Overweight, cholesterol scare, new to TF... and discouraged - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-15-2010, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, so it's time.

I've been overweight for as long as I can remember, and I have tried so many things to lose weight and have lost weight in the past when I've really worked hard at it. I am, right now, at my highest non-pregnancy weight ever (and even at nine months, was only a couple of pounds heavier).

I recently went in for my annual appointment with my midwife to have a pap, etc. and she ordered some labwork for me, wanting to test thyroid and cholesterol.

I have been feeling like nothing works, I had what I thought was a pretty good daily diet -- yet I'm obese. My husband eats whatever he wants and stays thin. So, I've been looking into TF for a while... but honestly, I have been scared to try. I've envisioned myself gaining like 20lbs in a week with that much fat. I have read the logic and the testimonies, but my brain has had it so beaten in that fat=fat.

I'm not really sure what I'm looking for here, but I just feel like I need someone else to validate that making the move to TF makes sense for me. And, I feel like I really just need to put my stats on here and refuse the feelings of shame that want to take over. I have done my best to be healthy and it is not working, so now I need some more guidance.

I decided that I would give TF a try for two weeks, that I would mark my weight at the beginning and how I feel. Then, I would go TF and see what happens... I just started yesterday, and felt like I was doing pretty well. I have committed to no sugar, no grains for the first two weeks, and I was successful in that. But, then when I entered it into Fitday (which I'm brand new to), I still had 52% carbs (after trying so hard to avoid them!), 36% fat, and 12% protein, and only 931 calories. I felt like I was having a ton of fat yesterday, so that is probably pretty indicative of how much fat I usually allow myself.

Anyhow, here are my stats: (please no laughing!)

age: 30
height: 5'4"
weight: 292

Lab work:
Thyroid: 4.349
T4: 0.85
Triglycerides: 204
Cholesterol: 5.5 (maybe this is the cholesterol ratio to the HDL?)
LDL: 107
HDL: 33

So, what should I be aiming for as far as fat/carb/protein ratio, etc.? Is this really going to work? Is my cholesterol/ triglycerides really as bad as they seem? The HDL/LDL?

Honestly, I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed and discouraged.... and wondering if I have really been doing things so wrong for this long.

Thank you for your input!
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Old 01-15-2010, 07:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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anyone???
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Old 01-15-2010, 08:12 PM
 
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Well for starters, what do you eat in an average day?

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Old 01-15-2010, 08:29 PM
 
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What did your midwife say about your thyroid levels? That seems high to me. The revised guidelines say the upper limit for TSH should be 3.3, but most labs have the High value at 5.0 still so your provider may not pick it up if she/he isn't on top of it. Here's a link discussing it:
http://thyroid.about.com/od/getteste...altshlevel.htm

If she doesn't take that seriously or doesn't want to look into it some more/give you a trial of thyroid medicine, go see someone else who will.
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Old 01-15-2010, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I drink a green smoothie for breakfast everyday (water, a bunch of spinach, 1-2 oranges, 1 banana, 1/2 cup frozen pineapple, some agave nectar -- then divided between my three kids and I).

lunch and dinner vary, but we don't use any trans fats or vegetable oils, artificial sweeteners, etc. I guess we normally eat lots of carbs.....

Here's what I had yesterday, a day in which I thought I was having a lot of fat and not very many carbs:

B- green smoothie
-one egg, scrambled in CO

L- green salad with celery, carrots, apple and Trader Joes Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette on top.

S- 1/2 banana

D- 1 bowl homemade cream of chicken and vegetable soup (no noodles or rice)
-one piece pumpkin pie (crustless, made with honey instead of sugar)


I don't have dessert everyday, that was mostly unique.... I had to be intentional to not eat bread, add rice to the soup, etc.
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Old 01-15-2010, 08:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I should add that we drink organic non-fat milk, which I am learning is not the best... we drink raw whole milk when we can afford it, but at $14/gallon that doesn't happen that often!
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:28 PM
 
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I don't have a lot of advice for ratios, but am wondering if you have read, "Eat Fat, Lose Fat" by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon (of Nourishing Traditions fame)?
The premise in this book is that CO is very healing and helpful with losing weight. The book is pretty specific with menu plans for weight loss and has a slew of really great recipes. It might give you the guide that you are looking for.

http://www.amazon.com/Eat-Fat-Lose-H...pr_product_top

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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Old 01-15-2010, 09:45 PM
 
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I am not a hardcore TF eater, but I did notice that your protein intake seems really low. If you're going to reduce your carbs, you have to replace it with protein and fat. Maybe try to work in more meats, like maybe some canned salmon on your salad or a piece of meat along with your salad. Also, if you eat dairy, what about full-fat yogurt, cheeses, kefir?

Fledgling midwife on hiatus, Wife to B, mama to C (c/s ribboncesarean.gif 12/04) and S hbac.gif (12/07), angel3.gif m/c (3/12) and expecting another bean 6/13 stork-suprise.gif.

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Old 01-15-2010, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by womenswisdom View Post
I am not a hardcore TF eater, but I did notice that your protein intake seems really low. If you're going to reduce your carbs, you have to replace it with protein and fat.


Especially for breakfast, I would focus on getting plenty of fat and protein in. (I have been especially focused on this lately as I am pregnant and trying--mostly in vain--to get 80 to 100 grams of protein into my body each day.) My morning smoothie lately has been: frozen blueberries, big handful of spinach (or whatever greens we have), full-fat goat yogurt, raw honey, scoop of whey protein powder, one or two eggs and sometimes garlic and ginger, depending on how I am feeling. I find if i start the day with a lower carb/higher protein and fat breakfast, that sort of sets the tone for the day and I don't crave, say, waffles and maple syrup for lunch!

For what it's worth, I stopped eating gluten and sugar earlier this year (for digestive reasons, not weight loss) and was pretty quickly down nearly 30 lbs. (until I got pregnant...) I have confidence now that I will be able to keep my weight under control when it's safe to be concerned with that again.

Good luck and hang in there.
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Old 01-16-2010, 01:59 AM
 
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Yes, I agree with what everyone is saying!

I HIGHLY recommend that you read "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes. Or at least listen to one of his lectures where he explains things. I was in your ballpark size-wise (also a notable high for me) and I read his book and was able to overcome some things mentally and make some changes. Wow. I would say right off to you, more protein and fat. More protein and fat. Really. I lost 35 lbs. (I'm typing this in multiple threads, sorry for the redundancy!) Then got off track, gained a bit back. Got serious again as of January first, and I'm down 11-12 lbs already.

If you're worried about your thyroid, pursue that... but I wouldn't worry about your cholesterol, honestly. You're very young and you seem determined to get on the right track, and I think you will. Really, carbs (refined, in excess) are what is the issue with heart disease (which is why someone would care about cholesterol I assume). In fact, there was a recent meta-analysis and the conclusion was this: "A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD." (I read about this at the Whole Health Source blog btw.) You will cause yourself NO harm and MUCH good by upping your healthy fat intake and eating enough protein.

I know you might feel overwhelmed and like you're facing a long journey right now (because I did and do feel the same way) but both personal experience and what I've read and heard repeatedly and seen repeatedly in others is that some things are not quite as we have been lead to believe.... you will be surprised at what will both help you feel better AND help you lose weight. Just try it, and I think you will experience great results!

An extrovert, married to my introverted dh since '01, mothering my girls C (2003) and G (2006).

 

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Old 01-16-2010, 03:15 AM
 
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Your breakfast is pretty low in fat. Try melting some coconut oil and pouring in a thin stream as the last addition to your smoothie.

Switch to whole organic milk instead of non-fat. Eat your banana snack with peanut butter. Eat some nuts for a snack. Do you like yogurt? Try whole milk yogurt. HOw are you at making your own foods? If you can make yogurt (nourishing traditions says it's ok to make yogurt from pasturized milk), you can strain off some whey for slightly thicker LOWER CARB yogurt. My mom does that for my dad who is diabetic.

Where in the northwest do you live? Maybe there is a less expensive source for raw milk. I'm in Seattle and pay about $6 a half gallon. We still buy it but just drink less than when we lived in Pittsburgh and paid almost half that.

Overall, you are not having nearly enough calories for your current weight. You could be killing your metabolism. Your body probably needs at least 2,000 calories for healthy functioning.


Alicia, wife to an loving and faithful DH, and mama to three fantastic though nutty children (cs, then an HBAC, then a VBAC!!).
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Old 01-16-2010, 12:29 PM
 
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You've gotten some great suggestions and thoughts here.

First, kudos to you for posting when it was scary.

The only thing I have to add is to emphasize the coconut oil suggestions you've gotten. Coconut oil is good for the thyroid and for the metabolism in general, but you'll need HIGH amounts to make a difference -- like three tablespoons a day. If you increase to that, you'll be supporting your thyroid and adrenals AND your healthy fat intake. I agree with the increasing your protein. You could even add peanut butter to your morning smoothie, along with more coconut oil in the smoothie.

Some people have even been able to go off their thyroid meds when taking high amounts of coconut oil! It's hard to get three tablespoons in, though -- when I was doing it I just had to swallow the tablespoons with water, like a pill, because it was hard to be sure I was getting three TBS a day with just cooking. Putting it in your smoothie might make it easier for you to be sure of your intake, though.

Good luck!

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Old 01-16-2010, 12:33 PM
 
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Whole-milk yogurt with nuts would be a great snack for you -- have you tried the countertop yogurt cultures (no heating necessary) at Cultures for Health?

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Old 01-16-2010, 02:24 PM
 
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It seem to me that you eat a lot of sugar and not much protein. Your morning smoothie is packed full of very high sugar fruits and then you're adding sugar in the form of agave nectar on top of that. Some think agave nectar is no better than high fructose corn syrup - it's a highly processed sugar and not at all good for you.

Personally, I'd cut out the fruit smoothie for breakfast - eat eggs and sausage or other fat/protein combination. It will keep you full and satisfied for ages. If you feel you need fruit - have some blueberries with coconut milk or whole milk yogurt.

For lunch - your salad sounds great but, I'd check the sugar content of the packaged dressing and, I'd add a bunch of protein in there - canned tuna, left over pot roast, steak, chicken, salmon etc....

For a snack, go for protein - skip the banana and have a cheese stick or a handful of walnuts. If you want fruit, go for a lower sugar fruit like an apple with a slice of cheddar cheese.

Dinner is good but, I'd skip the pumpkin pie and have a piece of dark chocolate.
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Old 01-16-2010, 03:54 PM
 
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You might want to explore whether a low-carb diet might be a better fit than TF right now. Even soaked grains will hinder your efforts to lose weight and improve your lipid profiles. Same with beans, which have much more carb than protein in them.

Here are some links to threads about grain-free and/or low-carb eating:
Low Carb Help
The Doing our Best Paleolithic Support Thread
Another Paleo/GF Support Thread?
Grain Free in 2010!

And check out the Primal Blueprint 101 page on the blog Mark's Daily Apple and/or the book The Primal Blueprint. There are some pretty amazing success stories on his website too. (Edited to add: Primal Blueprint is completely compatible with TF, it is just more limited in that it discourages grains and beans, regardless of preparation method.)
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Old 01-16-2010, 05:54 PM
 
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I second everything that's been said here, especially amcal's comments on the high sugar breakfast- even split up between you and your kids, that is a pretty high sugar/high carb breakfast. The WAPF did an article about agave a while back and while I consumed it before, I probably wouldn't again.

And while honey is often a great substitute for cane sugar, it has a lot more carbs, I believe, tsp for tsp.

I would say that focusing on fat and protein at each meal and then adding a large serving of vegetables (maybe topped with butter?) and POSSIBLY a fruit once or twice a day would probably be your best bet. You could still have the smoothie, but maybe make it with whole milk yogurt, spinach, some berries, and maybe a pinch of stevia, and even an additional few tablespoons of coconut oil or cream. I'd also consider a few raw egg yolks too if you can get a good, clean source (i.e. not grocery store eggs).

Lunch could still be a big salad, but consider topping it with a couple protein and fat sources: a diced avocado, some olives, cheese, leftover meat, bacon, hard boiled eggs, etc.

Instead of a banana, maybe have some almonds or other nuts for a snack?

And for dinner, you could keep the soup, but make it with real cream. Dessert could be a piece of fruit and a small piece of dark chocolate.

I guess the good news is that you don't seem to be suffering from a refined sugar addiction or a white flour addiction. It's just a matter of making a few changes to increase your fat and protein intake.

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Old 01-16-2010, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you so much for all of your responses!

I had steak last night for dinner, and found that I didn't actually want anything else with it, so that jumped up my protein and fat for the day.

I am trying to not have ANY grains right now, and I am cutting out refined sugar (but have been allowing small amounts of honey/ agave)... and it actually hasn't been that hard.

My smoothie this morning had about half the fruit, just as much spinach, and a can of full-fat coconut milk... I wasn't sure that my kids and husband would like it, but they loved it! (and, fitday said it was 11 grams of carbs, 11 grams of fat, but only 2 grams of protein).... it's getting better at least.

I have a bowl of coconut oil, peanut butter, cocoa powder, and a little bit of honey in my fridge that I have been trying to take out every once in a while and have a spoon full, but it's usually so rich that I can only stand a little bit. But, last night and today, I've found that I can stand there and eat 2-3 tbs easily. After working out today, I came home and munched on a couple spoons of it while warming up the soup for lunch.... and it didn't taste overwhelmingly rich at all.

I obviously need to incorporate more protein into my diet, but I don't really like tuna (or many fish, other than good shellfish ). A roast sounds good, I haven't made one in years.... I've been doing this low-fat thing for so long that I only ever make chicken..... someone mentioned sausage in the morning and that sounded doable as well..... I need to figure out what else I can be doing for protein!


Your responses have been really helpful and really encouraging that this really is the right thing for me to be doing right now.

Okay, off to stir the soup!
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Old 01-16-2010, 06:42 PM
 
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I just wanted to say welcome. I don't do TF a la a particular book.

For protein, I like baked salmon with butter and rosemary. I have very high metabolism so I eat a TON of fatty foods and proteins... I would probably faint if I had 930 calories a day. Or could you put salmon in a fettucini alfredo? Mmmmm.

Roasts are great, too, and you can always do a whole roasted chicken with its fat poured back over it.

I'm like a traditional dietitian's worst nightmare.

Also, something for fats- I take cod liver oil, two tablespoons a day, which is for DHA / ALA and vitamin D. You could put a little in your smoothie as well, and suck down a tsp or tbsp when you have time. I have found that it keeps me from getting too tired- not to mention the fact that it's super good for you.

Good luck.

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Old 01-16-2010, 06:44 PM
 
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I'm like a traditional dietitian's worst nightmare.
I SO hear you on that one.

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Old 01-16-2010, 06:51 PM
 
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I so remember being scared about eating this way! Even worse, I was a vegetarian for so long, the idea of eating a lot of these things was just repugnant. I did a lot of "Well I'm just not doing THAT!!" while reading NT. Slowly though, as I introduced a few steps and felt better and better, it became easier to add in the more difficult things.

I didn't set out to lose weight (not that I couldn't stand to lose a good 20lbs), but to heal myself, so I never followed EFLF too closely, but I think it could really help you. The best part is they lay out sample menus which helped me get a better idea of how eating TF really looked. I'm flipping back through it now as I've let my diet slip a lot over the last few months and have put some weight on and am not feeling so hot. There is a couple smoothie recipes in there as well that even I like (I'm an eggs and bacon kind of girl in the morning...or more often coffee and croissants). A raw egg yolk or two will help up the protein content.

Also, fermented foods can really help with the digestion of fattier foods. After years of eating low-fat it can be pretty hard to suddenly start eating a lot of fat physically and not just mentally. Going slowly and adding in things like kombucha, kefir, pickles (saurkraut, kimchi, real dill pickles, etc.) really helped me acclimate.

You're doing great and t will only get easier from here!

"Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free, 'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be."
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Old 01-16-2010, 06:58 PM
 
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I was sad to read enough about agave to not buy anymore. My mom was reading that fructose really isn't that great for you, and agave is almost all fructose. We know high fructose corn syrup is bad...because it's processed and high fructose. So....they're similar. I loved it too...

But I have found that honey, maple sugar, and maple syrup have done it for me to add sweetness. I thought I'd notice the characteristic flavors, but I don't!

I would never put CLO in a smoothie because I wouldn't be able to stand the taste! . I have to swallow capsules with an ounce of juice (one of the few times I drink juice)

Good idea about the PB/CO mixture. My mom just made a mousse type mixture with coconut milk, PB, CO and stevia, and it set up in the fridge and my diabetic dad loves it. I may try that when I want something sweet.

I second the recommendation for higher amounts of CO daily, as you can get it.

Alicia, wife to an loving and faithful DH, and mama to three fantastic though nutty children (cs, then an HBAC, then a VBAC!!).
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Old 01-17-2010, 01:03 AM
 
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It might not make much sense that a higher fat intake can help loose weight but it serves a couple of purposes.

#1.. fat added to any meal slows the insulin response of the meal. Insulin being one of the key factors in fat storage

#2 fat added to a meal makes you more satiated and more likely to actually get full from the meal... and not hungry again 30 minutes later

#3 besides caloric intake one of the biggest factors regarding how much fat you store are your hormones. Fats regulate the hormones. Coconut is good and it also stimulates your thyroid... Fat from grassfed livestock has CLA which has also been shown to help as well.

To get a good insulin response you will want to balance your carb/protein/fat ratios at every meal. In studies it was shown that 40% complex carb, 30% fat and protein result in the lowest insulin levels. For you I would play around with these numbers and switch the carb and the fat so that you get 40% fat (quality fat)

It was shown in studies that 6-8 hours is the optimal amount of sleep for the best insulin response. Try to fit your sleep in there somewhere.

Do not eat any refined carbs. Go for complex ones like oatmeal, yams instead of white potatoes.. that kind of thing. Also properly prepair your whole grains by soaking and fermenting so that it releases the nutrients.

At the start of the meal.. start with the protein food. Starting with the carb will spike your insulin more. Also adding something acidic like apple cider vinegar or lemon is supposed to help.

Do not undereat. That is one of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to lose weight even though it makes sense. But what happens is undereating alters your hormone levels... and also results in yo yo dieting, metabolism decrease and muscle loss. Try to aim for losing 2 pounds per week.
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Old 01-17-2010, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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okay, breakfast today was fried eggs and sausage with a cup of whole milk.

Even after everything I've read and listened to, it just felt so wrong to eat that! Not like I didn't like it or that I felt in my gut that it was wrong.... just in my brain!
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Old 01-17-2010, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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oh, and my lab results arrived in the mail (I only had the other numbers because I got them over the phone) and it looks like my total cholesterol is actually only 180 -- that's not too bad, right?

It looks like my biggest problem as far as the labs is that my triglycerides are way too high (and going super low-carb should help that) and my HDL being very low..... am I right in that?
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Old 01-17-2010, 04:27 PM
 
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I was going to post about low carb-mod prot- high fat as well. Glad to see you are giving it a try! Oh, and on the cholesterol dh has a panel done every year and even the mainstream pamphlet w/ that said that if the numbers were bad he needed to cut the sugar and carbs. I think you will find that you feel sooooo much better on this diet- although for some there is an adjustment period that is kind of rough.

Happily Married to my : 11 yrs- Mama to wild-eyed monkey boy 7-04, fiery little girl 4-07, and the happy smiley baby that sleeps 11-09!
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Old 01-17-2010, 04:29 PM
 
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Much better breakfast! But, even better would be to do 1/2 cup whole milk plain yogurt and some blueberries. You want to get the biggest bang for your buck - so yogurt has a ton of health benefits and much lower sugar than regular whole milk.

Your overall cholesterol doesn't really matter - it's your ratio of good to bad cholesteral and your triglycerides that matter.

If your doctor is concerned, I would request a C Reactive protein test. It's supposed to be the best predictor of cardiac issues.
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Old 01-17-2010, 04:39 PM
 
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Primal blueprint has been awesome for me. I started at 275, so in the same ballpark (and I have been over 300 in my life, but that was about a decade ago), and this has really helped me. I greatly improved my A1C numbers (blood sugar), and my total cholesterol is in an ok range, but they are out of balance ("bad" cholesterol is winning), but I don't know what the starting point was for this, so it could be better than it was.

One tweek you might make is to exchange the peanut butter (which is actually a legume) for walnut or almond (or other true "nut") butter. Get something that has some good omegas in it.

I don't do raw milk or grass finished beef at this point, due to finances, (well, and my dad is deathly allergic to raw milk, so that is a bit concerning), but just changing to as many whole foods, meat & veggies with some fruit, has been really helpful. If you are getting rid of grains, which has been REALLY helpful for me, the Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson (http://www.marksdailyapple.com/) will probably be more in line with what you are doing than Nourishing Traditions. I still use NT as a reference, because there is an enormous amount of crossover, but I ignore any of the stuff about grains.

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Old 01-17-2010, 08:03 PM
 
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If you are getting rid of grains, which has been REALLY helpful for me, the Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson (http://www.marksdailyapple.com/) will probably be more in line with what you are doing than Nourishing Traditions.
Yes, this web site, its great! I'll be really surprised if someone doesn't lose weight/get thinner when they go off of grains. I did no grains for over 3 weeks and slimmed down and fit back into jeans that I couldn't wear before. I'm back to doing low-grains now but ideally I want to go grain-free again. My favorite grain-free breakfast lately has been ham slices (one of those huge uncured hams from Whole Foods Market), eggs, and hash browns cooked in coconut oil (but for losing weight its best to cut down on carbs so just do a little bit of potatoes). I can eat this every morning. Yummy.

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Old 01-17-2010, 08:38 PM
 
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You've gotten lots of great advise so far, but I wanted to comment since we're in about the same ballpark size/age wise. I have no clue on my cholestorel and triglycerides, though. Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend that you read "Good Calories Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes. It has totally changed the way I see HOW my body works. NT was great, but this is hardcore science explained in a very accessible way. Now, I can look my mom in the face and not be apologetic about using heavy cream in my coffee, because I know it's healthy.

Anyway, I definitely agree with the others who say you need more fat and protein. There are a lot of hidden carbs in some of the healthy foods you are eating. Milk, for example, has carbs in the form of sugar. Sausage/bacon and eggs cooked in butter or CO is great. All of the fruits and veggies do have carbs and hence, sugars in them. Limit them, at least for the time being. (Sounds strange, I know...) If you do have some fruit or veggies, don't puree them, but eat them whole. Stocking up on all the protein---meats, fish, cheese, nuts--can be expensive, but it's worth it. Right now, I aim for 60-65% fat, 35-40% protein, and no more than 5% carbs. I love butter!

Also, with the sweeteners you are using, maybe you need to cut them, too. I'm finding that I am very carb sensistive and can't tolerate even the natural sweeteners because they cause me to crave more and more. Even now, I've not lost any weight for the last week with what would be cosidered a fairly low carb count, and I'm thinking it because my body just reacts differently to carbs. (I've been at about 15-20% carbs all week.) Again, thinking of Taubes here.

So, thanks for posting, melibee, and best of luck to you! Come visit us at Low Carb for the New Year under Health and Healing.
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good news: the "bloated feeling" that I have had in my stomach for the last couple of months has gone away! After about two days without grains or refined sugars, it is gone!

..... and I have a roast in the crock pot right now that we'll eat for dinner when we get home from the gym yum!
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