I have always thought of myself as a fairly healthy eater. Yes, I have my downfalls, as everyone does, but I try very hard to keep them in check. I will admit I have an addiction to fast food, chocolate, Coke and potato chips. Knowing this, though, I don't keep it in the house and really try to limit it. I also know I am an emotional eater, but hey, let's face it, who isn't?
I grew up in a family where everything revolved around food. And boy did we have bad eating habits.... cake for breakfast, tons of chips, and I don't think I drank anything other than soda. That would probably explain why both my parents have weight issues. I was a thin child though and stayed that way until my late 20's when I had my first child. As a teenager though, I was scared of gaining weight and was probably very borderline anorexic. I only ever ate salads and drank diet coke, but hey I was fairly healthy. Then I went to university ..... that was when I found fast food. Can you blame me though.... school cafeteria food left a lot to be desired!Anyways, like most others as I got older, I strived to be healthier. While in Chiropractic school, I started following "The Zone Diet". It made sense to me..... 3 balanced meals but easy on the carbs. This was especially important to me since I was having issues with hypoglycemia. While I wasn't very strict about it, this is how I have been eating for the past 15 years. So why have I gained almost 50 lbs during that time?????? I go to the gym at least 3 times a week, I walk a lot, I'm fairly active on the weekends????
So, this past January I broke down and decided I needed help. I found a medical doctor who only believes in holistic medicine.... go figure... Anyways, after some blood work and other exams she has decided I have Metabolic Syndrome. Basically at 37 I have the metabolism of a 60 year old! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE!!!! Oh, and did I mention my blood sugar was high, my testosterone levels were high, my cholesterol was high, I was deficient in B12 and B6, and zinc, magnesium and Vit D? Again, how is this possible?
After researching the topic a bit, I have realized that my eating habits, like so many others, have been wrong. Not quite as blatantly bad as some people I have seen, but worse in some ways. It was masquerading as healthy when in reality it was not. Even though I thought I was limiting my carbs, 4 servings a day was still enough to slow my metabolism down. So I started on a glutenfree diet. In the first week I lost 6 lbs. Over the next month I lost another 6 lbs. Then the weight loss stopped. Yes, I wasn't eating gluten anymore which was a big help, but after the first few weeks I started replacing that gluten with other carbs..... rice, potato, corn, millet, quinoa, all things that we are told are healthy for us. So, realistically, I was still eating the same number of carbs.
In April I went back to the doctor. My blood sugar and testosterone were back to normal, but everything else was still off, even my metabolism. Granted I had lost about 10 lbs and several inches. Obviously though the avoidance of gluten was not quite enough. So are all cereal grains bad? Was Dr. Atkins right, that we should be avoiding all carbs and eat only protein and fats? I can't see that as being good! Several people I know who were Atkin followers while losing weight yes, ended up having heart attacks. There has got to be a better way!
Funnily enough, several people had mentioned The Paleo Diet to me. Now, those of you who have seen the quirky british show Come Dine With Me.... remember the episode with the guy who dressed like a caveman and would only eat foods a hunter-gatherer caveman would eat? Yup, that's right! That is the Paleo Diet.
So I ran down to my local library to borrow the book.... I read the whole book in about 3 hours! Very interesting premise and research. Basically, cereal grains, dairy and legumes all have antinutrients that raise insulin levels, create an acid-base inbalance and an Omega6 to Omega3 ratio that is way to high and in the long term slow our metabolism and set us up for many chronic health issues ranging from diabetes and heart disease to inflammatory conditions. Hmmm, over the last 2 decades I have had a diet moderate to high in all of these items. Could that be my problem?
So, I am embarking on this journey to see what happens not only to my weight, but to my health in general. I will keep you posted.