I was refereeing Juliana’s soccer game on Saturday. I noticed that she played all four quarters, but I didn’t really think anything of it. Then yesterday she told me that she was scheduled to be out in the fourth quarter, but she asked if anyone else wanted to sub out so that she could stay in. It was a hot day, and Juliana’s team was getting crushed–the outcome wasn’t in doubt. Juliana wanted more practice.
Parents of low energy kids–imagine your kid voluntarily staying in a soccer game–asking to stay in a soccer game through the fourth quarter. That’s the miracle of low carb eating.
Among the many transformations in Juliana on the low carb eating plan, one of the most amazing to me is that she is now voluntarily organizing and playing in soccer games at school during recess. I have been trying to get her to do that for years, because, like most schools these days, she doesn’t have a lot of PE time. The only way she can get in some movement during the day is to move at recess.
I didn’t push her to start playing soccer during recess. On the contrary. A few weeks ago she asked me to buy her a soccer ball to keep in her locker at school so she could play, since the school soccer balls are always getting lost.
As I explain here, she wasn’t getting fat because she was lazy and tired; she was lazy and tired because she was getting fat. Now that process is reversed. She’s full of energy because she’s getting thin, and all that stored energy is available to play soccer, every day.
From a young age, Juliana was prone to dips in her mood. Mood disorders run in my family so I assumed she had just inherited this trait from me. We noticed that if she didn’t exercise, she was much more likely to suffer a low mood, so we taught her that she needed to move every day to help keep her on an even keel. And that helped her.
Then we tried low carb eating, and her mood problems have disappeared. I also feel an elevated mood eating low carb. Both of us still exercise, but neither of us feels as dependent on doing so to regulate how we feel.
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.
Juliana was lethargic from a young age. I wasn’t sure why parents were always taking their kids to the park–even before she became obese, Juliana didn’t run around, she sat in the sand. I expanded my efforts to get her to move. She did gymnastics, swimming lessons, and soccer. She played basketball and indoor soccer in the winter. She joined a swim team in the summer. We tried softball because it was one of the few sports available in the spring, but it had a terrible driving to exercise ratio–lots of driving, very little exercise, so we stopped.
When she was in third grade, I started the first Girls on the Run program in our town. She ran her first 5k. Then she ran more races. Then she joined a kids triathlon team, and did triathlons too. When she was 12, she ran a 10k race by herself. We did kids’ weight training at home, since muscle mass is supposed to boost metabolism, and is also good for reducing sports related injuries.
Although exercise seemed to help her mood, a lot, it did not help her achieve a healthy weight. It did not even seem to slow her weight gain.