In December of last year I was diagnosed on the low end of prediabetes. It was a wake up call for me that it was now or never on losing weight and getting control of my health. At 40 years old and 80 pounds overweight, I was eating your typical American diet of high carbohydrates and low fat, thinking that was a “healthy” diet. I knew that I should eat less sugar and had heard that eating less carbs was better for diabetes, but I wanted to know why. Why was it so “hard” for me to lose weight and why did I struggle with intense food cravings? So I started to research and dig deeper into the world of insulin and how it affects the body. Google soon gave me this information…
Insulin is secreted in response to a type of carbohydrate called glucose … Insulin tells muscle, organs and even fat cells to take up the glucose and use it for fuel. It also tells fat cells to store fat for later use. As long as insulin levels remain high, fat cells retain fat, and the other cells preferentially burn glucose (and not fat) for energy
Basically when you eat carbohydrates, they spike blood sugar (glucose). A high level of blood glucose, often due to excessive carbohydrate intake, causes insulin secretion. The insulin in turn then delivers the glucose in your body to cells which it uses for energy. This process is what becomes broken in diabetes as the insulin in your body either isn’t used properly or you are not producing enough. My prediabetic state meant my body wasn’t using this energy source well. I was constantly bloated, my feet hurt and I had nerve pain. And the weight? I just kept gaining.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT
To lose excess body fat, according to this view, carbohydrates must be restricted and replaced, ideally with fat, which does not stimulate insulin secretion.
This research lead me to try the Keto Diet, which has helped me shed almost 30 pounds so far. I truly believe that fat does not make you fat. Carbohydrates (and processed food and inflammatory fats and lack of sleep and exercise) makes you fat. If your goal is to shed body fat and you struggle with carbs like I did, the recipe is quite simple – limit carbohydrate intake and make healthy fats your preferred source of energy.
Want to learn more? I highly recommend Mark Sisson’s book, The Keto Reset Diet. I also love listening to the podcast The Natural State, by Anthony Gustin. The more you know the more empowered you will be to improve your own health!
My health and wellness journey started with losing my mom.
I lost her to a massive heart attack in July 2015 after years of health struggles including diabetes and stroke. She was only 63 years old.
I was at work when I got a phone call from my sister that mom was in the hospital. I called and was able to talk to her. She was very drugged but seemed optimistic that she would be OK. When we hung up I truly believed that she would be.
She died around midnight that same day. I remember getting the phone call from one of the nurses saying they were trying to resuscitate her. It didn’t work. Immediately my heart started racing, and I had a panic attack. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I was only 36 years old and had just lost my remaining parent. I sat there in my bedroom in shock, and grief, and pure anguish. The kind that waves over and over you again as though its a brand new feeling. I hated that I was living states away and couldn’t be there to say goodbye. I hated that she was gone. As I sat there on the floor of my bedroom I let it all pour out of me. The realization that my life was forever changed slowly becoming more real.
The thing is I hated that my own health was putting me on the same path as hers. At the time I was very overweight, with a 1 year old son and stressed and overworked. Exhausted all the time and constantly battling some cold or bug my son was bringing home from daycare. I knew I had to do something. The next few months I slowly started making changes, the biggest one replacing toxic products in my home with natural ones. My son and I finally stopped getting sick all the time and I was finally sleeping again. But it would be years before I successfully started to lose the weight.
In January this year I started the Keto diet. I have lost 27 pounds so far. I still have a ways to go but it is amazing how much better I feel. I am working out again too, building muscles and feeling the strongest I have in years.
This journey I am on will be lifelong. But it is happening! And I am dealing with my trauma along the way. Never give up hope guys. Whoever is out there if you need someone to talk to I am here. Please reach out. And start your own journey. Own your story. Change your future. Just start.
Salad. That five letter word that was my nemesis for so many years. I just couldn’t get into them. Side dish? Yes. Main event? No no no. They just never satisfied me. When I went Keto in January I read Mark Sisson’s book, The Keto Reset Diet. And he touted something called the “big ass salad.”
Maybe it is the way he worded it, but my mind warmed up to it. Basically add what you want to it to make it tasty. You into hot sauce? That’s ok too 😂 Here is what I commonly use in mine.
Lettuce (I prefer a mix of romaine and iceberg) Shaved Cheese Cherry Tomatoes Cucumbers Nuts (Pistachios) Protein Source (chicken, eggs or salmon for me usually) Dressing (I use Avocado oil and Balsamic Vinegar) Seasonings (I keep it simple with salt and pepper)
Then eat and repeat. It has been working for me. I actually am enjoying making new “creations” with what I have on hand. So for all you fellow “foodies” out there try it. You May get into “big ass salads” too 😉
In January I decided it was now or never with losing weight. I was tired of being tired. I hated that my feet hurt constantly. The prediabetic diagnosis scared me. I was and am determined to change the course of my health.
But how? I always believed what I learned growing up. That fat was bad, that you need to eat “good” carbs and low fat. That all you have to do is count calories. And lord I tried! I have tried so many diets over the years. So the fact that the keto diet is working for me after so many others have failed still is amazing me.
In January I read the book The Keto Reset Diet by Mark Sisson. I started listening to popular keto podcasts and started unlearning everything I had ever been taught to eat! Seriously eye opening.
Like I never knew that the body doesn’t need carbs. Your body can actually produce its own glucose by a process called gluconeogenesis. And that your body can run on two types of fuel. Carbohydrates or Fat. I decided that for 40 years I was not doing too well as a carbo so why not try fat?
And here I am. 25 pounds lighter and still going. You know what frustrates me though? That I had to do all this research to “unlearn” all the nutritional guidance I had ever been given. When my doctor told me I was prediabetic in the fall all she told me was to “eat less” and maybe try to eat less carbs. That’s it. No clear guidance. No maybe you should try to be a fat burner instead of a carb burner. No you have to overhaul your relationship with food. Just a “let’s just see what happens” attitude. Ugh.
I guess I just wish the medical community would research nutrition more. It is obvious with the current obesity epidemic in this country that we don’t have it right. And it is not just junk foods fault. Let’s start with the fact that the government subsidizes farming to help with the food supply. That’s great right? Sure. All those wheat, corn and soy plants make people grow. And grow we have. In all the wrong places!
I am not saying everyone should be keto. There is no one size fits all diet. I personally think nutrition probably has more to do with your genetics and current health than anything else. And for me, as a person with family diabetic and obesity history, getting rid of the sugar and carbs is the answer.
I used to think there was something wrong me. Why was dieting so “hard?” I seriously struggled with near constant hunger. I “had” to eat every few hours else I would feel like I would pass out. I was always looking for that next snack or meal. With keto I finally have control over my appetite. I get hungry yes but it doesn’t have that frantic yo yo feel to it. It probably is what “normal” is and I just never had it.
It has been quite the journey these past few months as you can see. I encourage you to research the diet for yourself if interested. Now more than ever our health needs to be protected. Feed your immune system don’t suppress it!
Seriously. Can I be honest with you? I don’t get that “runners high” so many people chase by logging mile after mile running. I actually hate working out in general. I hate giving up carbs and sugar. I love glasses of wine and big dinners. I love Chick-Fil-A. And I really love these things called Snicker bars. But my weight is the highest it has ever been. My energy levels? Let’s just say I could fall asleep when Jeopardy is on TV. I let my baby and work be the excuses not to do anything about it last year but this year it has to stop. So I have started walking lots of miles. I eat less “shudder” carbs. And I am drinking less wine.
And this week? I ran. Almost a mile straight. I thought I would pass out and my legs felt like jelly, but tomorrow I will do it again. I am going to do it not because I get that runners high but because I want to smile when I see photos of myself or pass a mirror. I want to be able to keep up with my active son. I want to like me more and I like me better when I try harder.
I realized if I am going to be a health and wellness advocate I need to physically be a better billboard! I am pretty sure that the run down, squeeze into outfits, can’t keep up with my toddler me is not the appearance I want to give off to others. Nor is it how I want to be. I let denial rule me for so long but no longer!
The struggle is real though. There have been days this past month when working out didn’t happen. Or the Snickers bar magically appeared in my mouth somehow. But I am not giving up. So here is to month two: Let’s do this! Here is to trying harder and chasing that mythical runners high.