Low Carb Diet – Why I Have Decided to Give it a Try


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low carb dietI have known about the Low Carb diet – also known as the Atkins or Ketogenic diet – for many years. Having read about it mostly from the sources critical of it, I decided some time ago that it was probably not for me. I had read some scare stories about how dangerous the low carb diet  can be to health, and it was enough to make me forget about it for a while.

 

The scares in such stories are mostly linked to kidney damage which can indeed happen when we eat too much meat and other proteins. This leads to  a formation of large quantities of  substances which kidneys have a problem expelling out of the body. This in turn results in their failure. More about it later, since I realise now that low carb is not about replacing carbohydrates with protein!

 

My own struggles with weight loss

 

A little bit about my own struggles with weight loss. Until not so long ago, I’d had them on and off since I was a teenager. My teens were blighted by bulimia. I don’t know what triggered it. I think that it was insecurities with the way I looked, plus the situation at home. As children, we don’t choose our environment. I didn’t choose mine for sure. Bulimia is a hard thing to beat. Once it started, it lasted into my 40s. I wouldn’t say that it helped me maintain weight. It was totally a psychological response to feeling trapped, and my own way of exercising control over my life and choices that seemed to be so out of control.  I must say that after a major change in my life I have finally found a sense of balance and contentment. However, my weight problems are far from over!

 

I am 57 now. I went through the menopause about 5 years ago. Before that I maintained a weight which I was if not entirely happy with, but reasonably content. I knew I needed to slim down, but it wasn’t on the top of my agenda, since I was physically active and relatively unaffected with the extra pounds I was carrying. I was what would some describe an “older mum” having given birth at 36, and suffered from severe postnatal depression, as well as marital and financial problems. The stress led to overeating and my weight creeping up to the number I was horrified to find out when I joined Weight Watchers. You see, I was so scared to learn about my weight that I avoided the scales! 😀

 

What happened when I first joined Weight Watchers

 

A bit about my journey with Weight Watchers. I won’t slag them. They did help me lose weight twice. The first time it was in my mid-forties. The trigger was my desperation about having to look for clothes in my size and not finding anything I liked. My feet grew in size too – I guess because they were carrying too much weight and had to adjust. This is when I thought that I had to do something about it.

 

Having met an acquaintance who had been with Weight Watchers and had  lost a lot of weight with them, I thought that it was my turn to do it. So I started coming to their meetings, and then decided to do it myself. My motivation and fear were at such a level that I did indeed follow the program scrupulously – both cutting the calories and exercising. This had led to the loss of all that huge weight. I was so proud of myself then! 🙂

 

The main outcome was that I felt light. I could walk again without my knees hurting. I could look for and find the clothes I liked. I knew I looked good, and felt good too. But… the menopause was still a few years ahead, and had I known its consequences and pitfalls, I would have got myself properly prepared for it! 🙁

 

My second attempt at losing weight

 

The second time I joined Weight Watchers was last autumn – for the same reason as the first time – lack of what I would call a “decent” choice of styles in my size. I don’t like wearing “big woman” clothes. Unfortunately, most of such clothes make you look even bigger. And there was another reason too – my health. My energy slumps and depression, as well as knee problems were directly connected to my weight.

 

So I knew I needed to do something about it. And you know what happens when we set our mind on something – we get unexpected help from all sorts of places. In my case I got it straight from Weight Watchers and their promotional email which offered a 3-months memberhsip at a fraction of their usual price. I would still have joined them even without the promotion, but I just thought that it was an interesting coincidence. 🙂

 

 

I lost 10kg following the program. This was far below my target weight loss. Then I caught a flu which took me a long time to recover from – over 2 months in fact, with the cough lingering for many more weeks. I didn’t know whether it was connected with my severe calorie restriction which is what I had to follow in order to lose my weight so fast (apart from exercise – and I did do my walks and swims!). In any case, when the next Weight Watchers offer popped into my email box, I didn’t give it a second thought.

 

You see, with calorie control, it is a hard thing to follow for a long period of time, and all too easy to slide back into old ways, unless the causes which have led to overeating (mostly psychological) have been addressed. There have been so many cases where people who lose a lot of weight on a calorie restriction diet regain what they have lost – and more – equally fast!

 

My first steps into the low carb “diet”

 

I have come across a few of people who live low carb – not just use it as a short-term diet to lose weight. To them it is a lifestyle choice. I am still to find out whether it is a lifestyle choice or a diet for me personally, which is why I call it a diet. But two of the most inspiring people I know live it and I am sure are determined to stick with it.

 

One of them is my friend – I’ll call her Cara.  She started eating low-carb not so long ago. She told me how her health had improved since she started the diet – the inflammations were gone, she started feeling much lighter and more alert. She also noticed that her energy levels had gone up. This got me thinking. But I was still on the fence about it… The main question I had was the long-term effect of eating low carb. I needed to know if it wouldn’t damage my health permanently a few years from now.

 

This is when I came across Lynn Terry and her wonderful, energizing blog absolutley packed with information about living low carb and also with yummy, mouth-watering recipes. Just in case you don’t like clicking on links, you can find the blog at www.travelinglowcarb.com. Lynn has been writing it for quite a few years, and it is now THE place to go if like me you think of trying out the low carb diet – even to decide if it is something you would like to follow long-term.

 

A bit more about Lynn Terry and her low carb blog

 

First of all, Lynn’s own journey leading to the creation of the blog was more than bumpy. She had her own BIG share of troubles. When life bends us to the point that we cannot bear it anymore, two things happen. One – we break. Two – we get stronger, more resourceful and start looking for ways out. This is exactly what Lynn did – she looked and found not only a way to bring herself back to health – and a happy, fulfilled life, but to help others struggling with similar issues.

 

I must mention here that low carb was not her first venture. Lynn is a well-recognised internet marketer with over two decades of experience. She runs a successful blogwww.clicknewz.com and is helping people (including me) to bring their blogs into the public domain. Her webinars are one of a kind. I have been with a number of mentors over the years, and Lynn’s style is most suited to me. I guess it’s her integrity and giving nature that are most captivating. And when we give from the heart, we get back what we have given, and more. I guess this is one of the secrets of this lady’s success, apart from her cheerful, sunny personality. We just want to be around people like this, don’t we? And we want to be them too. In a good way of course – without aping their every move and venture. It’s called true inspiration! 🙂

 

Why I decided to try the low carb diet

 

So the insipiration has led me to a desire to try it out. I could see that low carb was working for my friend Cara, my mentor Lynn and also her multiple followers and students. I forgot to mention that Lynn runs a 90 Day Low Carb Challenge and a Facebook group which one can join after signing up for the Challenge. There are also Low Carb Classes which have been running since April (so recordings are available) where Lynn introduces the low carb lifestyle and talks about its various pitfalls, answering questions that come up all the time. It’s very much worth your time! As for the money (and I love this!) – Lynn lets you decide the value. So you pay what you are willing to pay (or can afford). I might try this approach with my own Mineral Healing courses. I will let you know if I do! 🙂

 

By the way, if you are too busy to come here often, sign up to my mailing list and get your free copy of the “Mineral Healing” e-book. You’ll then get updates on what I do right into your mailing box! 🙂

 

Is all fat bad for us?

 

Lynn has explained very simply why the low carb diet it completely safe and good for us. Do you remember why I had been steering clear of low carb diet? I was worried about its effect on my kidneys because I thought that I had to compensate carbohydrates with protein (meat, fish etc). Apparently not so! The bulk of calories comes from the healthy fat which replaces the carbs. Please pay attention at the word “healthy”. This is important. We have been brainwashed since childhood that fat is bad, and that in order to lose weight we need to cut fat out of our diet. This is so far away from the truth! In fact, if we stop eating fat, our health will suffer serious consequences. And one capsule of fish oil (or starflower oil if you are a veggie) is simply not enough to keep our heart healthy and joints mobile!

 

Think about the brain and nerve tissue – it is mostly fat. We also need fat to produce hormones. We need it for other functions as well. And to keep our circulatory system in good health. Good fat stops bad fat from forming arterial plaque and helps to take the culprit out of the body. It helps to cleanse our blood vessels and “oil” the joints. We need it! 🙂

 

What happens when we stop eating carbohydrates (short explanation)

 

When we stop eating carbohydrates and replace them with fat, after a while the body starts adjusting itself to a new source of energy. It takes time. It also means a certain level of discomfort. This happens because the body goes into a state of ketosis – the fat burning mode. The process produces ketones, which is why low carb is also known as the ketogenic diet. After a while, the body adjusts to the new fuel and stabilises itself.

 

In the meantime, you can experience what is called “the keto flu” which can be accompanied by weakness, irritability, low energy, headaches, dizziness and similar symptoms (this goes away after a short time). The body starts burning fat, which leads to weight loss and many other health benefits. Sugar cravings often disappear, sleep improves, blood pressure normalises, inflammations go away and you start to feel more energised throughout the day. This is what I have been told by my friend and people on the forums I have followed, and this is what Lynn keeps telling us at her Low Carb Classes.

 

All of this is inspiring, and for me is a clear sign that I should at least give it a try. I will let you know how my trial goes, so do come back! 🙂

 

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