Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Scared Straight

I'm going to admit a couple of things to you that I'm not proud of but it's the truth and I've always been up front here on my little blog.

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 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
"If your food is stimulating the wrong hormones or creating a hormonally unbalances state, you will find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to lose weight and keep it off." Living the Low Carb Life

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


  1. Kelly.. it's great you have found something that is working for you! Awesome job! This may be a long post.. but it was a great one.. thanks for sharing all of the information!

    The test was probably an A1C test. It basically checks what your glucose average is over a period of time.

  2. That's a hemoglobin A1c test. It's a test that people who are prediabetic and diabetic get as an overall number predictor.

    I am glad it is working for you. I find I do much better weight wise when I reduce carbs, but for me I think the key might actually be wheat. I seem to do fine with fruit,veggie, and dairy carbs, but not wheat carbs.

    I also love eating more fat, don't you? I don't get cravings when I eat more fat and my hair is looking terrific!

    We all must take care of our health the way we need to individually, not like anyone else!

  3. I can't give up my complex carbs, I still eat oatmeal, whole wheat producs (bread, pasta) and fruits and vegetables, they are essential to weight loss..

    For me the culprit is sugar..


  4. Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you. (Dr. Suess)

    Do YOUR thing Kelly, your thing.

  5. Hey! Good news - great post!
    When I "cheat" (like cake on vacation)
    I always "pay"
    and for 2 or 3 days feel less than my best.
    It's just not worth it!

    I have often wondered if I had some degree of gluten intolerance, as well.... after all those years of abusing sugar and flour - it's not a far stretch to think it might be true!

    Glad you are in a correction phase!

  6. I'm so glad you are finding what works best for you to help you feel and BE healthy!

    And feel free to shove your low carb down my throat anytime! It all looks delicious :)

  7. You are doing great, Kelly. Just hang in there and keep reading. Whatever keep you motivated to continue low-carbing is a good thing. I'm right where you are with the carbs. I can tell as soon as I consume them that my body is acting badly. That is why I made the decision to make a radical change.

    I would like to make one suggestion. The glucophage and the metformin are the same drug but the generic can affect a person differently than the name brand. The glucophage name brand made me sick as you are now. The generic metformin gave me no problems at all. I just thought I would mention that there can be a difference between the two.

  8. The Hba1c test takes an average of your blood sugars as previously stated.

    This is from WebMD:

    The hemoglobin A1c test -- also called HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin test, or glycohemoglobin -- is an important blood test used to determine how well your diabetes is being controlled. Hemoglobin A1c provides an average of your blood sugar control over a six to 12 week period and is used in conjunction with home blood sugar monitoring to make adjustments in your diabetes medicines.

    I went to a nutritionist who broke it down for me 30/30/45 So 30 carbs at breakfast/30 carbs at lunch and 45 at dinner. You might want to see if a nutritionist is part of your health plan.

    I actually have some helpful books from the Diabetes Assoc. that I could send you. If you email me your address I will send them to you.

    It sucks Kelly! I know exactly how you feel. I have to do insulin so if you can get it under control with the oral meds and diet that is the way to go.

    Hang in there!

  9. I'm so glad you found what works for you.

  10. Glad you found something that works for you for now. And glad you stopped doing that 1000 calorie deficit every day! That's not healthy either!!

  11. Although I'm not IR I do try to not eat simple carbs and I don't go too crazy on complex ones!
    By the way I found this post very informative. Thanks

  12. After all you've been through with trying to lose weight, I'm so glad that you've figured out what works for you - and, more importantly, for your health!

    Now of course I want to try low carbing it to see if I can drop some pounds. How many carbs to you aim for in a day?

  13. Shelley, I'm currently staying around 20g of carbs per day. I'll be adding in more carbs next week to figure out which ones stall weight loss. Berries will be my first experiment because the strawberries look so good right now!

  14. Where's my gold sticker? I haven't read all the comments yet, but it's an A1C test - anything under 7.0 is considered a controlled diabetic, but my doctor always wants that number to be closer to 6.0 - my last quarter mine was 6.4, which I am still proud about.

    Yep, lower carb will work with you because you take oral medication - I can take insulin to cover the carbs, where you cannot.

    Hang in there! I know the information can be so overwelming at times, but you'll all be healthier for it!

  15. Great post, Kelly. Glad everyone told you the name of the test--having a family that are all diabetic but me, I knew of it, too.

    Your post was inspiring in that you found what works for you. To me it was a bit depressing because I suspect I have the same issues--I often wonder if people think I cheat, when I don't. The thing that sucks for me is I have to eat a low protein diet. I'm screwed.

    Sorry--shouldn't have shared that. Anyway, I hope you continue to get the great results you are seeing and that the weight just melts right off you. You are so deserving.

  16. Where do I get my gold sticker?

    I had bacon cheesburgers last night as you and Anne had inspired...pic on FB...they were sooooo goooooood!

    Had the asparagus and parm tonight...soooooo goooooood toooo!

    Well cyster...I have PCOS too...already have the high blood pressure and my most recent blood work came back too high in the sugar department.

    I have never been tested for IR as my doc apparently doesn't do that...I have an appointment tomorrow and I am going to insist on it.

    Diabetes is in my family too and it has done some ugly things...I don't eat a lot of carbs (I think) as I don't eat anything with gluten.

    Low carb is the way for me too! this a post or a comment? I am done!

    Glad you have found what works for you!

  17. made it this far and CHEERED THE WHOLE FLIPPING WAY!


  18. Great post, Kelly. It's such a great feeling to finally get past those walls that are keeping us back in weight loss. I have started to control my carbs too, and feel better. It makes me wonder if I have IR or diabetes...I don't want to think about it. My Dr. always wants to have me tested and I don't want to know the truth...

  19. Love this post it. :)

  20. Hi! You sound a lot like me. By trial and error I find that I need to eat almost NO carbs (not that I do it, but I'm trying). It's the only way I can keep my BS numbers level. I'm not a diabetic (yet), but if I eat carbs, it's only a matter of time. I also find that, one piece of toast with say, fruit based jam (no sugar) will even put my number up, as well as make me crave more carbs or sweets. SO - here I am, trying to eat high fat, moderate protein at ALL meals or snacks. All the best....


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