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Health and Fitness [1401.01]

Low Carb Diet, Part 1: Prelude

Yes, I have lost some weight recently; thanks for noticing! I've been following a LCHF (low carbohydrate, high fat) diet since late July 2012. The questions I've been getting are a primary impetus for starting this blog. Rather than sending emails to each new inquirer, it'll be easier to just point them here.

First some history. I have always been athletic, starting as a kid and continuing to the present. I like to be competitive, and actually enjoy working out and trying to stay in shape. Unfortunately, something happened to my body when I hit my late twenties.

The most dramatic thing was I suddenly became allergic to shellfish. Since I love shrimp and crab, it took quite some time to convince myself that I was not coincidentally being served bad shellfish week after week, not just around Southern California, but in different parts of the country. Eventually, I had to accept it wasn't the restaurants, it was me!

But a more insidious change was also occurring. I started putting on weight, even though I continued to train hard and watch what I ate. For the next three decades I struggled to overcome, or at least understand, what was happening to my metabolism. Lab tests showed my endocrine system to be fine. But nothing I tried was working.

Then, in May 2012, my husband Dave told me about a couple of new podcasts by Steve Gibson, an uber programmer and engineer whom we first encountered in the early 80's. We both listen to Steve's Security Now program (Dave more regularly than me). However, instead of being about computer security, the two new podcasts focused on low carb living. Dave knew that I, like Steve, am very interested in both computer hacking and life hacking. On the right, I've included Steve's graphic on western evolution (note: he is way more into the paleo diet than I am).

I was very intrigued by what Steve experienced: not just fat loss, but increased endurance, easier respiration, and lack of hunger. After studying his podcasts (I read the transcripts, rather than listening to the audio), I bought every book on his recommended reading list and read them cover to cover.

The book that really resonated with me was The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living by Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek, possibly because I was pre-med as an undergraduate, and their book aims to convince physicians to give carbohydrate restriction a closer look.

LCHF is a pretty big subject, so I'll end part 1 of my low carb diet series here. I recommend you take a look at the links mentioned above (skipping "Security Now", unless you're extra geeky). Be sure to read my disclaimer! And stay tuned for future posts.

Here's a spoiler: I now realize that my body was changing to have two responses to eating carbohydrates: driving glucose into fat storage, and inhibiting fat stores from providing fuel for energy. In other words, I was becoming insulin resistant.

The Seeking42 low carb diet series (note: this list will be updated as articles are added):

If you wish to comment on this post, see the companion blogspot entry .

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