A lesson from ice cream

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.

NOW I see why she’s always tired and hungry

Everything Taubes wrote made sense when I thought about Juliana’s history.  Juliana’s ability, at the age of four, to eat enormous quantities of pasta and be hungry two hours later was explained.  Her obvious preference for simple carbohydrate foods–bread, pasta, baked goods of all kinds–and her difficulty controlling her intake of such foods was not a lack of willpower but a normal response to the hormonal signals her body was sending.  Her frequent lethargy, from a young age.  Her constant hunger on the Packard program made sense.

We tried exercise…and tried…and tried…

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.