Monday, November 7, 2011

Don't Wake The Monster! do I begin?
20 years ago a visit to the doctor confirmed that my cholesterol was 202. ( now,,, I know that is not such a terrible reading) My doctor strictly admonished me to go on a low fat diet, handing me stapled sheets of mimeographed paper with low fat diet information on them. I weighed 125 pounds at that time and  I wore a size 6-8. I felt great, and I was very active. I determined to follow my doctors instructions to the letter. Why not? He was a doctor.

5 years later, I had gained 20 pounds, most of it was around my middle and my cholesterol was higher. I worked harder at it.  I became a vegetarian.  I walked and worked out daily. I joined an aerobic class at the YMCA . 5 years later I had gained another 25 pounds. I yo-yo'd for a few years.... I began to have sleep apnea, and everything...... I had chronic sinus infections and candida. My knees ached. I broke my leg and foot and began to have  an auto immune disease called  RSD,  Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. I craved food constantly.  I felt like a monster was living inside of me, making me feel starved every two hours. There was.

That monster was insulin. My family genetics...My father and brother have type two diabetes. I think I was well on my way.
Altogether, by the time I reached 56 years of age, I gained about 50 pounds.  All the while I was dieting and working out. I could bench press 130 pounds. I was leg pressing 500 pounds. I was doing 100 push ups daily, and walking 3 miles, or swimming swam a half a mile at the YMCA , and I was still gaining about a pound a month. I became a strong fat person.
 A couple of years ago, I  joined a diet/exercise web site and followed the program there, eating 6 small,  low fat meals a day.  Shrinking my portions, working out 6 days a week.  I lost 12 pounds in a 4 month challenge. As soon as that challenge ended, even though I still did aerobics, lifted weights and watched my portion sizes, I gained the weight back.I could not understand why. I was still working out hard.  The monster was still there. I was hungry constantly.
 Can you say...FRUSTRATED! boys and girls???
 That same website, of which I am a member, holds weight loss challenges. There are some pretty amazing  people on the website who have changed their lives and done well.  There is one team on the website called a "diabetic and food addicts team".  I begrudgingly joined them, thinking that I needed some sort of behavior modification.  The leader of the group, who has lost over 170 pounds, suggested I get a book written by Dr James Carlson, called  "Genocide, How your doctors dietary ignorance will kill you."  After reading that, I got out an old book my mother had given me called  "Protein Power" By Mike and Mary Eades. Dr Carlson had recommended it. I read through the book before, but I did not pick up on the why of the diet. I never lowered my carbs enough. I did not realize that everyone is different and everyone has their own critical level that causes a rise in insulin. . So I began to do some Google research on the Ancestral  Paleolithic Diet that the Eades had discussed in their Protein Power book..  I found Angelo Coppola. His "Latest in Paleo" podcasts are like a Paleo news broadcast. . Angelo's blog lists many of his favorite Paleo  blogs. He has some great books in his book list and there are archives of his podcasts . I enjoyed listening  and learning about the Paleo lifestyle on Angelo's podcasts.. I decided to help fund his podcast. Next  I bought a book  he recommended called  "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes, after hearing about it during one of the podcasts.  (what a book to wade through)  I forced myself to read through all of the research. There was one section in the chapter on insulin resistance that goes something like this..... " some people are so insulin resistant that any amount of carbohydrate creates insulin and insulin is so powerful that they cannot burn their own fat because (insulin gets left over in the blood stream) insulin is a fat storage hormone." I had read that before in Atkins and Eades books, but never understood it. Or just was too dense to get it.

 A free day once a week was sabotaging me. A bite of cookie here or there, a piece of chocolate a couple times a week.  Gary Taubes says all that is needed to gain 10 pounds a year is one or two bites more calories then  I expend each day. That is crazy. How can I control or keep track of that?
If  I understand  it right, after reading Gary Taubes book, when ever excess insulin is in my blood stream, no matter how hard I work out, I won't and can't burn my own fat for fuel. Because I am insulin resistant, my body floods itself with more insulin  than I need when ever I eat carbohydrate, so there is left over insulin in my bloodstream.   Insulin will not allow the fat I have stored  to feed my muscles. The muscles stay hungry and cause me to get hungrier. So Carbohydrate wakes the monster...
  After understanding that,I became my own guinea pig. I stopped all carbs for a couple weeks. It made every muscle ache.  I quit working out. It took a good  month before my body stopped hurting. I stuck with it because I was convinced it was right.   I could look in the back of "Good Calories, Bad Calories and  find where any of the research was written..

I decided to go strict Paleo on Memorial weekend.  I  lost a couple of pounds the first month. I did not feel good enough to work out.  I did not lose water weight like everyone says happens when a person goes on a low carb diet. ("Oh, you only lose water weight on a low carb diet) I kept my carbs low during the next two months and  I lost 22 pounds.  I started walking again. Since then I have lost a pound or two a week. So far  I have lost 34 pounds.  I resumed  lifting weights last week . I have also begun to do a high intensity bike workout 3 days a week and  I am swimming laps at the YMCA.

A few months ago,  if I needed something out of the bottom of my closet, I would have to think about it for awhile, or ask my husband . The pain in my hips and knees was enough to stop me from squatting .
I have an auto immune disease called RSD, that I mentioned before. It can be very painful. I hardly notice I have it now.  A neurologist at the University of Chicago Hospital said RSD is  incurable.  Ha!

I keep investigating.  Amazon really likes me now.
I  bought Mark Sissons," Primal Blueprint" and "The Primal Blueprint cook book".  I found  a website called "Livin' la vida Low Carb " Jimmy Moore. I listen to his podcasts. He interviews many interesting real folks. I ordered Nora Gedgaudas book "Primal Body, Primal Mind" .  I began to listen to some of  Nora's podcasts.  I bought Robb Wolfs, "The Paleo Solution." Each person in the Paleo/low carb community has a different take . I get something from them all.
I have  listened to the Vimeo's of all the Ancestral Health Symposium speakers in LA last August.That is a great resource.

My next order from Amazon is "Wheat Belly" and Dana Carpenters Low/carb  cookbook.

There is so much information about Paleo /low carb diets out there on websites now. I am on a quest for health. I appreciate every blog and podcast.

I have gone from a size 14 to a size 8 jeans...but that is not the only good thing by far....most of it surprized me.
..I am off of my blood pressure meds. I am off all of my allergy meds and off my inhalers.  I can breathe through my nose. I no longer have post nasal drip.  Stomach bloating and pain is gone.  Heart burn has stopped.  I quit having hot flashes...(I did not expect that)  My knees and hips no longer ache.
 I danced all evening at my sons wedding this last weekend. I woke up the next day and felt great, with no aches and pains.
My energy levels  have returned. I bought a couple kayaks this summer and a stand up paddle board. I take them out a few times a week in the early morning during the summer.
 Normal living no longer hurts. I am very grateful to be able to do things that are adventurous again..From what I have gathered ..stopping grain and sugar stops inflammation. I believe that cause I am living it.

When my husband and I  get hungry for something I used to make, it is a challenge to try and remake it into a Paleo food. Sometimes it works. It is worth it.  No guilt. No behavior modification needed.   Every week I step on the scale and there is another pound gone. I am still amazed.

So this blog is an attempt to write about my progress. When I make up a new recipe that is a hit with my husband and I,  I will write about it on here, or talk about what is happening in the Paleo community or tell about some special people I know who are succeeding at this. .

Maybe someone might read this who is as frustrated as I was..I hope you just try it for thirty days . That is not too long of a time.

It's working for me..Maybe it'll work for you.


  1. Great blog post. You're definitely on the right track. Janet and I have been on this diet for 9 months now - I don't need to lose weight but lost 15 lbs anyway. Quite simply, the diet makes sense.

  2. It sounds like you and I are on parallel journeys right now. You are several months ahead of me. I enjoyed this post, and plan to catch up on all that you have written so far. I look forward to hearing more from you.