Monday, 4 May 2015

Low Carb High Fat

As part of my Book a Week challenge I have just read 2 books about food which set off a genuine lightbulb moment, and I have now been on a low carbohydrate high fat diet for 2 weeks.

Looking back I have been moving towards this way of eating since 2013, when I read David Gillespie's book Sweet Poison. After reading it I gave up all refined sugar and fructose (including dried fruits, honey, maple syrup and the like) and I did find that my appetite reduced somewhat and that  I stopped craving sweets, biscuits and chocolate after a few weeks without sugar.  Although I did lose weight without having to do any calorie counting for the first time in my life it wasn't much (7 lb or so) and I still  found it hard to curb my appetite for carbohydrates. I then decided to have a break from the no-sugar regime at Christmas 2014, as I thought I would have enough self-control to not overeat.  It turns out I didn't - I ate an enormous amount of chocolate and junk food, and put on 6 lb in 2 weeks.

Then in January 2015 I stopped eating sugar again, but in a desperate attempt to lose weight I also went back to Weightwatchers at the same time. This plan really did not work for me - in 3 months I managed to lose the enormous amount of 2 lb, and then put it back on again.  

I have been actively trying to lose weight on and off since the  age of 16,  normally on some variation of a low-fat diet.  Along the way I have followed Rosemary Conley, Weightwatchers, Susan Powter, the Scarsdale Diet and a particularly ineffective book called Eating Less.  However none of these have resulted in me losing weight in any time of sustainable fashion, although to be fair I had the most success on Weightwatchers - but never came close to reaching my goal weight.   

Thanks to my account on the Weightwatchers website I have my weights tracked (albeit sometimes sporadically) from 2007 onwards, and I can see now that the only times I have managed to get my weight below 12 stone (168 lb) was for a short period when I was breastfeeding (11 stone 1 lb, for about 3 weeks) and when I had a viral infection which caused thyrotoxicosis (11 stone 9 lb, for about 4 weeks).  

On the day I started following this current regime I weighed 13 stone 1.4 lb (183.4 lb). Not my highest weight ever, but nevertheless way too much for my height. At 5'3" I should weigh between 8 and 10 stone to have my BMI in the healthy range.  So I have at least 3 stone (42 lb) to lose.  

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"


If following recommended dietary guidelines had failed to work for me for more than 20 years, then surely now was as good a time as any to try something else.  I resolved to try going low carb high fat to see what would happen.  It meant cooking different food for my partner and kids, and coping with a house full of carbohydrates, but I was determined to try for 2 weeks and then evaluate it. 

The results have astonished me.  Over the past 2 weeks I have rarely been hungry, I have eaten what seems to be a lot of food, and I have lost 7 lb in weight and 9cm from my waist.  I know this rate of weight loss will most likely not continue, but I am truly hopeful for the first time in 20 years that I may finally have the answer to my weight problem.

I have enjoyed eating avocado, roast duck (with the skin on!), full fat cheese, bacon, nuts, full fat yoghurt and the odd berry. On the down side I have also really missed bread, rice and pasta, and it was very hard not to swipe some of the kids' pizza when I cooked it for them yesterday.  

On balance this way of eating has been a lot easier than any others I have tried, principally because I have not had all-consuming hunger to deal with, nor anxiety over whether I had enough points left to be able to eat a satisfying dinner. 

As for those 2 books - they were That Sugar Book by Damon Gameau and Why we get fat by Gary Taube. I strongly recommend that you read them both, along with Sweet Poison.

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