Carb trouble

Man Having Car Trouble

“Oh No! Bless his heart”, I muttered.

My daughter’s gaze followed mine to the man standing by his car on the side of the road. “Aww… his car is broken down. Poor guy.”

That was when I noticed the car hood was open, and it did appear he had some troubles. Actually, I had seen immediately that he needed help, I but had not noticed his car. I had seen his belly.

The man was not obese and maybe not even very overweight, but he had a very large waist. His arms seemed proportional to his height and to his legs which may have actually been thin. Yet his belly seemed extended, as if he had swallowed a water balloon and all of the water had settled right in the bottom front where it hung over his belt. Technically, it’s called abdominal adiposity. Medically, it’s called bad news.

Waist circumference is a very obvious sign of inflammation. I had just been reading how one measure that doctors use to diagnose metabolic syndrome is a waist circumference of 40 inches (102 cm) or larger. I wondered if the man also had high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low HDL, or diabetes, additional markers for metabolic syndrome.

I can help you fix your health!

I very much wanted to pull over to help that man, but I had both kids in the car, and I didn’t know where to begin with telling him his health was in danger. I could point him to books and web addresses, but how would I ever start the conversation? “Excuse me sir. I noticed your big belly as you stood by your car. I don’t have a clue how to fix your car, but I’d like to help you fix hour health!”

“I don’t want any money. Not trying to sell you any pink drink or brown shake or make you count points all day. Not trying to make a dollar. I just see that you could have a fatty liver and not even know it. If you aren’t diabetic now, you could be on your way to being one. No. I’m not a medical doctor, but I can see that your health may not be as good as it could be.”

In mind, I’d likely ramble on with good intentions, “So… while I’m not medically qualified to tell you this, I think you should go on a very low-carbohydrate diet. It won’t be easy at first because I can see you’re a native southern fella, and I bet you love some cold sweet tea, but you can learn to drink it unsweetened. My husband did, and he’s lost nearly 60 lbs (27 kg).”

“He sleeps better and has a lot more energy around the house. He used to have a big old belly just like you. He even counted Weight Watcher points, but he kept that belly, and he kept that high blood pressure, but not anymore. He stopped eating breads and pasta and cinnamon rolls. He even gave up Pepsi and sweet tea, and he doesn’t have high blood pressure anymore.”

The imaginary conversation played on in my head, “Well… good luck with your car. You cut them carbs now sir, and you will lose that belly. Oh, and here’s a cookbook. Even if you don’t cook, you might find someone to cook for you. These are the foods that I eat and the foods that helped me to lose over 100 lbs (45 kg) and to keep it off. I ’ve been at this for over four years.”

“Here’s my pictures. Hard to believe, isn’t it? I struggled my whole life. I don’t struggle anymore. I eat delicious foods, and I’m never hungry. That part just kills me. I don’t get hungry. I’ve been hungry every day of my life since I was three years old! I don’t get hungry now. Yep… I wish you the best with that car and with those carbs. I do have a cell phone. Can I call someone to help you?”

I imagine my kids inside of the car calling 911 for the man who was getting the sermon on the side of the road, “No our mama ain’t really hurting him, and she means well but this poor man is having to listen to her go on and on, and she told him he has a big belly several times. Can you please come help him? And if you can help him with his car that would be good too.”

No, I didn’t stop, and I didn’t really say those things outside of my head. We drove past because he looked comfortable tinkering under the hood. He wasn’t trying to flag anyone down for help, and I knew that it was a well populated area in which he could easily find help with his car, but I worried several miles down the road about him finding help with his carbs…

Kristie Sullivan


A Keto Diet for Beginners

Earlier with Kristie

Taking Out the Garbage

Disrupted by Hunger

Ruining the World, One Drink at a Time

The Vault

The Sound of Silence

How a Pumpkin Pie Spice Muffin Can Mean Freedom

Mastering the Waves of Ketosis

My Miracle Oil

Health on low carb


  1. Calista
    Ha! That may have been my husband on the side of the road. He's had the talk (I'm the broken record here) but chooses to have the belly and feel sick, moving causes pain, too. Can't give up on him, but he sure likes those carbs!

    Really enjoy your articles, thanks!


  2. Dan
    Almost cried at the thought of all the people I haven't "bothered" to help. They're like drowning victims that were told they could swim so they jumped in out the fast moving boat and managed to tread water for a while only to realise the fact they could swim was a lie, by that time the boat has long gone!
  3. Pam Youngblood
    This is exactly what I have been feeling, but after discussing it with others, I realize something. I would run the risk of totally alienating others, where they would avoid me like the plague. It is like politics, where you think you need to just explain to others what is right and they will agree. Or religion, why can't everyone see the light? I work in a home style food cafe, and I am so conflicted serving delicious carb laden food to people I love, that I can see is hurting them. I can't very well say, "you shouldn't eat that country fried steak with gravy, mashed potatoes, okra and a dinner roll," or I will soon be out of a job. It's a fine line I walk, wanting to help others that may or may not want to be helped.
  4. Barb Fay
    Oh the people you are encouraging and reaching without even knowing it! Keep listening! ?
  5. Gail
    I pretty much have the same conversation in my head!! Happy to see I'm not alone.
  6. Janice
    Thank you so much. Oh really like your caring attitude and positive talk. This is me. I am a 56 woman with high blood pressure and diabetes. I have a big belly. I'm trying hard to eat low carbs. Still struggling. Thank you for your motivation
  7. Helen
    Your "internal" conversation matches mine ... to a tee! Nearly every time I'm out and about. My husband is that shape - I've lost 28 kg - and he still doesn't get it! 😳
  8. Simi
    Oh I wish I could believe all this talk about Abdominal Fat but when I used to eat all the junk (processed and sugary food) in the world, I still had a iron-board flat stomach but my thighs and bottom would explode when eat poorly.

    Flat stomachs are maintained by hormones. I'm highly estrogenic which helps me maintain a tiny waist and flat stomach but I imagine once I hit menopause in 10 years and my ovaries stop producing all this delicious estrogen, my body shape will change!

    This is why I'm such a fan of Dr Fung, he talks about hormones playing a big role in our health and diet. It's not only carbs that give us tummy fat. It's hormones! They play a massive role but carbs seem to only get the dietdoctor's attention. I'm sorry if I sound ungrateful because I'm not. Infact I've probably brought 300K visitors to you last week lol. Just hoping someone will start looking more at hormones especially female hormones. So little is researched on women.

  9. Anne
    I have these kind of conversations in my head all the time. With the coworker who takes medication for migraines but eats chips, muffins and drinks soda all day.

    With the vegetarian coworker who tries so hard to eat "healthy" during the day but can't resist junk food when he gets home.

    And, especially my friend with fatty liver who just can't give up soda. But she's down to "just one can" a day. One LARGE can (~20 oz). I can't believe they make them that big!!

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