It all began with Nibby.
“Nibby” is the nickname of the particular daughter of a particular family that I am friends with.
Several years ago, Nibby was diagnosed with type I diabetes–an auto-immune disorder that tends to strike young people, which is why it is sometimes called “juvenile diabetes.” When type I diabetes strikes, it stops the body’s ability to produce insulin–a key hormone that the body must have to regulate blood sugar levels. Without insulin, type I diabetes sufferers can have their blood sugar soar out of control. After type I diabetes strikes, people who have it must take regular insulin injections or they will die.
Fortunately, with careful monitoring and insulin injections, type I diabetes sufferers can lead full and productive lives–but their treatment requires constant monitoring and care.
The family did its very best to help Nibby adjust to her new condition. I tried to help too, allowing Nibby to take my blood sugar, to show that there was nothing to be afraid of from the familiar finger-stick that many diabetics have to make several times a day.
But when Nibby ran my blood sample, she found that my blood sugar was high–WAY high.
Could I be diabetic, too?–one of the millions of people who have type II (“adult onset”) diabetes, in which the body’s ability to produce insulin is reduced, though not eliminated, as with type I?
The prospect was not promising, and I must tell you: I was afraid.
I made an appointment with my doctor–a general practitioner who, by coincidence, was also a cardiologist (a heart specialist)–and he ordered several tests.
It turned out that I was not yet diabetic. My blood sugar was elevated because I had insulin-resistance, a condition in which the body doesn’t respond to insulin the way it should. Left untreated, it can often lead to type II diabetes.
To help me ward off diabetes, he wanted me to lose weight.
This was a problem because, like many Americans–eating a typical western diet–I had struggled with weight loss for many years–ever since childhood. No matter what I tried, no matter how much HUNGER I endured, the pounds just wouldn’t come off. But faced with the prospect of type II diabetes, I was willing to try anything, and I asked my doctor what diet he recommended.
“You should go on the Atkins Diet,” he said.
“The Atkins Diet?” I said, silently thinking: You mean the diet named after the guy who everyone has been confusing my last name with almost my whole life. I have to go on his diet?
“Yes,” my doctor said. “You’ll probably lose more weight on a high fat diet than a low fat diet.”
A high fat diet???
I was stunned. I had never heard of such a thing.
But I was willing to try it!
To prepare myself, I went out and got the current edition of Dr. Robert Atkins’ diet book.
I also went to the grocery store and bought a whole bunch of supposedly “healthy” food, which included lots of high-carb, low-fat items, in keeping with the traditional diet wisdom I had absorbed since childhood.
As soon as I opened the book, I discovered that this was precisely the wrong type of food, and I had to throw it all alway!
As I discovered, the Atkins Diet–like other, similar diets–is not so much high fat as low carb.
You see, there are three types of nutrients that our bodies burn for basic fuel: fat, protein, and carbohydrates. If you eliminate the carbohydrates from your diet then your body has no choice but to enter a mode in which it burns protein and–here’s the important part–fat.
This is actually what our bodies are designed to burn. Our cavemen ancestors didn’t have agriculture. They didn’t have lots of grains, sugars, and refined carbohydrates in their diets. As hunter-gatherers, they ate mainly fat and protein, so it’s no surprise that our bodies work better when that’s what we eat.
I was stunned by the results when I went on the diet.
The first few days, I must admit, I felt weak as my body adjusted to the lack of the carbohydrates I had fed it for years. But then my energy came roaring back! I was no longer sleepy after lunch! I watched my colleagues drowze off after a high-carb lunch, while I–now a perky carnivore–was ready for action!
Better yet, I lost 14 pounds (more than 6 kg) in the first two weeks of being on the diet.
And my weight loss continued: I lost nearly 100 pounds (45 kg) this very first time I went on a low carb diet.
And I did it without HUNGER!
And I kept the weight I had lost off for years.
But then I strayed.
Despite my weight loss success, I had not learned to cook low carb style, and I felt I was missing out on many of the foods I had grown up eating. Eventually, including under social pressures from others who didn’t see the benefit of low carb dieting, I began to eat larger amounts of carbohydrates, eventually I completely abandoned a low carb diet.
It was no surprise, then, when the weight began to come back–not all of it, but too much of it, and worse yet, some of the same health problems started to creep in as well.
Eventually, I reached a point where I had had enough, and I returned to low carb dieting.
This time, though, I started to give myself a course in low carb cooking, so I would have more of the types of foods I wanted to eat, including those I had grown up on.
And I began to post pictures of what I was cooking on Facebook.
My Facebook friends urged me to start working on a low carb cookbook, and after a bit of cajoling, I agreed!
I also decided to start the Jimmy Akin ULTIMATE Low Carb Club as a way of sharing the information, tips, tricks, and recipes I was coming up with.
I hope that you will join the club, and I hope that the information you receive will provide the same benefits to you as it has to me.