Saturday, March 5, 2011

Why am I doing this?

Twice in my life, I have lost 100 pounds, both times using Weight Watchers.  I was even a leader at Weight Watchers meetings for about a year.  And within two to three years, I gained my weight back.  Now, approaching 50, I have become concerned about my health and determined to make one final attempt at becoming lean.  I am a type II diabetic who recently had to switch to insulin shots and my third try at Weight Watchers was a complete bust.  I was 100% honest on the new program for four weeks, but only lost 0.8 pounds in that time, not my normal experience.  Something wasn't working.  At first, I blamed the new Weight Watchers program.  But one day, I was reading, and the author, Glenn Reynolds, linked to a book by Gary Taubes, called Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It.  I downloaded the book from and listened to it one weekend.

This book changed my life.  I was converted, completely, as my weight loss biography mirrored the failed attempts detailed in Taubes' book.  I had considered myself weak-willed, gluttonous, and slothful for failing at keeping weight off, but then I learned why I had failed:  too many carbs and too much insulin in my system.  It's too complicated to explain how that works, just read Gary Taubes' book if you are interested.  It is short and interesting.  But a low carb lifestyle boils down to this:  avoid most carbohydrates and eat a lot more saturated fat and protein.  Eat as much meat, poultry, and fish as you like (but stop when you are full), and consume fat, including the saturated fat in animal products.  Eat small quantities of leafy green vegetables (and a few other vegetables) but avoid most carbohydrates:  flour, sugar, starchy vegetables like potatoes and rice, and anything made with those ingredients.  I am striving to live on fewer than 20 carbs a day.  Bye bye bread. Hello bacon, eggs, and steak.

My wife and I went on a business trip to Las Vegas, and without telling her, I decided to begin my very low carb journey.  When she found out about my decision, she was not happy.  We fought a lot about what, and why, I was eating and I kept insisting she read the book.  She finally did, and saw the light, too.  Now she is not heavy at all, but has seen the value of the very low carb lifestyle.

Now I am three weeks into my journey.  My blood sugars have stabilized, I am reducing the amount of insulin I am injecting by more than half, and my blood pressure has gone down.  Oh, and in three weeks, I have dropped 13 pounds.  And I am no longer hungry.  On Weight Watchers, I was hungry all the time.  Gary Taubes calls WW a "semi-starvation" diet, and it was.  That is why I failed, and why most people who do semi-starvation diets fail to keep the weight off.  But protein makes you feel full, and keeps you full.  It helps me to not obsess about food.  Prior to embracing my inner carnivore, I could hardly make it past 9:30 a.m. without eating something else, despite eating (what I thought was) a healthy and hearty Weight Watchers approved breakfast.

I was going to die of a heart attack on my previous high carb, low fat diet, but I won't now.  For those of you who still believe saturated fat causes heart attacks, look at the empirical research before you comment.  Hint:  there is none.  Here is a piece of medical research to chew on if you still think I am crazy:  If you cannot trudge through the turgid and dense academic prose, skip directly to the summary at the end of the article.  "LCD" stands for "low carb diet" and CVD stands for "cardio-vascular disease."


  1. I approve of embracing the inner carnivore! Good luck with it!

  2. I have discovered why you like bacon so much!