Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Time to Eat Crow (It’s low carb, right?)

It’s often difficult to admit when we’re wrong.  It’s hard to “eat crow” but that’s what I’m about to do in this post.  In May 2011 I posted my opinion on an extreme low carb diet and I said that I thought it was dangerous.  I then wrote another post revising what I had to say because someone had commented and disagreed with me.  After some consideration I wrote this. I revised my first assessment of low carbing to say that if a well-balanced diet is followed then it can be a healthy way to eat, but I still didn’t think I could do it myself since I “love me some carbs”.  (By well-balanced I meant that lots of non-starchy veggies should be consumed and not just a bunch of protein and fat.)  Now, over a year later, I’m changing my tune.  Yes, Kate can eat an extremely low carb diet and be perfectly content!  So, what’s changed?  What’s the story? 

Earlier this year I began to slowly lower the amount of carbs I was consuming by cutting back even further on some of the processed foods I was eating, ie: less bread, no crackers or chips and no cereal.  I went from eating approx. 150 grams of carbs per day down to about 100 grams.  In the beginning I had decreased energy and was dragging around, but that passed.  In June I decided to try out a food plan I had read about that seemed interesting to me, mostly to see if I could do something about those pesky fasting readings.  This plan has you drastically lower your carb intake for a couple of months and then slowly add some carbs back into your diet.  I figured I could do anything for a short time so, after checking with my doctor, I began.   

Let me insert here that I am not going to tell you what plan I’ve been following, so don’t ask.  I’m not here to promote anyone’s book or diet or whatever.  I’m just here to share with you what I’ve been doing to control my D in the hopes that someone will learn something for themselves. 

For the past month and a half I have not eaten any grains (ie: no bread, pasta, rice or quinoa), no fruit has passed my lips, no beans have been consumed and no milk has been gulped.  Kate has been living extremely low carb.  I’m not hungry, my blood glucose has been stellar and I just saw the doctor on Monday and my A1c says I’m normal.  (It’s a good thing that the A1c doesn’t test other things like sanity.)

I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would EVER be typing this post.  Just over a year ago I was saying that there was no way I could eat a low carb diet and be satisfied, and now I am.  This is proof, dear friends, that anyone can change.  I changed.  I was wrong about low carb.  I admit it.

Now, do I think you should all immediately begin to dump those carbs and radically change the way you’re eating?  HELL NO!  That’s between you, your doctor and your meter.  My point is to show that, regardless of what we think we can or can’t do, it IS possible to make changes to your diet and actually be happy about it.

Here are some observations I have about the way I’ve been eating:
  • I don’t want to eat this way for the rest of my life.  Why?  I miss some things.  I miss berries, a LOT.  I’m not really much of a fruit eater but I like berries, a LOT. (Did I mention that already?)  I also miss beans.  (I make some mean stuffed peppers with beans and I love hummus.)  I like to make wraps with corn tortillas.  I might like to eat a sandwich on occasion. I miss my green chili enchilada casserole. There are things I miss and I want them back so I hope that I can slowly add some things back into my diet and still tolerate them. I think I'll aim for around 60-75 grams of carbs per day.
  • I think I have been so successful this time because I’ve come to this place in my life…slowly.  I didn’t try to change everything overnight.  I have slowly made changes and that allowed not only my mind to wrap itself around the idea but it allowed my body to adjust.  There is no way I could have gone from eating 150 grams of carbs per day down to 20ish overnight.  I would have expired.  You also need to realize that I’ve been dealing with diabetes for 7 years.  I just tried lowering my carbs more drastically this year.
  • I have come to the conclusion that I was truly addicted to unhealthy carbs.  Honest!  Now that I’ve adjusted, I no longer crave the things that I dearly held onto only a year ago.  Today I sat across the table from a plate of French fries and I didn’t flinch.  I went to a potluck a couple of weeks ago and didn’t dive into that bowl of potato chips or eat any dessert.  I didn’t want to!  I’m telling you…this is not normal for me.  I have spent my entire life loving the wrong foods and now I don’t miss them.  No one is more surprised than I am.
  • I spoke to my doctor before I did this and I discussed the results with her this week (she’s amazed and pleased).  I’m doing this the right way.
All in all, I’m really happy.  I feel healthy.  I haven’t felt this good physically since I was a teenager.  I feel free.  Free?  Yup, I feel like I’ve beaten something and it no longer has a hold over me.  I feel like I really can do this.  I feel like I will win and diabetes will just have to sit in the back seat and deal with the fact that I’m in charge.  I can control what I eat instead of the food controlling me.  I don’t know how to adequately explain to you how big a deal this is.  It’s huge!

Now, am I cured?  Nope, there is no cure for diabetes.  I have good control and I intend to attempt to maintain that control.  Will I “blow it” sometimes?  Yup, I can almost guarantee it.  I will eat dessert with my grandsons if I so choose.  I will indulge at lunch with my girlfriends now and then.  I will splurge.  However, the difference now is that I am in control.  I know my weaknesses but I also know that I can overcome them.  There is nothing on the face of this Earth that is more invigorating than confidence…and I have it.


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