Why We Get Fat

In April, I kicked off a six-week program of very low carb eating. My mission was two-fold. I wanted to zip my jeans again after a vacation (that happened within a week) and turn a two year “pre-diabetic” diagnosis around. After the first pre-diabetes report, I quit eating sugar. No more desserts. For me, that was huge. I love chocolate and sweets of all kinds. After the second test, one year after giving up sugar, my numbers were better, but I was still pre-diabetic. My doctor suggested cutting carbs that turn to sugar in the body. The white stuff: flour, potatoes, pasta.

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This is tricky for a vegetarian. I love cereal, bread, and potatoes. Pasta is a staple. It is almost impossible to eat in a restaurant without either meat or grain. Soon into my new program, I found myself adding a little meat back into my diet. I didn’t like the idea, but my health is primary so I did it, telling myself it would just be for six weeks, until I got my test results. Then, if nothing changed, I could go back to being a vegetarian who relied heavily on grains and legumes for my protein needs.

I am a questioner, so I needed more to go on than just my doctor saying to stop eating “refined carbs.” I mean, I was a vegetarian who mostly ate whole wheat pasta, brown rice, multi-grain bread. The healthy stuff. I’d been eating that way all year. So I knew it was going to take more than just cutting “refined carbs” for me. Auspiciously, at just the right time, I found the book that changed my life and my health forever. Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes. I figured I’d give Taubes’ findings a try, and see what happened.

After about a week of adjustment, my digestion got much better. No more bouts of IBS. And best of all, I no longer had craving or the urge to binge. Freedom from the tyranny of food! Feeling in control of what and how much I put in my body is incredible. For the first time in forever, I can be around cookies, bread, rice, potatoes, crackers, muffins, donuts and just say no. I can even occasionally indulge in pizza or potato salad, but I don’t particularly crave these foods. I don’t even want chips anymore, and they used to be my favorite food.

According to Taube, humans evolved to be meat-eaters. Our earliest ancestors relied on a diet of mostly meat protein, green leafy vegetation and a few berries in season. Our bodies still carry that basic DNA. Grains were only introduced a few thousand years ago, not long enough for our complicated and ancient physiology to catch up. At least for some of us. I love Taube’s analogy: just as not all smokers will get lung cancer, not all carb eaters will end up with pre-diabetes. The research is not in on exactly why, but genetics seem to play a role.

Six weeks later and my test results are in. Good news! I am no longer pre-diabetic. My blood sugar has stabilized. My cholesterol and other numbers, including calcium and some other former deficiencies, are off the charts wonderful. This is what Why We Get Fat predicted. I talked to my doctor about the books’ premise and the changes I’d made in my diet because of it. When she gave me the good news, she commented that my new diet is working wonderfully and to keep it up. Music to my ears.

Sauntering Into 60

Every day as I sit at my desk, I high five this guy. His arm swings. He’s my good luck charm. I need him because change is scary and the only thing that doesn’t change is that everything changes.

The internet changed publishing so fast people in the book biz still find it difficult to catch their breath, find a rhythm, secure a spot at the table. Me, I’ve given up on all that. Well, today anyway. Taking it day by day for a while until I get myself sorted. April is revision month and after that I’m just not sure. I know I have a book due, an editor waiting and a publisher willing today.

But then the world could turn upside down tomorrow.  There’s an eclipse coming April 4 that is sure to shake up everyone’s life in out-of-the-blue unexpected ways big or small. People born on or close to that day will feel the effects more than others, according to Susan Miller at Astrology Zone.

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Social media changes even faster than the internet. I do my best to keep up but I’m done running. I’m 60 and sauntering. You’ll see some changes here on the blog soon, and maybe notice a difference if you follow me on Twitter or are a Facebook friend. I’m getting rid of the Fan page. I’m the last to know but the Facebook Fan page has outlived its usefulness as a free site. The latest thing is to let everyone be your friend, which was what I did before, but everything old is new again.

So…my FB updates will change as I seek to guard my friend and family’s privacy a little better than before. I am so open online, and it has never hurt me, or not much anyway, but not everybody is like me. Also, you might not know this, but there are private pieces of me. No really! Also, some of my friends who are not on Facebook have asked me not to post pictures or updates that include them on the site. I have to respect their wishes.

I’m slowly evolving into my “Fourth Twenty” in other ways too. Taking better care of my health. This is a scary thing because if I lose all the weight my doctor says I need to, my face is gonna be trashed. I mean, more than it already is. I like being a little plump because it means less wrinkles and sag. But I’m 60. Vanity is not going to take me to the plastic surgeon or even an injectable party, thank you very much. I look to letting that go. I think it will be interesting not to be interested in my looks.

The other thing is my blood sugar, which I have battled for years. It looks like giving up sweets is not going to be enough to bring my numbers down. I cut carbs and calories, but it looks like grains are going to have to go, at least until I’m stabilized. So how exactly does a vegetarian get her complete protein, the full amino acid chain, without combining beans and rice or pasta and pine nuts? Could a bigger change than I ever anticipated be afoot?