This is my personal low carb diet diary. I call myself the “recovering fataholic” because I was trapped in a vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting but now I am ultimately motivated to do this because if I don’t I will die.
(I will get to the low carb bit soon but first I must set the scene:) Let me cast you back to a wet miserable evening during October 2012… I have just turned 49 and recently went to a 30 year reunion to meet some of my friends from my military days when I was an apprentice engineer in the RAF. I drank like a fish during that weekend and I am definitely more overweight than I would like to be at around 126kg. I have tried dieting and exercising and everything in between. Shortly after this, one autumn evening I was working late, sat at my desk finishing some documents in my capacity as a small business owner. Long hours, stress and worries with the ever tightening economy were always at the forefront of my mind when suddenly I felt a sharp tightening in my chest in the area over my heart. I placed my hand there trying to feel its beat which grew rapid with each passing moment.
I thought, “I’m having a heart attack! I can’t I didn’t say goodbye to my wife and kids”
My breathing grew shallow and I think you will agree that I became momentarily insane because my concerns became the saving of the documents so the changes could be found, then I needed to urinate and didn’t want to die, only to empty my bladder in my trousers, so I hobbled to the toilet and slowly patiently did what I had to do. I hobbled back to my desk, shut my laptop and put it in the briefcase. My biggest insanity came next as I grabbed the car keys and briefcase and hobbled to the car. All of what just happened took around an hour and as I fell into my car I momentarily became at one with God, thanking him for my inner strength. Well, that and the fact that my car had handsfree and was an automatic. I drove home.
Ten minutes later I arrived at the house and weakly knocked on the door. My daughter answered and I calmly asked her to get Mummy. She did as I asked quickly noting the odd look on my face. As I hobbled in, still clutching the cramping pains in my chest, my breathing still ridiculously shallow, I asked Mummy to help me to bed, to get my briefcase from the car and not to worry but I was hurting and I needed my bed rather a lot.
Once upon my bed I collapsed and lay resting from the immense exertion and the stupidity of what I had just done. When I awoke I was being taken to the local Accident & Emergency department where I was to spend the next two and a half days being pricked by every trainee doctor on their payroll. Most of them seemed more interested in my blood and skin condition than in the fact I was having a heart attack. At last the consultant came to me with my results.
I had a pulmonary embolus (embolism) and had survived, which he complimented me on because, as he bluntly put it, I had a 25% chance of surviving that kind of medical event.
My Liver Disease Takes Centre Stage
And so they all turned their attentions on my skin and blood. After a while I needed to know why they kept coming back for more and was given over to a Liver Consultant who was about as blunt as it gets, and in front of my wife who was sitting patiently at my bedside, told me that I had cirrhosis of the liver. Also that I had been like this for around 5 years from what they could tell and that at any time during this previous 5 years I could have had liver failure and dropped down dead.
Now I can assure you, dear reader, that’s going to put a bit of a crimp in your day when a professor tells you something like that because ultimately they know what they are talking about. And you have nowhere to hide your own self-inflicted embarrassment.
Role of the liver -The liver has many functions. These include:
- storing glycogen, which is broken down to glucose (sugar) and released into the bloodstream when the body needs energy
- helping to process fats and proteins
- making proteins that enable the blood to clot
- helping to remove or process alcohol, drugs and toxins
- making bile, which is a fluid that passes to the gut through the bile duct to break down fats from digested food
So then she proceeded to tell me to lay off the booze forever. I heard that and inwardly cried whilst outwardly I agreed with gusto. Then I was told to stop eating all high fat processed foods including cheese, pizza, doughnuts etc. Again, my soul blubbed just enough to make me feel better about my impending loss then I bravely faced up to myself. I told her I would.
That was back during October 2012. A few weeks ago I was visiting the “liver witch” as I call her (it’s a term of endearment – really it is – she’s a lovely professor type and lady really) who had a look at my annual blood results et al and decided that I was not improved. So she banned me from carbs.
From then on I could not consume potatoes, pasta, porridge oats, rice, cakes, bread, flour or any refined carbohydrate or complex carbohydrate that could affect my results. This was in addition to the continuing ban on high fat processed foods and alcohol. She said I had to follow what was more or less a low carb diet regime to fix my liver. She said that I should read a book called The Atkins Diary and follow it’s principles but not too closely and keep my egg consumption down to only 2 a day. Beyond that I had to eat fish for at least half the week and whatever vegetables I wanted. And that a positive side-effect of this new regime would be a gradual weight loss because this regime forces my body to extract energy from the fat stored on it. And I gotta say the low-carb, low fat way is working for me because I like fish and meat and veg. Trouble is I also like chips and pizza and all the other bad stuff. You know the stuff that isn’t low carb or low fat or healthy!
This is my diary. This is my catharsis. I hope you gain something from it and if you want any support from me personally just email me. I am ultimately motivated to do this because if I don’t I will die.
What’s your excuse?
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