Wednesday, May 7, 2014

May 7th Open Letter to All Those Younger Than Me!

I'm writing this to anyone who is younger than I am. 

I am now 63 years old. I have been fighting this weight loss battle ALL. MY. LIFE.

Well, almost. I was put on my first diet at age 10. Given "horse urine" shots from the doctor. Didn't work.

After that it was one attempt after another, off and on, for the rest of my life. 

My weight was up and down, up and down. As a teen and early twenty-something, I "almost" got down to a normal weight, for a nano second.

I won't go into all the stuff I've tried. Literally dozen of types of attempts to lose weight. 
Thousands of dollars. 
Buckets of tears.

My message today isn't what I've tried, or even the fact that they all eventually failed for lots of different reasons.

My message to you "young uns" is simple:  DON'T WAIT.


I can distinctly remember being 30 years old. I was once again whining about wishing I knew how
to play the guitar. Suddenly, I felt slapped up side the head with a vision: I blinked and I was 40, and still didn't know how to play the guitar, and was still whining about it. I felt jarred, the inner vision was so real. So... I went out, bought a guitar and taught myself to play.

Oh how I wish I had been slapped up side the head with the same kind of vision in regards to losing weight!! To pay the piper back then, whatever the cost. 

To do it sooner, rather than later.

If you think this post is all about regrets, then you miss my point, and I haven't made it clear. Oh sure, I have regrets. But that's not my point here.

I am trying to point out to you HOW FAST LIFE FLIES BY. 

And imploring you to get as healthy as you can, as soon as you can.


I really can't believe I am 63. Honestly, inside the REAL ME, I feel about... oh... I'd say about 39.
Sounds weird, I know. But inside I am not 63. Nu-uh, nope.

Inside, my hair is not falling out at an alarming rate by the globfuls.

Inside, my knees don't scream in protest every time I get up from my wheelchair.

Inside, I am strong and full of energy and enthusiasm, regardless of what my body says to the contrary.

This next Saturday I'm going in for a new sleep study to determine how much oxygen they need to add to my CPAP machine. My congestive heart failure is acting up. 

What's that?? No no no, but I'm only 39!? I'm not losing the last of my teeth soon, being fitted with dentures and being put on oxygen!?

I'm not a fat, graying, balding, toothless, crippled old woman who dearly wishes she had done exactly what she is pleading with YOU to do, and lost that weight while younger.

Do it now, my friends. Your older self will thank your younger self!!

Yeah, I know... it's never too late. And I am making progress now.

But trust me, it's better to do it sooner.

This is from my heart, hoping it reaches someone else's heart to spare them from going through what I am...



The Brown Recluse said...

(((((Loretta)))))) Thank your for baring your soul with these powerful words. I am taking them to heart because, at 50, I am well aware at how short life is...and I understand the "inner age" so very well.

The hair thing... I wonder if it's in part to losing weight, but I know I was losing a lot of hair, too, and I went to a shampoo and conditioner with no sulfates. It really did's you a link: You can get it at Walmart. It would be worth a try, methinks.

Retta said...

Thank you, Margaret, I sure wish it were that simple to fix. I've used gentle sulfate products for mucho years, before they were popular to use. :-)

It all started this last winter, when I was sick, and hasn't stopped. I'm wondering if it is some kind of deficiency. I recently heard a podcast interview with Dr Paul Jaminet, who described several symptoms exactly like I've been experiencing, including the hair falling out. He developed them after being extremely low carb too long and not getting enough micronutrients from veggies ( a mistake many low carbers make). I've always struggled to get in enough veggies, but seemed okay until my winter illness, when I ate not much of anything but the BRAT diet. I wonder if this pushed me over the edge?? Anyway, I'm trying to increase the veggies, take extra Vit C, etc, and if that doesn't help, plan to bug my doctor at my next visit for some kind of testing. It's hard, they tend to poo poo nutritional stuff, and write me off to just fat and old. :-(

Anyway, thanks for your caring words, I appreciate that.

Anonymous said...

Yes. I get this post much more than I'd like to. :{

I was thinking much the same just this week--when I couldn't do something I thought (You know, because I'm only 40.) I could do. Really. I actually thought about how I feel so much younger inside than I physically am. I remembered my grandmother saying the same thing. (I even pictured where we were when she said it.)

And I've had another retinal bleed. And my hair is thinning, too. The crown of my head is beginning to be so thin, scalp is visible thru the hair.

Yeah. I so get it.

Hair. I've been having hair loss trouble for a while. It is not due to the low carb diet...since, unlike you, I have been cheating on it. Although I don't get many veggies, my eating does include some fruit and potatoes. (Yeah. I know, white potatoes, of course. What kind of low carb is that?! Well, that's why I'm not feeling well and still FAT. Okay, that, and the ice cream. and donuts. But I digress.)

I've been thinking that it's from my blood pressure meds in general. The fall out gets worse when I have to add the diuretic when my own CHF acts up. After a day or two on the water pill, I have LOTS of hair in the tub after a shampoo. Even without, I often feel a hair tumbling down my face. :o

As far as the veggies go. I remember when you had a challenge and I was eating 5 servings of veggies a day. My hair WAS much better then. Of course, I was taking less BP meds then, too. shrug. Who knows.

Knees. You weigh so much less now that maybe when the CHF clears up and you regain stamina after your winter from hell, the MDs would reconsider that knee replacement surgery. I'd float the idea at the next MD appt.

At any rate, Loretta, I absolutely relate to this post. Tearfully, so.


Retta said...

Actually, I wish you could NOT relate to this post, Deb. It's not a fun thing to be able to relate to, ya know?! So sorry about that. But yeah, it's tough.

I hadn't considered my blood pressure meds. I don't have to take the diuretics too often now, but do take 2 others for BP. I'll read up to see if they might add to the problem. I hate to even wash my hair these days, so much go bye bye down the drain each time.

Have you been following all the buzz lately in the LC community about "resistant starches"? (specially prepared white potatoes are included in that). I've read til I'm cross-eyed, trying to understand the science (theory) behind it. And since they suspect doing extremely Low Carb for too long without enough micronutrients from veggies can suppress thyroid (among other bad effects, and mine is already low), I tried experimenting with the resistant starches plus probiotics that are supposed to feed and grow a healthy gut microbiome. And that is supposed to help with good health and weight loss. Um... methinks I'm doing it wrong. I was at 304... now sitting at 314. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Anyway, that just adds to the frustration. This all has no easy, simple solution. So many components. So many "theories". One size definitely does not fit all.

Well, off to make a Greenie drink for lunch. I'm hoping to ramp up my veggies that way. Could help. Who knows?! :-}
Thanks for your understanding comment, though I wish you didn't have to come by it from "first hand" experience... eek.

Anonymous said...

I have NOT read anything about resistant starches or potatoes. Are they saying that white potatoes are now good for you or extra bad?

Funny. I just started taking probiotics this month (compliments my son) and I almost mentioned thyroid to you, but knew you knew all about that. Myine always tests out low-normal, but I have visible goiters on both sides of my neck. I can't help but wonder if the tests aren't telling the whole story...

Regardless of the thyroid, that has always been the case and the hair loss is only about two years old.

So... Can I go eat a potato without guilt now? :D

Anonymous said...

So, okay. I did a quick read. It seems that potatoes are better if theypre cooled after cooking, but not so good all in all

Seems to me, in my quick read, that this resistant starch thing is a different way of saying that fiber is good for you and not detrimental to low carb eating since it's undigested fiber. Like in veggies.

Yeah. Got that. Decades ago. so, there must be more to it than that. I'll read further.

Retta said...

"So... Can I go eat a potato without guilt now? :D"

Don't I wish!!! No no no, I'm sorry but that's not what they are really saying, actually. It's about so-called "safe starches". They are the kind the kind that "resist" being digested as sugar in our system, and raising blood glucose. And to do that, the potatoes (and white rice) must be cooked then cooled overnight, then heated to serving temp after that. Something about the molecules, yada yada. And even then, they tell people to test their own response with a meter, since some are really sensitive. I'm not the scientific type, so you really need to read on it, to get the straight skinny on it.

Let's see if I can put this in a nutshell (that assumes that I even understand it correctly; no guarantees, ha ha). Seems that over time, a VERY low carb diet will cause the good gut bugs to die out. A lot of them depend upon "resistant starches" for their food. Our gut microflora gets lopsided... the bad bugs can proliferate. There are supposedly TRILLIONS of these bugs (good and bad) of many different species, living in the gut, and the good ones do the job of keeping the bad ones in check. Plus tons of other jobs having to do with immune system, thyroid, hormones, etc etc etc. (this is no doubt all familiar to you).

Anyway, they theorize that a VLC diet skews the balance, and the infamous "stall" for the low carb person that formerly did so well happens (obviously, this can be one of many explanations, but it's one I hadn't read about before).

I've taken probiotics off and on for eons, but never knew to pay attention to what I was "feeding" them. Their point is: are you planting them in there, but not feeding them?? Or... are you feeding an "empty cage"? Meaning, some people take the RS (resistant starch in the easy form of powdered potato starch measured into a cup of water, which is one thing I am trying) but they didn't have the good bugs IN there to eat the starch. Then they wonder why it didn't work. Maybe the went thru a course of antibiotics, or did very low carb too long, or (as in my case this winter) had prolonged severe diarrhea which wiped everything out; other things, like certain medications can kill them, too, like Prilosec, which i also take. :-(

So, they say you need both: the probiotics AND the food to help them get fed and established. And that's is what I am trying right now. Yeah, I played around with the specially prepared white rice and potatoes. Not sure if I'm ready for that. Mentally, I mean. It feels too tempting to me. I don't trust myself not to use it as an excuse to pig out on. Visions of cold potato salad dancing in my head...Being real cautious there...

Anyway, I probably murdered the explanation. If you are interested, I can give you some links. A couple are for podcasts you could listen to from Jimmy Moore. We've done VERY low carb for long enough, who knows, this might be a factor to our struggle. It was worth it to me to check it out. Might be a bust... but then again, it might bear good fruit. Time will tell. :-)

Anonymous said...

Ohhhh, I knew there had to be a detail I was missing. It's the bugs. :)

OK. Since I'm taking the probiotics (Pretty sure I've planted them and not fed them.) I guess now I need to do the fiber bit. I'm feeling pretty virtuous about that salad I had for lunch, I'll tell you that. :D I'll look at a "rresistant strch" food list and see what it has.

Do you remember when we were playing with the whole "net carb" thing and subtracting the carbs that came from fiber? this sounds like that, only with a "do this for health--feed the good bugs" twist.

In my quick read, I was sorry to see that potatoes, even when cooled after cooking, were still 95% digestible carbohydrate. :(

Thanks for this, tho. It will help me up the veggies. I would be embarrassed to tell you how infrequently I eat them. I'm an almost fiber free fat girl. Ha. (There's a slogan for a t-shirt, huh? Fiber Free Fat Girl. snicker.)

Retta said...

Hi Deb, here is that info about "safe starches", which can explain it a zillion times better than I tried.

I hesitated giving the links to the posts, since I know it's hard for you to read, but thought it might save you hunting in case you were interested. The last link here is for the podcast I mentioned:

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

A book review on the book I sent for about Safe Starches, by Paul Jaminet:

PODCAST on Jimmy Moore's site, that was fantastic and educational for me:

PS: I just read the latest post on Tom Naughton's FatHead blog, where Paul Jaminet answered a bunch of questions from commentors. One was from a diabetic lady, who was concerned about the effect on her blood glucose from the starches because she said she was very sensitive to sugar/huge addiction/ends up bingeing, etc. In part, he answered:

I’ve heard many stories like yours and people are often surprised to find that all of those things clear up pretty quickly on PHD. The pattern:

Binging and cravings and addictive behaviors typically follow starvation, so I’ll guess you’ve been too low carb for too long. Your brain knows your body needs carbs and when it’s available says, “Ah! We’ve found the nutrient we need! Go eat this precious sugar/starch before this rare and vital food disappears!” To fix this, eat PHD levels of carbs. Over time the craving/addiction will go away.
Weight gain from eating carbs usually indicates a leaky gut and a dysbiotic gut flora, such that when you expose your gut to carbohydrates you get inflammation which activates adipose tissue (an immune organ) and causes it to grow. It also relates to the binging, after past starvation your appetite is upregulated temporarily when you get a chance to repair malnourishment.
High blood sugar upon eating starch indicates that (a) you are cooking and eating it incorrectly and/or (b) you lack the gut flora needed for proper glycemic regulation. To fix (a), read this post, and to fix (b), you need more fiber, including some resistant starch, and fermented vegetables.
(the link he refers to above is here:

Here's the link to that post, in case you'd prefer to read the question and whole answer in context:

Hope something here helps. :-)

Anonymous said...

Well now, that WAS interesting. The excerpt From Tom N was helpful. It absolutely rings true to me. I'll follow the links tomorrow.

As far as reading goes, I can read most anything online because I have magnification software on my computer. It's actual paper and ink print that I'm not able to read. (Of course, now that I've had this latest bleed, my eyes get tired easily--which is the ONLY reason I'm not going to read those links now.

I appreciate this. I've been having the feeling that I needed to change my VLC approach if I wanted to limit the out-of0control eating when I get anything sweet. I mean, even fruit triggers me if I'm on plan. When I'm eating off plan, fruit has no need to feed trigger at all. That gave me my first, "Hmmmm." Just a bit ago.

I need to do low carb for the diabetes, no doubt about it, but may be time for some tweaks.

Thanks, Retta.


Retta said...

Tweak time for me, too, Deb. At first I was afraid the carbs would set me off. And it DID start to, at first. Then I realized it was just me reacting to stuff I hadn't eaten in years, and over compensating. I finally accepted that it was not a license to indulge, but to correct things. He's really only saying in the Perfect Health Diet that both too much AND too little carbs, for too long, eventually can cause problems for some people. And some, like me, might be riding along the edge, and then something comes along (like illness, infection, high stress, etc) that pushes them over the edge and it catches up with them in the terms of symptoms.

So, I'm hopeful. I also listened to Jimmy's podcast with Dr Flechas about thyroid, goiters, iodine and the effects from very low carb done too long. Hmmm, I haven't used idodized salt in at least 10 years! While I don't have the goiter part, I sure have the other symptoms. Anyway, lots of puzzle pieces to consider. Maybe I should be gnawing on seaweed as a snack. :-O

Goodnite now. :-)

Oh, I forgot that this post was an excellent summary of the whole Resistant Starch thing. He can be a little... feisty... but it's a great summary:

timothy said...

I too have been at this most of my life (i'll be 46 this month) I got fat after my mama died when I was 8 and I've yo-yo'd ever since, thank you for sharing so openly and honestly it's a comfort to not feel alone on the journey and allowing us all in is such a blessing to all................oh and lest I forget the UBER-fabulous Marion Shaw sent me your way so i'll be thanking her as well for the heads up!

Leslie said...


I appreciate this post so much. I just keep telling myself slow and steady, and the most important is that I don't quit. I don't want to assume I have years and years!

E. Jane said...

I love your comment about feel about "39." Me too, Loretta! And it all goes terribly fast, and we don't even realize what is happening. Good post, and I understand everything you said.

Sean Anderson said...

Loretta--where do I start. That was wise, sobering, generous, transparent, deeply honest and moving-- And you're so beautiful, 'Retta. Thank you. You move me, young lady. ;)

Retta said...

Hi Timothy. I can see you understand a long struggle. And Marion... you've found an UBER-wonderful coach in her!!

Retta said...

I'm glad you found it helpful, Leslie. Yep, slow and steady and never quit. You got it!

Retta said...

It helps, E.Jane, to know others understand about the inside age thing, thanks for telling me. :-)

Retta said...

Aww Sean, what a nice comment. Thank you so much!

Christine said...

I keep thinking I commented...but i don't...I think it hit very close to home..there are a lot of diferent ways to miss the boat...I was having a few rough days...nothing is ever a may feel like it..but we are all here to learn something...sometimes it just takes us a long time. Whatever else, love is never wasted...and this was love in a are precious. Thank you.

Retta said...

Thank you for that, Chris. And I really need to remind myself often that "nothing is ever a waste". I'd like to think that I believe that, but honestly I must resist accepting it, or I wouldn't have some regrets. Hmmm... you've given me something to think about. :-}

16 blessings'mom said...

Hello, I just found your blog and will be back because you, Retta, are kind and funny and I totally admire you! And, I have been struggling this morning with my typical laziness, blah, don't feel like getting up and going for my walk, but guess what? You have inspired me! It is one decision at a time that makes great changes. I have been overweight for years and years and years, having been pregnant 21 times, given birth 17 times...gaining a bit more with each pregnancy. My baby is now six, I lost 65 pounds, and gained 20 back. I am working like crazy to get back into loss-mode again, my knees are shot, ect...oh the plethora of excuses. I need all the motivation I can get, and I am thankful for your honesty and for your encouragement. I am 48, btw, but feel honestly like I am also still 39. Or perhaps 29. Until I try to stand up and my knees pop and threaten to buckle....


Retta said...

Oh my goodness, Della, you must be one busy lady! Thanks for visiting, and for such a nice comment. I'm happy if something here inspired you. Yeah... I have days like that all too often. Today, in fact. A sort of "what's the use" kind of day. So your comment gave me a smile, thank you for that.

Bring Pretty Back said...

This is so encouraging Loretta!!!!! I agree - don't wait!
Thank you!
Have a pretty day!

Retta said...

Thank you, Kristin! :-)

Related Posts with Thumbnails