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.
Juliana has shed about 22 pounds from her highest weight. I suspect she will lose 30 more, so she’s still carrying around a lot of excess weight. Nonetheless, however, she can run faster than she ever has before and has a new level of stamina. She just started soccer practice for the fall American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) season. She was astonished by how much energy she had.
On a low carb eating plan, she can run hard the whole practice, and not worry about depleting her limited available energy. Why is this so?
Carbohydrates require insulin to be processed by the body. But insulin is also the fat storage hormone–it directs the body to store energy as fat. In Juliana (and other people who can’t tolerate much carbohydrate), eating more than a minimal amount of carbohydrate causes so much insulin release that most of the energy in the food she consumes gets sequestered in fat cells, rather than being available for Juliana to use on physical activity.
This explanation of fat sequestration robbing the individual of usable energy made a lot of sense when I read it in Gary Taubes‘ “Good Calories, Bad Calories.” (See: Taubes, Gary (2007-09-25). Good Calories, Bad Calories (Kindle Locations 7584-7587). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
It explained Juliana’s history of not wanting to move–I went to great lengths to keep her physically active. It wasn’t just that she loves to read (although she does), it was that she had very little energy to move because her body was storing most of it as fat.
This year is her first soccer season ever at a normal energy level. She is jazzed!