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Emotional Eating for Vulcans

Friday, December 14, 2012

OK, I am not one to be very in touch with my feelings. In fact, this has causes a lot of trouble in my life and I have been working hard for the last two years to get a handle on this. I have have also always said that I am not an emotional eater....

Well, one of the things that has happened while getting a better understanding of my feelings and the feelings of those around me is that I am becoming an emotional eater. My first response to this revelation was to scream, "Eeek!" My non-emotional self sits back and amusingly tried to analyze this new issue. But, I am hoping that this is just a new phase of this fabulous journey and that it is just another interesting problem to solve (Welcome back to planet Vulcan, BearClaw). Then that newly awakened set of emotions kicks in and I go back to, "Eeek!'

I feel like I am in just the very early baby steps of this process, but this is what I am thinking. I was obese. I was morbidly obese. Taking the relatively simple step of cutting out breads and potatoes and sugars allowed me to lose 130 lbs without ever having to face a single psychological reason for why I eat too much. Meanwhile, in the last two years my marriage has been getting a serious makeover, both my parents have died and I have changed jobs. It has left me 25 lbs overweight...which is a vast improvement over being 150 lbs overweight! But there is where I am. I am 25 lbs overweight and starting to slip in what I eat. As I start digging deeper into my troubled marriage, my emotionless childhood and my natural introvertedness, I have discovered that there is more to losing those last 25 lbs than just avoiding rice. I have noticed that foods that the nutrition books say should leaving me full and satisfied (meat, veggies, fat) just aren't doing it for me lately. And before you low-carb skeptics out there start screaming that I need my whole grains....experimenting with some higher-carb healthy foods has actually resulted in me being even more hungry and packing on about 10 lbs over my low point. The weight finally stopped going back on when I started being more strict in avoiding carbs. But, I still eat way more that I should, even if it is 'healthy' meats, veggies and nuts. The cool thing about low-carb eating is that I really can overeat and not gain weight as long as those foods are devoid of carbohydrates. But....that means I am stuck overeating and not losing those added lbs.

Here is where the emotional eating comes in. I have noticed that my ability to pack down the meats and nuts happens on days when my wife and I are really doing some serious processing. It also sometimes occurs on days when I am dealing with my parents' messy estate. And, those things are starting to be every day....if I want to save my marriage (which I do) and if I want to do right by my parents (which I also do). Anyway, I don't have an answer to this, but clearly it is time to start digging into the emotional eating literature (the Vulcan part of me thinks) and really get in touch with what is driving all those nuts down my throat when I shouldn't be hungry, but am.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLACK-SWAN 1/17/2013 10:48AM

    lots of wisdom here. Check out Peter's and Sidereal's recent blogposts, where there is a spirited discussion on how to take care of "the last 20" and how to keep it off. I am afraid the answers are scant, but there still is a considerable amount of discussion and interest.

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NAYPOOIE 12/15/2012 12:34AM

    Woubbie speaks wisdom.

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WOUBBIE 12/14/2012 1:12PM

    Once you get rid of the elephant in the room you start to notice the fox and the viper and the cheetah and the... eh, you get the picture. Emotional eating, fatigue, stress, hormonal and health issues, they all take separate dealing with it seems.

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LIVINMYDREAMS 12/14/2012 12:09PM

    Is it really hunger in your stomach, like does your stomach hurt or growl? Maybe you could break your meals up into smaller ones more often?

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NEPTUNE1939 12/14/2012 10:30AM

    Bodies handle food differently. In my tracking regimen I learned that one of my downfalls lied in many processed foods whether canned, frozen or packaged. So I eliminated the bad ones totally!

My daily fare for breakfast is 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/8 tsp. cinnamon, 1-scoop casein powder, 2-slices double fiber bread, 1-Tbls. olive spread, and 1-1/2 cups of low-fat milk.

This combo holds me for about 4-hours. Making a smoothie with whey protein sipped throughout the day helps with my emotional eating the rest of the day. Hope this helps. May God bless your progress, Earl

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No longer a low-carb eater!

Friday, May 25, 2012

That's right. I am no longer a low-carb eater.

I am a healthy eater.

It just happens that the way to eat healthy (especially for me) doesn't involve eating loads of grains dipped in potatoes slathered in beans and coated with sugar. No, it is not healthy (for me) to eat rice on the side of my veggies and meat. No, it is not healthy (for me) to eat a massive pile of pasta with bread sticks on the side. No, it is not healthy (for me) to put that really nice food between two slices of whole wheat bread. Natural sugar like honey or maple syrup isn't better for me than highly-processed factory-farmed beet sugar. I won't fool myself into thinking that the sugar in milk is somehow magically better than rock candy. It is the protein and vitamins in milk, beans, fruit and starchy vegetables that are good for me. It is the carbohydrates in those foods that must force me to ask a question....Is it worth it? I sometimes answer that question with, 'Yes!' especially when it is something that tastes really good, but I am fully aware that they are doing the same things to me as cake, ice cream or toast. This morning, I had sausage and eggs for breakfast. I plan on having a big dressing-drenched chicken salad for lunch. Dinner will be meat and vegetables. Why? Because they are tasty, I like them and they are health foods!

So, I will work hard to stop calling myself a 'low-carb eater' from now on because I am not just that. I eat healthy foods in satisfying quantities. I am rarely hungry and strive to always be happy with my food choices.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HCARLILE73C 11/9/2012 3:27PM

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this forward thinking and it sounds just like me.

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FITMOMOF02 7/27/2012 1:29PM

    I am also "low-carb" eater as well and love it!

I have a question though, is eating low-carb the same as eating gluten free? Thanks! emoticon

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GOPINTOS 7/21/2012 9:53AM

    Loved this!

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--KREN 6/10/2012 8:40AM

    I love your approach. I call it my Simple Plan and wrote a blog about it. I started by substituting non-starchy veggies for all the starches in my diet. My body has been informing me (and I finally heard it!) that sugar and starch are NOT GOOD for it.

I slip now and then but that leaves me with a "food hangover" the next morning and so many aches I can barely get out of bed. My body is so much happier without sugar and starch that I can't ignore that fact. Amazingly, there's a lot of science coming to forefront that agrees and explains this. I read about this nutrition a lot because it keeps me motivated. I'm always thrilled to find someone else who has "discovered" what it means to be a healthy eater!


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CORONA_LILY 6/5/2012 11:27AM

    It's good to know oneself.

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JUSTBIRDY 5/26/2012 10:30AM

    great plan!!!!!!

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BEACHCOMBER45 5/25/2012 6:58PM

    I love this blog! :)

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JAMGIRL8 5/25/2012 12:58PM

    I really like this! Great blog!! Now I gotta go get my grilled chicken salad fully dressed as well!

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MEADSBAY 5/25/2012 12:09PM

    'Liked' and LOVED this.
I do hate how people need to pigeon-hole other people, too.
We are all on our own journey.

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LADYROSE 5/25/2012 10:55AM

    Awesome! I hate how folks have to pigeon hole/label everything - I mean, paleo/low carb is getting as bad as the veg world - are you lacto paleo? low carb paleo? primal? modified?

no... just eating to achieve optimal health for me, thanks. :)

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BEARCLAW6 5/25/2012 10:09AM

    Thanks for the comments.

Yes, ROI is a good way of thinking of it. An occasional no-sugar added ice cream or slice of birthday cake or slice of pizza is worth it to me (still rare), but rice or sandwich bread or even beer just isn't for me. I don't actually like rice or plain bread or beer. I really like sweets. So, if I encounter something very carby, I do ask myself if I would really want to eat this instead of waiting and having some ice cream another time. Usually the answer is, "No"!

When I was younger, I would sometimes use the financial unit of measure called a CD. That was about $15 or the price of one compact disk filled with music. I would ask myself how many CDs I could NOT buy if I spent this money on something else now. I feel like I am kind of doing the same thing with food. How much watermelon or cake do I have to NOT have later if I eat this slice of bread right now?

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WOUBBIE 5/25/2012 9:39AM

    Healthy eater (mostly) here too. With one notable exception.

Being immersed in the finance world at work I tend to see things in terms of ROI (return-on-investment). For the first 10 months of my new healthier lifestyle my beers' ROI was very slightly positive. Not so much anymore, which is why I'm working to cut back some more. One beer has a positive ROI, 2 is neutral, but any more than that results in a negative, and must be cut out or my "bottom line" suffers.


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VHALKYRIE 5/25/2012 9:00AM

    Count me as a healthy-eater, too! I now treat grains and starches like rice, potatoes and bread as an occasional treat, just like ice cream and cake. Including them with every meal was the secret to keeping me fat. Excluding them is the key to keeping me slim - even while on vacation! Protein and veg are winners. I don't count calories, and I'm never hungry. Eating healthy is easy!


Comment edited on: 5/25/2012 9:02:52 AM

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WELLNESSME09 5/25/2012 8:59AM

I have never been on a low- carb diet and never wished to be.
Portions and moderation is key!

Wishing you continuous success towards your journey to good health and fit you!

Thanks for sharing! emoticon

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The unexpected bike ride

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

This is exactly, exactly what I was looking forward to when I started improving my health last fall. It was getting close to lunch time and I had about two hours to kill while something in the laboratory incubated, so I just decided to ignore the hot temperatures outside and go for a little bike ride. I rode east about six miles from my work until I found the sea shore in South Boston. I had no idea this little gem was even there (Castle Island). I found a quick (low carb) lunch and rode back to work. Thirteen miles and I am not tired.

I did not incorporate exercise as an important part of my weight loss routine. But, once I had lost some weight, I did incorporate exercise as something fun to do. As you become healthier, I hope you can find more fun things to do that maybe you couldn't have done just months before.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Exercise should be fun - first and foremost. I totally agree.

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JUSTBIRDY 7/19/2011 3:12PM

    sounds like fun

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GLC2009 7/19/2011 2:17PM

    how wonderful emoticon bike on little bearclaw emoticon emoticon

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A lifetime of lies

Monday, June 20, 2011

When I was born, the general wisdom of the day by the 'experts' was that formula was superior to breast milk. My caring parents wanted to do what was best for little BearClaw and so they fed me formula. Who wouldn't want the best for their child?

As I grew, the wisdom of the day by the 'experts' became perfectly clear that all that cholesterol in butter and eggs was bad. It was killing America! So, my caring parents banished butter from the house in exchange for trans-fat filled margarine. They also turned eggs into an occasional thing rather than a regular food. Eggs actually would sometimes go bad in or fridge because they weren't used fast enough.

And low-fat was obvious. "It isn't the carbs in that boy's diet that is making your son fat," said the doctor (or something to that effect) is the fat. Duh! So flavorless low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream. Low-fat milk. Frozen milk instead of ice cream. Pizza was a good food if you topped it with low-fat mozzarella.

As I grew, the wisdom of the day by the 'experts' made it clear that table salt was killing us! So, I basically grew up without a salt shaker in the house. Really. The rare guest would have to take a pinch from the bottle in the baking cabinet.

All the while, there would be a Hostess treat in my lunch every day and dinner was always a meat, a vegetable and a big pile of either potatoes, noodles or rice. Deserts were every day and certainly not high in fat (but sugar bombs the likes of which would make you cringe).

Lean cuts of meat and vegetables served with a pile of starch was good for you, right?

Could it be....just possibly true....that maybe....just maybe....the experts who set up the food pyramid and the new 'food plate' and who also seem to work for a government that subsidizes grains for billions of dollars per year....just wrong......again?

I have found a way to eat that let over 100 pounds melt away almost effortlessly. I have found a way to live that allows me to exercise but my general health isn't dependent on exercising obsessively. I have learned a way to live that is sustainable for the rest of my healthy life. does include butter, fatty meats, vegetables, eggs, salt and sour cream while it does not include grains, potatoes, Hostess treats or trans-fats.

I am still fat, but give me some time to undo a lifetime of damage. It has only been eight months after all. And, I am not going to listen to what the 'experts' say when they tell me how to do it. They have been wrong too many times in the past.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

--KREN 6/10/2012 8:45AM

    A beautiful exposition of "how we got this way". Thank you.

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PAPAMIKIE 5/13/2012 1:57AM

    I lost a pile of weight with the calories in and Calories out phylosophy, so the idea that Carb are bad does not hold true for me. But than, Gramie and I were looking over my portion managementing and my diet. When I cut back a little I cut almost all processed Carb, funny it was not a deliverate plan, just my clever unconscious. I always found that there was no great effort. I am not making some deliberate changes in incorperate some of these things that health experts have been saying are so bad, but that science seems to be saying are good.

Good blog

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HOUNDLOVER1 3/9/2012 2:40PM

    Great blog! As far as the whole milk, I think I found the cure. Get heavy cream (from raw milk if you can) and make ice cream from that. It requires almost no sugar if you add some nuts and is delicious. Also use heavy cream in coffee and whip it to put on top. After that the transition to whole milk is much easier because you are used to the taste of milkfat. emoticon

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HCARLILE73C 8/6/2011 6:40PM

    I love sugar,but it hates me and make be feel worse. Love low carb but i can't lose on it either...AAAHHHGGG!!!
Congrats to you bearclaw keep up the good work. love all or your post. I'm a nurse and under stand the science vs medical stuff. Like the told us years ago "no need to take vitamins just eat right" but they never were able to tell anyone i spoken what that was that asked. And now every thing is fortified. and they still can't tell you what "eat right is" LOL!

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LAMBINGTONS 8/4/2011 10:47AM

    Your page is really inspiring me!

I have been kind of unsure about the carb suggestions on this site especially. My inclination was to cut out bread based carbs/sugars almost completely with the exception of before and after intense workouts. But every day I would be so far below the carb suggestion on the tracker here (and there was no way I could get my fats under their suggested limit either... and I'm just talking about the good fats here). So I've been considering and reluctantly adding some whole wheat based things here and there, but I don't really think that's right for me.

Thanks for giving me a little boost to keep doing what I know is right.

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MEADSBAY 7/19/2011 12:53PM

    My mom tried very hard to feed us (all 14 of us) as nutritionally soundly and cheaply as she could but I suffered through all those same food fads as you- PLUS powdered milk!!!
Pretty sure were all breast fed, though.
I love your blogs and have subscribed.
I'm 10 days into Atkins induction and have lost a measly 2 pounds but I'm fine with that. I'm in it for the long haul.
I did this years ago and don't believe I ever got into ketosis. Any hints for me? Does it change day to day? I have kept it between 20-30 carbs every day but one.
Sure wish my DH would join me- hoping my amazing weight loss will motivate him. He was always thin until the last 10 yrs or so (he's 61) and started gaining- probably about 30 pounds overweight.
Listen to me go on about him!
I just read Taubes "Why we get fat and what to do about it"-which I understand is a more readable BCGC and I am a true believer. Calories in- calories out has not worked for me and I have always been a gym rat- often in the gym 2 hrs a day 5-6 days a week.
You are an inspiration, my friend.


Comment edited on: 7/19/2011 12:55:26 PM

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TWIXXX 7/17/2011 2:45PM

    ICK!!! I can remember the 'ice milk' mom used to buy for us instead of ice cream. And the skim milk. My brother and I refered to it as goats pee! She was also a big fan of corn syrup over sugar. So a lot of things had or were coated in straight karo, like pancakes and cereal. Also fried taters were a staple in our home.

Congrats on the loss! And the changes in diet. emoticon

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GRACEFULIFE 6/29/2011 6:38PM

    Speaking of experts, do you consider Gary Taubes an expert?

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GLC2009 6/21/2011 7:53PM

    doing what's best for "little bearclaw". that's so cute emoticon
i watched gary taubes on dr oz today. it was a bit frustrating hearing oz's opinions which sounded like he hadn't read up on the subject. "i can't imagine never eating a piece of fruit again". yes dr oz said that.

and showing the low carb diet as no veggies, pork rinds and giant steaks slathered with butter. yikes! emoticon

i am not a big red meat eater and i love my veggies. i still think low carb works for me--or rather low carb SHOULD work for me. cuz if i was following it faithfully i wouldn't be fat now, would i?

it has worked in the past though, so, i do know that it works. and i know it is good for alot of people, cuz, i have seen the difference in me and other people i know who have changed to this way of eating.

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SHARJOPAUL 6/21/2011 9:54AM

    The thought that one single thing is the solution to a complex problem seems to persist, especially in health and nutrition. We need to keep things simple when it comes to food and health. Eat simple/whole foods and move.

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JUSTBIRDY 6/20/2011 6:24PM

    My mom always did the latest thing, but fortunately, I am older, and while I managed to get my share of sugary snacks, we still ate healthy meat fats. We ate margarine because it was cheap, not because it was healthy.
My mother never bought into the high carb mantra, even though I told her they were OK. Even though she eventually switched to lower fat, she always kept her carbs controlled. She'll be 89 soon, and still enjoys her weekly swim, as well as her yoga and tai chi classes.

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BEARCLAW6 6/20/2011 5:54PM

    Thanks for the comments. The really weird part about it is that I am a scientist, and at times have been the 'expert' on various aspects of my work. But, I find that there is a big difference between the scientists in the trenches discovering the nature of the universe and the 'experts' that seem to let the facts fit their preconceived notions. I really feel that time will solve this problem, but a lot of big egos are going to have to fall before the 'experts' start admitting that some of us are poisoned by carbs.

On whole milk: PZF144, you may find that whole milk is disgusting. many of us raised on the lower-fat stuff just can't handle it.

And SammyJoe920....yes. about a year and a half ago, my then 9 year old asked me what a Twinkie was! Fat dad, not fat kids. It is especially hard as a parent to try to know how to feed your kids. I am willing to experiment on myself, but what about the kids? I have started lowering the kids' carbs a little. Basically, I feel like my metabolism is damaged by a lifetime of sugar and carbs. My guess is that my kids' carbs do not need to be lowered as much as mine to be healthy for life. The kids will probably be fine on eating some of those 'whole grains' that are still a no no for me. So, the kids will be eating less grain than a typical American, but way more than I could ever handle.

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PZF144 6/20/2011 4:02PM

    Do you want to hear something funny? I have NEVER tasted whole milk. I am 49 years old, and I have had maybe one SIP of 2% milk, but I have zero idea of what whole milk tastes like. I'm gonna go out and buy me some on my next trip!

We had tubs of the fake margarine stuff and pitchers of Kool-Aid and O.J. And boxes of Rice Krispies, Chex, and all the other cereals you can think of.

I think I ate protein maybe once a day, with my "balanced dinner", like yours.

I know my parents were trying to do the best for me (formula-fed!), but sheesh...we were all fed a bunch of lies!

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SAMMIEJO920 6/20/2011 1:54PM

    Well said! I like your way of thinking! I have 2 little boys and my goal is to teach them healthy habits - like purchasing and eating real food, eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full. I have a long way to go in my journey, but I hope they never struggle with it like I have! Proud mommy moment: my son was looking in the kitchen drawer, pulled out the ice-cream scoop and said "What is THIS for?".

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VHALKYRIE 6/20/2011 1:24PM

    I am SO with you! My parents, too, replaced butter with margarine when I was growing up. I was a still growing little kid. That trans-fat junk is embedded in my DNA somewhere. Thank goodness for real scientists like Dr. Mary Enig who fought against her peer establishment who were pushing hydrogenated oils.

So no, I will not trust the latest government dietary advice. And the fact that some of us are being suppressed from sharing our knowledge makes me really suspicious as to what 'experts' are afraid of. The 'experts' advice that I should eat a whole grain with every meal was putting me on the path to clinically diagnosed insulin resistance. I had no choice but to do my own painstaking research, and I have turned the course. Without their help, or 'official' advice.

Comment edited on: 6/20/2011 1:26:41 PM

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AGRLNKY 6/20/2011 1:11PM

    First, congratulations on the huge loss! Second, I agree totally with you. Nothing the experts say has really worked for me. I believe that because we are all different that different things work for each of us.

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Childhood fantasies

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I became fat when I was about six years old. I even remember one of my friends at age eight asking me, "What happened, you used to be so skinny?"

As time went on, I would sometimes fantasize about waking up one morning and magically the fat in me was just flowing out of my body like I has sprung a leak and the only thing coming out was the fat.

This is now many years later and that is exactly what has happened. I discovered that I was fat because I ate too many carbohydrates, that all that carbohydrate was causing my insulin levels to be constantly higher than anything my biology could possibly deal with, that all that insulin was forcing the fat cells to hoard the fat, that all that hoarded fat meant that the rest of my cells were starving, that starving cells made me hungry, that being hungry made me eat more, and that eating more made this cycle continue.

Cutting the unneeded carbs has allowed my fat cells to finally give up the fat that they have been storing all these years. The fat is flowing out of them just like I had fantasized as a child. It may be taking a year instead of a night, but the effect is the same. Hallelujah and pass the steak.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRACEFULIFE 6/29/2011 6:36PM

    Technically you are breathing the fat out rather than peeing it out. And it's actually likely caused by the caloric restriction rather than the carb restriction. However doing the latter may be making the former easier, and there are certainly some insulin resistance issues that can make a lower carb diet advantageous for some people for some period of time. But you may find you needn't eat that way as strictly once you normalize weight and gain fitness.

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INSHAPE2011 5/20/2011 10:36AM

    I went to a nutritionist a couple of years back and, after he examined my food diary which I had religiously kept for 2 weeks in advance of the meeting, he told me that I was addicted to carbs and I should basically just stop eating them. You see another thing that carbs release in your body is serotonin which is the "happy-booster" and so I was using carbs to "self medicate" for not being able to deal with my emotions or not having any proper outlets for them. With less carbs I found, much like you, that controlling what I was eating was much easier. I do not follow a no carbs diet now but I do watch my carb intake very-very carefully and have virtually stopped eating bread, pasta and simple carbs.

Comment edited on: 5/20/2011 10:37:18 AM

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LIVERIGHTNOW 5/19/2011 12:45PM

    What a visual!!!!!!!! Gross as the picture in my mind is, it sounds fantastic!!!! : )

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JUSTBIRDY 5/19/2011 11:34AM

    emoticon Well, you know, it's just water weight. All that water you used holding on to all that insulin and sugar. So, how is your blood pressure now? Did you spring a leak there too?

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ZCTMMOM1 5/19/2011 8:56AM

    Awesome! Isn't it great when dreams come true...even supposedly silly childhood dreams?!?!?! LOL.

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