My journey to a low carb diet was a long one. I always loved carbs, ever since I was a little girl. Bread, pizza, cookies and cakes were my favorite foods, and I indulged in them freely. I was a chubby little girl – not fat, but not skinny, at a time, during the 1970s, where most kids were very skinny. I was self-conscious about my weight, and food was there to comfort me. Can you say vicious cycle?
As a teen, still on a high carb diet, I grew taller and leaned out. I managed to remain lean throughout my twenties and thirties, on a very high carb diet (300 grams of carbs per day) with moderate calorie restriction – I logged my food on sites such as fitday.com and made sure I ate around 1800-2000 calories per day – and daily exercise.
I was very healthy. I had good energy, my weight was stable, and I felt good. I went through two pregnancies and deliveries, both healthy and free of complications.
Everything changed when I turned 40. Gradually, I lost stamina. My energy became low. I was tired all the time. I remember waking up, having my high-carb breakfast with sweetened coffee, and going into my home office, where I would sit down in front of the computer and try to focus on my work. I felt so weak, my arms were like lead, and I just couldn’t wake up.
I became progressively weaker, until one morning I collapsed on the floor and started crying hysterically. I told my husband, “I’m only 40, I don’t see myself living 30-40 more years. I’m just exhausted.”
Concerned that there was something very wrong with me, I went to the doctor and underwent a battery of tests. Frustratingly, everything came back normal.
One morning after my workout, my hands were visibly shaking. I ate a hardboiled egg and immediately felt better. That’s when I realized, for the first time, that my symptoms might have something to do with unstable blood sugar.
So I started reading. I found this article about performing a glucose tolerance test at home. I followed the directions, eating a large boiled potato for lunch. My blood sugar after one hour was 230 mg/dL. After two hours it was 160 mg/dL.
These are essentially diabetic numbers.
Interestingly, my fasting blood sugar remained normal. That’s why the tests came back negative. My three-month average (Hemoglobin A1c) was also normal, although on the high side – likely because of sharp dips in blood sugar that balanced out the highs and caused the average to appear normal.
The day after this home test, I started a low carb diet.
My low carb journey brought me from low carb (50 grams per day) to moderate carbs (100 grams per day), back to low carb and eventually I settled on a very low carb diet (20 grams or less), realizing that this is the diet that makes me feel best.
Today, on a very low carb diet, I feel amazing. I am strong and energetic, and my energy levels are stable throughout the day. I don’t have sugar rushes, but I also don’t have slumps. My engine hums, quiet and steady, all day. I am seldom hungry, and I never HAVE to eat. My body has become fat adapted, and I can get energy from my own body fat, so I am no longer a slave to regular feedings every 2-3 hours. I can easily go 6-8 hours between meals.
My brain is sharp. There’s no more brain fog. My emotions are stable. I am more patient and less anxious. I am happier. The sugar roller coaster affects not just our bodies, but also our brains.
I am very grateful for the Internet. If I had to rely on my doctor, who knows how long it would have taken her to diagnose me. By that time, a lot of damage would have been done, and I would likely have been diagnosed as a full-fledged diabetic, told to keep eating carbs, and take medicine. What a sad future that would have been!
The Internet gives us the power to do our own research. I encourage you to do yours. Ideally, find a doctor you can trust and work with them on lowering your carbs safely. I wish you health! Thank you for reading my blog.