For as long as I can remember, Juliana has been uninterested in clothes. She hated shopping. She hated trying on clothes that I ordered on the internet. Her grandmother loves to shop–and Juliana refused to go with her–she wanted the same boots she had last time, just in a bigger size. She also wanted nothing clingy. I like close-cut t-shirts from the Gap, she hated them. She wanted baggy “Life is Good” t-shirts.
Then she started eating low-carb. She discovered that she liked the shirts they have at REI. I bought her some, she loves them, and she wanted to buy some more. She chose shirts that were not tight, but they were form fitting–a far cry from baggy. I explained that since she was steadily losing weight we should wait to buy her more clothes–I thought she would probably go down a size in not too much time. She said, no, the smaller shirts won’t fit on my shoulders. I explained that even though she might not realize it, she was losing weight all over. It’s obvious when your pants are too small or too big, you have to change sizes. It’s not as obvious on top–you can wear a too-small or too-big shirt. I could see the wheels spinning in her head as she took in this information.
The next day, she brought me a stack of shirts and announced: ”These are too big. They are like jackets.” (She has never cleaned out her drawers before now of clothes that didn’t fit–I always did that). She’s very thrifty, so she is glad that I can wear her too big shirts. I am also thrifty, but I’m happy to spend money buying her new, smaller, cuter clothes that she clearly feels great wearing.
The Google ice cream was the ultimate blessing in disguise. I was initially upset that she had deviated from the low carb plan–I thought she didn’t understand the fact that a scoop of ice cream would temporarily negate all the benefits of becoming a “fat burner,” and it would take several days to get back to the same place. On Atkins type eating plans, people can choose to start in an initial very low carbohydrate phase (called “Induction” by Atkins) that accelerates the process of changing over from burning primarily carbohydrate for energy to burning primarily fat for energy. If you consume a lot of carbohydrate in this phase, you quickly reverse the process and go back to burning carbohydrate.
But the effect of the ice cream was so dramatic and so negative, she now finds it pretty easy to adhere to the low carb eating plan. She knows she will feel badly if she eats a high-carbohydrate food. She feels GREAT eating low carb. Her energy is high all day, a big improvement and a big change.
We live in the heart of Silicon Valley. Seven days after starting the low carb eating, Juliana took a field trip with her class to the Google campus in Mountain View.
Google has what they call the 150/15 rule. The 150 is the number of feet you are from food anywhere on the Google campus, and the 15 is the number of pounds you gain your first year working there. So, naturally, the field trip to Google included ice cream.
Juliana ate a scoop, came home, and lay on the couch the rest of the day. She felt slightly nauseous. She had to cancel a homework appointment with a classmate. At first she thought she was tired because they had walked around Google so much. I didn’t think so.
The zap of sugar to her system caused a spike of insulin which in turn caused her body to store all the ice cream energy in fat cells, leaving none for Juliana to use. After only 7 days of low carb eating, her system couldn’t handle a scoop of ice cream. Then I knew we were really onto something.
Lots of disparate information was clicking into place in my head and pointing to a low carb eating plan. Juliana’s reaction to my research was precious. She commented to her dad, mama’s been reading books again… I do have a tendency to research. Nonetheless, she was game. We embarked on a low carb eating plan. After 5 days, at her next weekly weight check at the Packard program, she was down 3.5 pounds. (The first thing that happens on a low carb diet is that you dump retained water. Many people find that they feel and look less puffy and bloated eating low carb).
The Packard people were a little startled. They immediately ascribed the weight loss to Juliana exercising more, since her total of red foods was the same. The most Juliana had lost in one week up to that point was 1.5 pounds. By the calories in/calories out logic, she would have had to have burned an additional 7000 calories to explain the additional two pounds of weight loss, which she hadn’t come close to doing. 7000 calories is 10 hours of running at 10 minutes a mile. She was exercising more, but not an extra hour and a half of running every single day. I knew exercise couldn’t explain the sudden drop in weight, and had high hopes for the controlled carbohydrate eating plan.