Please be generous with the ketchup too. My first word was “night night” and my second word was “fie fie”. From the beginning of my life I liked to sleep and eat – that hasn’t changed! As far as food, french fries, and almost all potato dishes were my favorite. Don’t get me wrong; I indulge in pizza, cheeseburgers, and all kinds of comfort and junk food like every other ‘Merican, but it was something about that wonderful starchy vegetable that has been extra special to me.
I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life and I was a chubby child. As I got into my teen and young adult years, I learned to eat less, exercise, and I could lose weight fairly easily to keep things under control…until now. I was diagnosed with Insulin Resistance – a metabolic condition in which my body does not properly respond to insulin resulting in extreme spikes and dips in blood sugar. Left untreated this can lead to diabetes.
INSERT REALITY CHECK AND SUBSEQUENT POUTING FACE HERE!
Other than a good cheeseburger on a cheat meal, I’m not a big meat eater. I’m not a really a carnivore, but a hardcore carbivore! (see what I did there? 😛 ). Fish is tasty, but now I can’t deep fry it and shellfish totally grosses me out. In addition to the greatness of potatoes I also thoroughly enjoy pasta, rice, and glorious bread….mmmm! I love all the food that turns into sugar when eaten. I’m a classic carb addict. Carbohydrates in the form of sweets and desserts are not my weakness, but I do partake when the craving strikes me. I’m salivating as I’m typing this because it’s been two weeks since I had any of it….sigh.
I was watching my calories, exercising, and still not losing weight because the sugar from the food I was eating wasn’t being converted into energy, it was just being stored as fat due to the insulin resistance I wasn’t aware of. I eventually went to a new doctor who has an awesome holistic preventative care approach and found out IR and high cortisol (stress hormone) levels were the culprit to my dilemma.
Lowering cortisol levels was pretty simple. The prescription was to relax. I’ve talked about my journey to de-stressing in several previous blog posts. Only four weeks of chilling out, taking natural herbal remedies Melatonin for sleep, and Relora to reduce stress response helped get my cortisol levels under control.
The solution for insulin resistance is also uncomplicated, but the execution of it for a person who can go without meat and beans, is a bit challenging. I had to decrease my simple carbohydrate intake drastically and increase non-starchy vegetables, moderately include complex carbs, low glycemic fruit, and add more lean protein.
On the upside, since I’ve changed my
diet lifestyle I’ve lost 8 pounds! Yay me! Although extremely rewarding, this undertaking is difficult. It seems like EVERYTHING has too many carbs and an excessive amount of sugar. I’ve had to completely change the way I approach food altogether. I used to only count calories, but now I primarily count carbs while still being mindful of the fat content and calories in the things I can eat more liberally.
I enjoy coffee, but not without cream and Splenda. Then I found out that artificial sweeteners can spike blood sugar just like the regular stuff though it’s zero calories. Stevia is an all natural plant derived sugar alternative that does not affect blood sugar, but I could not stand the bitter aftertaste. After a little research, I found Trader Joe’s Liquid Stevia and it’s liquid gold to me – just sweet, not bitter. I thought I would never be able to drink coffee again. Victory!
Pinterest has been a lifeline for me through this entire lifestyle adjustment and it’s way more organized and efficient than Google when looking for ideas on anything. I’ve discovered that jicama is not really a good potato substitute like “they” say, but spaghetti squash might be able to give me a hashbrown or pasta fix. Almond flour and coconut flour are great low carb baking alternatives for bread, pizza crust, and desserts.
One of the main challenges with this journey is that I don’t particularly like to cook. Cleaning is more therapeutic to me, but cooking has always been a labor intensive task. Now eating…yeah, that’s what I enjoy doing! I’m learning to get over myself and experiment in the kitchen like never before. It’s especially enticing since finding out that there are substitutes for many of my favorite foods, but I have have to be willing to prepare them myself.
Specialty stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, and Central Market are very helpful. These grocers have many of the items I need to manage this new healthy way of living, but not without the cost (except Trader Joe’s which is pretty cheap). Eating healthier, organic, or natural can be more expensive, but it’s an investment in your health. This process is forcing me to stretch myself and get even more creative with my food choices.
Overall, I’m choosing to look at the bright side though this transition is not without it’s tough moments. The blessing in all of this is finding out that I’m insulin resistant now instead of discovering that I’m diabetic in the future. Insulin resistance can be controlled and reversed through a low carb diet and exercise. I’m thankful that I was made aware this early so can do something about it and I get to lose unwanted weight and become a better me along the way!
You can check out my Pinterest page and take a peek into my ongoing journey by checking out my board dedicated to Insulin Resistance here: