Monday, October 24, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
At my annual exam this year, my doctor discovered that I am pre-diabetic. That means that the level of glucose in my blood is higher than what the body can process in a healthy way, but not yet high enough to diagnose me with Type 2 Diabetes. It's the precursor though.
When we eat carbohydrates, glucose is released from our intestines into our blood stream. Insulin is then released to help cells take up the glucose as energy. Without insulin, our cells cannot take glucose out of the bloodstream. We need insulin to process glucose. Now, when you eat a high-carbohydrate diet, your body can become resistant to insulin. In other words, your body releases insulin to process the glucose, but the insulin is less and less effective. More and more glucose is left in the bloodstream as the effectiveness of the insulin drops. Glucose in the blood is toxic in high concentrations. You body tries to compensate by dumping even more insulin into the system, but it doesn't matter because your body is becoming more and more resistant to insulin. This is diabetes. Your body can no longer make enough insulin to deal with the large amounts of glucose, thus slowly poisoning your blood.
There is only one cure for this malfunction: eat a low-carbohydrate diet. The paleolithic diet has been shown to fix insulin resistance. I've tried it in a half-assed way and gotten some proof that it would work for me, if I could really do the work. But I have been unsuccessful at sticking to it. There are too many roadblocks for me personally: too open-ended, too many choices, not enough time to prepare the food, no desire to cook, and, most of all, zero desire to think about food. With the paleo diet, you really have to think, plan, and cook, cook, cook.
But I don't have time to figure out my psychological problems anymore. My body is in trouble. After a lot of reading and thought, I have decided to try Medifast. Someone whose opinion I trust, a doctor, suggested it to me. Here are some of her own words:
"Not the most real food way to lose the weight, but my relationship with food was so fucked up, the only thing I could do was remove most of my choices and retrain my brain...not the tastiest way to go about losing weight, but it gave me time to just stop thinking so goddamned much about food. [After reaching my goal] I switched to a more Paleo diet and still limit my carbs at this point. The thing it did for me was stop the cycle of stuffing sugar/carbs and crashing. Getting the weight off then served as a motivation to stay healthier too."
So I did some research. Medifast was originally a prescription-only diet (now available commercially) used by medical professionals to help patients with diabetes or other metabolic syndrome symptoms. It puts the body into a ketonic state, which is specifically talked about in the paleolithic literature. Look at this cool graph. By keeping your daily intake of carbohydrates under 100g a day, your body will start burning stored fat as it's primary fuel source, as well as regulate insulin production. The science makes sense to me.
Now, I know this is not real food. It's all dehydrated protein shakes and MREs. You eat 5 supplements and then one meal of real food everyday. I don't think this is going to be fun. I also don't think this is a shortcut. I'm very scared to do this. But I do know that I need to do something different, something where I don't have to think, decide, or agitate about food. I eat what they give me, and my body starts to repair itself.
In the meantime, I can focus on preparing a healthy dinner for myself, cooking with my children, and just basically trying to find the joy that is hiding in the kitchen. I know it's in there somewhere, I just can't ever find it.
The shipment of supplements should arrive later this week. I'll be posting my process from there.