of insulin resistance, everyone would have said it was my genes. "She worked out, ate low fat and healthy, and still got diabetes." "Oh that's a shame, just can't fight genetics."

I think perhaps I have more of a propensity towards insulin resistance, but I refuse to accept this as my inexorable fate. Not after what I have seen with my own eyes.

So now I am steadily losing weight by cutting out starchy carbs, which was the hidden form of sugar I didn't pay attention to. Some skeptics say it is just water weight loss. No doubt some of it is water weight - insulin has the effect of making your kidneys store more water and salt than it should. But here is my evidence that it is something more:

- My measurements are shrinking. I've gone from 33inch waist to 29inch. While I don't have quite a washboard, my stomach is looking more flat, rather than distended.
- Lean mass is holding stable. No drop in muscle, according to my data.
- I fit into a pair of jeans I haven't worn since college.
- My bra fits evenly across my back, without squeezing fat.
- Stretch marks.

If I'm feeling less shy about it, I'll share some before/after photos later. Right now, I'm just holding them private, as proof and motivation that I am on the right track.

The stretchmarks are bothersome. I look at them and sigh. However, as unsightly as they are, I am looking at them like tree rings. They have a story to tell. Abusing my metabolism, and arrogance of my youth. Bad choices.

But I also intend for them to tell a story of redemption and hope.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BEANBYDESIGN 6/11/2011 10:46AM

    Why do so many of us have these absolutely dismal boyfriends in our pasts? We are all clearly smart, strong, capable women.... yet I can't tell you how many blogs I read where "loser boyfriend" pops up (myself included!) Thanks for sharing your story! I have to say, I'm experimenting a bit with eating less/no carbs at dinner and after, and I'm definitely having success as well, so you're definitely onto something here!

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ANDREA409 6/11/2011 10:35AM

    Very exciting results! I'm elated for you, girl. emoticon emoticon

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VHALKYRIE 6/10/2011 9:41PM

    DDOORN: I haven't had Mongolian BBQ in so long! You made some great choices, I would have picked the exact same thing! ;) Sounds delicious - yum!

FITGIRL15: Yeah, it probably just is "luck" of the draw again. DRAT

Comment edited on: 6/10/2011 9:42:15 PM

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VHALKYRIE 6/10/2011 1:52PM

    SEDGEY: To be honest, the grunge rocker boyfriend sounds like WAY more fun! ;)

If you don't have time to read, watch "Fathead" if you haven't already. It will give you a good intro to what I am talking about. And it features the doctors of "Protein Power" - Drs. Mike and Mary Eades.

Highly recommend "Protein Power", if you like to know the science heavy whys and hows. If you want just a more quickie get right to it, try the "30 Day Low Carb Diet Solution", also by the Eades. It gives a very layman's description of what is in "Protein Power", but gets right to it. It also gives a 30 day meal plan.

I think it is a very easy plan to follow. Less restrictive and more flexible than Atkins. And it still works! I mean, the reason I am so enthusiastic about it is because I cannot believe how well it works!

Comment edited on: 6/10/2011 2:00:14 PM

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SEDGEY 6/10/2011 1:43PM

    I guess I'm slightly relieved to hear that even gainfully employed computer programmer boyfriends can wreak as much havoc on one's metabolism as hard-drinking grunge rocker boyfriends. I thought it was just me. ;)

Thanks for detailing so much of what you've been learning. I haven't had time to read much for myself (we did finally watch the Stanford video last night!) so it's been extra helpful for me. I need to redouble my efforts since the bakery aspect of my life is starting to affect my results. Luckily I introduced a seven seeds bread this year. I will limit myself to that (open face) with the occasional 100% whole wheat slice and get back on track.

Glad to read of your results too! Great job. :D

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MYWILLIAMS1 6/10/2011 1:14PM

    Awesome blog! Great job!

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LUCYSUNFLOWER 6/10/2011 12:24PM

    Thanks for keeping us updated on your journey - you have really regenerated hope and motivation in me.

I am working on shifting the ratio of carbs and protein in my own diet and while I'm not sure the weight is changing (not on speaking terms with my scale at the moment), I do know that my blood sugar has already stabilized. Now I get normal hunger pangs and I do not get that low-blood-sugar-gonna-kill-someone-
if-I-don't-eat feeling!

Love watching your progress!!

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FITGIRL15 6/10/2011 11:26AM

    For the record... I have never been extremely overweight and I have stretchmarks... yet my once seriously obese sister-in-law has NONE! I honestly think stretchmarks, like anything else... is just luck of the draw!

I'm soo happy that you are finding the right diet for you that works with your bodies natural tendancies! :)

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DDOORN 6/10/2011 9:36AM

    Hey, instead of stretch marks, why not consider them VICTORY marks!

Thx for keeping up your anti-sugar, anti-grain blogging...I'm continuing to re-double my efforts to avoid those as I *KNOW* that my most successful periods of weight loss / maintenance was when I had minimal grain products among my food choices.

Dined out last night with my clients who chose to go to a Chinese buffet. Me? No problem: head over to the Mongolian grill and assembled a plate full of shrimp (4-5), crab (couple small pieces), chicken (one chunk), peapods, broccoli, onions, mushrooms, green peppers, shiritaki noodles and had 'em all chopped and stir fried jazzed with some of those hot spices. I wanted to have some fruit for dessert, but was too STUFFED to even THINK about it...! Yum!

I was pleased to see some of my clients try this also...they never knew how to use this part of the Chinese buffet before...always loaded up on all the unhealthy stuff.


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KELPIE57 6/10/2011 8:54AM

    I'm following with interest......

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My Stomach is Shrinking!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Yesterday, we both had long days at work, the kitchen was a mess, and I didn't have anything ready to cook. We decided to go out for BBQ, then go for a walk on the beach. I ordered pork ribs, collards, and cole slaw. I checked the BBQ sauces, and they were all loaded with sugar. I decided to do without. The pork ribs were the meaty country style, with four ribs.

A really strange thing happened. I ate two ribs, then I suddenly couldn't eat anymore. It wasn't my stomach. Usually when I overate, my stomach was distended, and I felt like I was going to "explode". This time, something in my *brain* flicked off. I looked at the ribs remaining on my plate, and they didn't look appetizing. My brain said, "No more." I didn't feel sick or overstuffed, I just felt *done*.

I asked for a box. Normally when waiting for a box, I would continue to pick at what was on my plate. It used to drive me crazy. Why couldn't I stop picking at the food? Why couldn't I control myself? This time, I just felt done. I didn't pick at it. I didn't obsess about it. The meal was over.

The low-carb diet is very new to me, and I am approaching it with the eye of a scientist, trying to observe and record.

My theory is when I was in a state of elevated insulin load, and a moderate state of insulin resistance, my hunger and satiety signals weren't quite working the way they were supposed to. Insulin is the hormone that drives hunger. When my insulin was always elevated due to the amount of carbs I was eating, I don't think my satiety switch for being full ever went off. I just ate and ate until my stomach became engorged.

I bought a carton of omega-3 enriched eggs. This morning, I made an over easy egg to go with my leftover pork ribs for breakfast. Can I say how natural it feels to eat complete foods? No separating the egg yolks for the whites. Just cook it and eat it whole. It feels more natural, than to constantly be working on how to eliminate the fat.

I removed the meat from the bones and weighed it. About 3oz. WOW! My satiety switch for last night's meat went off at the exact right amount of protein. I did not overeat. My natural hunger and fullness signals worked just like they are supposed to, and I didn't count a single calorie at dinner!

Now the strange thing is yesterday I was pretty darn hungry all day, even though I didn't eat any high glycemic foods, and my carb count was very low. But my hunger was telling me my insulin load was a little high. Strange. I did a search for "low carb hunger". What I found is a theory that because I have been overweight for a very long time, and have overeaten carbs for a very long time, my pancreas is overshooting my insulin load. When you get ready for a meal, your pancreas releases insulin BEFORE you start eating in anticipation of a meal. This is to prevent your blood sugar from spiking to dangerous levels. Since I have been a chronic overeater, my pancreas has adjusted to releasing a lot of insulin to handle blood sugar. Now that I have cut back my starchy carbs (which for all intensive purpose is equivalent to sugar), my pancreas is overshooting the amount of insulin needed. The result is, I'm feeling hungry. In the short term, this actually temporarily increases my insulin resistance.

I'm now trying to treat my overweight status as a 'medical' issue. I am ill. My metabolism is not working the way it should. The bad news is, I have done damage to myself, and I need time to reverse it. The good news is, my body is responding.

My metabolic programming is broken. Fortunately, I am a programmer. I can reprogram this. I just had to learn a lot more about biochemistry than I ever thought I needed!

For now, I will continue what I'm doing. I'm trusting that my pancreas will learn that it doesn't need so much insulin any more, and will adjust. In the meantime, I will treat the excess insulin with low intensity exercise. Gary Taubes says exercise doesn't matter for fat loss, but I disagree. Exercise does have the effect of lowering insulin, and correcting insulin resistance. Too much intense exercise can be counter productive, though. For the moment, I think low to moderate exercise with strength training is the appropriate remedy.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUSTBIRDY 6/9/2011 11:28PM

    Fitgirl, I hope you won't be so hard on sis. You might enjoy Jimmy Moore's podcast featuring Dr. Lustig. He described an experiment where they gave insulin-lowering drugs to children and they started eating "right" and exercising all on their own. Sis may just be caught in a run-away feedback loop and hasn't figured out how to get out of it yet.

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KELLEY1010 6/9/2011 8:25PM

    awesome!!! emoticon

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BTVMADS 6/9/2011 5:32PM

    Never ever stop exercising! There is plenty of evidence that says that daily exercise does as much to regulate your insulin levels as what you eat -- I plan to heed that advice for the rest of my life. Never mind the fact that humans are NOT sedentary animals. Our bodies are mechanically designed to hike, run, reach, and carry -- it's how we survived for so long!

Thanks again for sharing so much about your experiences. It's so encouraging as I tackle this for myself.

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FITGIRL15 6/9/2011 4:23PM

    My sister became a TYPE 2 Diabetic because of her carb/overeating problem!!! Like you say, she did SO MUCH damage to herself with her overeating, that her insulin responce was COMPLETELY BROKEN!!! Too much insulin production is a bad thing, this is why you need to feed your body small meals often to avoid the requirement of a huge amount of it!

I learned SO MUCH from my overweight sister about the biomechanics about diet, metabolism, blood sugar, eating RIGHT... yet SHE is the one with the weight problem!?!?! I am active, she is NOT. I disagree with the man that says exercise is NOT required for fat loss! Buring extra calories never hurts... a) it's a part of a healthy lifestyle and b) exercise produces a "happy drug" called endorphines... who doesn't want a natural shot of anti-depressants daily???

You are well on your way, Girl! Knowledge put into action IS POWER!!!

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VHALKYRIE 6/9/2011 2:26PM

    SPARKBIRDY: As I have stopped avoiding fat, I have lost more weight. It feels more natural to be eating the whole egg, chicken with skin, full fat cheese, yogurt made with whole milk, etc etc. It really took me a while to get past the aversion, but now it just feels right. This is what we were supposed to be eating. Why were we tampering with nature? Did we really think mother nature was an idiot for putting a high cholesterol yolk with the egg white? How did we become so arrogant as to believe we are smarter than nature? Our distant ancestors have raided egg nests for as long as we could climb trees to get to them. There IS a reason the yolk is GOOD for us!

NCPRINCESS7: I have seen so many positive changes, not just the weight loss. I'm not looking back! I'm moving forward!

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NCPRINCESS7 6/9/2011 12:18PM

    That's been a lot of my experience on low-carb as well. Glad it is working for you. Keeping going with it... emoticon

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JUSTBIRDY 6/9/2011 12:04PM

    You're lucky! I'm still trying to find the switch. I can't lose on an eat-all-you-want low-carb plan because I eat too much. I can maintain on one though, which is a miracle in itself, especially at my age.
I think that many people stumble on low carb because they don't eat enough fat. They get the message that the carbs have to go, but they also just can't resist trying to lower their fat intake like we have always been told. It's the fat that sends the signal: whoa!!!
I also think that if we ate real food in nutrient proportions as they come, we would be better. That means leaving the skin on meats and veggies, leaving the fat on meat and milk, etc.
If people ate as close to nature as possible, there would be few grains and no boneless skinless anything. I have actually tried to grow grains, and I'll tell you, it's much easier for me to catch a rabbit than to get even a cup of wheat berries. The fact that we are still being scolded into eating 2-3 cups of the stuff a day astounds me.

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VHALKYRIE 6/9/2011 11:35AM

    ANDREA409 & I.M.MAGIC: Thank you, ladies, so much for sharing your experience and knowledge. Your perseverance and positive attitudes are inspirations! Your experience and advice are very much appreciated, and I value your insight.

APRILBAIR, CAREN_BLUEJEANS, DDOORN, IMIN2GENES, KELPIE57: Thank you all for the encouragement and support! I know this is quite controversial to some.

Comment edited on: 6/9/2011 11:40:07 AM

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I.M.MAGIC 6/9/2011 9:49AM

    I used to eat like this when I was a teenager--and then someone convinced me that 123 pounds was too much for me (it was NOT too much, but what does a 19yr old know? LOL)... After decades of trying to find some kind of balance--and not succeeding-- there's some permanent damage which means I can not go back... I'm diabetic, having to inject insulin because my body doesn't produce enough and is resistent to what there IS-- and I have damaged kidneys that require medication to preserve and enhance function--and those two things also necessitate dietary limitations 1) because my kidneys can't filter the foods or byproducts affectively without further damage, and 2)to avoid counteracting the meds or causing a reaction... it gets tricky.

I envy you in a way. You have access to information that would have prevented all this if it had been available to the public 40 yrs ago!

I've finally learned to listen to what my body is telling me, and it's never too late to make changes for the better--SP had been a real treasure in this process.

I'm glad for you that you are re-discovering your internal sensors at an early enough stage in the game that you may well be able to avoid the things I and others like me have to deal with.


Kathy emoticon

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KELPIE57 6/9/2011 9:33AM

    Interesting...looking forward to the next instalments

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IMIN2GENES 6/9/2011 9:02AM

    Thanks for sharing this! Way to go!

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ANDREA409 6/9/2011 8:41AM

    Your body will definitely adjust, I have no doubt about that. This is the food it has been craving, and it's finally getting it. I know how wonderful that feels. I remember as a vegetarian, I also had sugar cravings. Once I started eating meat, eggs, butter, etc, they stopped. STOPPED. I couldn't believe how great that felt. I always felt like I was a food addict, like I was out of control. But I later realized it was my biochemistry, not me. I wasn't weak. My body was aching for whole foods, real food. Not low-fat, artifically-flavored yogurt. Man didn't subsist on that for 3.5 million years. I eat so much less now than I used to, as well.

I'm so happy for you that it's all falling into place. Sure it will take time, but, man, isn't the journey so worth it? It's a great feeling to finally be meeting the needs of the body instead of fighting against it.

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DDOORN 6/9/2011 8:37AM

    Great to unlock the formulas for what makes your body work optimally!


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    Way to go! Low carbs is working with your body. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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APRILBAIR 6/9/2011 8:08AM

  Keep following your instincts and listening to your body... sounds like you're doing great!

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Adjusting Sails

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. - Jimmy Dean

I am 88lbs of pure MUSCLE!

Yeah, not very impressive, is it? I'm petite at 5'0", but this still sounds puny. Bleh!

And I've got 41lbs of pure FAT!

Bleh, bleh, bleh!

Once I figured out my numbers of lean mass, I immediately started considering whether I should work on building more muscle first, or lose continue shedding fat.

Muscle will definitely improve my metabolism, but in order to do significant gains, I would have to increase my calories. Can't gain muscle in a calorie deficit. Anyone who says otherwise is mistaken. The only case where that is true is someone who is extremely out of shape and very overweight. The body will compensate by adding more muscle, even when in deficit.

It's summer time, so I've decided that I will continue focusing on shedding fat, and I'll just accept I'll be a runt for a little while. I'm hoping to set my goal weight to 110lbs. At the end of summer, I'll work on adding body mass.

Yes, 110 is very small. Before anyone gets concerned about it, I'm 5'0". I have 88lbs lean mass. 110lbs is 21% bodyfat, which is the lower end of normal.

While many girls would love to be that tiny, I do not. I'd rather have more muscle. I'm active, and I'd love to be a pseudo athlete. I'd rather be sleek and lean like a cheetah.

So my goal for the summer term is 88lbs muscle/22lbs fat ~ 110lbs.

In the winter, I will get a personal trainer to help me bulk up properly. Not that I will not be 'bulky' muscle like a man. I'm a woman. I lack testosterone to get the BIG muscles. I will just get tighter and leaner, like a cheetah.

The women you see with really huge, man-like muscles have to do it by taking steroids. Or they are a transsexual. Lay off the steroids if you don't want to look like a man, but pick up the weights.

[Edit: Some women may big up more easily, but this is generally not the norm.]

I am positive that I now know the correct formula to shed fat. It requires some sacrifice.

I see myself as a pseudo athlete, not a runway model.

I want to look like this:

So it starts with this:

To be healthy, do this:

I am active, so I am healthy. But I am still fat. I have learned that body shape really is 80% what goes in here:

In order to get this:

I have discovered I need to get rid of this:

Sure I enjoy bread, pasta, and rice. Rice being my favorite of the three. But I have discovered that I don't need it. The most nutritious slice of bread cannot compete with a big bowl of salad for vitamins, mineral and nutrition. I have also discovered that I don't want it as much as this:

If all it takes is ditching the grains and starches, all I can say is, I wish I had done it sooner. I wish I had not banged my head against brick walls. I wish I had not continued to try to force a square in a round hole. My dietary component was just wrong, wrong, wrong for my goals.

My goal was always just over the horizon. All I had to do was adjust my sail.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANDREA409 6/9/2011 8:35AM

    Yeah, obviously a lot of people don't have this problem...but a lot of people do. Like the people you see slogging their way on the elliptical for like an hour everyday, yet they never lose weight. Having been a victim of it, I know it all too well.

But of course, for many people exercise is a great way to lose weight. Guess it all depends on how must stress your body is under in addition to the exercise.

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KELPIE57 6/9/2011 5:02AM

    Interesting and inspirational, especially in that it encourages us all to find our own way!

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VHALKYRIE 6/8/2011 10:17PM

    ANDREA409: Elevated cortisol from cardio? Really...now that is something to consider. Thanks for bringing it up. I will ponder on it.

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ANDREA409 6/8/2011 6:59PM

    Love the positivity of this blog - as well as the photos to keep you motivated. Have you read "The Hormone Diet" by Natasha Turner? It's one of the first books I read that turned me onto this whole lifestyle; she advocates AWAY from cardio. I couldn't believe it. She insists that strength training is an absolute must, and recommends walking, yoga, etc. But anything beyond that more than once or twice a week is stressful on the body, resulting in elevated cortisol levels, causing stubborn fat to hang on for dear life. Haha. Having been a victim of that, I am a believer. That being said, I miss running more than anything and do hope I can do it again one day. But I know now that I will take it so much easier than I used to if my adrenals are ever strong enough for me to do so.

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VHALKYRIE 6/8/2011 4:22PM

    LADYROSE: ARG!!! Now I got to wrap my mind around this one too!

Though Taubes (been reading him now too) says exercise doesn't matter to fat loss? Not sure I agree, but I've had my world turned upside down in a very short period, so I don't know!

Comment edited on: 6/8/2011 4:25:21 PM

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LADYROSE 6/8/2011 4:17PM

    "whether I should work on building more muscle first, or lose continue shedding fat"



ike our eating that goes against the 'grain', the approach to fat loss has to change too - use exercise to build muscle to help boost the metabolism, build new mithchondria pathways, get strong and increase endurance... and use food to help shed the fat.

And yes, women can add muscle mass easily, no one gets 'bulky' by accident. And no one, not even men, get huge without help. That's why I love CrossFit - builds solid, but dense and strong muscle that doesn't take up a lot of room. ;)

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DDOORN 6/8/2011 4:07PM

    Great pics to visually PUSH you on toward success! :-)


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LHIEBEL 6/8/2011 3:11PM

  Yeah--I definitely like myself better when I have more muscle definition--I am trying to work some fat off right now--but I am lucky in that my muscles seem to respond pretty quickly to strength training so not too hard to start looking more toned in a shorter period of time....at least when I am consistent!

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JUSTBIRDY 6/8/2011 1:04PM

    I am one of those rare women who DOES bulk up like a guy, and I have to continually remind myself to check in how I look, not always what the scale says.

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JESS0107 6/8/2011 12:03PM

    Love the quote by Jimmy Dean!!!

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