Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Laziness, Lethargy, and Atkins

and by 'Atkins' I mean a paleolithic, low-carb, high-fat, no-grain diet. Atkins isn't really the term here, but let's move on.

I used to have problems with cleaning up around the house. I'd eat dinner, then I wouldn't want to clean the dishes. I'd take off my clothes but not want to make the trek to the closet to throw them in the hamper. I'd open up my mail but not want to bother throwing away the trash envelopes and junk mail, or file the bills, or pay the bills, ....

Maybe I'm still bad with bills :) but I find the rest easier to do. I think a big part of that is having the energy to do it.

One of the things that Taubes mentions in Good Calories, Bad Calories is that fat people aren't fat because they're lazy, they're lazy because they're fat. That is, it isn't laziness and a lack of moral fiber that causes laziness which then causes obesity. And, really, it's not that obesity causes lethargy. More appropriately, there's a third factor here that causes both: a high-carb diet.

The theory goes, if you eat a high-carb diet, your blood sugar is constantly spiking from those carb-heavy meals, which causes insulin to yoyo, which causes blood sugar to crater, leading to the next snack, high-carb meal, or cheating episode (in my case, an energy drink). Along with this comes a decrease in metabolism, spurred in part by low thyroid function from an iodine-poor diet ("salt is bad!" says the TV) and anti-nutrients that lead to autoimmune thyroiditis. Your metabolism slows down, which means you don't have energy to burn. You feel lethargic. Getting up to take that dish to the sink becomes an expense of energy that is beyond your means.

I just finished cooking dinner, slaving over a hot stove. I happen to like cooking; I find it relaxing. But then, I'm not cooking the Standard American Diet for Four, I just sautéed some onions and garlic, grilled a ribeye, degreased with red wine, simmered with bay and thyme and peppercorns, finished with butter, and served. See? Simple!

Anyway, my point is, I just finished eating dinner, cleaned up my bowl (with all that sauce & butter, I ate with a spoon), rinsed the utensils, left the pan to soak, cleaned the stove, and sat back down to watch the rest of last week's Lost (still catching up). That's the sort of industry that I've always wanted to have, but couldn't bring myself to do because it took so much energy.

I feel it. I feel more alive, more energetic. I feel happier; less cranky. I'm still fat. Heck, I'm still obese. I'm even off my thyroid medication.

I've convinced that obesity is not a product of laziness, but that laziness and obesity are both products of diet.

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