Thursday, May 8

I Found Gold

Eons ago I wrote a simplistic little folk song (as a teen) that ended with the line, "I was looking for a rainbow... and I found gold."

I've been reading the lowcarber forum recently and it struck me:

I have learned so, so much from lowcarbing.

Ironically, only some of the things I've learned have much to do with the carb count of foods.

And a good dose of the things I've learned are about me, and my psychology, and my relationships, and a whole host of things--some of which I learned because getting healthier made me see things differently, and some of which I learned because maybe, just maybe, there is a complex web of social, psychological, mental, emotional, and physical things going on that result in a person being overweight let alone morbidly obese, so if you're working toward weight loss or health improvement, you're bound to stumble on some of them.

Even how I evaluate other people has changed in some respects. I actually grant some slack now when I know someone is living on a doctor-approved low-fat diet; I know they are miserable and probably feel like death warmed over. I have a lot less tolerance for people spouting their politicized pseudo-nutrition jargon at me, now that I've learned at least a little something about food and metabolism. I have a lot more faith in myself to "deal with" -- even if it never reduces to anywhere near what I'd like in my dreams -- my body. I have a lot less humiliation socially in some respects, because I'm smaller than I was, so there is a small sense of pride in that.

A couple years ago I hadn't been able to wear anything but skirts, usually a few of them at a time layered, and thong-sandals, as I couldn't find shoes to fit -- even in the dead of winter wetness and ice I wore this. Now I wear slightly stretchy cargo pants and a tank top if I want. I just recently got to the point where I was actually brave enough to wear, get this: "pants and a shirt." That is, WITHOUT a tent-sized knee-length long shirt over everything, no matter what the temperature, to be utterly certain I was sparing every person in visual range from the hideousness of my fat.

Back then I couldn't stand for 60 seconds without a searing, burning, screaming back pain, and walking to the car nearly overwhelmed me, and now I can mow, and weed-eat, and rake, and shovel some garden soil. Granted, I have to rest between, but I'm wearing normal clothes and acting like a normal person... well, as normal as a weirdo like me is ever going to get, and that has nothing to do with fat haha!-- the change in my life from 5/06 to 5/08 is STAGGERING.

I can't tell you how much more I feel like doing something physical and constructive, when I can just put on normal clothes and tennis shoes and go out and do it. When I can walk without major impediment, stand without pain, do minor exercise (very minor) without instant exhaustion.

Lowcarb did that for me. But the process of doing lowcarb over time is a big part of far more than my body.

I never cooked. I'm still learning. I still have not whipped egg whites stiff or successfully and edibly cooked a whole chicken and used the bones for a follow-up soup, but that is coming. I can make a whole lot of other stuff. I can even experiment now and then and it usually comes out pretty decent. I actually feel halfway competent in the kitchen which is making me a little more courageous. Not as courageous as the fabulous Niki at O.2.B.Fit whose zillions of recipes leave me drooling, but still, in my own way, braver than I've ever been.

Being influenced by people like Regina at Weight of the Evidence has made me pay more attention to nutrition. I'm still alternately doing well or not-at-all on lowcarb with a nutrition angle, but I pay a lot more attention to veggies and vitamins than I ever did, and it's gradually getting better. I sometimes wonder, if my life is so different and better two years after beginning lowcarb, what might it be like in five years?

I'm so happy to have found lowcarb.

Even when I am not ON lowcarb, I'm happy to have found it. Funny huh! Even if I am eating a Butterfinger because I'm not doing LC at the moment and feel like it, I am still not having rice for dinner or donuts for breakfast because of my concern for their carbs. I hadn't thought about it until this morning when I realized that even when I am eating really badly, not LC at all, I still eat vastly better -- much less junk and for much less duration -- than I ate before I learned about LC.

Merely SEEING the Gary Taubes book on my shelf can re-invoke days of almost nothing but meat, eggs and veggies frankly, heh!

When I wake up bloated, aching, can barely move, my brain is fogged, now I think, "Need to do lowcarb at least a few days, you've been eating crap, that's why you feel like crap." It is astounding to me that I used to feel that way every single day of my life and that was NORMAL.

I've learned a little about people. I've made more women-friends through lowcarb than every other source and all the previous 40 years of my life combined, go figure--I've found more women "like me" in lowcarb than anywhere, and I don't know why that is, but I'm pretty happy for it.

I hope you guys are learning more than the carb counts of foods too. I bet you are. It's fascinating to me, in a sociology and psychology sense, how nearly every serious pursuit no matter what it is, explores a deeper and wider aspect of as individuals than it ever seemed like it would from the outside.



Niki said...

I LOVE ur blog PJ!!! And I NEVER cooked before lowcarb either. I had to buy mixing bowls even...I had nothing when I first started. Most of my recipes I have gotten online, but have come up with a few of my own. I'm glad you like them :)

Congrats on learning so many wonderful things about yourself and coming SOOOOOO far. It's so nice when we can really sit, and look back and see all the wonderful changes that are happening :)

Lots of love,

Daron said...

Welcome back PJ! I've missed your posting.

You said, "I still have not whipped egg whites stiff or successful." A good mixer can make all of the difference. I have a Kitchen-Aid mixer w/ a whisk attachment. Whips up egg whites in seconds. This mixer is expensive but quickly became my favorite kitchen appliance.

You also said, "when I realized that even when I am eating really badly, not LC at all, I still eat vastly better." I find the same holds true for myself. Even when off of the diet, I don't typically go hog-wild and often still choose lower carb options (such as brocoli on teh side instead of a baked potato). And, if you look at carb counts, you might find your butterfinger to not be much worse than the baked potato. So don't feel so bad. A "lifestyle" entails long-term which means there will be special occasions for splurging. And, I actually believe that the body needs an occasional dose of sweets, especially if your muscles are regenerating from a heavy workout.

As for the social aspects of low-carb... I have made many online friends through this diet... My blog and fellow bloggers have been a great support network to keep my on track. I only wish I could find more locals into the low-carb life.... If I wasn't traveling so much, I'd like to put a poster at the local food co-op asking for people who'd like to start a low-carb gourmet club that would meet monthly...

Big Daddy D

KMG said...

Woo-hoo! Yay for you and the huge amount of progress you've made!

I'm so glad to see others scrutinizing their diets and asking themselves how it makes them feel, regardless of what "They" say is right. My highly restricted (and incidentally low-carb) diet is the biggest pain in the ass I've ever experienced, but it's also the most amazing eye-opening nudge towards self-reliance I've ever had. I finally have power over what happens to me and how I feel both mentally and physically.

I couldn't cook, either, and had actively avoided it all my life. The free tutorial that turned me into somewhat of a cooking whiz is sadly no longer online, but I have a printout I could copy and send if you ever decide you want to learn.

I could go on about this for ages (and I do in my own food journal) but kudos to you. I fought tooth and nail to find a diet that kept me healthy, so I always feel a little joy when I see someone else bravely tread whatever path leads them to health and well-being.

(I'm not stalking you, btw, we just share similar interests so I have your blogs on my rss feeder. I don't want you to be like, "Who the hell is this random person who keeps showing up on my comments?" I just find your posts thought-provoking and relevant to my life.)

nonegiven said...

Even when I am not trying so hard to low carb, I'm probably at one third of what I was before.

When I whip egg whites I separate them one at a time before I put each white in the bowl. If even the tiniest speck of yolk gets in I don't put it in. I let them come to room temperature and use the highest speed on the mixer. If I used the mixer bowl or beater for anything else I wash it with soap and water and wipe it dry first, no speck of grease can remain. Never try to use a plastic bowl, you just can't ever seem to get all the grease off no matter how much you wash it. (MIL taught me to make meringue for the top of cream pies years ago.) I never had one not whip up right unless I didn't do one of these things. I also use a kitchen aid stand mixer.