Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Nips and Tucks and Hems and Stuff

I titled this post because that is what I feel like I've been doing lately with my eating – nipping, tucking, hemming, etc. – fixing up approaches to eating that fit into my lifestyle and make it easier to meet my health goals.

If you've been reading recently, you know that I have been following a loose low-carb, high protein diet for a study I am participating in with 23andMe. They don't give very specific parameters, so I have been eating much less white stuff and more veggies and fruit, whole grains, and lean meats and fish. I've been monitoring my carb intake most days and it usually falls under 100 grams per day.

That said, I haven't been super strict the past week and change, either – mainly because our budget is a bit... limited... at the moment, so we're trying to eat what we have. BUT, a few days ago my partner told me that he was certain that he has heart disease. It's a long story, but suffice it to say that he can't/won't go to the doctor and probably has some issues that need attention. Anyway, we decided together that trying a heart-healthy diet will be a good idea whether or not he does, so we've been doing our best to stick to that for him, and a bit for me, too – after a bit of research, I settled on an overall way of eating often referred to as the Mediterranean Diet. It's similar in how I was trying to eat, i.e. lots of veggies and fruits, lean meats, healthy fats, no white "stuff"... but not as liberal with things like butter and cheese, for instance. It does allow you to include whole grains, which the low-carb thing I've been doing doesn't. I also like that the MD opens things up to ALL veggies and fruits. Once our finances are back to normal, I'll likely do a hybrid of the two, leaning more toward the MD overall.

I'm happy to say that I finally broke the stall I was in, and I was down to 315.2 this morning. Hooray! I was so happy to see that and hope that I can continue such good progress at least for another week or so, or until I hit below 310. Ooh, that would be so nice!

And I tell you what, here now at 315, I am feeling my body returning to a state where bending at the waist isn't so fraught anymore. It's amazing what a difference a few pounds can make when you're at the right place. So what seems like instantly, I can tie my shoes more easily again, and the bathroom is not so bad anymore. It is such a relief.

Another thing is that because of my partner's heart disease anxiety, I did some research about it, and now I am concerned about it for myself, too! It's a tricky thing, and it is deadly. BUT it is also very treatable and even reversible using diet and fitness. One book I read, Best Practices for a Healthy Heart by Sarah Samaan, MD, talked about things like diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and PCOS (the latter with which I was diagnosed at 18) and how they relate to heart disease, and that was kind of all she wrote. It made me even more ready and willing to make positive and permanent changes to my lifestyle. The weight is a thing, sure – in fact, it is one of THE things when it comes to heart disease – but I am getting older and need to start thinking about these things seriously and decide how much I would like to affect my chances of living a long and healthy life. A better diet and a commitment to exercise has yet another purpose for me.

Yet one more phase in my journey that has been going on now for a long, long time. It is super important to just never give up. So much about this is diligence.


  1. Hi Amy - I'll just share this about heart disease because I was reading it literally yesterday. You say the weight is "the thing" or important for heart disease, but there's at least as strong a view to say - the weight is caused by the same thing that causes heart disease, not that excess weight itself causes heart disease. Remember, half of people who get heart disease have no risk factors :( what I was reading yesterday suggests that it's very likely that it's high blood glucose after meals that causes heart disease - and of course it also causes weight gain, and diabetes, and other problems. The way to avoid big blood glucose jumps is, minimize sugar and processed carbs. Sweet potatoes and beans (which you mentioned earlier) probably don't have this affect, but it surely varies from person to person, and the only way to know how those foods affect you (or your partner) is to buy a blood glucose monitor and test strips, and test the foods themselves on your very own body. Blood glucose levels are the key - and frequent high blood glucose levels are a killer, or so says this series of studies:

    1. And let me just balance this out by saying, I was also reading the following yesterday, saying low-ish carb is just as good as super-low-carb diets for some people:

      He says, really, the key is avoid industrial foods. This is easier said than done, in my world, but it definitely puts sweet potatoes and beans back in play :)

      Hope this helps.

      Also - heart disease is reversible, through lower-carb diet. Have hope!

  2. I'm totally inspired to ditch processed carbs and buy a glucose monitor. There seems to be such an art to living healthfully in our modern society, which is such a paradox, it seems. I'm off to Jazzercise. Love this update, Amy.

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  4. Amy, I love that you are so transparent in your blog!

    I myself have been really working on watching what I eat - especially as I get older - because I know that my heart has to manage all that is in my body - so... it's important to me that I don't overload on one certain food, or another - I try to keep it balanced.

    Thanks (again) for your transparency about your friend facing heart disease. SUCH an important conversation - We should "guard our hearts", both physically, and mentally I believe.

    This link is to a resource that I thought helpful - focusing on lowering carbs in the diet. People simply eat TOO much un-sprouted breads, etc-etc. (I Love EZEKIEL bread for example). ( :

    What do you think about this?

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  9. I enjoy reading posts like these, they really shed light to a problem that is being ignored in today's society, weight issues, cholesterol, diabetes, etc. The list goes on. Thank you Amy for blogging this it really is a heart felt story. People are having success losing belly fat with this