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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.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    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.
    3558 days ago
  • KELLEY1010
    awesome!!! emoticon
    3558 days ago
    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.
    3558 days ago
    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!!!
    3558 days ago
    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!
    3558 days ago
    That's been a lot of my experience on low-carb as well. Glad it is working for you. Keeping going with it... emoticon
    3559 days ago
    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.
    3559 days ago
    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.
    3559 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/9/2011 11:40:07 AM
    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
    3559 days ago
  • KELPIE57
    Interesting...looking forward to the next instalments
    3559 days ago
    Thanks for sharing this! Way to go!

    3559 days ago
  • ANDREA409
    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.
    3559 days ago
    Great to unlock the formulas for what makes your body work optimally!

    3559 days ago
    Way to go! Low carbs is working with your body. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3559 days ago
    Keep following your instincts and listening to your body... sounds like you're doing great!
    3559 days ago
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