Saturday, 26 February 2011

It's all about ME, baby! (Birth - 1997)

It's all about ME, baby! (1997 - present) is my story after discovering the Atkins Diet. This is my story up to that point. I was born one snowy Winter's day. Mum told me that my cot was placed next to an open window in Central Middlesex Hospital. That explains a lot! Here's mum, me and my sister.

I don't remember much about my early years. As we were relatively poor (dad was a tailor and mum did typing for a solicitor), getting regular French Fancies & Corona lemonade deliveries was considered a status symbol. I ran around in the street with other kids of my age but I was fat. I was also very short for my age (insufficient GH from my pituitary?) and was rubbish at sports in primary school. Here's a photo taken when I was about 9 or 10. I'm the shortest boy in the picture.

Stripy shirts were all the rage, apparently. Even at this tender age, I used to regularly fall asleep after eating a plate of chips (that's fries, to Americans).

In secondary school, sports was dreadful what with having to play cricket using a cricket ball (instead of a tennis ball), contact sports, swimming and showers. Being short, fat & under-developed, I was embarrassed to get undressed in front of my peers, so I developed the art of forging sick notes in my mum's handwriting. I was a very sickly child! ;-D

My forging skills resulted in the total avoidance of swimming (also contact sports, cross-country running etc) and a big improvement in the quality of my handwriting! With tennis, I had to travel to a tennis court by train. I didn't mind doing that, as there were no showers at the tennis courts and I could play the game for a while until I overheated. Secondary school was where I developed a total hatred for almost all sports and when I left, that was the end of exercise as far as I was concerned. When I left secondary school at the age of 18, I was 4 feet 9 inches tall.

At university, I would have a cheese & ham salad baguette washed down with a can of Coke (non-diet in those days) for lunch, followed by a snooze.

At work, I would have a cheese & raw onion roll washed down with a can of Coke for tea-break, followed by a snooze. Here's me at the age of 26. At some point, my pituitary gland "woke up" and secreted GH, as I grew to 6 feet 1 inch tall in my late twenties.

I did manage to get some work done!

When I was dating, I jogged/walked for over 4 miles a day to see my girlfriend. I got slim. After I married, that stopped and as I was a skint Electronic Engineer and Lesley was a skint Cake Decorator, my diet was predominantly cheap carbohydrates, like bread, pasta, potatoes & rice. The result? Lots of snoozes + lots of weight gain. I was a lazy git, apparently.

In 1992, Lesley left to live with her mother. In 1994, I started dating Eileen. At parties, I became (in)famous for falling asleep after eating nibbles made from refined carbohydrates.


Galina L. said...

Your family photo is charming, mom is pretty and slim despite of having two children. There is something magic in old photos.

Earlier I was always puzzled by people who could easily fell asleep after a meal. I thought before (when I was young) such people had a hidden hart disease and needed more rest.Now it looks like I know the answer. Although, no one I know who has such a gift is obviously overweight. And some people with an apparent metabolic syndrome somehow don't demonstrate trouble to stay awake post meal.

Do you really feel so critical of yourself?

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Thank you Galina.

The falling asleep thing thing can happen to anybody who has IR. Slim people can have IR if their liver & muscle cells are full of glycogen due to a high-carb diet & sedentary lifestyle. I was overweight due to eating too much food as I had a sweet tooth and I also loved to eat, but hated exercise. I'm not sure what you mean by apparent metabolic syndrome. Post-meal drowsiness is due to compensatory hyperinsulinaemia which is caused by a combination of eating too much carbohydrate and IR.

I thought that I would give readers an insight into how I got to where I am today.

chmeee said...

All the best people were in 1955. :)

Otehr than that, I think I'll stop there as far as my life story goes ( huge sighs of relief all round).

Nigel Kinbrum said...


I did this post just in case I'm interviewed for a podcast. I hate talking about myself. Diet & Nutrition, I can talk about for hours.

I've probably put the mockers on it now!

chmeee said...

Most people, do, in fact, like talking about themselves. Another similarity - I have been married twice ( still on my second ! ). All of which reminds that second marriages are a triumph of hope over experience. Or so they say. And yes, when I've had a few and / or am feeling brave, I remind my wife of that marvellous quote ( from, I believe Sir James Goldsmith )that ' A man who marries his mistress creates a vacancy'. No, I haven't dared yet, in case you wondered and no, I doubt I will. Ever. Honest dear.

Before I forget, I looked at the previous post and saw the biochemistry reference. If you have never seen it - and I think you may - here is a link to a truly excellent site on this: Though the diabetes and diet stuff is disappointingly conventional / mainstream. Nonetheless highly recommended.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

I didn't marry Eileen and we went our separate ways in 2007, although we're still friends.

Bigamy = Having 1 wife too many.
Monogamy = Having 1 wife too many.

RE Check the comments to the previous post. :-)

Galina L. said...

I am reposting because I think my comment was lost . Discard it , please,if I am wrong.

Under people with an "apparent metabolic syndrome" I mean folks with noticeable middle-body obesity with a known blood pressure problem. I assume they also mast have some blood sugar regulation issues. Sure, somebody with IR is not fat and manifests their sugar imbalances only through internal changes and sleepiness after meals. I noticed that tendency for after meal nap increases in old people together with developing a sweet tooth. It is very common in Russia among old ladies to live on frequent teas with bread and fruit preserves.

It is obvious that our experience shapes our views. I noticed that running with other children didn't make you lean, but walking 4 miles in order to meet your girlfriend did.
I was chubby to different degree and loved food whole my life(not exactly with a sweet tooth). Probably active life-style prevented development of more acute IR in my case. I read that even young and healthy normal-weight people have very different basal insulin levels (three times difference). Probably it creates different degree of tendency to love food and tendency to be sedentary..

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Hi Galina,

I checked the spam filter but there's nothing in it.

RE "apparent metabolic syndrome": Central obesity indicates fat cell IR. Maybe muscle cell IR is worse when it comes to BG regulation.

When I was young, I was eating a lot of sugary foods. When I was older, I wasn't. Maybe that made the difference.

It's 02:00. Time for bed!

Galina L. said...

I know, it's not what we discuss right now, but because we are talking about private things, I would like to mention, that I recently had a vision-correction surgery and moved from 20/400 to 20/20. I needed glasses since 15 and it became a part of my identity.I feel sort of strange right now. Nige, you are wearing glasses too. Is it a part of you identity as well?

Nigel Kinbrum said...

When I started working as a Tester/Fault-finder at Racal-BCC at the age of 18 (I went to university when I was 19), I noticed that I could see the vertical lines, but not the horizontal lines on circuit diagrams. I had an eye test which showed that I was short-sighted & astigmatic. I have worn glasses ever since. I don't think much about self-identity. Nerds!

Now that I am nearly 56, the lenses in my eyes are unable to focus close-up, so when I am on the lap-top, I remove my glasses and things are in reasonable focus at a distance of 12-18 inches. One day, I will get a pair of reading glasses. I don't want bifocals and I don't want vision-correction surgery.

Thinking about things, skeletal muscle IR is far worse for BG regulation than fat mass IR, as skeletal muscle is far more metabolically-active than fat mass. I need to add some more information to It's all in a day's work (as measured in Joules).

montmorency said...

The picture of you at work is interesting, because although you have a bit of a tum, you don't really look terribly overweight.

I'm convinced that many, maybe most, young people can indeed exercise away a fair amount of excess fat if they try (if sufficiently motivated, as your experience suggests).

I was a chubby kid, but from around 16-25 or so, I was pretty skinny (but remained shortish, at 5-7 or so, so any fat tended to show more). In that time I was smoking a lot, which probably helped keep off weight, but I was also walking and cycling a lot, and did judo for a while.

Around 25 I gave up smoking, stopped cycling, walked less, drove almost everywhere, and put on weight. (Although I am surprised how relatively slim I look in my wedding photos aged 28).

By my early 30s I had developed a distinct tum, and took up cycling again (for economic reasons as much as anything else - cycling not driving to work for example, but I also enjoyed the cycling).

At first, the cycling seemed to help with the tum, which mostly disappeared (I didn't weigh myself regularly though, so am not sure about weight loss). I don't remember it increasing my appetite particularly. However, after a while, this seemed to stop working, and I gradually put on more and more weight.

I would read recommendations from other cyclists about eating lots of healthy wholewheat pasta, bread and potatoes, etc and think - I'm already doing this! (and in order to make those things palatable, they have to be smothered in fat or sauce of some sort, probably containing sugar). It didn't make sense, but at the time, I believed most of the "healthy eating" mantras (so reading GC, BC many years later really made a lot of sense to me).

I continued to put on weight, give or take the odd yo-yo, until when I took early retirement at age almost 58, I was at least 15 stones, which is not healthy for a 5'7" chap, no matter how broadly built.

I had periods of non-cycling in all that time, and I always felt worse for it, and always felt better for cycling (and walking, and swimming). There didn't seem to be much correlation between my volume of exercise and my weight, however (so again, GC, BC made sense, when I read it years later). However, I think there was correlation between the amount of exercise and my feeling of health.

I know that GC, BC is not the whole story, but I do have to give Gary Taubes a lot of credit for making me think about weight-loss and health from a new (to me) angle, and I eventually lost at least 3 stones by low-carbing. During this time I walked, cycled, and swam, but never intensively.

I think it took me about 18 months to get down to my lowest post-low-carb weight to date, about 12 stones (168 lbs). I had been aiming for around 11 st). That was about mid 2009.

Since then, I've had periods of falling off the wagon ... nothing dramatic, but I could feel the weight creeping back on. For better or worse I chose not to weigh regularly, as I thought that could lead to paranoia, and chose to go more by feel, e.g. clothes fitting.

I think it is going back in the right direction at present, and I might start weighing again at some point, although not as frequently as I used to. Say once a week at most. (It used to be daily; that can drive you nuts).

Mike Ellwood