Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Retrospective #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 150 pounds lighter than I was in 2002, I am 37 pounds heavier than I was at my lowest in 2017, and that’s no accident. I ate myself that way. I am, in fact, still fat. With a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 32, I am still smack in the middle of “obese.” And even at my lowest weight (188 pounds), my BMI (27) 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, today, much, much healthier than I was in 2002. And I don’t mean just being 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 now, clinically speaking, “in remission.” My fasting blood sugars are almost always below 100mg/dl (weekly average), and my A1c’s are low 5s.
And my cholesterol profile has dramatically improved, with HDLs more than doubled (usually 80s) and triglycerides cut by 2/3rds (usually 50s). See my Retrospective posts # 281, #282 and #283 for a 35-year history with charts.
And probably most import, my hsCRP’s, the chronic systemic inflammation marker, are now usually <1.0mg/dl, down from +/-6mg/dl). And because of my stellar lipid (cholesterol) profile, my doctor took me off statin drugs years ago.
And why is that? Well, while I have re-gained 20% (37 of 187) of my original 375 bulk, I have fundamentally not 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 a roll or two, with butter, brought to the table in a restaurant. Sure, we could say, “no bread,” and sometimes we do, but most of the time we don’t. I also raid the freezer at home occasionally to steal some of my wife’s ice cream. Do you see how easy it is for me to project blame on someone else for my transgressions?
I could 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 this quote and a scientific roundup of why obesity is a vexing problem, see my Retrospective #297: “Obesity in Remission.”
How things now stand: Because most of the time I eat LCHF, my Type 2 Diabetes continues in remission. But while I have lost a great deal of weight, I also have Obesity in Remission. So, I must remember to “eat healthy” (for my definition, see Retrospective #301) and that means mostly foods (fat and protein) that do not raise my blood insulin. “Elections have consequences,” and since I elected, on the recommendation of my government and my doctors, to eat processed carbs and sugary foods way in excess, I am forever predisposed to accumulate excess fat. Why is that? I had a genetic predisposition, and I developed Insulin Resistance. Insulin Resistance = carbohydrate intolerance, forever.
But 1) if I eat only the foods I have espoused and recognized as “good” for me, and 2) if I had eaten only when I am hungry, or even when not, just one or two small meals a day instead of the conventional three, I a) probably would not have gained back any weight, and b) I might have continued to lose weight. Per the BMI tables, I shouldn’t weigh more than 170 pounds, the highest “healthy weight” (BMI = 24), or even 150, the middle “healthy weight” (BMI = 22). But I don’t, and I don’t even aspire to those weights. I mean, there is such a thing as obsessive/compulsive disorder.
As you read this rewrite of my original #305 from 2015, my blog posts have reached 390,000 people in the last 9 years. So, it’s very likely that more than a few people (besides me) has benefitted from them. With the “Retrospective Series,” I plan to continue to offer daily help and support through column #500. My goal is to offer very good advice, especially for Prediabetics and Type 2s, who are self-motivated to manage their condition to avoid “the current treatment protocols (that) trap patients in a lifelong regimen of drug management, obesity and escalating diabetes.”
And, as I did when I wrote the original #305, I want to again thank my editor, Laurie Weakley. She has been a stalwart friend and helper from the beginning, 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, she always knows the subject better than I do. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Laurie Weakley. (Too many “thank yous,” Laurie?)

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