Saturday, November 24, 2012

Food Suicide and The Cure

I haven't posted in months because I didn't want to report my ongoing failure, or worse, my ongoing lack of commitment. But here I am, letting you know I'm still alive and struggling forward. Struggling counts, because at least it's still trying. So here goes, a little note I posted in my Facebook page: 

I have insulin resistance, which means my fat cells are too fat to metabolize normal levels of insulin. My tired little pancreas has to pump out more insulin to get past the resistance. I get dizzy, weak and very sleepy as my blood-glucose continues to rise. Then my fat fat cells' flood gates open and slurp up all the crazy amounts of insulin, causing a necessary but sharp drop in blood sugar. I bottom out, suddenly starved to death (I must eat immediately at that point!) and feel much more alert, but start to get the dizzy shakes from needing to eat. Once I eat something (anything!), I start to feel better. Then the cycle starts all over again.

The so-called Wake-Up-Call pic...

I've failed in the struggle so often without proper health-risk motivation. Now that diabetes is looming and I've hit the over 300lb mark again (yeah, I just admitted that on the Internet), I still haven't figured out the "magic" combination of willpower, food, and support. I've beaten myself up often enough to be wary of proclaiming my next-big-plan to succeed. I've also had enough mini-successes in the mix to know what that feels like, too. And I've lost weight on some amazing recipes I created! (I even did a chronicle of the successes and failures... and recipes. Have a look and eat VERY well-- )


But I inevitably aim the wrong food at my face and pull the trigger. The various reasons don't matter. 

The solution to my problem is simple. To fix my insulin resistance, I must make myself un-fat.

From my past experiences, I must also do this alone. I have let down the other person who already had some success on her diet, by failing in my attempt. I have been influenced by others' lack of focus. I have a thin husband who refuses to live on my health food, and rightfully so. I have many acquaintances who are on-again, off-again dieters. And I would be the only local person I know and like who is actively trying to improve my health. Which means I would have to actively refuse some aspects of my limited social time (eating junk), which usually makes it awkward for my non-dieting friends. I have expenses which make it difficult to consistently keep healthful food in my house. I have many pulls on my time that keep me from it.

However, I know what works in me to make this happen. I know what doesn't work. So I need to do what works, avoid what doesn't, and put my nose to the grindstone and stop listening to those who would intentionally or unintentionally sabotage me. 

For those who are in a similar situation, please tell me... What has worked for you?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Insulin Resistant: Gonna lose 106 pounds! Only 99 pounds left to go! :)

I posted this on Reddit after 13 days on low-carb Induction. Reposting here to keep from repeating myself too much:

"F/30/6' | SW: 306.4 | CW: 299.0 | GW: 200
Doc says it's insulin resistance/ prediabetes. He said "I'll prescribe you a pill." I said, "No you won't. I'll do this without meds." He said, "Then lose 100 pounds." I said, "Touche, Doc. Touche."
He also said to get on a low carb diet, which I already expected. I've lost 30 or so pounds with keto before and failed for stupid reasons. But I'm lucky this time: I'm pre-sick, and I'm not officially dying yet. Nothing like a medical reason to keep up the resolve!
The funny thing? I'm on day 13 of Induction and haven't cheated once! No cravings, no desire to eat bad things. I've been dragging my butt out of bed early to cook. I've eaten at restaurants within my limits. I guess the motivation is finally stemming from something beyond vanity. Not being pinned down by medication is great motivation! Not dying is even better!"

Support is pretty strong in the /keto and /loseit forums on But like any place, there're trolls and douche bags. Haven't sold any of my creative things through Reddit, but I'll continue posting my health progress there. Maybe I'll inspire someone like they're inspiring me!

I bought salmon again! Two weeks in, I'm needing some variety. And 3lb bags of the frozen stuff was BACK at Kroger. Also stocked up on other low-carb things. Did feel a bit claustrophobic in the candy and bread and ice cream aisles, but made it through without a breakdown. I bought a small, already-roasted chicken instead. 

I feel pretty darn good, physically speaking! I'm eating low-carb and about a half or more of the meat I eat is also low fat. I'm incorporating vegetables in everything. I'm drinking nothing but water and "sweet" tea made with Splenda. I'm taking vitamins daily: probiotic, garlic, cinnamon, B complex, an Omega fatty acid combo, and...something else... in addition to my multivitamin. My blood sugar has neither bottomed out nor skyrocketed since my doctor visit. And I'm in ketosis, which was an accident related to my 1 meal with carbs per day the doctor ordered. But I'm rolling with it. As long as I drink plenty of water, I'll be fine. 

I'll be combining low carb AND low fat more strategically once I've finished reading my South Beach Supercharged book. Don't know how that'll work, since Doc told me it was okay (as in-- DO IT!!) to get my carbs from mostly non-starchy veggies. But I can use some principles from the book, I'm sure. Plus, my friend Angela is on South Beach again! So I have a consistent diet-buddy!


Friday, July 6, 2012

Now: Pre-Diabetes!

I'm pre-diabetic, that is to say, I have "Insulin Resistance Syndrome." And Doc says I have 100 pounds to lose, or I'll be Type II Diabetic within a year. So I told him I don't want any of his pre-diabetes meds, and I'm doing this without them. So he told ME to get my butt on a low carb diet (only 1 daily meal with non-veggie carbs) and to do aerobic exercise 3X a week, in addition to daily strength training. And if I don't make big improvements within 5 months, I'd be on the meds. So I told him... ok. I know I've done this dieting thing before, but this time it's scary, with worse consequences. So here I go again, on my own. :D

I've also gained weight. I'm at 306.4-ish pounds, with a BMI of 41. 

Now, whether I can actually swing this dieting thing, I don't know. But I'd rather not be sicker. We'll see.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


295.6 lb. I hit that number today. After my last whine-fest on here, it was clear to me that I wasn't even trying anymore. (Or just discouraged or something. Dunno.) I updated that post and also provide this new one.

Today is Day 1 of the Tamara Coffey "The Scale says WHAT?! If it's not lying, I must be slowly dying!" health improvement venture. Not Atkins, per se. Just cutting out processed sugars and other simple carbs. You will not hear about my daily or weekly progress after Week 2. You will only hear about certain breakthroughs. Promise!

Please encourage the Tama with "Atta-girls" and "You can do its!" Please do NOT feed the Tama! (Unless it is un-breaded meat, non-starchy vegetables, real fats or REALLY dark chocolate! The four food groups, right?)


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What's wrong with me???

I neglected this blog for weeks so I could finish my novel and get it published. I have also eaten nothing but fast food and convenience foods since my last post. As a result, I've hit my highest weight in recent history: 287.0 lb. I don't consider myself a food addict. When I'm project-focused, I'm just a convenience addict.

What a waste of all my effort for an entire year! To be this fat again really irks me. It was preventable. Something had to slide to make time for the novel, but not slide THIS MUCH! I could cite reasons and excuses, but I'm not a big fan of either. Besides, they're all based on what I did or didn't do: I was lazy. I was unfocused. I went through the drive-thru rather than cooking at home. I could also blame others, but that's silly: I don't have anyone to support me. I have no one invested in diet and exercise with me, really, consistently. It's silly because health improvement pacts at work are passing whims. Sad, pathetic promises we all sweep under the rug when our fragile willpower caves to a candy-bar. So what if no one I know wants to dedicate themselves to being healthier? They must have better things to do. I'll not blame them for my failure.

The gloves are off. I'm done. I'm killing myself with food. This is suicide. I either need to stop and get healthier, or give up and die my early death with a plate piled high with junk-food and medications to counteract that junk-food's effect on my bloated, miserable body.

You know what works? Effort. Honest-to-goodness effort to make something happen. Don't pray to win the lottery if you're not willing to buy a ticket. So when I've put in effort, when I've made actual progress, I'll post again. Until then, I won't waste your time with my failures.

UPDATE: What a whiny, emo spiel! Let's see... Translation: "I got lazy and unmotivated. I acknowledge I am on my own and must improve my health. I'll try harder, putting my effort into worthy pursuits, and only update following my next breakthrough." There. Less annoying! LOL


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Week 8: The Carb Trap 2

As I mentioned in my last post, I've fallen into the carb trap this week. And as I predicted, I DID gain back all the water weight from week 7. And as I assumed, I've taken a morale hit from said weight gain. AND as I know myself, this will not be the last time I mess up a diet. I mean a lifelong eating adjustment. But I'm trying diligently to climb back up in the saddle and ride off on the dusty, lonely trail of dieting in the household of a skinny hubby.

Weight last week: 271.8 (ish)
Weight this week: 279.8

GAIN of 8 lb. 

I feel like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man today. That is all! :)


Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Carb Trap

I was wondering why it usually takes me a month to get in the habit of consistently staying in ketosis. My first week of Atkins was perfect... no major screw ups and a moderate testing for ketones. This week, I've had three off days (but only the three evening meals across those three days) and I'm completely negative for ketones. I shudder to think what the scale will tell me. I've probably loaded back on all that crazy water weight from last week. 

So, as usual, I'm back at square one today. I hate this pattern, especially since Atkins is stupidly easy to follow, if a little challenging in the variety department. I may not get back to last week's weight by the Tuesday weigh in, but I'm going to try hard to eliminate carbs. I don't really think it's much of a let down, considering I've struggled with staying on every eating plan I've adopted. But this is the one diet where I know I feel better. I know I can succeed. I've proven success. And I just let my willpower whistle and look away as I sabotage it.

I've told Brandon I'm not having dinner with him (when I get off work and he's on lunch) unless we choose a place I can eat Atkins-friendly. Not many choices in this town, but better than NO choices. 

Since this isn't a diet as much as a lifelong-lifestyle-changing-eating-plan, I know it takes an adjustment. And if I can make it past the two weeks of Induction, it's smooth sailing from there on out (barring the inevitable, occasional plateau). So here I go again on my own. Going down the only road I've ever known... :D



Monday, January 16, 2012

PROGRESS: Week 7, Hello Ketosis!

The Franken-Diet is what I call the Frankenstein's monster of diet parts and pieces that work for me. 

Now I'm in the low carb stage of the Franken-Diet. Ketones are the byproducts released as the body burns primarily fat instead of carbohydrates. The ketones are purged through urine, saliva, and probably through every other gland. Testing high for ketosis is bad if you're not trying to make it happen through dieting. But I'm trying...

I'm testing Moderate for ketosis, finally. For the first week or two of low-carb eating (via Atkins Induction), I purge water weight rapidly, due to the diuretic effect of ketosis. After that, weight loss slows to a normal, "healthy" rate as I increase my carb intake by measured increments. This initial stage of the diet fools the body into thinking it's starving (no/low carbs= starving) even though you're cramming food into it (mostly protein). As a results, hunger is suppressed. Blood sugar is incredibly stable. My stomach is nice and calm. The food is rich and satisfying. The cravings and food addictions subside. And your body is forced to mobilize fat because you're not giving it any carbs!

Go to the official Atkins site for more information: . 

Weight 2 Weeks Ago: 277.2
Weight 1 Week Ago: 280 (From the "Crap, I didn't lose weight because I didn't focus" files!)
Weight This Week: 271.8

8.2 Pounds Lost!

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting a wonder diet. The science behind low-carb is sound. I also eat more naturally on this diet than any other. (Seriously-- God may have made sugar, but He only facilitated the production of Twinkies with that creation...) This is only a "diet" if you have no intention of changing your habits for the long term. The Lifetime Maintenance on Atkins is full of vegetables, occasional fruit, and some dairy. And regardless of the avoidable minor inconveniences, I'm going on how I feel, which is awesome!

Good Things That I Ate:

1. Breakfast: Eggs with Bacon Pieces. A bit of Mexene Chili Powder (my favorite egg-topper!)
2. Lunch: Lean Hamburgers with Mayo and Ketchup
3. Alternate Lunch: Chicken Salad (made with canned chicken breast, dill relish and mayo)
4. Dinners: 20 Carb Avocado Salad, Plain Salad with Ranch (bleh!), 20 Carb Taco Salad, McD's side salad with 2 Chicken Grill Patties and Ranch, 

20 Carb Taco Salad
Easy Recipe: Prepare taco meat using lean ground beef (or what-have-you) and serve with fresh spinach, chopped onions, sour cream, a drizzle of taco sauce, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese!

20 Carb Guacamole Salad
Easy Recipe 2: Prepare guacamole by mashing a ripe avocado and either 1) adding lime juice, cilantro, onion powder and garlic powder OR 2) using half a pack of prepared guac seasoning (has more carbs). Then serve over spinach with sour cream (didn't like this in the salad), bacon pieces, Parmesan cheese and some pepperoni slices.

Low Carb Snacks:

1. Mac's BBQ Pork Rinds (like no other! *sigh*)
2. Portioned beef jerky
3. Cream cheese (sometimes WITH the pork rinds. Don't knock it til you tried it!)
4. An occasional spoonful of peanut butter (I think I had one all week)

Here Are Some Things I Did:

1. Saved almost all of my allotted carbohydrates (20g/day) for dinner. I will continue to do this because if I veer off the all-protein path during the day, I'll screw up at night. It feels like splurging when I wait! And for each of these "splurge" dinners, I ate a SALAD!

2. Measured and counted everything with carbs! Grippo's Powder is now on my list of no-nos. It has 4 carbs in just one teaspoon. So I made a couple mistakes early in the week. 

3. I had an avocado a day for over half the week. 15 carbs, well worth the scrounging and saving of carb grams. Oh, and something about Omega something-something good for me...

4. Did at least one full day of burnout sessions with the exercise bands at work. I did a different routine between each call until I was a tired little puddle. I spent about 5 hours (minus call time) playing with those rubber bands, not realizing how sore I would be today! I shall call it Chair-Fu Calisthenics and Rubber-Band Boxing!

And I'm trying to do more of the same for this upcoming week! I just realized I can make my baked salmon and avocado recipe! Mmmmmmm....



Monday, January 9, 2012

Week 6: The Punchline

This week, four overall statements can be made.

1. Between restaurant food, visiting, snacking, and stress, I only ate Power Foods for about a third of each day.

2. My featured dieter Donna did pretty dang good this week, with only a couple oopsies along the way. :)

3. I did not lose weight this week.

4. I'm feeling the wooziness of some blood-glucose issue, which I intend to remedy with Atkins Induction.

I grocery shopped yesterday, tired of the slim pickins at the house that were anything but slimming. And as I shopped, I gravitated toward Atkins-friendly food. I know I said I'd transition over to a pseudo-Atkins diet in time, but I'm trying it a month or so earlier than I planned. The Franken-Diet twist is that I'll have lean beef, chicken, fish, and eggs with pure fats (lean meat instead of ANY meat I want). I bought some salad things and avocados for veggies, and some low-carb snacks (pork rinds and jerky) which I already portioned out into serving sizes. I'll have eggs for breakfast, snacks at work, a hamburger or chicken salad for lunch, a salad with avocado and pepperoni for dinner. I used my buddy Ryan's grill-n-freeze method for fresh tasting hamburgers without having to make 'em each day. I'm counting portions and carbs, and only eating when I'm hungry. I'll be keeping my daily carb count at 20g or below and testing for ketosis at the end of the week. Ketosis has been my Achilles' heel. If I can get in, I'll be fine. I'm sure I was just screwin' up the last time I tried this version of the Franken-Diet.

The real challenge of any low-carb diet is the first two weeks, when the rules are more stringent. Other than very limited food options (a plus for lazy me!), you've got the carb and caffeine withdrawal. And you've got the higher cost of so-called "real" food that is eaten in larger quantities.

So this week's diet felt more like a bad joke. The punchline? Feeling sick AND disgusted with myself are surefire ways to make me go low-carb. :) (Oh, come on. The punchline to a bad joke isn't SUPPOSED to be funny!)


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

FEATURED: Donna's Path

Meet my coworker Donna. She's a real sweetheart who gave her permission for me to do an ongoing feature on her in Tamara Henson's Health Overhaul. I have permission to display, GASP, her REAL WEIGHT!!! I'll give updates on her progress periodically.

You see, I've suckered her into getting healthy with me, following my very simple plan. Now, I'm not a doctor and she knows it. :D But she can't deny that the simple mishmash known as the Franken-Diet will at least be easy to follow, if a challenge to continue. We suffer from the same pitfalls of cravings, so I really understand where she's coming from. So here's my interview with her, to get us started:

1. What health problems do you have?

"Asthma & Bronchitis, Bulging disc and arthritis in my spine due to a fall in 2008"

2. Why do you want to lose weight?

"To better my health and and view of myself. To make a better me!"

3. What is your food poison?

"Chocolate!" (Yeah, Donna. Me too!)

4. What are your current eating habits?

"1-2 times a day, whatever I want" Includes regular Mountain Dew, various sugary snacks, highly processed  convenience foods, fast food, and the candies!


Height: 5'6"
Age: 33
Highest weight: 357 pounds
Current Weight: 357 pounds

GOAL 1: 300lb (Timeframe, unknown)
GOAL 2: 275lb (25 pound mini-increments)


PROCESS: Donna begins her diet today, using my Simply Filling Power Foods list and also my recipes.

This is what I told her:

"1. Eat whenever you're hungry, as often as necessary, for these first few days
2. Eat as much of the approved foods as you want until you're no longer hungry
3. Eat at LEAST 3 times a day, whether your meals are small or large. Or two meals and a snack. Every time you put Power Foods in your mouth, you rev up your metabolism.
4. Measure servings of everything, even if you eat multiple portions!

Because you're used to high calories in smaller meals, you'll want to eat more low-calorie foods to make up for it, so you don't get faint and end up sick from changing your eating habits too quickly."

I'm excited for Donna!

If you want a feature on my blog, and you're ready to do your own Health Overhaul, copy and answer all the questions and profile items and send them to tamaravmhenson (at) gmail (dot) com. Attach a photo, if I don't already know you through Facebook (where I can snatch my own pic). And if you freak out about the world knowing your weight, just enter pounds you want to lose! :)




Holiday damages aside, I honestly didn't get focused well enough to do the diet all that well this week. Candies finally dwindled to nothing. Other junk foods did the same. Restaurant food was eaten once or twice. Hot chocolate sustained me during my cold (which is also dwindling, but still present). Hot Chicken and Pasta sustained me at lunch. And sometimes at dinner. I even had a couple caffeine-free regular Pepsis. So I expected my weight to go up, not down. I did the weigh-over I usually reserve for when I think I should weigh LESS! :) And the third weigh-over of relative confusion...

Weight Last Week: 279.4
Weight This Week: 277.2

That's 2.2 pounds lost. I'll take it, and actually update the ticker so it'll be accurate.

Good Things I Ate This Week:

1. Chicken and Pasta
2. Baked potatoes with fat free sour cream

Here Are Some Things I Did:

1. Prepared the soup ahead of time
2. Baked stuffed peppers last night
3. Dutifully ate oatmeal, cinnamon and Sweet N Low for breakfast this morning
4. Otherwise, not much!

Things I Plan To Change This Week:

1. Decided that oatmeal is kinda unappetizing to me. Will probably eat some type of protein for breakfast instead.
2. WW Simply Filling is the focus of this week. I can't cheat if I don't have the food in the house to do so.

UPDATE: I entered my original weight of 300lb to be more accurate with total weight lost (not just weight lost since the blog started). And I entered my current weight for today. And I didn't cry. But here's the chart:

Weight Chart


I want to stick with Simply Filling for a month and see how much progress I make versus days on and days off. I then want to transition to an Atkins-style WW diet, incorporating my Simply Filling food list only and eating lean proteins and vegetables until I'm close to my goal weight. (Incorporation of several diets, hence "Franken-Diet") Then I want to transition again into a lifelong healthy eating habit as I shed the last few pounds. I expect my food list at that time to be the WW Simply Filling list I compiled, with perhaps pure fats and cheeses in moderation instead of unlimited fat free. That way, I'm eating mostly all natural foods that I could grow or produce on a farm. :)

I don't know how long this is going to take. I've piddled with it for a year, never really locking in a routine, even when the routine worked in the short term. So I'm going to say that in 5 months of diligence, I should be close. I'll gauge it again in a month. I don't want to wait another year to finish my health overhaul!