Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Trade Off

A lot of feathers were ruffled by Hope Warshaw's condemnation of the low carb diet. I wrote about it and so did a lot of other people. The article cut off comments and the editor of the online magazine in which it appeared, Nadia Al-Samarrie, wrote a follow-up article in an attempt to calm the storm. I won't comment further on the essence of that debate, but something in the follow-up article drew my attention:

"Personally, I have not been successful on a low-carb diet, and that's true of many other people with whom I am familiar. A low-carb diet is difficult to stick to."

Is a low carb diet difficult to stick to? Myself, I have no trouble sticking to the low-carb lifestyle, and even though my journey is only five months old, I feel a sense of commitment to low carbing that I never felt with other diets I have tried. I have freely admitted on this blog, for example, that I am a Weight Watchers failure.  But I do know people who cannot stick to the low-carb way of living, despite the many advantages of this way of eating. So I ask myself, why is the low-carb experience different for me? Do others fail at low carbing because they are so completely addicted to carbs? Is it because they cannot give up bread and sugar? Are their carb withdrawals too intense? Or is something else going on? I do not know the answer for other people, but I think I understand why I am committed to the low carb way of life.

I have type II diabetes. The trade off for me is being ravaged by complications associated with diabetes or following the low carb way of life. I can die ten to fifteen years earlier than I might otherwise; I can go blind, suffer amputations, go on dialysis, have wounds that won't heal, get Alzheimer's disease, experience heart disease, and spend a lot of money on drugs as the disease gets progressively worse... or I can follow a low carb way of life. In my mind, this is a no-brainer.

But there are other reasons, too. I have had an intellectual conversion to the low-carb way of life, thanks to the many books and articles I have read about it. My introduction came by reading Why we Get Fat and What to Do About It by Gary Taubes, but I have since read many other books and articles on the topic.

I have rediscovered tasty eating. My low-fat diet days are now a distant, bad memory. I experience a sense of fullness when I eat low carb meals that I never felt on Weight Watchers. Fat is my friend and I think that products like steak, bacon, butter, and cream really add spice and flavor to life.  I am able to fast now, which has greatly improved my spiritual life. I am sleeping much better and I am not snoring as much as I used to. And I just feel better in general, both physically and psychologically.

So, yes, for me the decision to go low carb was an easy one and I do not find it difficult to live.

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