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.