Sunday, July 2, 2017

Fat since I was a Kid

The last time I saw 190 lbs. in 1973
I finally figured it out.
Why I’m so fat.
Why I’ve always been so fat.
I think I have, 
I need to give it more time but so far it's looking good.

The the first thing is that after I stopped eating grains; hunger and brain fog virtually went away. Blood sugar readings haven't been this low in years. That was before I managed to purge all of the bread, pasta, potatoes, beans etc. from my cupboards. I've lost 10 lbs already and the only measuring of food I've done was experimenting with grain free bread recipes. 

I have tried numerous diets, programs and ways of eating (WOE)s since I was 8 years old. I have never looked seriously at WOEs like Atkins, Keto and Paleo because something about them never seemed right. I thought self righteous vegetarians could be tiresome, some of those keto-folks, oy.   
Around 2012 I came across the book "The End of Diabetesby: Dr. Joel Fuhrman. It was a too harsh regime WOE for me to try but the idea of carbohydrates being the bad guy got stored in the back of my brain. 
It was the year before that, in 2011, when I read "Wheat Belly" by Dr William Davis. My extended family mom Sylvia was shocked by the idea but I tried cutting out all gluten anyway. 30 years of loose stools and leakage just stopped. About a year or so ago the longing for bread and cake got to me and I started eating wheat again. Bowel trouble came back too but intermittently. 

I read little more on low carb dieting over the years. The old Weight Watchers (see below) was low carb & low fat. About a year ago, almost instinctively, I started using different kinds of squash in place of potatoes and/or pasta in many dishes. When I tested; my sugars didn't spike. You want a reading between 99-130, mine was over 300 sometimes.
Then I read that there are ways to do low carb that lead to weight loss too. I was fed up with the problems of using insulin, besides the hassle of needles and blood sugar finger stick tests. 

I had done and liked Dr Michael Mosley's 5:2 fasting diet. His latest is based on the same science but geared to blood sugarThen I saw the documentary “What’s With Wheat?” on Netflix. I was intrigued but skeptical, much like I was with gluten. Decided I had give it a go myself to see. I inched toward carb intake reduction over a couple of months. Gout attacks became quite frequent because of the dietary changes and increased stress in other areas of my life; but there was no turning back. 

A week or so after the last slice of french and most other grain products left the house I started to notice a change. Was I going into Ketosis or just detoxing from grain? The brain fog was gone for whole days at a time. This last week my vocabulary has folded back out to where it used to be. My mind and imagination is filled with color and flashes from times past and present. Like areas were getting blood for the first time in years. Then it wouldn’t slow down. My brain keeps loading in data and processing the patterns. Oh yeah, that is how my brain used to work. ADHD. Too much neural traffic? Hope not. 

Oh shit.
I’ve been eating way too many carbs (and everything else) my whole fricken life to dampen the effects of the ADHD. Self medicating. Fuck!

It's easy to see a progression isn't it? As kid too much stimuli was unpleasant. I was a kid and couldn't express it, parents or teachers may have felt something was not right but the resources were not available in my town in the early 60s. So I found eating made it feel better. The result was obesity and the psychological baggage that brings with it. Low self esteem + adhd + underdeveloped social skills compounded the psychological damage. More obesity. This lead to undiagnosed or treated sleep apnea by the early 80s. Sleep and oxygen deprivation increased the side effects of adhd and lethargy. So more obesity. In the 90s statins became available to treat high cholesterol. This medication started to damage my musclesbrain and possibly lead to diabetes

Wait a minute, let me track back on some of this.

The carbohydrate paradox. Hunger, leads to carbs, leads to insulin, which makes more hunger so more carbs so more . . 
I've been fighting 2 addictions plus the psychological mishegas. Just as I have said all along, beyond my control. Not a moral failing. Damnit!
So far it's just early results. I know better than to count on it yet. What I have done so far is just cutting out grains not the Keto or Paleo thing, as such. Where besides very low carb intake you also increase fat to 70% of calories. I have always eaten too much fat, in the form of dairy products mostly. Fried food (I literally spent my childhood in a fast food place). My hunger is so much less lately that I haven't been eating cheese as much either. No fried food yet. I have fish in the freezer and grain free breading recipe I should try. Many grain free recipes call for lots of eggs and oil. One bread recipe calls for a cup of nut butter. Another one calls for 8 eggs in one loaf of bread. Once I am settled into the current WOE I'll investigate those in more detail. Man-o-man there are lots of variations.  

More backstory:

They are mostly passive aggressive about it my presence these days but many, especially svelte people, still hang onto the notion that obesity is a moral failing. We are modern day lepers. "If you would just eat less and exercise more you undisciplined scum of the earth Idiot"! These people fall into types. People because of metabolism or whatever just naturally eat less and move more. People that aren't hard chargers at the gym and eat whatever they want and maintain a normal weight. People that have OCD about diet and exercise and due to the nature of OCD maintain a dim view of people who do not share their obsession. Then there is a large contingent of self haters that go from one diet to another, kind of aimlessly, chasing a societal norm for reasons usually shame based (not usually me, but this is where it starts to get complicated). Lots of people watch their weight because they are conscientious people and don't harbor ill will or have harsh judgements towards the obese. 
Even so, kissing a fat person is not the first choice for most people. Not even a face as pretty and plump as mine. 

I don't think it is as common as it was at one time but I know personally 7 people who have had versions of gastric bypass. I walked one friend through the surgical process as a support person. 2 of the people kept the weight off long term. My own sister is a great success story. All traded the health and appearance benefits for a way of eating (WOE) enforced by gastric pain and distress of different kinds. I don't know all the particulars.

My mother was very loving but hid some big neurosis behind a charming bigger than life personality. She was my biggest fan. This came with a subtext of "Too bad no one will ever love you because you're fat" (you don't ever get over shit like that). Overweight for her was a non-starter. In the 50s diet pills (speed) were available from many doctors by prescription. This worked for her so well that when my older sister started putting on pounds at puberty mom made her take Black Beauties too. 

I was 8 when she took me to my first diet doctor. I don't know if any of the handfuls of pills he had me taking were amphetamines. Having to eat strange weird tasting food in odd amounts every 6 hours did not leave me enchanted. The rectal exam in the darkened exam room has stuck with me. Or was it the scared angry vibe coming off the nurse who was there to witness that nothing strange happened?

To get me interested in exercise dad took me for golf lessons on Saturday mornings for a while. Yep, ya really burn up the calories hitting a bucket of balls on the driving range. The pro never did take us for a round of golf. The local YMCA had a gym and various classes. I liked the olympic sized trampoline decades before they had home versions. And the giant pool with the overflow edge. It didn't work. I am still not a fan of physical activity. Me + ADHD + any games or exercise does not add up to something I look forward to. I recently had a gym membership that I did use for 3 or 4 years. The thing of changing machines and routines every few minutes then taking a swim then steam did work for me. 10 minutes of stationary bike is all the cardio I could handle before crushing boredom set in. That may be more than a person needs anyway. 
The Truth About Exercise .

Weight Watchers had a special teen group that met to trade stories of doing the diet from the teen perspective. I think I was around 16. Despite the lameness of the meetings it did work. The constant measuring, tracking and cans of tuna with only mustard for lunch finally got to me and I let it go. The Weight Watchers WOE is not protein based the way it was then. I tried going to a meeting a few years ago. Just like when I was a teen I don't really have peers. There doesn't seem to be other people like me in this part of the world so sharing stories about making and eating food for and with spouses and children was useless to me. There was a creepiness to it also. 

The strangest one. I think I have posted about it before. Daily injections in a doctor's office of some hormone found in the urine of pregnant women. It was supposed to mobilize your fat like it would if your body needed energy to form a whole new human inside you. Personally I think it was the 500 calories per day of food intake that caused the weight loss. I was young and had a physical job transporting people to medical appointments that made it too stressful after a while. Even though I was young and stupid my 19 year old self did finally figure out the scam. Maybe that was when I stopped trusting doctors. 
Being blinded by wishful thinking has not been exclusive to my teens however. That one ended early because of an indescribable pain just below my sternum. The next year I found out that pain was pancreatitis

I have let go of the dieting idea for years at a time. 5 years or so ago my collection of medical woes got to the point that I did diet to get me from around 356 to under 300. That too is documented here I think. The goal that time, more than anything else, was specifically to deal with my sleep apnea. As per usual my healthcare providers gave spotty help and advice. Even with the CPAP strapped to my face every night I was having chronic fatigue and brain fog. The weight loss didn't help. All the info online (I am also dubious of .gov and .edu but good info is out there if you are willing to take the time to find it) sources said that for every 10 or 20 pounds you lose you need a sleep test so they can adjust the CPAP settings. Even after losing over 50 pounds my doctor refused. Demoralized I lost interest in weight loss. In 2014 I was close to death when a different sleep apnea dr ordered a new sleep study and prescribed a BiPap machine with a much more effective mask setup. Quality of life quintupled immediately. 

After a week in the hospital and nearly dying in 2001 I was diagnosed with diabetes. It was well controlled with oral meds till 2014. It is difficult to recall all of the trouble I've had with pain, muscle damage, brain fog, weird goings on in my gut and the side effects of medication over the last 10-15 years. The thing of being dizzy and lightheaded the first 6 hours of the day and after meals ruled my life for 12 years. Again the medical community had no diagnosis of treatment for this. By the first of this year I was down to 3 oral meds for high blood pressure, gout etc. and it came down to controlling my blood sugar by injecting more and more insulin. 100u of long acting in the morning and up to 30u of short acting 15 minutes before meals with a blood sugar stick test 2 hours after each meal. (I've been diligent but all the precise timing and tracking is no more pleasant than when I was 16) The POS endocrinology doctor I see said with those high doses he might switch me to a twice a day super strength insulin. This is after he tried to get me to take a med that would have killed me. Fortunately I looked it up and told him no. "Why didn't you tell me you had pancreatitis?" "For one thing you didn't ask and my medical records are right there in your hand". 
This ended up longer than I had intended but I want to make an addendum. Since at least 1975 I have been what is called in some spiritual traditions a "Seeker". Exploring without assumptions what lies beyond words and forms but also what practices and approaches to living in the world are harmonious and natural. This means I have done daily meditation (adhd notwithstanding) in many forms for most if that time. Investigated and tried many things. The 10 years I did massage for my living was a big part of that seeking. I have studied hypnosis these many years also and have found an approach to using trance that relies on the self healing nature of the human body and mind. My search for a way to lose weight and heal has kept an eye on the possibility of using intrinsic self healing. This new WOE may lead there. 
More in the next installment

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