As some of you might know, I have struggled to control my weight, really ever since I was about 15. Somewhere around 1999 I went to New Orleans for a week-long vacation. When I came home, I weighed 225 lbs. For the next 10 years, I did not take my weight very seriously, and I ended up at 312 lbs. After a year of realizing my blood pressure and my sugar levels were pretty much out of control, I got serious enough to get down to about 276 lbs.
Since then, I have been on a low carb diet, nearly 5 years of dieting, though not always very religious about it, more often than not I would go for 2-3 weeks on a low carb diet, lose 5-6 lbs and then get off for a weekend and gain all or most of it back. I did get down to 238 lbs in October of 2013. I could see the end: 185 lb!
But somewhere I got side tracked and ended up at 280. We had a trip planned to go to Europe this spring (We went, it was great, we want to go again, soon), so last fall I began to take weight loss seriously, trying to lose weight to make myself fit more comfortably in an economy airplane seat, not to mention the Eurostar. I got down to 260, and was very disappointed about it. Turns out, 260 was a fairly comfortable size.
I didn’t gain but about 6 lbs in London and Paris, but after we came home, I got sloppy. Recently my weight had crept up to around 280 again. Last week, I heard a guy on NPR hawking a book about this study of people who live to very old ages, in “blue zones” These zones are very different and in very different parts of the world, including the United States. The one common thread was a high consumption of beans! I was surprised and fairly skeptical. I googled “blue zones long life” and found https://www.bluezones.com/ I read a bit, not enough to buy his book(I am extremely cheap), but I read other info about beans.
I decided to give it a try, I was at 278 lbs, and not exactly tearing the world up. There are two other factors that weighed on my mind. First, as I said before, I am cheap, and if I could switch to beans of mostly beans, I could cut out 30-40 dollars per week out of my grocery budget and replace it with 3-5 dollars’ worth of beans. Secondly, while I have never been terribly concerned about eating meat, I am not a huge fan of meat and I have a little bit of a guilty conscious knowing that a high meat diet also is a burden on the planet. So I went to Publix, and selected some various dried beans: Kidney, Black Eyed peas, Pinto and Black beans. I love garbanzo and pigeon peas, but both seemed to have a very wide difference between total carbs to dietary fiber. I took them home and soaked them overnight and cooked them, as directed for about 1 1/2; hours. I replaced my chicken salad snacks, my 4 oz ground sirloin for breakfast and either my 6 oz of ground sirloin or baked chicken for supper with a cup of beans. I also replaced the olive oil I have been cooking my food in with the “bean juice.” In 7 days, I have lost 6 lbs, I have watched my sugar head back to the normal direction. Are beans the answer? I don’t know, but I will give them another week, if I keep losing and if my sugar levels keep dropping, I will keep eating them. I like beans. I don’t know if I will live to be very old, but I do know, if I can get my weight to 180-190 my blood pressure my sugar and probably my knee joints will thank me. If you like a big piece of meat and hate beans, this may not be for you. I will come back and keep you posted.
Oh, and by the way, for those of you who wondered but were too polite to as, eating three cups or more of freshly cooked beans does seem to have a negative impact on my digestion, nor does it seem to create unusual levels of flatulence!
Update: since I published this at LinkedIn, I have lost another 5 lbs in the past week!