Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Does Your Relationship With Food Define You?

The new year is coming upon us! Yes, resolution time again! The gym memberships will surge, Weight Watchers will advertise their specials and many will once again for the umpteenth time try to adhere to a diet and exercise program. Again at this time of the new year I would like to address our "self talk" and beyond that a person's belief in "self hate" or "self loathing". This is often the recipe for failure. Food and your relationship with food does not make you a good or bad person. Whether you are overweight or not does not dictate your goodness or worthiness for living. Yet, many tell themselves this exact lie! Do you?
If you try and you fail do you consider that this is human and the success lies in pulling yourself up and starting over again? Or when you fail do you tell yourself that you are never going to be anything but a failure and that you are not even WORTHY of success SO "I might as well just give up!" Which one are you? Can you change? Yes you can change! There is no failure if you keep getting up and get going! There was once a man who failed over and over again. Abe Lincoln, one of the most loved and respected presidents in the U.S. A common list of the failures of Abraham Lincoln (along with a few successes) is: 1831 - Lost his job 1832 - Defeated in run for Illinois State Legislature 1833 - Failed in business 1834 - Elected to Illinois State Legislature (success) 1835 - Sweetheart died 1836 - Had nervous breakdown 1838 - Defeated in run for Illinois House Speaker 1843 - Defeated in run for nomination for U.S. Congress 1846 - Elected to Congress (success) 1848 - Lost re-nomination 1849 - Rejected for land officer position 1854 - Defeated in run for U.S. Senate 1856 - Defeated in run for nomination for Vice President 1858 - Again defeated in run for U.S. Senate 1860 - Elected President (success) Don't let the bad thoughts you have heard in your own head dictate how you will respond to the food that is around you! You always get to choose whether you try, don't try, try harder, or whatever. It's not a reflection on your personal character. I don't believe any of us are perfect 24/7 ! We were not/are not perfect parents either but we didn't quit! It's too important! So don't quit! Your health is too important! If you mess up go do it again! Stop telling yourself that you are a bad person! Don't let anyone else tell you that either! Don't make a resolution that you will not keep! Make a detailed written plan that you can keep! Then tell yourself that you can do it and that you are not a failure!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Are You Sabotaging Your Success?

Years ago I read a book that changed who I am. It was a book about how our own "self talk" makes us succeed or fail in many ways. The book taught me to examine what I was saying in my own head to be unsuccessful. In my case in my young adult life at the time I had very low self esteem and experienced panic attacks in groups. The book told me to pay attention to what I was telling myself at those times and to write it down. I began to see a pattern of how I told myself how worthless and unimportant I was. I even thought that people were laughing about me. I mean how silly to think that anyone was that concerned about ME!
At the time I was also probably at my highest weight and was eating to sooth myself. This was something that I didn't recognize was tied to my dislike of myself and my fear of others.
It was my self talk that affected my eating patterns. It was not just what I told myself about food, it was also what I told myself about my lack of self control. I gave myself reasons to be out of control. I told myself why I couldn't succeed.
Once I started listening to my "self talk" and writing it down I realized that I was sabotaging my own life! I was bullying myself! It is bad enough to be bullied by others but it is worse to bully yourself into failure!
I write this because it applies to "lack of self control" or "failure" in changing diet, walking away from the cake, closing the refrigerator door, putting the junk food item back on the shelf and in many more ways that we tell ourselves "why I can't do this"!
How does this apply to reversing diabetes? It applies because it is our "self talk" that makes us give up. It is our "self talk" that makes us believe that we can't do this. We tell our self that "it isn't fair", we tell our self that "I just can't give this up". We tell our self that "I have no control".
So listen to your self talk. Write it down just as you are thinking it! I bet you do not even realize what you are saying about yourself until you listen and write it down.
In the book I read called "Telling Yourself The Truth" by Author's William Backus and Marie Chapian there are chapters called "Misbelief in Self Talk", "Misbelief in Lack of Self Control" and another called "Misbelief in the Fear of Change".
There are many more misbeliefs that we tell ourselves that can make us unable to stop the cycle of bullying ourselves and making us feel that we can not succeed, but we can succeed! So get a pen and paper and start journaling what you are telling yourself. You may be very surprised to discover what your inner bully is telling you!

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Magic OF Ketosis!

Besides lowering blood sugar what does the LCHF ketogenic diet do for you and why is the side benefit often weight loss? There is a really good explanation of this as I have experienced in my own life while eating this way since December of 2012. When I first started eating this way I did start out eating 3 meals a day and even a snack at night. Sometimes I did just skip breakfast though or just had breakfast for lunch. Still, I ate kind of as we were taught to eat trying not to skip too many meals.  

As months went by things changed. I didn't need to eat for many hours after waking up and in some cases literally just "forgot" to eat. I had my Bulletproof Coffee in the morning and it kept me going until 1 or 2 PM. When I finally was hungry I ate my 75-80% fatty meal keeping my carbs low and my protein moderate like the size of my inside palm. As a diabetic large amounts of protein can be problematic as they can convert to glucose or glycogen that may increase blood glucose later.  

As time went on I was even less hungry and went even longer between meals. Sometimes as long as 22 hours naturally. So even though I was eating high fat meals I was burning body fat. You can easily understand the reason. I stopped eating! I was fasting! I didn't think of it as fasting though. Not at all. I just followed my body's natural desire to eat or not eat. It really is a simple concept!  

The biochemistry isn't so simple though. I am not a biochemist and I'm not going to pretend to be one but here are the basics. Eating less often naturally lowers your insulin levels. Eating moderate protein also keeps insulin levels lower than eating a 12 ounce steak. Of course if I only ate one meal in 24 hours I could certainly take in a larger protein portion because for the next 23 or more hours of not eating my insulin will be low during that time. Don't get me wrong here! I am not telling you that you have to fast. I am telling you that eventually you just will end up doing it and you won't even think about it in that way! That is part of the magic!

The magic of the lowered insulin levels is that fat burning begins! Fat stores that have been unable to be utilized now can be released. There is no additional fat being stored from your diet because you are not overeating carbs, proteins or even fat. You are eating just enough! Your body perceives you in a fasted state (low insulin) and begins to use the body fat. This is a natural thing. It is just like the tribes who hunted but didn't get their kill for a few days. Did they lose their energy? Were they unable to continue to hunt because they needed food! No, not at all! They burned their body fat as naturally designed to do. We have done it for thousands of years. Only in the last 35 years have we been taught to eat our 3 meals and 2 snacks. What has that accomplished? The LCHF ketogenic diet is best for blood sugar, it's best for health and it seems to be the best for weight loss because you keep your insulin low and the reality is that it seems to lead to naturally just plain eating less food! So is a LCHF diet a super high fat diet? No it is not at all! Not when you become fat adapted and are not eating your 3 meals and 2 snacks! You are now burning body fat instead because you don't need to eat 24/7. You will be reversing high blood sugar and reducing meds. This is the best gift of all!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Out of Ketosis- A Blood Sugar Dilemma

For more than three years I have been on a LCHF Ketogenic diet to manage my type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.   I began the Ketogenic diet in Dec. 2012 after reading Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek's book "The Art and Science of Ketogenic Living".   That was a light bulb moment for me.   I went LCHF and never turned back.  I had been eating a low carb diet but not LCHF prior to this.

I saw fantastic results of normal blood sugar in the first 48-60 hours.   I went from post meal blood sugars of 135-140 to post meal blood sugar readings of under 115.  At the same time my fasting blood sugar went from 110 to 85-90!   It was a very exciting experience to achieve this control!

Something happened this past week that took me back to my past life.   It was another reminder of how small and very short term changes in diet can quickly show unintended consequences.   I have never been in the dark about this and have told others many times how such seemingly small things have an impact for days or even weeks.   My five day vacation trip this past week gave me a reason to write this blog post.

I knew that this trip was going to be my biggest travel challenge.  Las Vegas resort casino's do everything possible to keep you eating in their restaurants. They do what they can to keep you from making or keeping any perishable food in your room.  They purposely do not provide microwaves or mini refrigerators or any conveniences that may help you avoid eating in the restaurants.

I went armed to beat them at their game!   I packed nuts, cheese, hard boiled eggs and tuna for breakfasts and snacks.  I brought coconut oil and olive oil too.   I was ready, so I thought!    My meter told me something else over the 4-5 days.

I still had to eat out in restaurants.  I was after all, on vacation!   Part of vacation is enjoying some excellent food and shows, etc.  I chose the restaurants carefully.  Most had their menus posted outside so I could see what would work for me.  What I was not prepared for was the portion sizes of all of the meals and how to deal with the emotional side of the thought of throwing away food that we paid good money for.  This, in the end, was the issue that led to my highest blood sugar readings in three years.

Steaks and burgers all were at least 8 ounce portions everywhere we went.   I am used to limiting protein portions to less than 3 ounces a meal.   Often, I asked them to sub a vegetable in place of the potato but then a salad was also served on the side.  Night one my husband and I ate in a restaurant in our hotel for convenience. We both ate an 8 oz rib-eye steak dinner with a vegetable side.  I requested an additional side of butter for my steak.  I knew this 8 oz steak was too large a portion but the fact that we were spending nearly $30.00 a person really got into my head.   This is the emotional part of it that I was referring to!   The thought that I could not use a take out box and it would be thrown out bothered me.

On day two I woke up to my first over 90 fasting blood sugar reading in a long time.  It wasn't too serious but I am normally pretty close to a 74 fasting number every day.

Each day of eating the large portion sizes of meat and vegetables were taking their toll.  I could also taste the addition of sugar in vegetables and sauces used on the sides and in the dressings.   We also ate two buffet meals along the way.  It is difficult to take a plate with only one small piece of meat.   I wanted to take a meatball, a peice of chicken thigh, and a small peice of ham too!   The price of the meals again got to my head.   My husband thought that I was not eating much considering the prices of the buffets.

For the sake of keeping this blog post as short as possible I'm not going to go into a complete breakdown of all of my meals and choices.   I did the best I could to choose wisely but It wasn't a controlled environment like my diet is at home.   Stressing out over restaurant foods while on vacation wouldn't have been helpful to me or my partner either.

So the bad and the ugly of this is that my blood sugar readings in just 2-3 days time were back up to the blood sugar control that I had experienced prior to changing to the ketogenic diet in Dec. 2012.   My fasting number on the final morning there was up to 103 and my post meal numbers were up to 130.  I was checking my readings before bed and they were in the 115-125 range when they should have been below 95 at that time.  Within 3 days I was out of ketosis and back to diabetic blood sugar readings averaging 25-30 points higher than my usual averages over the past 3 years.  I was surprised at how quickly my body went back to these higher numbers.

My experience this past week just goes to show how quickly daily mistakes in food and portion choices can lead to the loss of blood sugar control.  It also helped me to understand once again that this dietary approach isn't an easy path. Small mistakes can make the difference between tight blood sugar control or roller coaster control.

 I am glad to see my blood sugar control coming back to normal now after eating my usual meals here at home in the past two days.   My fasting reading this morning was 83 so I expect to be back to my usual blood sugar control by tomorrow.

I hope that this helps others who may be questioning why the Ketogenic diet doesn't seem to be working for them.   When I ask people to show me their daily menus or meals it is portion sizes of protein or vegetables and sometimes it is both.  The other issue is that the meals need to provide enough fat in order to be ketogenic.  It can't just be low carb, it must also be high fat.

See my daily menu samples here.   Sample pictures of portion sizes are here.  

For diabetics managing blood sugar and insulin levels we need to meet the targets of 75-80% fat, 15-20% protein and 5% non-starchy carbs.

I am a type 2 diabetic who blogs about my personal journey and observations while choosing a ketogenic dietary approach.    I am not a scientist or a physician. What you read here is not to be taken as medical advice. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Life Of A Compliant Diabetic- Do The Math

Most of us are aware of the ADA guidelines for carbohydrate consumption for diabetics.  We come across these all over the place; online, at the diabetes education classes, at the docs office and on facebook groups too.

 The daily carb intake for male diabetics recommended by the American Diabetes Association varies between 135 and 180 grams for your three basic meals along with up to 60 to 90 grams of extra carbohydrates at snack time. Your daily recommended carb intake could therefore vary between 135 grams a day if you don't snack up to 270 grams a day.  In many cases I've seen dietitians allow up to 60 grams of carbs a meal.

Let’s just use the 45 grams a meal and 25 grams of carbs at 2 snacks and the recommended 3 meals and 2 snacks scenario that most diabetics are told to stick to.   Get a picture in your head to start off with.

4 grams of carbs in any form, sugar, rice, bread etc. is equal to 1 teaspoon of sugar.     Our bodies can handle at most 1-2 tsp of sugar at ANY time! Keep this picture in mind.
4 gr carbs= 1 tsp sugar.

 If we take Dr. Bernstein's math from his book "The Diabetes Solution" 1 gram of carbs raises blood sugar by about 5 points.

 Barney, our patient in this scenario was given the standard ADA advice that he needs 45 grams of carbs for breakfast.    Barney's blood sugar before breakfast is 120.  This is a common number for many diabetics in the morning.

For breakfast he eats 45 grams of carbs; a bowl of Special K with some sugar, toast with margarine and a glass of skim milk.   Within 30-45 minutes his blood sugar will rise and continue to rise over several hours. 45 X 5 = 225

That isn't all! Barney started with a blood sugar of 120 and he is still making insulin to try to get the original high blood sugar down. Now he has added 11 teaspoons of sugar to his bloodstream and his blood sugar rises to 350 (19.5 mmol/l).   Remember our blood stream can only handle 1-2 teaspoons of sugar. This is an emergency!   The pancreas pushes out massive loads of insulin! The insulin gets the glucose out of the blood and tells Barney's fat cells to store all of the extra sugar in the fat cells.

Barney took his pill so that he can make more insulin to help get his blood sugar down. 2 ½ hours later his blood sugar is 200. (11.1 mmol/l) He is already starving and it is time for his work break and his snack.   He eats a large apple and 2 pieces of string cheese at 25 grams of carbs.   His blood sugar rises by an additional 100 points and once again the pancreas must work hard to make insulin and try to get rid of an additional 6 teaspoons of sugar in his blood.

After break, Barney feels sluggish and thirsty. He remains hungry and is thinking about lunch already.   Lunch comes two hours later!   Since Barney is following his dietitian's guidelines to the letter he has his low fat turkey and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread.   That is pretty much his 45 grams of carbs allowed for a meal.   He has a diet Coke and a piece of string cheese on the side.

 He doesn’t take another blood sugar reading at this time but we can figure that it is still high from his earlier snack.  Now the math again is 45 X 5 = 225.   Barney takes his pancreas stimulating medication again at lunch to help get his blood sugar down.   With his earlier snack and a high blood sugar that was never able to come down due to the snack earlier Barney’s blood sugar never goes below 200 on this day.

 At 3:00 Barney can’t wait for his snack! He is starving! He checked his blood sugar and it was down to 180 since lunch. That is in the range that his doctor says is okay so he heats up one bag of microwave low fat popcorn. He eats the whole bag at 23 grams of carbs. 23 grams of carbs X 5 = 115 added to the 180 reading he just had is going to drive blood sugar up to about 300 (16.7 mmol/l)  He doesn’t take any medications at snack times.

 After work Barney makes a quick trip through Wendy’s for a regular sized grilled chicken sandwich with a side salad and a packet of the low fat ranch salad dressing. He also ordered an extra large Diet Coke because he is so thirsty.  This is his 45 gram carb meal.  At home he checks his blood sugar and takes his diabetes pill that will help his pancreas to flood his blood with insulin.  His blood sugar reading is 195 at the start of his meal tonight. He shrugs because this is just the reality of his life with diabetes.

Again the 45 grams of carbs is equal to a blood sugar rise of 225 and he has put more than 11 teaspoons of additional sugar in his blood stream by eating this meal.   His pre-meal reading was
195 so adding another 225 points will get him up to a reading of over 400.  It's a good thing he has his diabetes pill because that will once again help make a lot more insulin to try to reduce the blood sugar.

Barney is hungry again but he is afraid to snack.   His post meal number was just too high and his doctor has told him not to eat after supper unless his blood sugar goes low.  At the end of the day, Barney takes his 1500 mg metformin pill and goes to bed with a blood sugar reading of 260 (14.4 mmol).

This is a day in Barney’s life that repeats over and over again because no one has taught Barney the diabetes math.  Barney is a compliant diabetic.  He follows all of the rules given to him by his diabetes educator.  He doesn’t cheat although he would love to have chips with his lunch or fries with his burger sometimes because he is always so hungry eating the low fat diet.

Not too many people eating a diet like this would be able to avoid the carby sides that Barney has worked very hard to try to avoid.  This poor man just has no idea to help his diabetes.  He is becoming more and more upset and thinks about his grandchildren and wonders how much time he will have left with them.

It is my hope that Barney, like so many of you, will find the LCHF Ketogenic diet like I and many others have.  Learn the diabetic math and have the beginning of a new life.   I hope this helps many of you understand the blood sugar roller coaster as Dr Bernstein calls it.