Sunday, 5 May 2013

Breaking up with starch

In my last post I talked about cutting back on starchy foods because it gave me heartburn. I did it fairly well for a while, but I would still eat donuts and biscuits and eventually started eating bread again. So my heartburn kept coming back on and off and I lost the motivation to keep going.

After a while of being really unhappy about my body, I finally decided to finish reading "French Women Don't Get Fat." It was great and gave me a renewed appreciation for good food, fresh produce, and savouring what you eat. I read it last weekend and got inspired to go out and buy fresh nuts and fruit and veg, as well as prunes. I ate 2 prunes for breakfast and 2 in the afternoon. I also stopped binge eating.

My heartburn stopped. Yet I was still eating starchy carbs. So was it the prunes?

Two days later, a book that a friend had recommended me to help eat less starchy food "The Glycemic Load Diet", finally arrived in the mail. I started to read it and couldn't stop. I had suspected for a while that I might be insulin resistant, because of the fact that I tend to gain weight around my abdomen. Well this book told me that some people are genetically predisposed to be insulin resistant (because of something to do with their slow twitch muscles, you'll have to read the book for more details), and that when these people, through no fault of their own, just follow the modern lifestyle of eating lots of starchy foods and not walking much, their bodies produce a LOT more insulin than is normal to cope with all the glucose shocks. You see, starch breaks down straight away in the stomach to glucose and goes right into the blood stream instead of traversing the whole intestines. That's called a glucose shock.

Well, I've been unwittingly giving my body a lot of glucose shocks. Through eating bread (even the multigrain and brown bread varieties which we are told are healthy), potatoes, rice, and starchy treats. I didn't know at all what was happening in my body. But now it makes a lot more sense why I gained weight, even when other people I know with similar lifestyle to me didn't. Because they weren't genetically prone to being insulin resistant!

Anyway, I straight away cut back on starchy foods. Somehow, knowing that they directly lead to my weight gain really made it a lot easier. Plus, I can still eat chocolate :) I also started walking daily (just a relaxing half hour walk) to turn on my slow twitch muscles and activate their insulin sensitivity.
I am trying to lose weight by adjusting my diet sensibly and exercising more. Problem is that I love carbs and miss potatoes, rice and pasta. Wondering if you can suggest some low-carb/no-carb alternatives. I love legumes like lentils and chick peas, are these high in carbs? Also, should I be eliminating fruit as well, as I understand fruit has a lot of carbs?

I have already started to notice a difference. I'm not as bloated as before, and I've also lost weight on the scales.

However, since the weight loss has been quite quick I am worried it is water loss (which I read is from glycogen being used by the body for energy when it is given less calories, and the glycogen releases the water it was holding). So I think that rapid weight loss is deceiving and if I keep losing it so quickly, it's likely that my metabolism will shut down. So I did some weights yesterday to help BUILD my muscles, and also I'm going to really try to eat more.

Yes, eat more! Right?! I actually need to eat more to ensure LONG TERM weightloss. And since my diet was roughly 70% starchy carbohydrates before, after cutting them out it's natural that at first I'll eat less, because I haven't yet worked out all the things I can eat and planned ahead to have them. But I am getting there.

Also, I want to say that I don't believe in deprivation and neither does Rob Thompson (the author of "The Glycemic Load Diet"). So if I really want something starchy, I will eat it but in a quarter or half serving of what I'd usually have. And I think what really enabled me to take on all the advice from this book was having first read "If not dieting, then what?" and "French women don't get fat" because they help you address issues of binge eating. So all 3 books in balance is what has really clicked for me.