Tuesday, March 24

Morbid Obesity: Protein Salvation

I gripe a lot. Hell, to hear me tell it, you'd think I was like Atlas with the world on my shoulders, slaving away on .07 carbs a day with no weight loss for a century. But really, my history is like this:

My high weight was around 520. I had no scale. I had to estimate, when the grain elevator later told me 482 and I knew I'd lost some. By the time I joined a lowcarb forum online I was 467. A little less than 4 months later, I weighed 395. (I bought an oversized digital scale so I could tell!)

In the last 26 months, I have mostly eaten lowcarb. I have failed dismally at incorporating many veggies into my diet--I don't like them generally, is why. I have not done well at drinking fluids, and only just a week ago 'cut down on' diet drinks to maybe 1 drink every couple days. I have not done well at taking vitamins until a couple months ago when I finally got that act together.

I've had several periods where I was off lowcarb altogether, and eating an astonishing amount of crap food, apparently in the childish stomping-tantrum of, "If I'm going to be fat anyway, and not lose weight even while eating well, then I'm going to eat what I want! Nyah!"

In 26 months I have lost 20 lbs. I didn't just become a lowcarber, I became the Undead: apparently I am stuck "for eternity" unchanged, it feels like.

But the majority of time, I have been eating lowcarb. I have varied between under 30 to 70 carbs/day.

Note: I recently blogged about exercise and morbid obesity over at Tomboy Tough.

But it's really all about protein. How much energy I have today depends directly on how much protein I ate yesterday, and indirectly on how much protein I ate the two days before that.

I've gotten to the point where I think that insufficient protein might be the second biggest problem for the morbidly obese. Animal protein is my food salvation. I think even if a person didn't want to do lowcarb, or was temporarily off LC, still, getting enough protein -- like 100++g/day -- is just critical.

It's the difference between 'bounding' up my porch steps vs. walking them slowly with one foot on each like a little girl.

It's the difference between not even eating enough because getting up to make food takes too much energy, vs. feeling cabin fever and can't wait till I get off work to walk down to the store and then do some yard work for a few hours.

It's the difference between 'living' and 'existing'. Between feeling optimistic and interested vs. feeling just glad to get through another day. It's life-changing.

I know of people who at just over 300 can't walk without crutches, ride on carts in the stores, etc. Nearly everybody I see on the carts in walmart and that's a lot of people, is smaller than I am. I'm currently at 370 and I'm out doing landscaping work that works muscles in a way I literally could not have done at any previous time in the last 15 years.

I am finally getting it sunk into my head, slowly but surely, that MEAT IS FOOD and everything else is peripheral -- fun, nature's vitamins, but food=meat.

Lowcarb by its nature gets credit for two hugely important things that the title doesn't mention. First, getting enough protein, possibly for the first time in many peoples' lives. Second, by sheer accident, my initial LC trial got me completely off grains/gluten -- and milk. Severe asthma, allergies, severe acid reflux, brain-fog and a host of other problems literally just vanished. I honestly think these two points are nearly as important as actually lowering carbohydrates... especially for people who are morbidly obese.

I understand now why the Drs. Eades called it 'The Protein Power Life Plan' and not 'The Low Carbohydrate Life Plan'. Somehow I managed to go lowcarb but focus vastly more on the carbs I couldn't have, the carbs I shouldn't have, than the protein I MUST HAVE to function in a way resembling a healthy person.

"Eat Meat or Die." That's pretty much my motto now because it has to be.

My weight isn't going much of anywhere for a long time, but that doesn't mean I can't build muscle, build oxygen adaptation, and get a lot healthier--even if nothing else changes. So that's my focus for now.

I'm sorry it's been so long since I posted here.



nonegiven said...

The other day I was reading at
He was saying he always thought fat people would have muscles from hauling around their own weight all the time but the x-rays he saw showed atrophy. He said it finally dawned on him that since there is no rest days from that there couldn't be any muscle growth because muscles aren't built in the gym, they are built on the rest days between.

I think I'm not getting enough protein myself, some days I only eat two meals and I don't think I'm getting the minimum I need. I have new store bought teeth and it is hard to chew meat with them.

D said...

I, too, have hit a brick wall on the losing front, lost 80 lbs from 350 lbs, and have been going up and down in a 10 to 15 lb range, (for several years) and just can't get the old scales to budge, no matter what my carb count. But, my health has steadily improved, I have more stamina, I just feel better in general. (There was a time when doing a big shopping trip nearly killed me, my legs hurt so much, that I had to sit while my husband did the check out. Now I can do all the shopping, check out the groceries, put them in the car, unload them and put them away at home, and still have a tiny bit of energy left. And I haven't lost any more weight, I'm just healthier.) So, stick with it, even without the losses, you're doing great.

BTW, a lot of those people riding the motorized chairs have lost a lot of muscle tone because they never use their muscles. Even sadder are the lazy bums who take their groceries to the car and leave the cart right next to their car, even when the cart return is no more than 2or 3 parking spaces away. If fat old me can take the cart back, then some of these younger people without weight problems could do the same.

Nonegiven, I rely on whey protein powder for a boost of protein every day. My morning shake is almond milk (Blue Diamond Almond Breeze,unsweetened) and 2 scoops of my protein powder, which is not only low carb, but also Splenda sweetened, so no nasty sugar alcohols. Once you get used to your new teeth, you'll find eating meat is easier. Tip: eat very small bites. It really does help. I know!

orodemniades said...

I totally agree. I was always a glacially slow loser when lc'ing - maybe that will be different someday, when I can afford to eat lc again.

Anonymous said...

Do you find that your fat intake also affects how you feel and how you lose weight? I'm finding that fat intake is essential.

We should talk. I'm about to embark on another all-meat diet again for a few weeks to test the affect on inflammation.

Anonymous said...

just wanted to comment because i came across your blog and was so inspired. i think you are one of those people that could post about nothing and your writing would make it interesting. don't feel bad about not posting, that is in the past. i do hope that you continue to post tho! all the best.

sunflowers72 said...

You hit the nail on the head with this post. The need for protein (animal) has been really proven to me this past month when I went from a low fat high carb diet to low carb high fat. My strength has come back and so has my husbands. We had been getting weaker and feeling older quickly. I feel like high protein has saved my life and my mind.

Niki said...

I'm here!!! I have missed you too sweetie =( Sorry I have been away for far to long! How is everything? You know PJ you are such an inspiration to so many! Keep posting girl! We all love you!!!!

Peace ^_^V

Daron said...

Hi PJ... it's good to see you're still blogging. I've been basically off the "diet" for well over a year... And I've gained back about 60 of the 85 pounds that I lost. But, I feel much better at my current weight than I did before. I'm toying with the idea of getting my diet back together again... hate to do it because I love food so much and because of my crazy work and travel schedule. I've also been toying with creating a new blog on "alternative fitness". I find treadmills and "normal" exercise excrutiatingly boring. But I like yard work and other activities that are somewhat "productive". I find planting and digging and building much more interesting and probably overall much better exercise than gym work. I have also learned while working in Europ last year that I can lose weight even with a horrendous diet if I walk enough. In Paris France, I was eating like a pig but walking six to 12 miles a day. The end result was weight loss regardless of calorie intake. Well, enough rambling... mainly wanted to say "hi". Glad to see you hanging in there.

Derek said...

Morbid Obesity is the saddest result of poor nutrition ... This condition leads to such terrible diseases like depression, diabetes, heart problems and death ... All people should care for our food, exercise and so to enjoy a healthy life

Derek Sheridan
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Sidnie said...

I'm a low carb beginner and I'm wondering if someone can educate me on what kind of protein powder I should get?

Russell Steele said...

You should seriously look into Men's Health Targeted Nutrition Tactics, or TNT. This is good for women too, although the workout program would involve a bit less weight. Weight loss is so hard for morbidly obese people because for every 10 pounds lost you are losing 2-3 pounds of muscle. But the TNT diet and exercise program helps you burn fat while you are GAINING muscle. The weight loss itself takes a while at first because you are actually gaining muscle. But your body composition and blood health will drastically improve. And the more muscle you have the faster you will burn fat. Muscles that are repairing themselves from your workouts will be burning fat and boosting your metabolism for 2 days after your workout. So you exercise for 30 minutes on Monday and you are burning fat until Wednesday. Check it out. It's a great way to completely flip your metabolism over and shed the last 150 pounds that may be refusing to go away. Fair warning though, you'll lose weight so fast after a few months that you'll have lots of extra skin. Save up for a tummy tuck. :)

Russell Steele said...
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