HR Made Me FAT! Part Three
Ok. I know you’re pretty fed up (no pun) with my delaying in telling you what my Dr. discovered after reviewing the lab-work I told you about in Part Two. The HR Fat Dragon has been uncovered!
We have all heard and read the low-carb diet plans. The Atkins diet is one of the most famous or infamous depending on your point of view. But, what’s the truth about low-carb and why does it work for so many people? Would it work for me, I wondered?
After researching the science of low-carb eating habits, I felt like it made a lot of sense. Basically, carbs are excessive bad sugars or starches that show up and work with your insulin to create more fat in your body. So, too many carbs may mean too much insulin and more fat. Higher carb intake also causes your body to hoard water. So, bloating and general water weight is a problem. That’s the short story of how the scale begins to rise when carb intake is higher than we can handle.
How many carbs can I handle?
Great question! That was my exact next thought. I LOVE carb-rich foods. So, giving all of them up was a scary thought.
It turns out that the more active you are and the better metabolism you have, the more carbs you can eat! Yay! Oh wait….
So, I have already established, in Part One, that I am not terribly physically active. That truth, of course, is the the fault of the HR Dragon who has chained me to the desk for so many years. As for metabolism, my thyroid started to crash in my early 30’s and I finally began taking thyroid replacement around age 40. By then, I had gained to my top weight and the struggle was to continue for years to come. But, what was the root of all of this evil really?
After the doctor drew about 8 tubes of blood and ordered many tests, we finally saw this lonely little number called “Insulin Level”. My number was 22. That sounds pretty low. But, when you look at the science behind the number, I was about 15 points too high. It turns out that because I am Insulin Resistant my body sends tons of insulin out to do the job a normal person would only need a fraction of the insulin dose to accomplish. My doctor explained it like the insulin knocks on the door of my cells, but the door isn’t answered. So, my body send more insulin to knock harder until finally enough insulin gets in to deal with my sugar. But, with all of the extra insulin floating around in my blood stream trying to accomplish it’s fat creation mission, I have little to no hope of losing weight until the insulin level in my blood decreases. Plus, over-working the pancreas for years and years puts me at a higher risk of developing Diabetes.
My doctor said I needed to get the insulin level down and then I could see real weight loss. So, I tried various dieting techniques. Low carb eating was definitely a part of this plan. I lost some weight. But, the second I put a bad carb in my mouth, BOOM – weight gain. Next we decided to kick it up a notch and begin a medication that required one injection every week in my abdominal area. The needle is tiny and I barely feel anything. I give my own shot. This medication works to limit the amounts of insulin my pancreas produces. So, when I eat low-carb the weight really comes off. If I cheat, the weight gain isn’t as drastic because I have less insulin in my bloodstream. After 2 months of the injections, we retested my labs. All of my numbers have improved in every area. I have always had normal lipid numbers. But, my HDL and LDL have been borderline. Now, they are much improved and my fasting blood sugar has gone from around 90ish to 79. My insulin level? 12.9!! Yay!! It is still considered about 5-10 points higher than recommended. So, I am a work in progress.
High stress equals high cortisol production. Cortisol is linked to that awful increase in our waistlines that make it hard for me to wear dresses. How about you? Realizing that I am a work-a-holic and striving to fight that tendency is also a big part of my overall quest to tame that Dragon. But, that is such a hard thing to get my head around. I enjoy work. Some people have hobbies. Golf, fishing, scrap-booking, shopping, exercising, or other non-work related downtime activities are ways many people unwind and recover from negative stress affects. I just don’t do hobbies. Work is my hobby. That fact needs to change.
HR Fat Dragon
Have I tamed the Fat Dragon? I am not entirely convinced I have. But, I have lost almost 20 pounds in 3 months and my numbers are improving across the board.I guess it is time to admit that the HR Fat Dragon is really not the root of all evil. I have the problem many professional women and men struggle with daily. Balance. I must examine my own thoughts on work-life balance. I must be realistic about what my ‘work-a-holic’ personality is doing to my health. I need to tame my own dragon and stop looking for reasons to blame outsiders. (real or imagined) The metabolic issues are real. I am dealing with them in a real manner. I must keep up the good work!
If I can manage to next break the chains that keep me strapped to my desk, restrain my love of high-carb foods, and work a little less; then I may actually be able to say I have tamed the Dragon. How about you? I would love to hear your story. Write me. firstname.lastname@example.org or comment in the space below.
Enjoy your work. Love your life. Live as long as possible. Be healthy and balanced.
Until Next Time,