Following a low carbohydrate regime myself and encouraging friends and family to do the same, I was faced with the same question time after time. “What can I eat?” … “I don’t understand how to read labels!” … “If someone gave me a menu to follow I could do it, but I’m not very good at thinking up meals” … “I can’t be bothered to look through the list of low carbohydrate foods and it’s difficult to understand the different quantities!”.
I had been following a low-fat diet for the last ten years or so and found myself increasingly hungry, yearning for snacks and having great trouble keeping off the weight. I was feeling deprived of all my favourite foods and after days of eating, what I considered to be ‘bland’ food, the Bathroom scales always seemed fixed on the same number or a couple of pounds higher. It was very depressing. Of course, low carbohydrate diets aren’t for everyone but it suits me perfectly and I can’t imagine ever putting on weight again.
At first, I half-heartedly started looking at the science behind low carbohydrate diets and as I read more, I thought I’d give it a go. I always thought, if you cut out sugar, you’d still be storing the fat you ate and lose valuable muscle instead but I was wrong. When you eat sugar or starchy foods, your body produces insulin and that insulin likes to turn the sugars into fat. So, while I thought I was eating a healthy low-fat diet, I was still taking in too many carbohydrates and my body was converting these to fat.
I wasn’t actually that overweight (5’ 6” – 10st 2lbs) but being small framed every ounce of fat shows on me and I didn’t like it. I decided to start by cutting down to between 50 and 100 grams of carbohydrates a day and, I also decided it would be a one week experiment. I couldn’t believe the results. Within a day my weight started to come down. I came down to 8st.12lbs and I felt great.
Years later, I have still kept the weight off by continually watching the amount of carbohydrates I eat each day. I know if I just ate anything I fancied, the weight would pile back on.
A lady I know who lives near me, went on the Atkins Diet the same time as me. She had a bad heart and an under active Thyroid, which meant it was very difficult for her to lose weight because an under active thyroid means your metabolism is slower than normal. She is over 70 years old now and looks wonderful. She has to go for check ups at the hospital because of her medical conditions and her cholestorol is perfectly normal as is her blood pressure. She just lives on a low carbohydrate diet and says she feels great. The hospital are really pleased with her. So, if she can lose weight, I believe anyone can. She’s a shining example to anyone who says they can’t lose weight for whatever reason.
When you go on any kind of slimming diet, you have to change the way you eat. Some people say “Ooh! I can’t go without my Jacket Potato”. Unfortunately, this is why they’re overweight. You cannot slim and stay slim by eating jacket potatos. If you follow a low-fat diet the butter on the potato is fattening and if you’re on a low carbohydrate diet, the potato is fattening. The two don’t go together. The same can be said of Pizza. Another high fat, high carb food.
That’s not to say, you can never have a jacket potato again. Just promise yourself a treat once a week. I myself have an Indian takeaway every Saturday evening. I try to limit the amount of Rice and Naan bread I eat but then I have a bar of chocolate for my dessert because I decide I deserve it after being good all week.
We’ve all been conditioned to have Potatoes, Bread, Rice or Pasta with our meals and it seems strange not to. But, if we’d been brought up to have, say, Broccoli or Lettuce with every meal we wouldn’t think it strange at all. You have to condition yourself to a new way of eating meals. Potatoes are only another vegetable, just choose a different vegetable to add to your meal, then you’ll still have your ‘meat and two veg’. It seems strange at first but after a week or so, it just seems natural and, you won’t be craving biscuits and those other high
Just try this diet for a week like I did and if you follow it without cheating, the rewards come quickly. It is so encouraging to see half a stone disappear in a week. Of course this isn’t all fat in the first week, everyone loses water whenthey first start a diet, which is why it’s important to drink plenty of water.
If you want to, you can have as little as 4 units per day but if you do, it would probably be beneficial to take a vitamin supplement (without iron – this contributes to constipation). Make sure you drink at least 3 pints of water a day and have a small handful of Branflakes a day to keep you from being constipated. If you feel unwell by cutting down on your carbohydrates drastically, it will be withdrawal symptoms where your body is craving carbohydrates. This usually passes quite quickly, but if you feel really unwell then ‘up’ your carb intake a little. Then
gradually cut down again’
If you are going to follow a low carbohydrate diet, then you really shouldn’t cheat. If you have been eating a lot of fatty food and then binge on sweets or other carbs, the weight will pile on even quicker than before. So be warned.
.As with all diets, you should check with your GP if you have any medical condition which might be affected by dieting.