After a great deal of research, I found a study that linked insulin spikes to growth defects (particularly spina bifida) and I am convinced that that was the cause in my case. After a year we tried again, had another miscarriage, then I finally had a healthy baby girl who is now nearly 6 years old (after being very careful with my carb intake during the pregnancy). Then my husband discovered Gary Taubes' "Why we get Fat" and we both devoured it in days. It made total sense and caused a complete paradigm shift for me regarding health and nutrition. I have followed his recommended regimen of eating less than 20g of carbs a day and have lost nearly 15kg in 9 months. The weight came off slowly but steadily and I lost inches (I dropped three dress sizes in six months). Not only do I feel fantastic, but nearly a year down the line I am still losing and enjoying being able to wear lovely clothes again - and that's with very little exercise!
My brain is quicker, I don't forget things like I used to and I have so much more energy and positivity! And as for the health benefits, I am far healthier than I have been in years. My friends are incredulous because I eat so much cheese, butter and cream! After following my new eating plan (I do not consider myself as being on diet) for three months, I started experiencing dizzy spells and weird leg cramps. I visited my doctor who ran a full series of blood tests, including all thyroid tests (I have been suffering from hypothyroidism for years and have been taking thyroxin for nearly 7 years). The results were astonishing - the cause of the dizziness was my thyroid. My new eating plan had kick-started my thryoid again and because I was still on medication, I was over-producing the hormone.
My doctor immediately halved my dose of medication and retested me a month later, then the month after that. The dizziness and cramps disappeared. I am now completely off the medication and am due for a follow up test in a month's time. As for the rest of my test results - my doctor told me that my full blood count is that of an 18 year olds! Although my overall cholesterol was higher than it's ever been, there were no red flags because my cholesterol to HDL ratio is in the "ideal" category. I have also suffered with low blood iron following years of regular blood donation and marathon running - at one stage having to give up blood donation because my iron reserves were so low. My iron levels are now extremely healthy. My doctor is 100% behind me on my new eating plan. Most importantly, I do not think of myself as being "on diet" and will follow this way of eating for the rest of my life (but intend adding more fruit once I have lost more weight). Clinically, I am still obese with a BMI of 30.9, and I still have a long way to go to get to the weight that I want to be, but I know with absolute conviction that I will get there.
Meet Betty Today.
What was the biggest challenge to adopting a carbohydrate-restricted or paleo diet?
Giving up bread, cakes and sweets. I LOVE bread. Now I never crave bread at all, but I still hanker after chocolate every now and then.
What advice (if any) would you give to someone interested in trying a carbohydrate-restricted or paleo diet? Were there any obstacles that you overcame that could help future dieters?
1. Do all the research you possibly can before starting on any eating plan - know why you are eating this way and what effects it may have on your body and mind. It will help make you better prepared for hiccups along the way.
2. Consult your doctor before you begin - especially if you have a pre-existing health condition. If your doctor is a carb-naysayer, balance what he/she says with what you know, have experienced and read.
3. Make sure you have the right incentive for losing weight. My experience has taught me that if you have too specific a goal, you tend to binge once you have reached it. I now intend to eat this way for the rest of my life - no pressure or anxiety if I don't lose weight for a week and no obsessing over food. If I want to take a break for a day (or more, like at Christmas time) I do, and then get right back to business afterwards.
4. Lastly, don't be afraid to experiment and mix things up a bit. When you hit a plateau (which you will) don't panic and don't give up. Try something different - give something up or try something new. I recently discovered that I am eating way too much beef jerky and left if out completely for two weeks and my weight loss literally plummeted. I replaced it with raspberries and blue berries. What a pleasure!