I started talking to my co-worker, who has done low carb before and always falls off the bandwagon, as he says.
And another co-worker eventually wandered up as we were discussing carbs, and he said, "Everything in moderation!"
At the time I didn't think to say, hey, that doesn't work for all of us.
Exhibit 1: My husband. He's tall, relatively lean, and eats whatever he wants. I'd say he eats relatively high carb.
Exhibit 2: Me. I'm shorter, a bit fatter, and I've recently gained some weight -- not much, just enough for me to notice, and I eat relatively low carb.
I can hear some people saying, "So see? More carbs, skinnier person."
But that's not what I see, and here's why.
If I consumed the amount of carbs that my husband consumed, I would instantly gain weight. I would even go so far to say that within the course of six months, I would easily weigh over 300 pounds. I could prove this, but I would rather not, for obvious reasons.
At certain times, I weighed over 200 pounds while I was eating the same way he was, and it was extremely difficult to control my weight during those times.
I do not believe that one diet fits all, but I do believe that refined carbs and refined sugar are toxic foods to any person who is morbidly obese. To some degree, they are toxic to everybody, but some people can handle those foods better than others. Obese people are NOT those people.
Being obese does not mean that a person does not have self control. It does not mean that they eat too much and exercise too little.
In my estimation, it means that person cannot process refined carbs correctly. And why not? What's wrong with them?
To be perfectly frank, NONE of us should be able to digest that crap. It's an honest to God miracle that the obesity rate isn't 100 percent in my opinion. Through the evolution of mankind, refined foods have had no place. And yet we have the government touting six to eleven servings of grain PER DAY.
The hardest part for an obese person will be the first two weeks of going low carb. Why? Because they are addicted. I know. I was. Your body can barely tell the difference between a candy bar, a piece of bread, and a piece of pizza, and if you go through the daily meal plan of most Americans, you're eating carbs all day long. Why? Well, your doctor told you to cut fat! So you eat carbs, and your blood sugar stays high. And then you crash, and then you need more carbs, because your blood sugar has to stay high so that you don't feel like you're going to fall asleep, and your body will SCREAM at you if you try to change that state. In obese people, all of that sugar -- and yes, I mean potato chips and bread, those count too -- tells your body to store fat. Lots and lots of fat.
I was finally able to kick the sugar addiction after YEARS of effort. It wasn't easy for me. The first week I was off all bread and sugar (yes, even off gluten free substitutes), I felt like I would die. I'm not kidding. Why? Because I was an addict. And that's why people feel crappy on low carb diets in the beginning. Your body has to adjust back down to the amount of sugar it has evolved to take in -- which is far less than you're eating with the standard American diet.
Yet, there's resistance. People are horrified by talk of a diet that will make you feel bad in the short term. Although, I'm sure nobody tells people that they shouldn't quit smoking because they'll feel crappy for a few weeks.
After that, the fog lifted, and I was free. I could look at a muffin or a piece of pizza and not want it. In the entire course of my life, this had never happened before. But for my thinner husband, this happens to him all the time. He will put candy in the fridge and forget about it for weeks. Before I cut out sugar and bread, I would think about the candy in the fridge every single day until he ate it. Every. Single. Day.
For me, and for other people like me who cannot handle refined carbs at all, the whole "Everything in moderation!" concept is a joke.
I know full well that if I were to eat something high carb now, I would not be able to stop eating it. I have proof of this. I ate too much fruit at Disneyland, because they give you this giant serving. I was cranky and irritable for hours later when my blood sugar crashed. Why? Because my body had adjusted to less sugar. So when it was hit with all of that fruit, my body cleared that sugar out of my bloodstream quick as a flash -- now that it wasn't tired from doing that 24/7 -- and then I was hit by that cranky low. I don't care to repeat that experience.
Before I went low carb, I had made some changes. I had stopped buying cookies and cakes and I almost never had potato chips around. But that still wasn't good enough. Not when you're an addict.
Do people tell alcoholics that they should consume alcohol in moderation? Of course not. It's a trigger for them (and a trigger that has been tied to -- surprise!-- carb addiction).
But yet everybody seems to think that carb addicts should be able to eat a donut now and then.
Well, I can't. And other obese people can't either, unless they find or make reasonable low carb substitutes. Although I might not even want those. Sometimes I think about wanting a donut, but now I'd probably think they were so sweet I wouldn't want it.
So, that's what I think about this whole moderation thing. It might work for people who are physically like my husband, but certainly not for me -- and I seriously doubt there will be any measure of success for any obese person out there.
I am pleased to also report that when you eat low carb, you get a normal appetite.
Before, I was always, constantly hungry. Every obese person is, I think. I had no idea what real hunger felt like, because I was always jonesing for a starch fix.
It is such a relief to not be a slave to food anymore.
Sorry I veered off topic today. SCD by itself is not a low carb diet, but I think there are MANY people with digestive dysfunction who need to LOSE weight. I think every obese person can benefit from SCD, because SCD also cuts sugars and starches. If you have IBS, Crohn's, colitis, and are obese, you can benefit from a lower carb version of SCD. You will heal and you will feel better. If you need to gain weight, pile on the carbs! It's a proven method.
My heart goes out to every obese person out there. I have several in my own family. I want to help my family change, but it's very difficult to change the behavior of an addict -- especially when the government tells them that they are eating the correct foods to lose weight.
Quick link: This lecture by Gary Taubes is fantastic. He's talking to a bunch of doctors about why telling their patients to eat less, exercise more does not work at all. If you have an hour to spare, I highly recommend it.