Archive for January, 2009

Stellar day

January 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Eu Cha Kway, two strips (a Chinese snack – basically flour fried in oil. Not very healthy!)
1 slice of cheese
3 pineapple tarts

Brocolli, carrots and mushrooms – stir fry with garlic and water, no oil
1/4 Roast chicken, which I bought from Cold Storage

Snack: 4 slices of green apple

French beans and mushrooms, stir fry with garlic and water, no oil
1/4 roast chicken – from Cold Storage

Around 1pm, I headed to the gym, particularly anxious to work off the flour and pineapple tarts. Spent about 20 min on the cross trainer, and 10 more minutes on threadmill (5.5mph, 2.0 incline) and ended with a little stretching.

Felt the itch to exercise again around 6pm. Put on an aerobics video – 15 min kickboxing, 10min light aerobics, 10 min yoga.

I feel really great today! Yahoo! Energy levels were steady all day, no lethargy or headaches.

Categories: Thoughts & such

The Insulin Resistance Diet

January 24, 2009 6 comments

insulin resistance dietThis book changed my life.

I’ve always found it notoriously difficult to lose weight. I blamed in on my lack of will power for not eating clean enough and not exercising enough to shed the pounds off. (Enough, meaning, working out 7 hours a week, high intensity all the way.) I didn’t realise that I was fighting a sugar addiction, and that body chemistry is difficult to beat with will power alone, and that exercise is tough when you feel like crap. I was really hard on my body – I just wasn’t listening to it.

Before eating the IR Diet way, I felt ill most of the time. I rolled out of bed each morning tired to the bones, despite having had eight hours of sleep (or more). I had headaches, and by noon, was so tired I could barely get through the day. I also had a host of stomach problems: I had the runs at least 3 times a week, and was always bloated.

This wasn’t the way to live, so I decided to research to find out what’s wrong with me. And one day, I found out about something called “insulin resistance“. It was a eureka moment – I realised that I had almost all the classic symptoms of IR (from the Wikipedia article – my symptoms are in bold):

1. Fatigue.

2. Brain fogginess and inability to focus. Sometimes the fatigue is physical, but often it is mental.

3. High blood sugar.

4. Intestinal bloating. Most intestinal gas is produced from carbohydrates in the diet. Insulin resistance sufferers who eat carbohydrates sometimes suffer from gas.

5. Sleepiness. Many people with insulin resistance get sleepy immediately after eating a meal containing more than 20% or 30% carbohydrates.

6. Weight gain, fat storage, difficulty losing weight. For most people, too much weight is too much fat. The fat in IR is generally stored in and around abdominal organs in both males and females. It is currently suspected that hormonal effects from such fat are a precipitating cause of insulin resistance.

7. Increased blood triglyceride levels.

8. Increased blood pressure. Many people with hypertension are either diabetic or pre-diabetic and have elevated insulin levels due to insulin resistance. One of insulin’s effects is on arterial walls throughout the body. <– my doctors always said that although my BP was within normal range, it was ‘high for my age’

9. Depression. Because of the deranged metabolism resulting from insulin resistance, psychological effects are not uncommon. Depression is said to be the prevalent psychological symptom.

Eventually, I found The Insulin Resistance Diet, and the authors explained why people with IR has such difficulty losing weight:

People with this condition overreact to carbohydrates with higher-than-normal insulin spikes, so fat stores occurs faster for them.

I wanted to cry. You mean it’s not my fault?

The authors explain that IR sufferers have wonky body chemistry and explain why it’s so difficult for them to lose weight. The great thing is that the authors offer a solution. They call it “linking”, where you basically pair a certain amount of carbs with protein so that it doesn’t spike your insulin too much.

I began the IR diet during a holiday. It wasn’t the most ideal way, especially in the town of Ipoh where wonderful food is everywhere, but the diet was so doable and simple that I could do it anyway.

I listened to my body a lot during this period. I noted my reaction to certain foods and discovered that I have an adverse reaction to flour, sugar and rice – any high GI food, for that matter. Each time I consumed a high GI food, I’d feel like crap. IR symptoms would assail me – brain fog, headaches, and most noticeably with flour, I’d bloat and get, um, gassy. (I really believe I’m sensitive/allergic to flour now.)

Although the authors of The Insulin Resistance Diet say you can eat almost any kind of carbs as long as you link it with protein, I realised that I needed to be stricter with myself. I decided to only eat low glycemic index carbs instead and absolutely no flour.

Giving up sugar and flour was not as difficult as I thought, because I felt so good after giving up those things that going back to them was like knowingly eating poison. Plus, my body reacted so strongly to sugar or flour – headaches galore! – that I am reluctant to even indulge!

I am more conscious of what I eat now, and if I do eat some sugary stuff, I’d work out or exert myself soon after that to lessen the symptoms. (The sugar needs to be spent instead of being turned into fat.)

It’s been almost 1.5 months since I started eating the IR Diet way and I’ve already lost 3kg. I am astounded because I have never lost weight so fast before – not even when I was working out 5 times a week, an hour each session! It takes me weeks of that to even lose 1kg! I have not been exercising much either, so imagine if I actually did that?

Losing weight is a really good side benefit of the IR Diet. But what it gave me was my life back. I can function again. I’m more alert and happier. And finally, I have hope. All these long years, I wondered why my weight refused to budge from the 88-87kg range. Now I know.

I think I’m on the way to being healthy at last!