A Lifestyle Choice. Low Carbs Forever!


The Backstory

I have to admit it was a shock when my diabetic specialist informed me… in the nicest way… that my life was going to have to change or I was looking at insulin and potential complications.

She DID ask me what I was looking for?  I asked her what she meant.  She said “do you want to keep eating like you are eating and me treat you accordingly or do you want to keep your pancreas working as long as possible and me treat you?”  She added, “this means weight loss and a lifestyle change.  I’d like to keep you around as long as possible for you and your husband!”

I’d been dancing around the DIABETES label for a while now.  I knew first hand in caring for my mother with diabetes what a diminished pancreas could do to a person. I had quit counting after around 40 mini-strokes that accompanied her 4 moderate strokes.  I suspect the number was in the 70’s. Each taking a piece of her away from herself… and from me.

I knew what other complications were possible.  I was already seeing my sisters start to have issues from diabetes like nerve pain in their feet. I really didn’t want any of that… if I could DO SOMETHING to help ward it off for a few more years… or forever if I get lucky and the metabolic stars align.

I decided to grow up on the spot and own it.  Dang it.  I’M A DIABETIC!

“Yes.  I want to lose weight and keep away from insulin as long as possible,” I finally found the will to say.

She informed me that I could only have 30 NET Carbs forever.  I didn’t really know what that meant but I’d look it up later.

She further informed me that I could really only have 20 NET Carbs to get my weight down at least 25 pounds if not more.  Then I could go back up to 30 NET Carbs.

I asked about sweet potatoes that I knew were allowable on low carb diets.  She nodded her head “no”.  What?  I could feel my lip quiver a bit. “What about brown rice,” I said.  Again she nodded “no”.  I knew pasta would be out, but rice???  This day officially turned horrible.  That was a lot to process. I LOVE rice!!!  I could do the Bubba Gump lineup for shrimp… but for rice instead.  Any way you can cook, bake, fry, boil, fricassee rice. All the cheese, vegetable and meat combinations with rice.  I loved it!  I could eat it every day.

She said I need to basically be on the Atkins 20 diet.  I knew kinda what that was when the fad first came out years ago.  I could Google it later!

She changed the oral medication I’d been taking.  Especially after there were now TV lawsuits about the medication I was on.  She also offered me a new injectable drug that could be beneficial in helping me achieve those goals and help my pancreas be more efficient in insulin production.  I wouldn’t want food with it and would probably lose weight. I said I’d consider it.

I went home a little depressed.  The sweet potato and rice issue hit me hard.  A lifestyle change.  What did this mean anyway???  I was having a hard time processing the news.

The Realization

It was a few days later, as I was trying to wrap my head around my appointment that I was granted access to the patient portal for my diabetic specialist.  They had drawn blood to get baselines and confirm diagnoses.  I WAS ANGRY AT WHAT I SAW!!!!

I was diagnosed with not only diabetes, but also something called Metabolic Syndrome.  I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides and a fatty liver.  (I had known those from my doctor before, but was told as usual… “they’re a little high” so I never worried.  They were never given an actual NAME!)

I went and looked up Metabolic Syndrome online.  I was horrified and realized I was on the fast track to insulin resistance.   Both my sisters have the same diagnoses I have without the Metabolic Syndrome term diagnosis and have much worse numbers than I do.  One sister IS insulin resistant. The other is fast becoming insulin resistant.  Their glucose readings were truly alarming.

I WAS VERY ANGRY!  I WAS MOSTLY ANGRY AT MYSELF!  But only for those things in my control, like my sugar and carbohydrate consumption, my weight and my lack of exercise.  Not much I can do about my genetic predisposition for diabetes and high blood pressure. I knew those were possibly coming since I was teenager.  But the other things… I could have done something about! Like not let myself get into the shape I am in.

It was that moment right there that I knew I had to get serious.  This is bad. This is forever UNLESS I get actively involved in my own health management.

I called my diabetic specialist and told her to please hold off on the weekly injectable medication and that if I was truly going to change the way I eat that I was going to have to embrace it wholly.

I needed to take two weeks to get my head around what all this meant.  Then to please give me twelve weeks to be totally on 20 net carbs and if I failed THEN I’d try the injectable medication. So, in three months I was either going to be lighter and leaner with better glucose readings or I was going to be failed and in need of some additional medication.

The Challenge

During those first two weeks I started saying goodbye to my favorite foods.  It’s not a bad idea to say goodbye to foods you can never eat again.  I can attest that your blood glucose will suffer for it however.  But it did help me get my head in the game, so to speak.

I also started researching on what to do.  What was clear to me was that I needed to:

  • find out more about diabetes
  • find out what I could actually eat
  • find out what 20 to 30 net carbs actually meant
  • find low carb recipes that I could actually make
  • find low carb options when I eat out
  • find low carb alternatives for my favorite foods
  • find low carb alternatives for my favorite recipes
  • clear my refrigerator and pantry of high carbohydrate items
  • fill my refrigerator and pantry with low carbohydrate items
  • Start exercising

The Solution

To this end, I began this journey. These are my discoveries about low carb eating at home, in my surrounding communities and on travels.

I started this blog because it is always more fun to talk to and travel with friends and make new friends with those on your same road.

More Information

For further information please read:
Atkins – 20 Carb Diet
Mayo Clinic – Metabolic Syndrome

Another good guide can be found at Positive Health Wellness

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