Wow... where to start? My name is Jessica Brevoort. I currently (as of October 10, 2009) weigh 226 pounds, and I feel pretty good about that. Here's why. Back in January of this year, after having just reached my 40th year, I weighed 251 pounds. I was always sick. I knew something was going very wrong with my digestion. I felt like my entire body was marinating in acid. I was hungry all the time, but that was nothing new. I have spent my life dieting it seems. Starting with Weight Watchers way back when I was in fifth grade. You name a diet and I tried it. Some of them worked and I'd still recommend. Others of course did not.
Then about eight years ago I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia. My blood sugar would spike up and down, making me hungry all the time. And let me tell you, dieting when you're always hungry is a nightmare. But because of the diagnosis, I found low carb. It worked. The weight came off. I was feeling good. Then my husband Tom and I decided to have our second child. All the diet advice at the time said, "Don't do low carb while pregnant." So I didn't. And of course the weight came back on along with my addiction to sugar. I've tried in the years since to get back to low carb many times. I'd go ok for a month or so, but something would come up... travel for work, family get together, birthday. It was always something. I was slowly getting heavier and heavier, then sicker and sicker.
So now we're back to January of this year, and I knew something was wrong. I went to my doctor. We ran all sorts of tests. What came back was, according to my doctor, a marker indicating an imminent heart attack. For which of course he proscribed cholesterol meds. This despite the fact my cholesterol was still in the normal range, though a bit on the high side. I asked for copies of the test results, went home and started taking my medication.
Ok, now this didn't seem right to me. I was in there for a digestive complaint, not a circulatory one. And yes I know heart disease is call a "silent killer" for a reason. It often gives no warnings. But I was getting plenty of warnings, they just weren't heart related. So I looked up that marker on-line. I found out that heart issues wasn't the only thing it was a marker for. It is also a marker for DIABETES. Yes, all those low-carb books warned that the big D would follow on the heels of hypoglycemia if I didn't take care of it. So yeah... I stopped taking my pills and I went back on to low carb. What do you know, all my digestive problems cleared right up. I no longer felt acidic. And of course, the weight started to come off.
I haven't been perfect. I was particularly bad at the beach with the family this summer. I tried to get off the sugar for months. Since that beach trip though it looks like I've finally gotten on top of it. I've been low carb for about two months now. Armed with a superior knowledge of where the pitfalls are, and the support of my amazing husband, I hope to stay there this time.
Am I diabetic? I don't know. I'd guess borderline at least. But I think I've been given all the warnings I'm going to get. So now I need to change low carb from a diet to what it should always have been... a life style.
My husband, Tom, is not a low-carber. Nor are our two sons, 18 and 7. In fact my husband's four food groups are Meat, Potatoes, Things on Buns and the all important Peanut Butter & Chocolate group. (We should own stock in Hershey's) How will I survive this culinary minefield? Well, we'll find out together.
We plan to use this site to share our experience with others. We hope it helps you or someone you know. Please remember, we're not doctors. If health issues are involved, consult your doctor. You are ultimately responsible for your own health and happiness. Take charge today. Before you run out of options.
My Story, an Update
November 7, 2014
Ok, it's five years later. Today I weigh 147. That makes a total weight loss of 79 pounds over 5 years. My all time high was about 251, so I've come down more than 100 pounds total. I've gotten as low as 145 three years ago and I'm close to getting back to it again. More importantly though my health has never been better. I'm no longer in constant pain in all my joints. I'm rarely ill, and when I am I don't suffer nearly as badly as the son or husband who gave it to me. My blood work is great; HDL nice and high, trigs nice and low, arteries nice and clean.
I still haven't been perfect in those 5 years, but I'm not striving for perfection. I got down to 140 three years ago, but then I gained 10 Lbs on a cruise. I wasn't able to loose it. Then I gained another 10 on vacation the next year. Then another 10 last Christmas. Each time was a "special occasion". The rest of the year I was able to maintain my weight and health just fine doing standard low-carb. But I couldn't loose the weight I gained during those "vacations".
That last Christmas though is when I had to face the facts that while I didn't indulge in carbs often, only one week a year, it wasn't enough to head off the big D. That Christmas season I'd fallen into the habit of having one little carb treat a day. One day it might be a cup of homemade Chex mix; another it might be a pumpkin cookie. That particular day a few hours after I'd eaten a piece of fruit cake I decided to check my blood sugar. I figured it would be a little high, but I'd made it myself with real dried fruits, not the candied stuff. I didn't fall into the trap of thinking just because it was less bad for me that it was a good food choice. It was an indulgence, and I knew it, which is why I decided to test. It was the only thing I'd had that day not low-carb. So I checked my blood sugar with the glucometer I'd gotten a few months back but hadn't used much. (Back when I got it I was doing low-carb well. My blood sugar was always in a good range, so I stopped testing.) Well it wasn't in a good range this time. This particular day... two hours post prandial... my blood sugar was 458!!!
I think I must have stared at that number until it disappeared off the screen just to be sure I was reading it right. For those that don't know, "normal" blood sugar is considered between about 70-90; that being the Goldilocks zone. It might go up as high as 120 or so after a meal, but it should be back down into that normal range in about two hours. Here my blood sugar was at 458, well into full blown diabetic territory. This was it... the big D. I could keep "celebrating" on my "vacation", or I could face reality that number represented. I was a diabetic. I chose to face the reality. There could be no more getting back together with my dietary ex, not even on special occasions, not if I wanted to avoid the nightmare of uncontrolled diabetes.
So, that was it... the last day I ever knowingly ate anything with more starch or sugar than I can handle. I've also had to cut back on my protein intake. My body is apparently a master of gluconeogenesis and will make glucose out of any extra protein it finds. So... carbs low (10-15g), protein moderate (25-35g), fat... ah... lovely lovely fat... very high (95g+). It now makes up between 80% and 90% of my diet. I still can't eat to satiety and expect to loose weight. My metabolism is completely broken from almost forty years of dieting. But I track what I eat, cycle protein up and down as needed and keep testing, testing, testing. N=1.
Will I ever be thin? Maybe not. Susceptible genes and a 30 years of bad dietary advice have stacked the deck against me. However, I think a better question is... will I ever be healthy?
The answer there? Mission accomplished.
My Continuing Story 2015
December 2, 2015
Ok, it's another year later. I did in fact make it back down to 145. It's where I am at this moment. I find my weight can fluctuate as much as 3 pounds in a day in either direction so I never let the exact number worry me. I look more for a trend. I was up 5 lbs after Thanksgiving (most people are I'm guessing) but stayed pretty low-carb/ketogenic throughout. Took me two days to get it back off again.
I feel like I've fully integrated Ketogenic LCHF into my life now. It's just how I live. It's certainly been quite a journey. Still flirting right on that border between overweight and obese. I still enjoy too many low carb treats that I always make myself. I have found a strategy that gets the pounds off though, fasting. I'll do more on that in a blog post.
Earlier in the year someone asked me for a before and after photo. It took awhile to find photos that were both relatively flattering and representative.
The first is from 2005. Not sure what I weighed here but I don't think it was my biggest. The picture on the right is this summer. I know it's not a full body shot, but this was just too cool. (Yes, that's the actual TARDIS I'm driving for those of you who know and care.) You can really see the difference in my face. In addition to this amazing trip to London and Cardiff I also got to go on the Low Carb Cruise with my mom.
|Mom and I with Jimmy Moore|
It was great! I highly recommend it. I'd go next year too if I could afford it. There were a lot of trips this year so it rather blew the vacation budget for the next year or so.
I'm also the proud owner of chickens now.
|Uppy the Rhode Island Red (top) and Stripey the Red Star (Bottom)||The coop I built. Came out pretty good if I do say so myself.|
I love getting fresh eggs from my ladies every morning. My coop has automated feeding and watering for when we go on vacation and the pop door opens and closes automatically at sunrise and sunset. The coop has room for a few more hens so I'll probably get two more come spring. It's hard to beat the nutrition value of a good fresh egg.
Anyway I feel pretty good about keeping the weight off this year. That's always the hardest part of any weight loss. Going to try and get a little more off via a few rounds of fasting. For more info on that check out the fasting blog posts from Dr. Fung. He's got about 15 articles about fasting.
For more information on a ketogenic low-carb diet I highly recommend Jimmy Moore's Keto Clarity.