Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Nutrition Debate #305: My Troubled Relationship with Food

This is a hard thing to admit, but easy to see, if you know me. While I am still 110 pounds lighter than I was in 2002, I am 60 pounds heavier than I was at my lowest in 2008, and that’s no accident. I ate myself that way, and today I am, in fact, still fat. Technically, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 37, I am considered obese. And even at my lowest weight (204 pounds), my BMI (28.5) was still at the high end of overweight! How did the weight regain happen? Well, I’ll tell you.
Before I do, though, I want you to know that I am, I think – and I think my doctor would agree – much, much healthier than I was in 2002. And I don’t mean just less fat. I have a much better and more stable blood sugar level, and I have been able to give up and stay off virtually all of the oral anti-diabetic medications I was taking back then. My Type 2 diabetes is still “in remission,” although my fasting blood sugars are usually “pre-diabetic” (>100mg/dl <126mg/dl), as are my A1c’s (high 5s). But my cholesterol profile has dramatically improved, with HDLs doubled and triglycerides cut by 2/3rds. See my popular blog posts # 281, #282 and #283 for a 35-year history with charts. And my hs CRP’s, chronic systemic inflammation markers, are very much improved (usually <1.0mg/dl, down from +/-6mg/dl). And – (drum roll) – my doctor took me off statins years ago.
And why is that? Why all the good news while I have re-gained 35% of my original weight loss? It is because I have fundamentally changed what I (usually) eat. I still follow a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) Way of Eating most of the time. But I “cheat.” I’ll sometimes scarf down rolls (with butter) brought to the table in a restaurant. Sure, we could say, “no bread,” and sometimes we do, but at other times we don’t. I also raid the freezer at home occasionally to steal some of my wife’s ice cream. You see how easy it is to “blame” someone else for mytransgressions. At least I recognize the self-delusion.
It would also be easy to blame “habituation to rewarding neural dopamine signaling [that] develops with the chronic overconsumption of palatable foods, leading to a perceived reward deficit and compensatory increases in consumption.” For a good scientific roundup of why obesity is a vexing problem, see The Nutrition Debate #297: “Obesity in Remission.”
How things now stand: Because I eat LCHF, for the most part my Type 2 Diabetes continues to be in remission. But because I have lost a great deal of weight, I also have Obesity in Remission. As a consequence I need always to remember to “eat healthy” and at least 20% less than someone who has not previously been fat. “Elections have consequences,” and since I elected to eat carbs in excess and developed carbohydrate intolerance, I am foreverpredisposed to accumulate excess fat.
But 1) if I eat only the foods I have espoused and recognized as “good” for me, and 2) if I only eat when I am hungry, or alternatively just two small meals a day instead of the conventional three, I believe a) I would not have gained back any weight, and b) I might have continued to lose weight. After all, I probably shouldn’t weigh, at most, more than 175 pounds (BMI=24). But I did and I do, and so I confess it. Will that do me (or you, for that matter) any good? Well, the first step in making a change in your life is to acknowledge what you are doing that needs to change. And now I’ve done that.
So, we’ll see. I’m going to take a break now from writing this blog. I’ve written 305 posts over the last 4 years and 5 months. They have received altogether more than 150k page views, so it’s likely that someone (besides me) has benefitted from them. Readers who want to keep in touch, while I return to basics, can write to danbrown@thenutritiondebate.com. Or, visit the Bernstein Diabetes Forum, where I post from time to time and there’s lots of other friendly help and support and very good advice, especially for Type 2s and pre-diabetics who want to manage their condition with the aim of avoiding “the current treatment protocols (that) trap patients in a lifelong regimen of drug management, obesity and escalating diabetes.”
In taking leave of my readers I would be remiss if I didn’t heap praise on my editor. She has been a stalwart friend and helper throughout this period, always there with timely and helpful edits and links to scholarly resources. She is an inveterate professional, a tireless fact checker and my overall guiding support. And - no contest here – she always knew the subject better than I did. Thank you, thank you, and thank you, Laurie Weakley. (Too many “thank you’s,” Laurie?)

12 comments:

  1. Well, good luck. Folk in a position like this need to spend a month or six completely decoupling the idea of food from taste reward or entertainment, and obatain/consume it purely as fuel.

    The zero carb/carnivore/"only meat and water" route is a good way to do this. After a few months when one has a handle on things they can bring back various pleasure foods if they feel they can handle it - often though folk end up enjoying the new carefree (foodwise) lifestyle and just continue indefinitely.

    Search Facepalmbook for ZIOH (Zeroing In On Health), there are hundreds/thousands of new folk getting on board doing this with great results. It's more strict that the usual keto/"paleo" crowds who obsess about calories and macros and low carb desserts, they don't suffer fools and you won't get any enabling behaviour if you ask if you can have a cookie or donut now and then.

    I posted my simple manifesto here a while back, it works:

    --> http://www.thenutritiondebate.com/2014/07/the-nutrition-debate-229-my-alternate.html?showComment=1406265290802#c2835351580061557621

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    1. Is it an unsullied animal or product thereof? Eat it.
    2. Anything else is a compromise and up to you to calculate whether it's worth it.

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    1. I remember your earlier comment, Ash, and I like your approach. I'm sure you're familiar with Steffansson and the Eskimo Diet. I wrote a column about it some 3 years ago: http://www.thenutritiondebate.com/2012/07/the-nutrition-debate-61-stefansson-and_29.html

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  2. You know that you have my support and best wishes. I totally understand what you're doing and why, and hope you'll eventually share what you learn. I do not go off the carb wagon - ever - but my weight still goes up and down. The same 20 pounds, over and over. Up in a week, down takes a month or two of seeming starvation. I can do that because I live alone. And also probably because I'm horribly OC, so counting carbs and calories is something I enjoy. I am totally wishing you great success in this journey. XOX

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    1. Thanks, Jan. Hope you received my reply via Gmail on my iPhone.

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  3. Well, I'll miss your writing as I find you always have something interesting to say and I usually learn something. It's not an easy thing to do this much writing and still keep coming up with new stuff! It has been much appreciated, sir.

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    1. Thanks, Judi. Hope you received my reply via Gmail from my iPhone while traveling earlier. My devices can't be synched, and my regular email ISP receives but does not send email replies when I am abroad. I am such a Luddite!

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  4. Great Post and Nice Article.I like it.Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Thanks sir.. thanks for the article, very useful for us. obat untuk menurunkan gula darah

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  6. Thank you for sharing your story. It was really great.

    IOSH safety course in Kuwait

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  7. Thanks, Marissa, and FYI, the day before you commented on my last column from last April, I resumed writing. See #306 here:http://www.thenutritiondebate.com/2015/12/the-nutrition-debate-306-my-new.html

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  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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