By my 45th birthday I had gone over the latest benchmark - 200 lbs! I was actually quite confident about how I looked. I dressed well and didn't avoid the camera. Except this last Summer, if I could get hold of the camera and delete the pictures of me, I would.
Meanwhile my father had been suffering from Type 2 Diabetes for about 10 years. He has been overweight for at least the last 30 years although he was very skinny in earlier life, much like the rest of my family. I knew, with a BMI of over 30, I was at risk of developing diabetes as well and I was scared to get tested.
One day a random search on the Guardian Newspaper website led me to an article about diabetes which included diet advice, in particular low fat diets. I thought this didn't sound right and most of the comments under the article agreed, suggesting low carb was the way to go. And then I came across someone recommending Gary Taubes books and someone else agreeing with them.
The science of 'Why We Get Fat' was fascinating and shocking. It made sense to me. It made sense for the first time in my life. The idea that it wasn't my fault that I was greedy and slothful but the fault of what I ate was extraordinary. It made me realise quite how burdened I was with this self diminishing belief that I was weak and hopeless.
I have to point out that, at this time, I was in a complete state about food. Everything seemed to be on the banned list. The things I ate never 'hit that button' but always left me wanting more. I would sometimes stand in supermarkets frozen in fear about what I wanted to eat, what I should eat and what all the packaging was shouting at me to eat. I mainly ate bread because it was easy and unthreatening but even then, I longed to put butter on it.
When I got to the end of 'Why We Get Fat' I decided to eat low carb, high fat. I looked at the advice in the book (the hardback version) and I looked at a few low carb lists on line. I made my own CAN EAT/CAN'T EAT lists and was surprised at how many of my favourite foods were on the CAN EAT list. Fatty food is very tasty, after all.
So far I've lost just under 2 1/2 stones (15.8 kgs) in 3 1/2 months (including Christmas at which I ate two potatoes and a load of parsnips!). It's been very easy. For the first time in my life, food is a non-issue. I'm never hungry. I never have cravings. If I snack, it's a piece of cheese or some olives and mayonnaise. But I rarely snack. In fact I have to remind myself to eat regularly. I did no extra exercise other than the Tai Chi I was doing once a week and my usual busy life. I look at my plat and can't believe it's good for me but I've lost 6 inches round my waist and 5 round my hips.
I panic every now and then that the last three months has been a dream and I'm still the same person I was before I started eating this way. I really didn't do it to lose weight but to avoid the insulin toxicity that might lead to type 2 diabetes. However the weightloss side effect is wonderful. I'm not carrying 16 x 2lb bags of sugar around anymore. The only problem is that I've got to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe....
The new Laura.
Eating at other people's houses. Eating lunch at work, although thats been easier than I expected. Not boring everyone around me to death, talking about what I'm doing and how great it is.
Read the science, not just the diet info. Knowing what insulin was doing to my body was answer to resisting carb laden food. Don't look at it as a diet but 'just eating differently'. Have a day off, if you really must, once a month but then completely reign in again. Better to splurge once than drip little failures into your diet every day. Keep a piece of clothing around to remind you how much you've changed when your brain starts playing tricks and tells you you're still as big as you ever were. Measure instead of weigh yourself (although this can become compulsive as well!) Always remember to look at the total amount of anything you are eating, not the percentage per 100g. Even a square of dark chocolate is OK if it's 20g per 100g but 10g per square! And vice versa with something that is low carb but you that you can eat 500g in one go.