What follows are my honest conclusions after many hours of study and my own health experience. I’m not a doctor and this is not meant to substitute for medical advice. Some resources to do your own research and to get started are listed at the bottom of this post. I wish you the very best health and success being your most beautiful self, inside and out.
Calories in, calories out? You are not an automobile! You are a wondrous, amazing chemistry lab, in which insulin, ghrelin, leptin and other hormones regulate what your body does with the calories you eat and the calories you store.
In my past, I have done the calorie restriction + exercise method to get my weight under control and I can tell you my experience: it’s very hard, it will leave you in a continual state of hunger, it takes forever, and it can really mess up your metabolism. Honestly, I think it sucks!
There is another way that is so much more natural, easier, healthier, and faster! If you promise you won’t run away screaming, I’ll say it. High fat, low carbohydrate diet.
Most people will admit sugar is not healthy. But did you know that all carbohydrates turn to sugar by the time they reach your bloodstream? Even whole wheat grains, potatoes, and apples — they are all converted to sugar when digested.
“A calorie simply is not a calorie. I’m not saying the laws of thermodynamics don’t apply–they do! But they only apply when the hormones are balanced correctly. If the hormones aren’t balanced, the calorie hypothesis isn’t valid.”— Dr. Adam Nally
The amount of sugar that a human being can tolerate in the bloodstream at any given time is only about one teaspoon. Just 4 grams of carbohydrate. A large Fuji apple contains the equivalent of about 4 teaspoons of sugar. Since high blood sugar will kill a person, your body makes insulin. Insulin’s job is to store sugar as fat, and keep it there. It’s a great mechanism for fattening up in late summer for a long hard winter of deprivation, but not so much for the modern human being fitted for a wedding gown.
The three “macronutrients” of diet are fat, protein, and carbohydrates. In terms of percentages, if you lower your fat intake, the other two must necessarily go up. If protein goes up, you soon hit a limit of useful protein because the body can only use a certain amount at one time and the rest goes into… fat storage (and urine). If carbohydrate goes up, you end up with massive amounts of insulin running around trying to lower your blood sugar levels and locking up your… fat storage. If fat goes up (and the other two go down), your hormones and enzymes do a wonderful little readjust called the adaption period and voila – your chemistry lab now gives you less hunger, more energy, clearer head, clearer skin… and so many other benefits.
People used to know this about sugar. Before the 1970’s everyone knew that to slim down you must avoid sugar, not fat. But then politics and lobbying got involved and the “amber waves of grain” needed a little marketing help. And ever since the low-fat lie took hold, Americans have become heavier and sicker, just as many scientists predicted we would.
Let’s say it is cold and you have a fireplace. If you fill it with little sticks and paper, it’s going to burn very fast, very hot, and then need more fuel very quickly. That’s the “eat every 3 hours” nonsense that a high carbohydrate diet requires. But if you burn big logs, they just keep going and going. That is what it feels like to live on a high fat diet. Be a fat burner!
Becoming fat adapted is not always a smooth transition. They used to call it “Atkins Flu” or “Keto Flu.” The slump many people experience comes because at first you do not have the right hormone and enzyme balances and your body is crying, “where’s my sugar?” Most experience a transition period of 3-10 days, though it can take longer for some.
Random thoughts and suggestions for going forward:
- Stop eating cereal, sandwiches, and “easy” food. Sorry. You’ll be glad later though.
- Saturated fat is not bad for you. In fact, when you lose weight with any method, you are living on a high saturated fat diet. That is, your own body fat.
- Breakfast is not the most important meal of the day. You are not obligated to eat it.
- Drink high quality salted broth while transitioning to a high fat low carb diet. Many people have reported that salted broth diminishes the transition discomforts.
- Avoid basing your new high fat diet on seed oils (canola, safflower, corn, etc.) They are highly processed Omega 6 bombs that will cause inflammation and interfere with weight loss. Instead, eat egg yolks, avocados, grass fed meats, butter, macadamia nuts, and olive oil.
- Old Atkins vs. New Atkins… eat a lot of non-starchy vegetables!! I cannot stress this enough. You will feel great if you do this and many of the vitamins in your veggies will be better absorbed with a fatty diet.
- High/full fat dairy only. I don’t tolerate milk, and even whole milk has a lot of sugar in it, but I love cream, whole milk plain yogurt, butter… Note: if I cannot get pastured dairy I usually choose not to eat it at all. Pasture raised meat/dairy/eggs, have more omega 3, more nutrients, and more flavor. Plus, unpastured animal husbandry is generally inhumane in my opinion.
- Pack your lunch. Pack snacks. Don’t leave home without it!
- If you drink… Everyone’s different and I don’t presume to be the expert here, but I find it best for weight loss to limit drinking in several ways. 1) No alcohol the first 2 weeks of your weight loss project. 2) Thereafter, only drink once or twice a week. 3) No sweet drinks, and rarely wine (spirits in club soda is a good option). 4) If you are going to drink, do it early, enjoy every minute, and then switch to water, tea, or other harmless beverages. Drinking later interferes with sleep. 5) Take a B complex vitamin before drinking. 6) Throw away all the rules (except the one about driving) on your birthday.
- Stop believing that “fruits and vegetables” are a food category. Fruit doesn’t share a category with kale, it shares a category with Snickers. Get a reliable carb counter book or app and learn how much sugar is in your food.
Although I support your desire to be more slender with all my heart, I feel obligated to say that your long term health is the most important part of this goal. There are ways to get thin that will mess. you. up. The good news is that this isn’t one of them! It’s fast and it’s healthy and you won’t be hungry all the time. The price is our beloved carbohydrates. And you may find social gatherings challenging. If you can pay the price, you will succeed.
In conclusion, I wish you the very best in achieving your weight loss goal. I myself am not “naturally thin.” I still fight temptation and sometimes fail. It doesn’t matter. Keep moving forward. Work hard to understand why you make certain choices and you will always find a way to do better. Write to me if you have specific questions I might answer.
Please also check out my older blog post on avoiding sugar and grains, here, where you can find even more motivation and details about this way of eating!
RESOURCES (these are just a few – tons out there!)