Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Low Carb-ness, part II

Just a quick bit about my own particular version of low carb eating, then I'll go on to other things :).

I started LCing about 5 years ago. Original plan: lots of veggies and meats and fiber. Most of my foods were high-fiber at that time. Lost 54# and then stopped. Started reading about low-carb-high-fat and loved the mere thought of it. (I've never been a big sweet eater, but bring on the butter, baby!) Switched over to that and have never looked back! Quickly lost another 36# for a grand total of 90# off by (a) keeping a 75% fat-20% protein-5% carbs ratio, and (b) minimizing my ingestion of grain-based products with the exception of occasionally using brans or gluten in my baking. Even though my caloric input for most days averaged 2500-3000, I was leaving trails of fat behind me everywhere I went.

But in the bathroom mirror (evil thing, it's since been removed!) I didn't like what I saw when I stepped out of the shower. I'm not a vain person but even *I* couldn't stand the way parts of my body were going south, and in a most unattractive, very uncomfortable way! Even trying to fit my clothes onto the saggy hanging flesh was horrible. So I decided to quit losing even though I still had 100# more to go. Carrying that weight was better, for me, than making my body any more grotesque than it had already become.

To maintain I adjusted my ratios to more like 60-30-10, and during our occasional restaurant outings allowed a carbier treat than I'd done for the previous 9 months. I happily continued this way for the next 3½ years...then in October 2008 I had a stroke. (One good thing to come out of this was an examination of my arteries while I was in the hospital, and I was told they were "squeaky clean"!)

During my 6 days in the hospital I was put on a "heart healthy" diet of about 90% carbs but at that point I didn't care; when my appetite returned, I just ate what they gave me. When I came home with horrific awful disabling headaches and vertigo, I wasn't shopping or cooking, my husband was. And he wasn't well-versed in carb-consciousness, and I frankly was too miserable to care. So for the next 11 weeks, I just ate what he gave me, thankful that he was such a good caretaker of me (and our 16 pets including all of my parrots, and my business, and our home, in addition to his job...). When there is so much pain involved in just moving, nothing else really matters, except the love and care that he showed me during that time.

Just before Christmas I found myself in yet another hospital, this time for 4 days. Again, the carby "heart-healthy" diet, but this time I got a diagnosis (CSF leak from the lumbar puncture I'd had the day of my stroke) and a remedy (15-minute procedure called a blood patch) for my awful pain , and by the time I came home, the pain and vertigo were gone, I was SO THANKFUL, and could start resuming my life. (It shocked me how weak I'd become during those 11 weeks of total inactivity, part of it from the original stroke but I sure lost a lot of strength afteward too!)

Meanwhile, all of those weeks of inactivity and carbs had left me 38# heavier. No matter, I had my life back, the weight wasn't an issue to me. After the holidays and a trip with my sister, I have decided that it's time to get the extra weight back off and I am now back to my 75-20-5 ratios. I'm not weighing myself, I'm losing, and I'll know when I get there, but of course I'm feeling so much better again and it is good to be back to LIFE again after nearly 4 months!

It will be 5 years on low carb, come April. As far as I'm concerned the way I ate earlier this winter is simply part of the nightmare that started last October, and like the awful pain, vertigo, weakness, and other things, will just go down as part of my history; I refuse to give it any more importance than that.

Will I ever want to lose those last 100#? I don't know. I will play that part by ear. If I'm ever in a position to have surgery to remove the excess skin, then yes. If not, then I can't say because there is nothing worse, for me, than the way my body looks from what I've done to it. Not the weight loss, but the gains that stretched it out in the first place.

Some day I'll shed this "earth suit" anyway; until that time comes I will do what I believe to be best for myself, and that will ALWAYS be eating low carb. For my health.

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