Sunday, May 26, 2013

Happy Hour Puts a Damper on My Low-Carbing

When I was in my early thirties, I had had my fourth child and within 18 months felt like I was pregnant again.  I felt slightly sick to my stomach and had no energy.  A handful of home pregnancy tests and a trip to my doctor left me very confused.  I was not pregnant.  So why did I feel so bad?

I discussed my situation with a friend of mine from church.  She told me she had been feeling the same way and instead of a doctor, she had consulted a nutritionist.  She said the nutritionist suspected Candidiasis (which is for my purposes a yeast infection).  I was familiar with the type of yeast infections most women experience, but my friend explained more severe cases actually affect your whole body.

Diets high in simple carbohydrates can increase the effect.  Listening to my friend, I consulted the leading books on the subject at the health food store and took their assessments.  It appeared that I too was suffering from Candidiasis.  

Now to skeptics who might think we were just influenced by an over eager nutritionist, keep in mind that I am also a skeptic who likes to take a good look at things (especially if I'm going to shell out $20 for a book and even more for supplements!) 

The recommendation for my blood type was a detox and an extreme diet to eliminate sugar which would "starve out" the yeast.  It sounded logical and harmless.  If it happened to work then I would celebrate.

Not only did it work, I dropped 10 lbs in 1 week on the diet.  As I began to feel better, I gradually introduced fruit and rice back into my diet.  I completely changed the way I had been eating.  Bread and potato chips were the enemy.

Within 2 years, I had lost 40 lbs.  I felt great and wore a size 2!  I was never hungry.  I loved low carb eating.  I kept my weight down for 4 years.

Then my life changed in a big way.  I had another baby, I started a new career, and I was remarried.  My life became much more stressful.

I was introduced to the benefits of red wine.

Over the next decade, red wine (and eventually other types of spirits) became an evening habit for a few reasons.  A drink at the end of the day says that the hard day's work is at an end.  If you were harboring any tension in your neck then it would slip away with a glass.  A couple of glasses became my habit.

To my dismay, my new habit invited an old one.  I now consider red wine (at least for me) a gateway drug.  That is, my ability to stay away from carbohydrates goes away with every ounce of wine.

So here I am with all 40 lbs back on.  I am much older and have been low carbing for the last year.  I am only down 10 lbs after a lot of work and working out.

After a little internet searching I found Sheila Pike-Pereyra's site (AKA SugarFreeSheila.com). I was intrigued by her low carb desserts made with chocolate protein powder.

Sheila has built quite a community of support for low-carbers. There are recipes, cookbooks, and ways you can get help from Sheila herself if you are struggling with a low carb lifestyle.

My biggest take away from the site was this: she will not answer questions until you've read the book, "Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution."  She talks about how that book encouraged her lifestyle change.

Clearly, I had to read the book.

Wow.    I consider myself an educated person.  I was familiar with Dr. Atkins research being based on diabetics and the affects of insulin. But this is what I get for reading the cliff notes version of his book in the past.

It wasn't until yesterday morning when I read that your body uses alcohol as energy.  That is why I have been stalling out.

I have been caught in that horrible world between a calorie is a calorie is a calorie and "low carbing". 

In my mind, alcohol isn't sugar so I thought I could get away with a drink of scotch while I am being serious about weight loss.  It isn't true.

The whole premise of this approach to weight loss is that we want to force the body to pull energy from our fat stores.  When I drink a glass of scotch or wine even in the moderate way I have been, I am giving my body a much easier way of gaining energy.

I had been thinking of it as only 100 calories that I could afford since I worked out so hard at bootcamp that morning.

I'm not saying that I won't have another glass, but it certainly won't be before this spare tire has been spent.

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