7.23.2009

Sugar + Carbs = Fat

I'm getting ready to type something that no woman would really type in her right mind. Perhaps it's because I'm up at 9:02 and have already washed a sink load of dishes, cooked an entire package of sausage, emptied and reloaded the dishwasher, and am anxiously awaiting the delivery of my new rug, but I'm going to say it.

Currently, my weight is 185 pounds. Am I am 5'5".

Pick your disgusted shock up off the floor and continue reading, for I have learned in the past week why my weight has shot up 50 pounds in 10 years.

Let me back up a tad.  Last November, I showed up at my new gynecologist's office in tears wondering what was wrong with me, why was I fat, why was I anxious and having panic attacks, why did I still have acne, etc, etc. She handed me a tissue and said she thought I had polycystic ovary syndrome and it was like someone turned a light on. After googling it to death all the while nodding yes, yes, yes to the symptoms on the computer screen, blood tests have proven her suspicions and I've been treated. PCOS isn't curable, but it's manageable. So...we're managing. However, after my last blood test, she decided to refer me to an endocrinologist - the SAME kind of doctor I had been ASKING for a referral to from my general doctor for the last year only to be poo-pooed away from that idea.

The referral came when my doctor saw that my cortisol levels continued to be high. Again, more googling and nodding yes, yes, yes at the symptoms list.  I finally met my endocrinologist (who is also my dad's endocrinologist) last week, and he says he thinks I am "insulin resistant." Ordered more blood tests and then will treat me accordingly.

I ran out the very next day and bought this book after he advised me that the best diet for someone like me is to eat proteins and fats but no carbs or sugar. Verbatim he said, "If it's sweet, you probably shouldn't eat it." GRRRRRRRRRREAT. I had been eating the OPPOSITE way for years! That was probably fine up until my body went haywire and started producing too much insulin and had high levels of cortisol, etc, etc. Carbs and sweets were my staple. * Not to blame my fatness on my insulin resistance, I'm sure dessert most nights didn't help either, but it also wasn't a new thing.

Mega-light bulb moment came when I read the following in my new book:
People have different baseline levels of insulin because of individual genetic makeup.  That is, some people just have normally higher levels of insulin than others. People with this condition overreact to carbohydrates with higher-than-normal insulin spikes, so fat storing occurs faster for them. The medical name for this overly high insulin state is called hyperinsulinemia. The more common name for this condition is insulin resistance.

The more overweight you are, the more resistant to insulin you tend to become.  This happens because extra adipose tissue (fat) causes a hormone reaction (a rise in body cortisol) that closes the cells' doors to incoming glucose.  The "shunned" glucose has no alternative but to go on to become fat. The good news is that as you lose body fat, the insulin resistance improves, too.

After reading that I was happy and pissed off all at the same time. Happy because now I understood why I was packing on the pounds so easily and quickly. Pissed off because along with my mom, I thought I might have an issue that needed to be tended to by an endocrinologist for a while and no one would listen or react. Also happy because this condition explained so much more - my "sugar drops" on a daily basis, why I'd feel starved one hour after eating a bowl of cereal or a piece of cake, and again my weight gain.

For the last week, I've been eating proteins, dairy and fats (not high fats) as much as I could. I even ordered a hamburger at lunch on Sunday and shoved the bun to the side to allow it to think about what it had been doing to me for years. It pouted. I haven't seen any weight loss, but it's only been a week. My great new book has a few recipes, too. I made the chocolate mousse and it was pretty good.

I am praying that this is finally the answer my body has been "weighting" for and that things may start to improve (and disappear) soon. I'm sure my cortisol, insulin resistance talk has confused some of you, but let me just say that if you google them both and read the symptoms, the majority of them have happened to me. OH! And people who have PCOS are also prone to become insulin resistant. So it's really all been connected - and I sensed that - but I'm so relieved and grateful to finally have 2 doctors who cared enough to figure me out.