January 28, 2013 by Johanna Burani
Barbara is an up-beat, energetic, retired hairdresser, tireless hand crafter, and devoted mother and grandmother. She enjoys taking long walks and recently started ice skating again. She is also a fabulous cook and an outstanding baker! Although of German descent, Barbara learned to make her husband’s favorite Hungarian recipes, which she quickly learned to love herself! Close your eyes and start eating some of Barbara’s specialties and you’ll feel like you’re eating in a prestigious Hungarian restaurant or pastry shop in a central square in Budapest.
Hungarian cuisine is built on lots of butter, sour cream and fatty meats. What was a pleasure for her palate became a nightmare for her health, especially when her family physician informed her that, weighing 213 pounds, she was obese and had pre-diabetes. Barbara is a take-charge kind of person and it took her only a short time to develop a game plan: she would eliminate all her sausages, breads, noodles, rice, ice cream and sweet desserts. She was sure this approach would drop her weight and her blood sugar levels.
Indeed Barbara started to lose weight but she didn’t lose her desire for her ethnic dishes. She lost 15 pounds in that first month after her doctor’s office visit. She became frustrated and, either enjoyed her foods and then felt guilty for eating them, or just didn’t savor the tasteless foods she thought she should be eating. Her changes weren’t going to work long-term. She had to find another way around the problem.
At her doctor’s suggestion, Barbara sought nutrition counseling. She learned how to prepare well-balanced meals. She practiced modifying her traditional recipes to reduce the fat. She also learned about something totally new to her. She discovered that she didn’t need to eliminate carbohydrates, she just needed to understand which ones worked best for weight loss and blood sugar control. This “something” was called the Glycemic Index. The more she learned about this idea, the more it made sense to her and the more invigorated she was to try it out. She perfected some of the low GI recipes she earmarked in her copy of Good Carbs, Bad Carbs, 2nd ed. and this confident lady was on her way!
Four years have passed since Barbara started her low GI way of life. Her blood sugar status has normalized without any medication. She has lost and continues to maintain a 40-pound weight loss. She smiles broadly when she says that she now weighs 15 pounds less than she did on her wedding day, 48 years ago!
Barbara’s words: “I’m so confident that this way of eating is for life that every piece of clothing that gets too big for me goes out my door and into a new home. This was never about dieting to be thin. I wanted to eat to be healthy. It’s been fun to finally know that I can be thinner and not feel like I’m on a diet. When an apple is more appealing to me than a brownie, I know I have really changed!”