Friday, January 5

LowCarb: Examples of My Improvement

I thought I would do a summary of what has changed with me since I went on lowcarb at 2am September 18, 2006. Just to remind myself.

Sometimes, "better health" is almost like when pain goes away -- after a short time you forget it ever existed; you forget to be properly appreciative for the better state you're now in!

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I want to mention as a preliminary thanks: My cardiologist "wrote me a prescription" for The Protein Power Lifeplan book by the Drs. Eades. Had it not been for him, I am not sure I would ever have found -- or believed in -- this eating plan. He never pushed it on me. He never even told me to go on a diet. He simply said, "This will help you, if you're interested." I was. And it sure has!

And of course, had the book not been information-packed, yet highly readable, even interesting, and something that genuinely gave me hope, I might not have gone farther. I also read two of Dr. Atkins's books. These people are changing the world, one body at a time.

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First I lost a bucketload of retained water in my tissues. No longer swollen up and bloated everywhere. Much more limber. More energy. No more feeling a painful bruise if a kid or cat barely leaned on me.

My sleep improved. I could actually sleep mostly through the night, to begin with, which was novel. I could wake up fully, without feeling like at some point in my sleep I'd been run over by a freight train. I lost some degree of the total exhaustion that the combination of weight, bloating, and sleep deprivation had combined to.

My mental clarity improved. I could think more clearly, and my memory was better (though better sleep might be part of this too!). My general mood and frame of mind was improved. That makes sense... since the more exhausted you are, the more everything aches and hurts, the less cheerful one is likely to be.

My acid reflux vanished. No more choking on burning vomit. Cheers to that, mate! I tried to tell a friend of mine how well it had worked for me and encouraged her to try it. Of course, she wouldn't. The doctor says high-fat and low-carb is bad for you, she says; now she is on a chronic medication to prevent or minimize her acid reflux. Hmmmn. Steak vs. drugs. Hard to believe anybody would find the latter healthier!

My asthma went away. If I am really emotional plus over-exercising at the same time, I will still manifest a little of it, but the chronic wheezing and oxygen deprivation that filled every minute of my life vanished. No need for inhalers now. I keep an albuterol in my purse in case I should ever have some major episode but I never use anything now... I don't need it. Apparently it is at least partly related to gluten, to which I am sensitive, but didn't know until I went lowcarb. When I eat two lowcarb tortillas or other gluten product, I get the tiniest bit of asthma about 24-36 hours later, but I don't do that often and otherwise, I have none, since my average diet removed all the gluten-containing foods I used to eat constantly.

My complexion is a little clearer now, most of the time at least. Increased water intake might be partly responsible for this, but increased fat intake -- fat is used for skin and soft tissue cells -- is probably the main reason.

I lost 100 pounds so far. Do you have ANY idea how much easier and less exhausting it is when you lose 20%+ of your massive bodyweight fairly quickly? It's amazing.

My feet are smaller. I fit into a pair of tennis shoes and for the first time in years I am wearing shoes with some kind of decent support. I used to "hobble". Every step was terribly painful. All that weight on my poor feet, with no real support. Now I walk comfortably with nary a thought to my feet.

My thighs are smaller. When I started, I could hardly stand on my scale, even with its slightly oversized footprint, because it required squeezing my legs together so hard to get both feet next to each other on the scale! Now it's not really a big deal to put both feet on the scale and stand there.

My butt is smaller. When I started, I couldn't get into the largest size pants I could buy -- 6x -- now they fit me very comfortably. I don't wear them plain -- I always wear skirts -- but I wear soft pants under the skirts now. This is the first winter I have not been wearing a skirt with nothing under it and open shoes when it was 20 degrees below freezing. It's surprisingly more comfortable now.

I can walk better. Excessive fat puts the spine out of alignment and displaces the hips' ability to have the normal range of motion for walking. Last September when I began this eating plan, I could not even stand up for 30 seconds without my back hurting. After two minutes I was in agony. Even walking across the house wasn't easy. I could not walk around Walmart to shop. I didn't ride the electric cart, I simply avoided shopping entirely, pawning it off on other people to help me. Now I can walk around super Walmart for an hour and I am at the most kind of weary; no back pain at all. I can take my kid to the movies without it being a major event to get in and out. I can even consider stopping by a store AFTER that. Amazing.

I can sure move more, aerobically. If I did have to walk somewhere, such as from the car to a building, I had to walk more slowly than someone very old with a walker, or my breathing would get erratic, asthma would kick in (exercise induced asthma: the body can't get oxygen to that much body fast enough), my heart would pound dangerously -- in short, I could barely move without imminent risk of a heart attack. Now I can not only walk around, but I can walk at a normal human pace, sometimes even briskly for very short distances, without breathing overly hard. This is not just because I lost weight, it is because my protein uptake and oxygen increase has enabled my muscles to better utilize the oxygen my heart pumps to them. Even without losing weight, improving those two issues for severely obese people can help a lot.

I can do things that require muscle much better now. I can walk up stairs without having to put both feet on each stair like a little child. I can do so without using my arm(s) on the handrail for extensive muscle support. I can get out of my car (which is low, so requires lifting UP out of it) without having to desperately push against the door and seat -- in fact, I can simply slide out from under that steering wheel much more easily, and lift myself that small way on one leg comfortably. I can step on and off curbs far more easily. I can actually lift a leg UP enough to step over things -- or to step into pants.

The whole top half of my body is smaller. I had several new 5x tanks with built-in shelf bras that I had bought and barely worn. They were comfortable but a little loose -- the straps a bit too long -- to begin with. Now they literally fall off me in every dimension. I might as well give them away. Meanwhile I had a few 4x very thick, tight sports shirt-bra things I'd bought that I could barely get into (let alone out of) that now fit very comfortably. These are ideal for exercise. Now if I would just do some. :-)

I can experiment in the kitchen now. When I began, even 5 minutes to try and put food together for myself was a horrible thing with my back hurting, my feet aching, and exhaustion taking over me. I couldn't even make an actual dinner. Now I go in the kitchen for 30-60 minutes and do experiments with all kinds of new lowcarb foods. I brought my CD/MP3 player into the kitchen and my little girl and I dance around in there as I prepare things.

Tonight, I made a yummy "Egg Cake Choconuke" which is my term for a rich cocoa-fudge "mock danish" as some call it. It was divine. The kid helped measure and stir and we split it. Single small serving for each and we were happy. (Recipe: 2 large eggs, 2oz cream cheese, 2 tsp dutched high butterfat cocoa powder, 1.25 tsp Fiberfit™ sweetener powder (equiv to 10 tsp sweetener), mixed well in rounded cheap glad plastic bowl, and nuked it in that for a couple minutes (+/- depending on microwave). Eat with a spoon. Like a cross between cake and bread pudding, depending on your liquid content. Each serving: 2.56ECC, 5.97Protein.) Gee whiz. Low carb is so HARD, hahaha!

But seriously: most of my food is yummy meat-based dishes I make in the crockpot. A lot of the rest is some form of eggs. And I love cheese, so I often have that in or on food, or even as a major food (such as a bunch in a lowcarb tortilla, with some herbs and spices, grilled as a quesadilla). I like peppers so they are my main vegetable, though I sometimes have salad, onions or broccoli as well. I try to eat several times a day in small doses and drink a lot of water. The important part is that I am never hungry, I eat stuff that tastes great, and I'm losing weight anyway.

The changes in me over the last nearly-4 months are not just in body and mind though. Some are also in what you might call heart and soul.

I have been set free. Another way of putting this would be: I am getting divorced. Now people might think this is a bad thing, or unfortunate. Quite the contrary. My husband and I are on very good terms.

The end of my dsyfunctionally continuing to support a man who won't work for a living, won't spend time with his kid, totally over-dominates my living space, has to be driven everywhere like a child, makes a disaster of my house and landscape, and has zero relationship with me, all this for eleven years (!), is at an end. Thanks to lowcarb, I was able to escape the brain-fog, and the exhaustion-based terror of being unable to fend for myself let alone my child, that has kept me in "needy dependency" on him.

I have more "SENSE OF SELF." I am not angry and we are not 'fighting' (you can't fight with a passive/aggressive anyway), I have just recognized that I am a decent person, and I deserve a man who loves me, and my child will be better off with a happy, functional, clean and workable home and visiting her father, rather than living in squalor and misery with him local. I deserve a man who does something constructive with his life and mine, instead of living on eBay and video games all day. I deserve a real "relationship." I put all those years into it, and he can go make his own living now. I am taking charge of making a nice house and environment and life for me and my little girl.

I have taken up music again. Songwriting, guitar and vocals were literally my life from the time I was a small child until my early-mid 20's when I suddenly gained a ton of weight and abruptly had to give up music, as I was too mortified to be in front of anybody. I have lost that greatly needed creative and emotional outlet, probably at a high cost to my psyche. I have let that back in again and am playing, singing, writing, for the first time in 17 years. It's like some "alive" part of me that had been closed down and boarded up and buried, is running through me again, making me remember more of "myself" and what I feel and what has meaning to me.

I have gone back to a lot more prayer and appreciation of life again. When I was so much more exhausted, mentally-muddy, easily hurt or injured, for some reason it was more difficult to concentrate on anything, including any sense of spirit, and I often felt sad or angry or depressed instead of positive. I feel more clear now, not just mentally, but even in terms of my relationship with what I consider the Divine.

It has been 108 days since I went lowcarb. All of these things have happened within this timeframe. That is less than 4 months.

If you are severely obese, can you imagine turning your life around like that? Can you imagine finding someone to love -- and it turns out to be yourself? Can you imagine so radically improving your life that you feel like a whole new person? It can happen.

It takes some planning, some shopping, some crockpot cooking is easiest, and the determination to NOT eat carb-laden foods -- instead, once you finish the "detox" of the initial eating plan (so you drop a lot of the carb cravings), just learn to make food you love! -- it can be done.

I am living proof that a person can go from nearly 500 lbs, barely being able to walk or even stand, hardly functioning at all in the world others know, unable to do their own shopping, cooking, or cleaning -- to a much more vivacious, physically and mentally competent, creative person who finally feels hope for a future again.

The timeframe for everyone is different. Men tend to lose faster than women. Some women can lose 100lbs in 9 weeks and some it takes a year. It depends on how much weight you start with, what you eat, how much water you drink, what exercise you do, what supplements you take, and how focused you are on your goals mentally. But I have not done much that is special besides WANT IT and eat lowcarb. And in less than four months I have accomplished this.

I might be dead already if I hadn't. That is what made me go on lowcarb at 2:00 AM one morning a few days after my birthday, when I realized I could barely walk, stand, or function as a human being anymore. When I realized the chance of me being around for my little girl in two years, let alone when she is someday having her own child, were growing more slim by the minute.

I am still too shy for posting pictures, but I do have before and after photos. In perhaps another 50 lbs I hope to have the courage to post them.

A special thanks always to Dr. Richard Atkins, and Drs. Mary Dan and Michael Eades, whose books and good works helped inspire, encourage and educate me.

Thanks to lowcarb eating, for the first time in 17 years, I am finally truly ALIVE.

PJ
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3 comments:

Zer said...

Well done, PJ - both the weight loss through LC and the writing of what too soon dims in memory! I too was 500# (and a bit over that) and have let go of 20% (mostly fluid, I think) and am grateful to Dr.Atkins for his persistence in defending LC as a way for some of us to get a grip on eating and life.

Big Daddy D said...

Congratulations PJ. Your blog is well designed and well written. It will surely inspire others to follow suit. You might be surprised by the power of a blog. I did another blog on my wife's pregnancy (2005-2006). She'd been having miscarriages and we discovered why and how to treat it (MTHFR gene mutation). The treatment is simple but contraversial. Like low-carb, many doctors ademently denied that it works even though there is much evidence to support it. Yesterday, we got an e-mail from someone who had the same problem (MTHFR mutation resulting in numerous miscarriages). She learned of the treatment from our blog, changed doctors, and had a healthy baby last week. I think your blog may also save lives. By the way, thanks for commenting on my diet blog (www.lowcarbohydrate.blogspot.com). Each of our life journeys are different. But there is enough in common to learn from one-another.

Tracy said...

Wonderful. Good for you! It really is amazing how diet - the foods we choose - can affect not just our physical but our mental/emotional selves. I'm gluten-intolerant also, and I feel like a new person now that I don;t eat it anymore. Correction: I finally feel fully myself. I wasn't even aware it had been affecting me like that.

Anyway, you're a fabulous writer and you're totally kicking ass! Good on ya, girl.