Over the Christmas New Year (CNY) period I put on a bit of weight. Well to be honest since about September I’ve steadily gained weight. I was about 78 kg in September and when I returned from Brisbane on 4 January I weighed in at 82 kg.
For those that don’t know me, I’ve often carried a little extra weight, as a child I was a scrawny kid mainly because of regular bouts of tonsillitis. I had them and my adenoids removed in 1971 when I was six years old. I immediately transformed into a kid who ate everything that was put in front of me no longer bound by a constant sore throat. At primary school I was the second heaviest child in my class. To play rugby league in grade four my weight put me into the open grade, something my mother would not agree with so in grade five I played hockey and in grades six and seven I convinced my mother to let me play rugby league. It was about then that I started to swim competitively and that helped me with my weight.
Through high school during the swimming, life saving and water polo training seasons I managed my weight well but in the off season I’d balloon out somewhat. Through university I worked 30 hours a week and attended university for 40 hours a week. That gave me little time to eat and kept me active. My weight sort of sat between 68 and 73 kg throughout that period. My intern and junior house officer years were amongst the happiest and busiest of my life. I was so active and worked such long hours that despite regular pizza and hamburgers in the wards at night and hash browns for breakfast I sat at around 72 kg throughout those years.
The big change came when I started specialty training. Much of the time was sitting at a desk studying or at a bench doing bench work in the laboratory. In addition, pathology scientists did a new thing I wasn’t accustomed to at work, they took morning and afternoon tea and their lunch breaks went for an hour. At the hospital I did three of my four years of specialty training the registrars and consultants could avail themselves to free biscuits and hot beverages for morning tea in the staff specialists’ lounge (paid for I’ll add by the specialists trust account and not the public purse). I always enjoyed morning tea. During those years my weight crept up to about 84 kg.
In 1996 I went to Darwin to work and live. It was a warm place to live and with the high humidity it made sense to spend more time inside than out. I was at the beginning of my career and dedicated myself to that rather than my health. By the end of 2002 I was 100 kg. I was obese, possibly dangerously obese for my height (170 cm). I went on a holiday that Christmas and my brothers started making whale noises at the beach. That convinced me I needed to lose weight. On 1 January 2003 I made a change. I had read about the Atkins way of living and decided it would be a good option for me. I had diabetes in my family history, my liver function was abnormal and my lipids were high. I also had blood pressure problems which needed attention.
I remember the two weeks of induction well. Minimal carbohydrates in the middle of summer in Darwin and to top it off I had a head cold. At the end of the two weeks I’d lost a few kilograms. I started the ongoing weight loss phase and over about three months I dropped close to 20 kilograms. In mid-2003 I was down to 73 kg and felt light headed most mornings. By the end of 2003 I was happily in maintenance and was sitting between 74 and 75 kg. My liver function tests had normalised. My lipids were normalising and my blood pressure was normal for my age. At that time I also started walking twice a day and was doing other exercise.
Turn the clock forward to 2007 and my move to Canberra. I’ve been okay with my weight but I’d also reintroduced a much higher carbohydrate load so by the time I arrived in Canberra I was happy to eat desserts and toast every now and then.
To end that long story, I’m feeling uncomfortable about my weight. I need to lose at least 5 kilograms. I’m going to start reducing my carbohydrates (CHOs) again. I’ve got something coming up in early February which will make weight control difficult so I’ve decided I’ll start induction then but in the mean time I’m reducing my CHOs in preparation.
You can see my the meals this week that I’m enjoying myself. Lunches are always a little challenging but I’ve stuck mainly to cos lettuce, smelly cheeses and some meat of some sort.
I’m also conscious that the low CHO way of living is controversial. There are many in the health sector to argue for it and against it. I’ve read the books and some of the references and feel comfortable with my decision. It’s a personal decision and not a professional one. To that end I’ve added a medical disclaimer page to this blog because I’m conscious that many readers know that I’m also a medical practitioner. I would not want to give an impression that what I’m doing is my advice to others.