Life After Carbs, I’m Now Ready to Lose the Weight

How do you change a habit, a behavior, a life pattern?

I have been a lifelong food abuser—eating an American diet rich in fat, simple carbohydrates and refined sugars. I have tried to compensate by exercising, but my quadruple bypass surgery and chronic high blood pressure indicates rather dramatically that exercise does not a trump lousy diet.

Since my near fatal heart catastrophe almost exactly three years ago I have recovered well—and gained 40 pounds. Complacency conspired with my lifelong love affair with bread and cookies to add the weight, ounce by pleasurable ounce. My wife and kids have been hounding me about my weight but I have shrugged them off. Risa tells me how scared she is, Noah rountinely embarrasses me at the office, Ari arranged a contest between us to shed weight, and Sarah just worries.

And none of it really made me change.

But three weeks ago I met a friend from grade school, Norman Sack, who I hadn’t seen in 40 years. Norm was always fat as a kid. He spent a year at Duke on the old “rice diet” and lost 100 pounds only to gain it back.

Today Norm is thin and I couldn’t believe it when I saw him. He lost 110 pounds and his chest pains by rigidly adhering to a sensible diet low in fat, carbs, and sugars.

The day before I reunited with Norm I watched Dr. Juel Fuhrman advocate his plant based eating regimen on Public TV. And the next day CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta did a one hour show about how such a diet can make you almost heart attack proof.

It all finally clicked for me. Why should I sabotage my life for the ephemeral taste of a croissant or an Oreo? Life is sweet and I don’t need sweets.

Over the last 17 days I have not eaten a slice of bread or licked a spoon of ice cream. And I don’t even miss it. I’m doing it for me—for life—and I love beets and carrots and hummus. Life is good. I’ve lost a half a watermelon of weight already.

And this is for me and that’s the only way it can work.

Question: What do you think is the cause of the American obesity epidemic?

Lloyd Graff with his former favorite food – pie.

Lloyd Graff's favorite former food – pie.

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17 thoughts on “Life After Carbs, I’m Now Ready to Lose the Weight

  1. AvatarTim Croan

    Lloyd, I like all of that same stuff, and I’m not afraid to eat it in moderation — as long as the sweetening ingredients are real sugar or honey. Everything else, especially commercially baked goods, contain corn syrup in one of its numerous forms. This stuff is ubiquitous, and it is poison plain and simple. You can find it in the most unlikely places besides soda pop: worcestershire sauce, cake mix, tonic water, rice krispies, relish, pickles, baked beans, etc. It will pile on the calories like no tomorrow, and plays havoc with your liver and metabolism at the same time. Dont let our wonderful gubberment FDA b-s you: it may be made from natural products, but it aint natural !

     
  2. AvatarTrashcup

    You either eat to live or love to eat. My doctor’s best advice on diet and what you eat is:

    If it tastes good spit it out!

     
  3. AvatarStephen Culen

    I have never been overweight but would always feel uncomfortable after eating what I thought was healthy food. Recently a friend mentioned to me that all the dietary things we have been told about is wrong….he said fats and proteins are good and most carbs are bad. I did a little investigating and found that the actual problem was not the carbs, it is “processed food” (foods that has been broken down, over cooked or treated in a way that makes them too easily available to your bodies). If you want to learn more about this, you will start reading about the Glycemic Index. By the way, I stopped eating the “processed foods” or “high glycemic foods” about three weeks ago and I lost about eight pounds and the bloated feeling I so often had.

     
  4. AvatarBen Guthrie

    Our wonderful ability to grow and process grains for food.
    Glycemic load causes insulin response, storage as fat.
    Read “Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It” by Gary Taubes.
    Short, easy, clear, useful.

     
  5. AvatarJerry Johnson

    Highly processed foods, additives, high carbs, high fat and over consumption.

    The human body can survive 28 days + or – without intake of any food – just water. We could all benefit and lose weight by fasting one day a week, consuming just 2 liters of water only throughout that day.

    Lloyd – Should you chose to get your knee replaced, they will put you on pain meds that will cut your appetite significantly. You should shed somewhere between 20 to 30 pounds six weeks post op.

     
  6. AvatarDaniel Richter

    Diet & Exercise. Corn Syrup, as noted, a vast array of junk food, busy lifestyles (how easy is to go to Micky D’s for the kids or cook them Mac-n-Cheese) and kids don’t get out and play nearly as much or hard as we did.

     
  7. AvatarDave Dibble

    Obesity epidemic started when Nixon changed the farm subsidies for corn / corn syrup sweeteners. The science I’ve read backs up Tim, corn syrup bypass’s your metabolism and goes straight to storage in your fat cells through your liver. When we want Coke we buy imported “Mexi-Coke” or kosher Coke made with real cane sugar. Tastes better too.

    Basically, I agree, all things in moderation and always avoid corn syrup sweetners.

     
  8. Lloyd GraffLloyd Graff

    When I write a blog like this I leave myself wide open to critiques about my egotism and self indulgence. Mea Culpa. But I have learned through the years that one man’s issue is everyman’s issue, so hen I write about heart bypass, or knee replacement I touch people and they respond generally with kindness and information. I like to mix the blog up with a mishmash of stuff that appeals to a cross section of the 40,000 folks who get this email. If I am honest and my voice is authentic most people will get it.

     
  9. AvatarJohn Otto

    I think a few two letter phrases account for the obesity problem in the US.

    The first is an oxymoron known as Fat Free. Do you remember the pre fat free days. I don’t recall the guy next to me on a plane spilling into my seat.

    The Second combination is “Sugar Free”. Coupled with fat free I guess the theory is you can eat cakes, cookies, ice cream and soda till you bust. Personally I never trusted the chemicals and think they may be largely responsible for the way people vote.

    The last two worder is Super Sized. A third of the population is obese. I remember a fat kick in High school, we called him Fat Rap. One in 400 kids. I go to the movies and see people ordering cokes that should have wheels on them. Go to Taco bell order a #5 – three Tacos and a 32 oz. Pepsi. I’ve gotten smart and just order three tacos because I always throw out the coke.

    My weakness – I never throw out a beer.

     
  10. AvatarSeth Emerson

    Lloyd – People will blame it on everything or everyone else. But it truly is a lack of self control. No Heart attack yet for me, but certainly an extra 30 lbs are hanging around. How about this: When is the last time you saw a really old fat guy? Hmmm. Time to join you?

     
  11. AvatarDavid Marcus

    Lloyd, congratulations on making the effort. I wish you the best and hope you can do it all the way.

    I have two key points I keep in mind when I try to delete a bad habit:

    1) Environment is stronger than willpower. Stay in environments that will help you, not undermine your efforts. And you can change the environments that you are in.

    2) Cultivate a habit of deferred gratification. The evanescent pleasure from succumbing to an immediate sensory impulse (e.g. candy) pales when compared to the joy of overcoming a bad habit.

     
  12. AvatarDavid Katz

    1. Our hunger feedback loop evolved when food was scarce and you had to eat everything in front of you to survive. Since our eating habits generally don’t kill us before we have kids, those genes that control eating continue to get passed on.
    2. Food is cheap. Between efficiency in farming/food processing and government subsidies, food is historically inexpensive compared to incomes.
    3. Excruciating amounts of advertising wearing down our subconsciouses and more places to acquire food than ever before.

    Without strong willpower, the odds are against healthy eating. My solution; I try to hang out around healthy people (my wife, for one).

     
  13. AvatarGeorge B

    One item seems to keep coming up: Over Consumption
    The array of foods available and their contents were not even thought of when I was a kid.
    Of the deserts available, we had smaller portions and good ingredients.
    An after dinner ice cream for desert was about a large tablespoon. And not much else.
    Now, that same desert consists of at least a cup,
    topped with something and includes a large cookie. Calories 800+.
    When you think of the value of sugar or chocolate at the turn of the LAST century, a generous piece of chocolate cake was about 1″ x 1″ x 1″ size, and was savoured by eating very slowly to enjoy every morsel.
    BTW, when was the last time morsel was used in polite conversation?

     
  14. AvatarDave Bradley

    I was a smoker with a large habit. Three packs a day. I was working for a company in 1985 that offered “quit smoking clinics” about 6 times a year. I didn’t go to the clinics and elected to do cold turkey. Yes I quit smoking in 1985……….50 pounds ago………..substituted one addiction for another, something the clinic would have helped me avoid.

     
  15. AvatarBryan Willman

    So one funny thread in the whole “why overweight” debate is the (correct) Dr. who said “too many calories, too little exercise”. Totally true and unhelpful.

    All of the folks writing about environment, and about not depriving yourself, are very much onto something.

    It’s also worth noting that decision making and willpower are “resources” in the mind and brain, and can be exhausted. That’s part of why if you are super stressed out, you’ll be much more prone to revert to poor habits. Just as nicotine is a drug, in some ways so is food.

    Exercise is generally not helpful in simple calorie burning, because you don’t have time to do enough of it to overcome the high energy density of food. But is is HYPER helpful because it relieves stress, improves mood, change metabolism, and can alter the texture of your environment.

    So for myself, being sure to always have real food at hand, and to eat enough of this early enough in the day, is key. It’s not how many calories in the salad. It’s totally skipping the 11pm trip for a 3000 calorie box of cookies….

     
  16. AvatarRay Escandon

    Lloyd! Great blog.

    All of us who love food and are concerned with weight and health issues should try the “Cabbage Soup Diet”: It is a method that allows you to detox your digestive system and lose weight, all while eating, and not “starving” yourself.
    You can find the ingredients and instructions on the Internet:
    http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-cabbage-soup-diet

    If anyone know of any other proven methods or diets designed for those of us who want to lose weight but don’t want to starve in the process, please share them here.

     

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