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.