Why I Want to be an Advocate
I was impressed by a motivational speaker and bought his book – Expert Secrets. I tend to be someone who, when extremely passionate about something, wants to learn as much as I can and spread the word. Yeah, I know that sounds vaguely religious. Who knows, maybe I was a traveling preacher in a past life. But this whole low-carb high-natural-fat lifestyle has been life altering for me. Life. Altering. Let me say that again. LIFE ALTERING.
Yes, I know there are a lot of well-meaning people who think what I’m doing is “dangerous,” but I challenge those people to show me the science behind their opinion. I sincerely doubt there is any, but I’m happy to sit down and debate it with you. And don’t tell me “my doctor says,” or, “The American Heart Association says,” or even the “USDA (aka ‘government’) says.” And frankly, the same government that cannot fix the healthcare crisis in this country, is the same government advocating we eat the stuff that makes us sick and forces us to take drugs that feed the big-pharma machine and cause healthcare costs to skyrocket astronomically.
Anyway, my road to advocacy started with identifying my trusted sources. What are your trusted sources? For me, I quickly learned what were not my trusted sources.
Why your doctor is probably not a good source
Let me start by saying, trusting your doctor is certainly not a bad thing. In fact, if you don’t trust your doctor, why do you see him or her? That said, if what your doctor is telling you is simply not working and are either not listening to you or blaming you for your “failure,” then why wouldn’t you seek other opinions? I don’t even want to talk about how many times I have tried and failed to do what my doctor said I needed to do to lose weight. The assumption, if you fail, is “you did it wrong.” Or, clearly, “you cheated” or “you’re weak, fat, lazy and stupid.” Awesome bedside manner doc.
How many of you have done EXACTLY what the doctor ordered? You showed up at 5 a.m. for that bootcamp EVERY Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning rain or shine? You carefully counted and measured every morsel that went into your mouth? For months on end? For very little if no result? Yup. You CAN follow your doctor’s orders and NOT succeed.
Carbs clearly affect some people and not others. Clearly! Why don’t doctors accept this and suggest an alternative approach rather than assuming they’re right and you are clearly a weak fool who can’t follow simple instructions? Funny thing is, I’m starting to see this. I had a doctor who told me to “cut out the white stuff” (aka “carbs”) but to maintain low-fat and eat lots of fruit. Seriously? Anyway, instead, they demonize alternative approaches and dig their heels in. Or worse, they label it as “dangerous.” Like pumping people full of drugs is not dangerous. Oh wait, the government (FDA) said it was “safe.” How can it be dangerous? Ummm. Yeah.
Why the government is probably not a good source
Frankly, get government out of the business of prescribing a single government-approved dietary plan. Way too much is at stake here. I don’t think low-carb high-fat is the right plan for everyone. I think it is ONE plan that is good for MANY people – especially obese people. If the low-fat plan works for someone, bully for them! That doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. That’s the problem with the government. It likes one-size-fits-all solutions.
Oh, by the way, do you ever wonder if the obesity crisis is resolved all the associated health issues will magically disappear and need for more and more drugs that we are increasingly becoming resistant to will no longer be needed? Hmmm. I wonder why we aren’t working hard to resolve the root cause of the vast majority of our health issues today rather than propping up the current system by hiding true costs with drugs and under an “insurance” blanket? But I digress.
Why finding a new trusted source is hard
It’s scary when you let go of things you have always believed and trusted. The scariest and hardest part of this low-carb journey of mine was not giving up bread, rice, pasta, and sugar. That part was surprisingly easy once I got past the psychological resistance to it. The hardest thing for me was learning to eat natural fat without guilt. You have no idea how hard, yet amazingly exhilarating, it was to fry up some (non-breaded) chicken in a pan of butter. It is delicious. It reminded me of my grandmother’s kitchen. It evoked so many fond memories of good food and family. Oh, and my grandparents lived well into their 90s. I now save bacon grease in a mason jar. It proudly sits on my counter – not under the sink. I use bacon grease in addition to butter. It’s awesome. But it wasn’t easy. I was so indoctrinated into the “fat kills” camp. It was genuinely hard.
You know what I learned? Eating fat DOES NOT make you fat. It makes you thin. Weight falls off. But it’s not just eating fat. There is clearly more to this way of eating than just eating fat so don’t run off and ditch the olive oil (which I also still use) if you’re going to continue eating processed garbage. It’s not a plan that says “eat everything in moderation.” There are some things you simply cannot eat. Period. Bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, and sweets are high on that list.
More importantly, eating natural fats makes you healthy! When I first started this way of eating, I freaked out at my first lipid tests. Oh. My. God. Look at my total cholesterol! My cholesterol was always “good!” Well, after I calmed down, I dove into the cholesterol research (Feldman, Westerman, Eenfeldt, etc.). Without writing a dissertation on cholesterol (I feel like I could do that now), suffice it to say, my numbers are fine. In fact, they are more than fine. They are awesome! As Dr. Eric Westman and others advocate, we need to establish a “normal” range specifically for people who do not follow the conventional diet of low-fat, high carb because the numbers are very different. The “normal” as we know it now, is for people who follow a high-carb diet. I feel compelled to add a disclaimer here (in addition to the one that is in the footer of every post on this blog), if you do follow this way of eating and your numbers change significantly (and they probably will), you better understand what you’re looking at–especially if you have cardiac issues. Don’t assume just because the numbers are “off” that you’re ok. It’s your job to understand the science or change to a doctor who accepts and hopefully advocates for your new way of eating. But, more importantly, you need to monitor your numbers. I have my lipids checked monthly. I pay for it out of my own pocket. (It’s not awful – requestatest.com is pretty reasonable).
Why I am becoming an advocate
Back to my original premise – becoming an advocate. At some point, if you have sincerely tried everything the doctor has suggested and it is not working through no fault of your own, it’s time to hit the books. It’s time to start listening to alternative sources. Investigating them. Learning about them. Reading the science behind them. Going to conferences and watching lectures on them. Learn. It’s time-consuming but it’s mostly free. There is a world of information out there for you to consume. You just have to spend the time doing the work and validating the science.
In a few weeks, I am starting a Masters program on leadership. It’s actually for business leadership. I’m super excited. But I am sure those same leadership skills are going to help me become an advocate for a healthy lifestyle that works for me and will probably work for a lot of other people facing what I once faced including what made me start this blog – bariatric surgery. I was very seriously on track for bariatric surgery because I was 100% convinced it was the only way I could lose all this weight. I no longer feel that way.
My advocacy will be for a low-carb high-fat lifestyle. It works. It’s healthy. It’s amazing. Does that mean I think other ways of eating are wrong? Yup. It certainly does. For me. However, that does not mean you shouldn’t follow whatever lifestyle works for you and your doctor. Frankly, I don’t care. I do care if people are struggling and feeling hopeless and beating themselves up for not succeeding on some doctor-advocated plan and they maybe hear my message and they maybe do their research and give it a go and see success and come out of that bad, unhealthy place where they were. That’s what advocacy is about. I will advocate what I believe in. If you don’t believe in it, then move along. Nothing to see here.
I have no idea where this advocacy will take me, but like that traveling preacher, I feel passionate about this and I want the world to know. And just like that traveling preacher, you can choose to ignore the message. That’s your call. Just like I will ignore the “friendly” advice that I’m wrong. Because I’m not. I am 100% right. For me.