When I was diagnosed with IR (insulin resistance) and other issues including thyroid and PCOS, etc., I was a bit in shock. I felt like I was standing still but the earth was spinning out of control. I froze. I even forgot some of the numbers the doctor had told me on my test results. Fortunately he did have me write some things down or they would have been lost in space.
The next day I went out of town and tried to follow the advice in the book that Dr. Wheeler recommended called the Insulin Resistance Diet. I read it out loud to Chuck (he wanted to know about it too) and we learned more about how and why this happens and what I can do about it. And I tried to put that knowledge into practice that weekend.
I lost about 4 pounds water weight that week. And then things leveled off and I started taking the Glucophage which totally messed my world up. Couldn't eat, couldn't get out of bed, couldn't concentrate. Then my chest started hurting. I felt broken. I was a defective trophy wife.
So I rebelled. I stopped taking the Glucophage (also known as metformin) and I decided that I knew better how to handle this. I would wear my bodybugg and count my calories in and calories out. I would work out twice a day. I would train for a half marathon. I would eat 1200 calories per day. I would create a 1000 calorie deficit (minimum) every day and lose at least 2 pounds per week and sometimes 3. (Again, I hate being told what to do so I try to do it another way. I'm going to work on that. I even have a bumper sticker that says "Does Not Play Well With Others.")
So I monitored my calories and ate whatever the hell I wanted as long as it was within my 1200 calories. I kept track of all the calories burned and did the math each day to figure out how much I should lose. On weigh in day I expected big things. It's simple math right? If you burn more calories than you take in then you lose weight. If you take in more calories than you burn you gain weight.
Weigh in day. I gain 2 pounds. Frustration doesn't quite cover my feelings. I'm defective and I can't lose weight. Defeated. Chuck felt so bad for me. I tried to hide my frustration most of the time but I felt doomed. I've been at this weight loss thing for a while now. Too long. I should have reached my goal. And I've tried so many different things with limited success on all. How can a person gain weight when taking in 1000 calories less than being burned each day? It doesn't make sense. I felt like people were thinking that I was lying about how much I did and how much I ate because it doesn't add up. I promise you, I wasn't lying. I was giving it my all. It consumed me.
In February I went to San Antonio with Anne (just the sweetest person you could hope to meet). I decided I was going to stick like glue to my IR diet. After all, calorie counting was not working for me one bit. Anne is a low carb eater. It turns out that we ate pretty similar except with breakfast I'd have 1 piece of toast and she wouldn't. At the Mexican restaurant I had a couple of chips and one tortilla. She didn't. Other than that we ate almost identical. I lost 5 pounds at my next weigh in. How did that happen?! I'd been stuck at the same weight for over a month and then I lose? Awesome.
I started reading. First Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes. Completely blew my mind. I love books that challenge my long held beliefs. It made me rethink many things and want to delve deeper into the whole subject. I started making a few changes in my diet (and when I use the word diet it's not a temporary eating plan; I mean lifestyle of eating.). I started to see the scale move in the right direction although slowly.
I was sent a free start up kit from Atkins.com. I read that info. I read The New Atkins For A New You book. I read Protein Power. I changed my eating even more as it started to make sense why I would gain weight when I should have been losing. And I lost more weight. Finally! Something is working for me!!!! My husband is wearing clothes that didn't fit a few months ago. Rachel's clothes don't fit at all now and she is so happy because she has a bit of a self image problem. It kills me to see that too because I think she is such a beautiful person both inside and out. Charlie is just fine. :)
Besides Why We Get Fat the other book that really struck me was Living the Low Carb Life. It discusses the history, why we have problems (not everyone is sensitive to carbs and can eat them and still not gain weight), the different low carb plans and the pros and cons of each one, different recommended books, how to make it work for you, etc.
Right now I'm reading the part about insulin resistance. It scared me pretty bad. IR is not something you want. Weight loss is difficult at best. The risk for heart disease is increased 6 times. Hypertension (I have it). Risk of diabetes. I read that 80% of diabetics were/are insulin resistant. I learned that my body treats carbs as a toxic substance and works very hard to get those taken care of immediately and out of the bloodstream regardless of what that may do to the rest of the body.
Think of your house on fire. The main goal at the time of the fire is to put the fire out not matter what. During the process of trying to put the fire out you may have to ruin items in your home that you cherish. They'll get wet. But it doesn't matter at the time. The fire is the most important problem at hand. My body treats blood sugar the same way and insulin is the water to douse that fire at the detriment of other body parts and systems. Not good.
Some quotes from the book that got my attention:
- "Insulin is the key to the vast majority of chronic illness." -Joe Mercola, D.O.
- "There is an epidemic of insulin resistance in the world at large." -Gerald Reaven, MD
- "When you have excess levels of insulin, it's like a loose cannon on the deck of the hormonal ship." -Barry Sears, Ph.D.
- "Insulin sensitivity is going to determine, for the most part, how long you are going to live and how healthy you are going to be. It determines the rate of aging more so than anything else we know right now." -Ron Rosedale, M.D. (that one really got me)
- "For a large percentage of the population, perhaps 30 to 40 percent, low-fat diets are counterproductive. They have a paradoxical effect of making people gain weight." -Eleftheria Maratos-Flier, director of obesity research at Harvard's Joslin Diabetes Center
Yes, I was stubborn to take my doctor's advice of lowering carbs. I wanted my cake and eat it too. I just didn't want to be told what to do. And I hate being told that I have to take medicines. I feel as if I'm on life support: if I don't take these I'll die. That sort of thing. Time to put on my big girl panties and just deal with it. Ya know?
After a little time of experimenting (not much, mind you) I've seen that if I have a few carbs too many (and I don't know how much is too many at this point) I gain weight. It doesn't take much. One soft pretzel did it to me last time. One pretzel.
So when I go out I know that if I order certain foods it will show as a weight gain. My doctor said I had one of the worst cases of insulin resistance he had seen. Great. Not exactly the prize I was seeking. I have to make a conscious decision before I eat carby foods and know that I will gain weight and decide if it's worth it or not. I also have to decide each time if it's worth my health because this does some bad stuff to my body. My birthday, I'll have a bite of cake. I can make that choice. Or maybe I'll make a low carb cake! I'm running a relay at Blue Bell creamery. All you can eat ice cream afterwards. I'll have a small bit and deal with it.
I don't want diabetes, weight issues, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc. That's why I have to eat low carb. I don't think it's an option for me. It's something that my body requires. Diabetes runs rampant in my family. I'm going to do my best to avoid it. Weight issues are also a problem. I'm trying my best to fight my own little battle here.
The prescription insurance company called me last night. The lady on the phone was a diabetic medicine specialist or something like that. She wanted to discuss my meds with me. Answer any questions I may have. See how I'm doing. WOW! I've never had them call me before.
I told her I was not diabetic and told her about my IR and the Glucophage and my problems with it. I told her that I was taking mere crumbs right now. We discussed how the meds worked. I also gave her my fasting glucose level (84) and she said that was very good and it sounded like I was handling the IR with the meds and diet. She also suggested I get an A-something test done. I should have written it down. She gave me an 800 number to call to discuss any questions about my meds or diabetes, which I thought was great. I sometimes do have questions and don't know who to ask right then except Dr. Google.
Weight: 177.8 YAY! In the 170s finally. Very happy to see that.
Breakfast: scrambled eggs and little tiny smoked pork chops that were a lot like canadian bacon.
Lunch: tuna on salad greens with some Caesar dressing
Dinner: I had a craving for a burger. Mooyah lettuce wrapped bacon cheeseburger. Very filling. Very tasty.
Snack: a camera shy low carb ice cream bar (5 carbs)
One thing I can say is that I'm not hungry eating this way. I don't have to worry about hunger at all! If I'm hungry, I eat. And it doesn't take much to feel satisfied.
Chuck mentioned that he feels more alert and has energy as soon as he eats each time.
You have to find what works for you. Every body is different. There is no cookie cutter way of life for everyone. I'm just so happy that I may have found a way to deal with IR and lose weight. I'm still reading. I still have a lot of questions (are there any long term side effects of this? What about saturated fats? etc). But at least what I'm doing so far is having positive results. I'll find out more when I have my blood work done in May and I can compare it to my previous tests.
And I'm going to work on my stubborness. I'll start taking the advice of my doctors and not see it as a challenge to do the opposite. :)
I sincerely hope you've found what works for you. And I hope you don't feel like I'm shoving low carb down your throat. I'm not out trying to make converts or any such nonsense. I'm just sharing what I'm doing to help myself. If you can get by with low fat, high carb then great for you! It simply had the opposite effect on me.
That was certainly a long post! You deserve a gold sticker if you've made it this far! LOL