Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Evil Carb

Since approximately the first week of June, I have been on an adventure called "Total Overhaul of my Lifelong Eating Habits".   Based on my track record, the odds of this actually sticking and lasting are at about 15%.  I think I'm being generous with that assessment.   Let's review my diet/exercise history:

Before I begin, remember that my weight since childbirth has ranged from 130 pounds to an all time high of 180.

 - 1998.  My first real diet.  It has no name but consists of a lot of Gogurt and brown rice.  Paired with some breathing routine which proclaims that 10 minutes of violent exhalations are the equivalent of 30 minutes of high impact aerobics, I manage to actually lose 35 pounds.   This lasts approximately 5 months, and my downfall coincides with the new "Mr. Cool" ice cream truck which makes a nightly appearance on our street.

-2001.  I discover running.   By the time 9/11 happens, I am up to 6 miles a week of full-tilt running.  After 9/11, I really plunge into it in an attempt to drive the demons from my brain.  In December 2011, we visited my friend who survived the attack, and I recall her telling me that she needed to hug "what was left of me".  I was down to 140.  A few months later, I suffered what was to be the first of many calf pulls in my left calf.

Between 2002 and 2011, I attempted to become a real runner 3 different times - always ending with my being hobbled at the calf.  From a diet perspective, I tried Atkins, South Beach, the Zone Diet, the Blood Type Diet, Weight Watchers and (briefly) vegetarianism.   In all cases, I was just hungry.  all.   the.  time.    That hunger was the common denominator among all of these diets.  And that hunger, I believe, is why they all failed.

Finally, I have faced my true demons -white flour, white sugar and starches in general.   I read that someone I knew had lost a lot of weight and gotten down to his high school weight on the Ketogenic diet.  This diet embraces "good" fat (nothing manufactured in a test tube) and animal protein.  The makeup is 10% carbs derived from vegetables and fruits,  40% protein, and 50% fats.   Based on various websites,  carbs should be curtailed to 30 - 50 grams daily.  So, I figured - what do I have to lose?

About five days in, I experienced "carb crash".   I was bone tired for almost three days.  Luckily, I did not experience the "South Beach" headache and - unbelievably - was not hungry.  The hunger I did experience was controllable with a few almonds or  cheese curds and was not accompanied by the cold sweats and weakness of past diets.   My carb cravings diminished and the abdominal bloating that I'd been walking around with for most of my life began to go away.

In July, I ventured into running again.  Not full tilt, as in the past, but a gradual build up with run/walk intervals.  So far, so good, and as I type, I have lost 10 pounds.

So what am I still fighting against?  Carb creep - otherwise known as complacency.  So I'm doing great, and eating that hamburger bun won't hurt........right?  I am already dealing with it, particularly on the weekends.  Weekends are so much more unscheduled, and that's when I feel the urge to eat ice cream or sausage buns.    Next weekend, Bill will be gone for 2-3 days, and I am dreading being alone with these cravings.  I must fill the time with something.......

It's hard to believe that I have been taking two different blood pressure pills for years just to keep my BP hovering around 140 over 80.    Eliminating bread, sugar and starches has caused it to drop as low as 111 over 70.   Even when I weighed between 140 -150, I was fighting with my BP.  Who knew?

So, this would all seem to be an incentive, wouldn't it?   An incentive to stay disciplined with my eating plan and my exercise.   History and the odds are not in my favor.  But I feel as though my future depends on it.   One day at a time .....

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