My best friend intervened, concerned about my slowly deteriorating health. Long story short, he eventually persuaded me to join a gym with him. Once in the gym, I decided that I would try dieting and exercising a fourth time. But the definition of insanity, as we know, is doing the same things over and over again yet expecting different results. So instead of trying a restricted calorie, low-fat approach or another vegetarian stint, I would try something completely different. In this change of focus, I found Mark Sisson's Primal BluePrint. I read it on my Kindle e-reader while struggling to do the elliptical machine in the gym.
It changed my life, forever.
For the first ten months, I kept my net carb count to 20 grams per day without counting or recording a single calorie. Though I incorporated a cheat item once a week, almost every week. Sometimes it would be popcorn or pizza or worse--but it would be something really tasty. But every time, I hit the gym hard the next day and have found it easy to get back on the wagon every single time. I've found that it's a trade-off I can adopt easily for life, even if I no longer lose weight. Now I can go longer between cheat meals.
I interpreted plateaus to mean that I need to try something different. After about 100 pounds lost and hitting a long plateau, I decided to finally start logging my foods using MyFitnessPal. And here is when I started to meet other low-carbers online for the first time, and they helped support and give me new ideas to experiment with. I've done pretty well since then.
I've gone from 50% body fat to 15% now. At my heaviest, I used to wear size 54 pants to work; now I wear size 32 comfortably. I used to wear 4XL size t-shirts; now I fit comfortably into mediums, even after they've been washed a few times. All of my lab results have been consistently phenomenal. I actually look forward to my annual physicals and take advantage of every free and low-cost opportunity to get blood tests done. For the first time in my life, my eye prescription strength has not changed. Ever since going low-carb (mostly paleo at that), I've not had any new cavities--only brushing my teeth once a day after dinner. My main goal/challenge this year is to get down to about 10% body fat and show off six-pack abs by X-mas.
Introducing Charlie Today:
Going it alone within a society and among a group of folks, co-workers, and acquaintances who largely don't subscribe to low-carb/paleo. Luckily for me, low-carbers and paleo folks are active and supportive online and in writing some great books, like Gary Taubes's Why We Get Fat, Dr. Eades' "Protein Power LifePlan," and Dr. Shanahan's "Deep Nutrition."
What advice (if any) would you give to someone interested in trying a carbohydrate-restricted or paleo diet?
I had a lot of misinformation about low-carb before even trying it. But I was at a point where I desperate enough to try something I considered, at the time, "extreme." I would recommend a few good books and blogs (like Mark Sisson's Primal Blue Print and his Daily Apple) among a few other excellent ones.
Another barrier was that unlike Weight Watchers, there really is no support group for low-carbers offline. I like to use MyFitnessPal to connect with other low-carbers that can help encourage and provide advice. I actually wish I had done it earlier than I did, but I'm glad I eventually did it all the same.
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