Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On turning 36.

So I'm 36 tomorrow.  For some reason 36 seems older to me than any other age I've turned so far.  I took 30 in stride.  I was cool with it.  36, however, is "over 35" and firmly places me in the older group on surveys.  You know--the end of the survey where they ask your sex and then they put you in  those age groups?  Sure, some still use the 20-30, 30-40, 40-50 thing, but it seems that most surveys that I am asked to participate in these days use this breakdown:

Age Range
[ ] 21 and Under
[ ] 22 to 34
[ ] 35 to 44
[ ] 45 to 54
[ ] 55 to 64
[ ] 65 and Over
[ ] Decline
Some of my smarter friends might know why these particular age ranges are chosen.  When I turned 35 and moved into this age bracket, I noticed, but I wasn't too bothered.  After all, I was 35 - a nice round number, newly "mid-30's."  Now I'm FIRMLY in that category and 40 is approaching.

I think part of the reason being 36 is bugging me is because its a transition period again in many ways.  I'm not young, I'm not old, I'm somewhere in that middle area.  In my job, I face the same challenge - not in the right job title to be taken 100% seriously but too "senior" to be ignored.  Too old for the younger trends and too young to be a hip gray-haired, stylin' "hot older chick."

So anyway, this is NOT a "oh whoa is unto me, I am old" post.  It's a "look at what I've accomplished lately" post!  And its applicable to the blog topic, I swear.

So - I've lost 18lbs since memorial day by completely changing my outlook on food.  Do you wake up feeling sluggish and lethargic?  Do you need hours to really feel alert in the morning?  Does your weight fluctuate by many pounds daily and weekly?  Have you tried every "diet" or "plan" or "lifestyle" and find that nothing works?  If so, maybe you're like me.  Maybe you spent a lot of time eating foods that were, essentially, toxic to you.  Maybe you need to ignore the trends and fads and eat more protein and fat, less carbs and NO wheat or grain.  Here's what I've been doing and its WORKING:

  • Almost every day, 50% of my caloric intake is in the form of fat.  I don't pay attention to saturated fat vs. unsaturated, but I don't consume trans fat of any kind...EVER.  That stuff is bad.

  • I do not substitute foods.  For example, I don't eat gluten-free bread.  Similarly, I don't eat sugar substitutes.  If I want something sweet, I have it.  But its not every day and its not even every week.  I have no desire for fake-tasting stuff like [Insert major diet brand here that rhymes with schmeight schmatchers] ice creams, [Insert mega health food company which is actually just adding whole grains to their chemicals to make it sound healthy here] bars or any and all sugar subs like splenda, sucralose, aspartame, sugar alcohols, etc.  I'm just going to elaborate on this point a teeny bit because I am sure that if this blog ever gets really popular someone will call me out on the fact that erythritol is a "good" sugar alcohol since it doesn't cause bloating, gas, tooth decay or blood sugar rise and it's a perfectly acceptable substitute for table sugar.  These things are all true.  But for ME PERSONALLY, sugar is about more than blood sugar.  I have not determined if its wheat-derived carbs or just sugar/carbs in general, but consuming high glycemic index foods make me crave more and more and more until I'm so food-focused I'm driving myself nuts.  Clearly, its more about the reward centers in my brain than my blood sugar.  I once told my endocrinologist that I was like a drug addict when it came to sugar and he 1) immediately upped my dose of metformin and 2) looked at me like I was a freak.  But I know some of you get this.  Science is starting to get it too - check this out if you're so inclined:  The obesity epidemic and food addiction: clinical similarities to drug dependence.
  • I LOOSELY follow a calorie guideline provided to me by  This is not a sponsored blog post.  Honestly, all of the calorie-tracking websites will give you a calorie goal based on the same information.  They ask you a few questions and using that information, they calculate your basal metabolic rate.  Then they tell you how much to eat to maintain or lose weight based on that BMR.  My calorie goal is 1670.  This is assuming I am sedentary (which I am not - working in a lab I am up and down from my desk all day 1 million times a day - but neither do I have an 'active' job so I settle for sedentary), exercise 3x a week and want to lose 1 lb per week.  More than that is not sustainable for me - I know this from previous millions of diets and food restriction.  As I lose weight, the program asks me if I want to adjust my calorie goal to compensate.  I DO NOT.  Why would I want to eat less if I'm still losing weight?  I think that will happen naturally as I intuitively adjust how much makes me feel full.

That's what I do.  And I am not hungry, I do not feel deprived and I have sustained this lifestyle for longer than I have sustained any other "diet" or lifestyle in my life.

When I titled this blog fixedby40, I intended be healthy, dependent on no medications OTHER than the thyroid hormone I need to live, happy and not wearing plus-size clothing.  I'm already making progress!  I have:

  • Stopped all medications except for the singulair (still having allergy issues, but not asthma) and my thyroid hormone.
  • Bought non-plus-size jeans in a smaller size that are already getting baggy on me.  (WOOT!) 
  • Generally increased my feeling of well being, happiness and self confidence by about 1,000-fold.
So there ya go.  An update on me and on turning 36.  Hopefully I will do a post like this every 3 months or so and things will continue to improve so drastically.  

Thanks for reading, thanks for your support, and thanks to all of my you-know-who's that have answered millions of questions for me and helped me figure out what was right for me.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Please read, use the comments section, and I will be back after my birthday and wedding anniversary (this week!) to discuss.

Letter from Dr. Guandalini to CBS This Morning

by The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center on Monday, September 10, 2012 at 5:33pm ·
I was quite surprised to see that CBS news would provide unquestioned credibility to Dr. Davis, the author of Wheat Belly, on CBS This Morning on September 3rd, with no knowledgeable physician on the program to present a more accurate, balanced viewpoint on such an important issue as the role of wheat in nutrition and disease.

The assertions made by Dr. Davis (a cardiologist, not a nutritionist nor a gastroenterologist) are not grounded in fact, let alone any evidence-based research. Gliadin a new protein? Gliadin proteins are major components of gluten and their existence has been known since Dicke and Van de Kamer studied wheat in the 1940s. It is not a new protein created by genetic modifications; and it is indeed a poison, but only for those with celiac disease. Gliadin an opioid that binds to the brain? Sure this is a stunning statement. What is the evidence? Aside from an obscure article that appeared almost 30 years ago reporting an opioid-like activity for some gliadin fractions, nothing else is available in the literature and certainly no data are there to show any binding to the brain.

There is enough confusion around celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity and the issue of who benefits from a gluten-free diet (only those with wheat allergy, celiac disease or non- celiac gluten sensitivity, I might add). Regrettably, CBS This Morning has added to the confusion and did a disservice to its viewership to allow such questionable information be portrayed as fact.

I have no ties at all to the wheat industry, nor do I have any interest in “protecting” it. My interest, as a physician and specialist in celiac disease lies only in protecting my patients and the public from those who would perpetuate unsubstantiated health claims as fact.

Stefano Guandalini, MD
Professor and Chief, Section of Pediatric Gastroenterology
University of Chicago
Founder and Medical Director, Celiac Disease Center