Sugar is EVIL

Weight: Minus 28 lbs and holding (for about 10 days now)

What have I learned in the last few days? I read in a Tim Ferris blog post comment that Splenda hinders weight loss…so I switched from Diet Rite Cherry Cola to Sobe LifeWater. Despite my tendency to be VERY picky about flavors, I’ve tried about 7 of them, and they were all fine. I have settled (for now) on Fuji Apple Pear. It’s incredibly smooth and just slightly sweet (a friend told me there is a slight aftertaste, but I don’t really notice it…and since I like the flavor anyway, that isn’t an issue for me). I drink it over ice in a 44 oz glazz with ice cubes over the top…and I let much of the ice melt before drinking it…so I’m drinking probably 60% water anyway…but the LifeWater REALLY makes it easier for me to drink large quantities of liquid. This is important for several reasons:

– I tend to be dehydrated unless I’m drinking Mt Dew or Pepsi (which I haven’t had in 6 weeks)
– I’ve been losing weight rapidly and my system needs flushed
– Weighing nearly 400 lbs, I have a lot of waste to flush anyway, even if I wasn’t losing weight

So I’m pounding down 6 or 7 of the LifeWaters a day…easy peasy. And when you factor in all the ice/water…I’m probably downing 250 fluid ozs (roughly 1.2 gallons of liquid) each day. I’m pretty happy with that!

Most of my meals are meat (beef, chicken or him…fish once so far) and I’ll have some cheese, maybe a hardboiled egg, celery sticks (which I love) with a dip of sour cream, bacon bits, black olives and green onions diced in. When I remember, I’ll mix some ranch dressing in there as well. Very tasty. For breakfast this morning, I had some steak with my eggs. I’ll occasionally eat a spinach salad. Regular salad dressing is very low in carbs…so you don’t have to be stingy with it.

What I have NOT had is ANY breads or candy for over a month. That is COMPLETELY unheard of in my life. My normal breakfast was a Sausage Egg McMuffin or a Steak Egg & Cheese Bagel from Mickey D’s, and frequently a Sausage Gravy biscuit as well. Add to that a large orange juice and you can quickly see that breakfast alone was over a thousand calories! I’ve had a couple of muffin-less Sausage Egg & Cheese McMuffins since I change what I was eating. McDonald’s still makes a tasty fast breakfast.

I don’t touch fruit juice anymore. In his book, The 4-Hour Body, Tim Ferriss said that he tested his blood levels after eating all kinds of foods…and orange juice produced a SERIOUS iron spike. Plus, it’s just flavored sugar water anyway!

Sugar is EVIL: Maybe not ALL sugar. And certainly not ALL the time. But…as MANY doctors and nutritionists will tell you, refined sugar is a bad thing…especially in the kind of quantities we eat it here in the U.S. Here are a couple of interesting resources I’ve run across lately:

So I’ve completely stopped eating refined sugars…anywhere I can detect them.

I’ve know about the high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb school of thought for many years. I’ve even tried it before. But HERE’s the thing I didn’t pick up on until this time: In the induction period of the diet, when you stop eating carbs for a couple days…something completely miraculous happens: YOU DON’T CRAVE THEM ANYMORE. I have never had this experience before. It’s actually two-fold: You don’t crave sweets…AND your appetite is surpressed. When you stop eating carbs, your body enters a state of ketosis…which means it has started to burn your body’s stored fat, How do you know when this has happened? Ketosis shows up during urination with test strips. I only tested at a light level of ketosis and haven’t bothered to test since. But, for me, the real test is this: I am really not that interested in food. I eat to give me a feeling of fullness in my stomach…sometimes…when it’s convenient. But for most meals, I am having a single QuestBar. These bars are quite tasty and super-convenient. I carry them in the car sometimes when I’m not sure how long I’ll be gone. And I throw a bunch of ice and some LifeWater in a 32-oz travel mug and take that with me as well. Instant lunch!

I ran out of the QuestBars about 4 days ago and I really missed them. I still wasn’t hungry, but I had grown quite fond of them over the past few weeks. So I ordered another 2 dozen Sunday or Monday (less than $50…and remember, these are only available online), and they finally came in this morning. I’ve had two already: for lunch and dinner.

When I say that my appetite is surpressed, I don’t mean that I mind eating or have to force myself. I’m just not interested in food. When candy or breads are around…I don’t feel the SLIGHTEST BIT interested in them. I won’t lie. I miss eating pizza and bagels. I love them. But I only miss them in my head. I haven’t been even a little bit tempted. I can’t tell you what that kind of freedom feels like! Same goes with Mt Dew…my drink of choice for almost 40 years.

I have had some bread: Smart Carb #1 and Smart Carb #2 from Julian Bakery. It’s really good toasted (that’s the only way I’ve tried it). 1-2 carbs per slice.

I also tried some Dreamfields Pasta. I honestly could not tell the difference…tasted great! 4-5 carbs per serving.

So…fat is good (it makes you feel full). Meat and dairy is good (it helps keep your blood sugar stable…so you have consistent energy). Refined sugars are bad…in the induction stage, you should keep your carb intake under 20 grams per day.

That’s enough for now. More later. Thanks for reading!


#1 – Background and The First 3 Weeks

I began actually EATING low-carb in early January 2011. I had spent a couple weeks catching up with podcasts from Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb podcast. It’s an excellent resource, and highly-recommended…especially because he doesn’t just interview people who agree with him or his eating choices.

A word about me. I’m a 53-yr-old caucasian male who SOMEHOW had allowed himself to balloon to over 420 lbs. I’ve had a lot of drama in my life, and the weight just got past me. So I woke up one day and realized that it was only by the grace of God that I had survived this long…much less survived without diabetes. Standing at about 6 ft, I had started putting on weight after adopting sloppy eating habits (especially Mountain Dew) after my mother’s death in my mid-teens…and I had ballooned to 220 by the time I was 20. I switched jobs and was on my feet a lot…and without really noticed it, dropped back to 190 over about a 3-month period. I was also eating the same thing every day, and at about the same time…I’m fairly sure that helped. I think that was probably the last time I dropped any weight.

Fast-forward 33 years and I topped out at about 422 (a number that would never pass my lips in any public setting…how embarrassing!). I joined a gym last year and went some…but just wasn’t mobile enough to do more than resistance exercises. So I dropped that and bought a treadmill for home. It’s not EASY to find a treadmill that will hold a 420-lb man. It cost me the better part of $1500 to have a used one installed in my home office.

That’s enough background. What lessons have I learned in the last 3 weeks?

1. Meal replacement, high protein, low-carb bars CAN be good. I’m eating QuestBars for most meals as the thing that satisfies my hunger. I have had many so-called meal-replacement bars in the past. The BEST I ever got (KIND Bars) tasted good, but only held me for about 2 hours. I am still not hungry FIVE HOURS after eating a QuestBar. Highly recommended! The Vanilla Almond Crunch is slightly sweet, chewy and quite tasty (though hardly a thing of beauty!). They are about 2 bucks apiece and can only be ordered online.

2. Smart Carb bread from Julian Bakery. Only 1 or 2 “net carbs” per slice. Great with real butter. About 7 bucks per loaf…but you can save a lot on shipping from California by signing up for the newsletter and waiting to order when they tell you. Fairly tasty (both the standard Smart Carb and the Smart Carb Cinnamon and Raisin)…and QUITE good when toasted. That’s the only way I’ve tried it.

3. Sobe Lifewater. Just discovered this yesterday. Kroger was selling them for 75 cents apiece (reg. $1.59) when you bought 10 or more. I bought 5 yesterday and drank them all. So far, my favorite flavor is Fiji Apple Pear. Slightly sweet and very mild. Goes down really easy. I fill a glass with ice cubes and then pour it over. It’s best cold…plus I’m probably drinking more water than I am the Sobe. You need to try this stuff.

4. Mashed potatoes. Make them with cauliflower. It’s a Jimmy Moore recipe (or at least, that’s where I saw it). My wife made it last week. Roughly the same consistency as mashed potatoes when whipped. Goes GREAT with meats of all kinds!

5. Stop buying low-fat. I look for regular sour cream, butter, cottage cheese, cheese, etc. I promise…I’ll get into more “net carbs” stuff later. It seems to vary from person to person…but here’s a link for now:

I have become convinced that my body is almost allergic to refined carbohydrates. Whether naturally or whether it developed because of my Mountain Dew addiction, I don’t know. But my body seemed to become almost “inflamed” when I eat sugar-added foods. So I’ve stopped doing that and was rewarded with quick, painless weight loss.

And HERE’s the FREAKY part. I did it without hunger. My CRAVINGS for candy and breads have completely DISAPPEARED. This happened within about a week of stopping eating them. And I guess there is some controversy between mainstream medicine and holistic practitioners…but I discovered that I seemed to have something called Candida Overgrowth. Among the symptoms: “foggy brain” (I was definitely experiencing this 2 months ago) and “insatiable cravings for carbohydrates”. All I can tell you is my head is clearer than it’s been in a year. I’ve been taking a probiotic supplement twice a day (Probiotic by Finest Natural).

This has already gone on longer than I expected for a first post. I’ll be back soon to share more. Thanks for finding this interesting enough to keep reading!