My Health, Part III - Diet

After getting diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I followed the diabetic nutritionist’s guidelines and was very careful with what I ate. I lost nearly 40 pounds over the winter! Dropping those pounds really helped me feel better, but so far it was mostly on accident that I lost weight. So, I decided to get serious, what I’d been taught was that I needed to eat less and exercise more. I got a Fitbit tracker to track my progress, I started walking every day and eventually biking to work. I started using MyFitnessPal to track calories. Since my blood sugar seemed to be under control, I lost focus on the strict guidelines from the nutritionist and focused on limiting the calories I consumed, only trying vaguely to keep my number of carbohydrates low. For instance, I would use Atkins bars (sometimes two or three in a day) for snacks, since those should be low enough in sugar for a diabetic, right?

Food with lots of fat had so many calories, so I started eating low-fat varieties of things and tried to keep my daily calories under about 1,300 per day. Days when I exercised a lot, I would burn enough calories that even in that 1,300 there was room to have a few cookies or ice cream. Weighing and tracking everything I ate worked, I was down nearly 50 pounds! My HbA1c kept dropping, too, so this was working, even though I was hungry all the time.

In June of 2014 we traveled to Korea for my friend’s wedding. I continued to track my calories as best I could, but ended up eating a lot of rice, chips from the convenience store and a fair amount of beer and soju. After this trip I fell off the wagon on tracking my calories and by the end of the summer I had gained back close to 20 pounds.

Obviously I needed to track my calories better and/or restrict them even more, otherwise, how could this be happening?

I wanted to gain some insight, at the end of 2014 I read Why We Get Fat and What to do About It by Gary Taubes. I guess I should have reacted like mainstream doctors and experts and when the book told me that everything I thought I knew was wrong. I should have stopped reading and went back to what I was doing. But what I was doing wasn’t working and everything in the book made so much sense. After learning much more of insulin’s role, the book convinced me that I needed to go back to eating fewer carbohydrates, way fewer.

My eyes were opened and I needed more information. I continued my quest with The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz and then onto Jimmy Moore’s Keto-Clarity. These books built on what I had learned from Gary Taubes and started convincing me that fat, even saturated fat, was my friend. I even evangelized to my family and we stopped getting skim milk and now only get whole milk for the kids. We no longer get the kids fruit snacks and try to limit any other candy or cracker snacks like goldfish.

On January 25, 2015 I decided to embrace the high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet that I read about in Keto-Clarity. One of the first steps was, on February 1, 2015 I ate beef for the first time in 20 years! After such a long time, you have no idea how hard it was. I tried adding more fats and using coconut oil, but it took a long time to get over the stigma in my mind about saturated fat. But, after a few weeks, my wife commented on me actually adding butter to bacon at a restaurant!

continue to part 4