Finally Achieving My Greatest Unattained Goal

This is the year I will attain it!I’m sorry I haven’t posted much recently, but I’ve been very busy working on a new project. As long-time readers may know, as well as having written a couple of dozen books on computing and web development I also write about psychology and motivation, and more specifically Creative Visualization, in which I teach techniques for priming yourself to become more creative, have greater motivation and to set and achieve your goals in life (among many other things).

I’ve written two books on the subject so far, Creative Visualization For Dummies, and Yes I Can!. The former is a comprehensive tutorial starting from first principles, while the latter takes a selection of 20 different aspects of life and provides techniques for working on each (it also made the UK WH Smiths Top 20 in 2012).

Topics covered in both books include coping with fears and phobias, gaining self-confidence, getting other people on your side, becoming happy and fulfilled, quitting bad habits such as smoking, and much more. In all these areas I have succeeded in making vast improvements in my own life, having stopped smoking and drinking, becoming more confident, losing a fear of dentists I had since childhood, and so on. All, that is, with one exception.

And this exception has stubbornly bugged me for years, and steadfastly refused to budge even after the deepest and most highly imagined visualizations and affirmations. What could this thing be you may ask (or you may already have an inkling). Well, the answer is my weight.

My Toughest Goal To Date

A tough goal

Having been a thin and spritely teenager, and reasonably slim and healthy in my 20s, once I hit my 30s I started to put on a few pounds until by my 40s I had become overweight enough that I was now on two types of blood pressure medication, and also suffered from acid reflux (fairly common with overweight people).

Then, as I continued onto my 50s, despite trying to follow healthy advice about eating low fat and high carb (10% fat, 30% protein and 60% carbs), and keeping my calorie intake to under 2,000 per day, I was continuing to gain weight, and in addition to being put on statins I became clinically obese in my early 50s (by having a BMI in excess of 30).

As I said, all this time I was able to change numerous parts of my life through constant visualization, affirmations and motivational techniques, but nomatter how hard I tried, I couldn’t lower my weight (in fact it continued creeping upwards). But I was determined not to give up trying, undertaking various different dieting attempts, in the course of which I finally kicked alcohol to the point that I could go without it for weeks or months, then drink for one night, and go without it again for several more weeks without getting ‘hooked’ again. And with all those beer calories not entering my body I still wasn’t losing any weight.

I purchased and frequently used a treadmill and vibration machine. I changed from a sit-down desk to a standing one. I went on long walks and undertook exhausting DIY or gardening projects, and sometimes I lost a few pounds, only to see it all come back. ‘Healthy’ eating, exercise and no smoking or drinking simply wasn’t working for me, and I am a highly determined individual.

Having decided that this was one area that was not simply going to bend to my will in the way that so many others had in my life, I went back to the drawing board and decided I had to undertake some research. So I started with biology primers and learned as much as I could about nutrition and the digestive system, about how fat storage (and release) works, the effect exercise has on weight, what different foods do to the body, how various popular diets work and so on. And I now have half a small bookcase full of books on the subject from all the best-known authors.

Many of these books, sadly, led me up the garden path – mainly those that continued to preach the standard 10/30/60 dietary split between fat, protein and carbohydrates, and spouted off about the ‘healthiness’ of grains and pasta, while at the same time demonizing eggs, meat and saturated fats.

What I discovered was that we have all been lied to by the huge food organizations and drug companies, who do so much lobbying that they have governments in their pockets, which also repeat the big food lie of the last 60 years, which is that fatty foods cause body fat. I mean, it sounds so logical and obvious doesn’t it? You eat fat so you get fat. Except that it’s completely wrong.

Fatty Foods Do Not Make You Fat

Cheese is full of fat

What I discovered over and over again in my research is one simple and very fundamental fact (something that nature perfected over a very long time to ensure our survival), which is that carbohydrates (not fatty foods) are turned into body fat. You see, people have only been farming for about 10,000 years. Before that we were hunter gatherers and most of the food we ate was meat and vegetables, along with nuts, seeds and berries.

Our diet was pretty much the inverse of what the ‘experts’ currently recommend, in that we probably ate about 60% fat, 30% protein and 10% carbohydrates. And that 60% fat was burned as fuel by our bodies by turning it into chemicals called ketones, which are superior to glucose for powering muscles and our brains.

At the end of summer each year there would be fruits, berries and nuts on the trees and an abundance of carbohydrates would become available. People love sweet foods so all this fruit would be eaten and the carbohydrates in them would be turned into fat and stored in our bodies to help us live through what could be bitterly cold winters, often with restricted access to food. By the time spring came all the excess fat would be burned off at around the time food became more plentiful again.

This was the great mechanism invented by nature – the internal equivalent of squirrels storing nuts for the winter. And the process by which this works is very simple indeed. In fact it’s so simple that all nutritionists fully understand it (even while still insisting that somehow it’s the fat that makes you fat).

How You Get Fat

The obesity epidemic

What happens is that as soon as carbohydrates enter your body they are broken down into glucose. Whether these carbs are from wheat, bread, pasta, potatoes, sugar or high fructose corn syrup, they all are easily broken down into glucose, which then quickly enters your bloodstream. Your pancreas then notices this and immediately realizes that your glucose levels are far too high and starts to deal with them, by either converting the glucose into glycogen (a watery energy storage medium) or, if you already have enough glycogen already, the glucose is swept away into your fat cells.

Now, you were born with your fat cells because you need them to survive, and they play an important role. So the insulin does the smart thing and utilizes them to store the energy-dense meal you have just eaten, because on an evolutionary scale, with all these carbs being consumed it must currently be the autumn, and winter is therefore coming, and so you’re going to need that fat to survive. The trouble begins, though, when you eat lots of carbohydrates every day, because the winter never comes, and your bodily fat supplies grow and grow.

So when nutrition ‘experts’ insist that your diet must comprise of 60% carbohydrates, they are actually advising you to store as much fat as possible. Like I said, they all learned about insulin and fat storage when they studied for their qualifications. But somehow the big myth that fat makes body fat overrides this knowledge in most of them. And sadly this includes the majority of physicians and doctors too, who simply rely on what governments, health advisory bodies and drug companies tell them.

Yes, I found it very hard to believe too, and I took a lot of convincing by the results of numerous books and scientific studies, before I reluctantly admitted that most of the professionals had it all wrong. If you don’t believe it, do the research for yourself – but be honest and open and read all sides of the arguments, especially the ones that are based on solid science and the results of independent studies.

So What’s The Answer?

What's the answer

The answer to obesity is simply to let your body have its winter by restricting your carbohydrate intake until you return to your baseline weight. You do this by reducing carbohydrates to a minimum and then increasing your fat intake to compensate.

Of course, in modern society it’s not quite as easy as this because most foods are highly carbohydrate loaded, so restricting carbs means returning to cooking all your own meals from basic ingredients – but isn’t that going to be so much more healthy for you anyway, particularly as you also cut out all the additives and preservatives too?

Yes, it does mean leaving all those delicious pastries, cakes and desserts on the table, omitting pasta, bread, potatoes and rice from your diet, and foregoing sugary drinks such as sodas and even fruit juices. I know, sounds terrifying, doesn’t it! But all these things would have been non-existent (or very scarce) during the 2 million or so years that comprised the main evolution of the human dietary system.

You see, 10,000 years of evolution since the invention of agriculture is a miniscule amount in comparison, and the human body has been unable to evolve sufficiently fast to keep up with it, especially over the last 50 years, in which major farming strides have been made – hence the current obesity epidemic.

It’s Not Your Fault

My weight loss since July 1st

If you’re overweight you need to remember that it’s not your fault, even though dieticians and doctors may scold you for overeating and not exercising, it’s not the case that you are to blame. You are in the same boat as about half the human race. You’ve been told to eat the wrong things, and most of the food in the supermarkets today will result in you gaining body weight.

Once you have realized that it’s not your fault, and you know why it’s so hard to diet successfully (because most food – even specialist diet food if it contains carbohydrates – will make you put on weight), and you finally make the decision to lose weight and actually keep it off, wouldn’t you hanker for a scientifically proven method you could use to get back to your proper baseline weight, and stay there?

Well thankfully there is a safe and almost foolproof way, and I am just one person of hundreds of thousands who is proof of its efficacy. I also have nothing to sell (unlike many diet proponents). I just have some information to pass on, which is that simply by changing over to eating all natural food, cooked by myself from original ingredients, I am now losing on average 120 grams (¼ pound) almost each and every day, and have been for months. I don’t exercise (other than gardening and some DIY), and I don’t diet. What’s more I eat when I am hungry and never have to starve myself.

So far I have lost 11 kilos (25 pounds) of body fat, several inches of waist size, my acid reflux has almost completely disappeared, my blood pressure has significantly dropped, and even my dandruff has disappeared. What’s more I feel like I have the energy back that I did in my 20s, I fall asleep quickly and wake up early and not drowsy, and everything is going great!

It’s All About The Carbs

Sugar is a carbohydrate

To achieve all these changes in my life I really have made only one change, and that is to try and keep my consumption of carbohydrates down to under about 25 grams a day. I simply made the choice that I was not going to go on a diet, but I was going to change my way of eating – for good!

From all my research, and the numerous incredible stories of others, I knew that a low carb way of eating was what our bodies evolved to need, and are most efficient at using. I also understood that if I were to go back to eating carbohydrates I would pile on the pounds again (as I do if I slip up by having a few too many grams of carbs in a day). No, I was not going to go on a diet to reach my target weight, and then assume I could go back to eating what I liked. That would just be a recipe for disaster.

So I made the plunge and chose to completely change what I eat (even though it’s totally different from what the rest of my family have), and made the decision to stay eating that way from now onwards. And by the way, every meal is delicious!

Initially I thought it was going to be hard, but guess what? I lost 3 kilos (7 pounds) in just the first 7 days and felt excellent. I also, for the first diet ever, felt no hunger pangs whatsoever. Somehow by not consuming carbohydrates, and replacing them with fat, my satiety levels were significantly raised and I found I could only eat about half the amount I used to before feeling full up. And if I feel peckish during the day, that’s fine. I eat a handful of macadamia nuts, or maybe some beef jerky, or have a coffee with plenty of double (heavy) cream.

I Am Never Hungry

Eating low carb is hunger-free

Let me stress again. By eating what is also known as a paleolithic (or LCHF) diet, my biggest dread about dieting is gone for good;I have no hunger other than the normal hunger you feel just before mealtime. And I also have no guilt about snacking because I can eat tasty, fatty snacks that don’t cause weight gain and that quickly stop any hunger twinges. Plus, because I am constantly full, my calorie intake is sufficiently low to maintain a healthy 120 gram daily weight loss most days.

At some point (probably mid 2014) I expect to reach my baseline body weight, at which time I will stop losing weight and should simply maintain the same level quite naturally, as long as I keep off the carbs. And all without recourse to Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, or vigorous workouts, or starving myself, or anything other than easting sensibly the way my ancestors used to – that’s it, just as nature intended. No fad diet. No rebound. No cravings. No added expense other than for the cost of buying wholesome food instead of factory-made meals. No hunger. No binging. No shame.

Of course, there are a few things you should know before you make a huge change like this, such as which supplements and minerals you may need to take (perhaps such as increased magnesium and sodium, maybe Co Enzyme Q10, Omega 3, and other supplements such as these, depending on your lifestyle and any medications you take such as statins, and so forth), and what foods are allowed and disallowed, and so on.

Speaking of statins, by the way (which is a whole other area of dietary and health misinformation), thankfully low carbers generally find that their good cholesterol (HDL) raises, while LDL (the bad one) drops, and their ratio of triglycerides (fat) to cholesterol also drops (this is the most important indicator of all), often to the point where statin medication can be discontinued – another bonus of eating better, because statins cost money and can have unpleasant side effects for many people.

If you are interested in switching to this way of eating you won’t regret it, and in the first instance I recommend looking up “Low Carb”, “Paleo”, “LCHF” (Low Carb High Fat), or “Atkins” and getting yourself a good primer on the subject, perhaps along with a low carb recipe book to give you ideas, because you’ll be glad to know that you can make substitutes for most carbohydrate meals, and can make cookies, ice cream and other treats from alternative ingredients. See, it’s not as bad as you might have thought!

Please bookmark this blog if you haven’t already because as I fully digest it all I’ll be posting much more on this subject from the huge mass of books, literature and other information I have amassed, and keep you up-to-date on the continuing progress of my new eating regime. I am truly amazed at just how totally easy it is, and how successful too. If only I had known about all this stuff 20 years ago!

Stumblers: If you like this article please give it a thumbs up – thanks!

  • Just saying

    Nothing personal, but I think that Atkin’s wants his diet plan back.

  • Robin Nixon

    Although Atkins was the first major proponent of eating a low carb diet, the original was Dr William Harvey in the 1600s, who was the first to understand and explain the circulatory system. Obesity was quite rare in his day, but whenever he encountered it, Harvey successfully treated it with a low carb diet. Nowadays, only those who haven’t fully researched and understood all major aspects of nutrition deny that low carb is healthy. Sadly that’s the majority pf people, though.

  • derek

    That is wonderful to hear. Always happy to see another story where truth and health prevail.

  • Srdjan Andrei Ostric

    Congratulations. I did the same thing, and lost 40 lbs. When I achieved my goal weight, I reintroduced carbs into my diet, but mostly in the form of whole foods, but I can eat things I like occasionally, like a burger and fries and beer, without packing back on the pounds.

    But the fact is: This diet does take work and discipline and will power, but it’s just a different kind than just fighting off hunger. It’s takes drive and discipline and commitment, but there are results. That I think is important to note, because a lot of people fail this diet cause they get bored, fall off the wagon, and never get back on.

    People want things to be easy in life, and they never are. The thing that keeps us going is results, and the pride and satisfaction of making it through, and being determined and keeping the path.

    Great job.

  • Lizzie

    I am just starting out on my low carb journey and am very excited – at last, I don’t feel hungry, I can eat quite a few vegetables and everything is so delicious. I can’t believe I have deprived myself of berries and cream for all of my adult life! One question – did you monitor your calorie intake as well as grams of carbs?

  • chomps

    My LCHF story is a bit different from simply losing weight. I suffered from PCOS (insulin resistant ovaries that do not ovulate) for about 10 years of my life. When my husband and I wanted to get pregnant the first time, we had to see a specialist for 9 months, with me on two kinds of oral meds to force my body to produce an egg. Thankfully, we succeeded before IVF became our last resort. Incidentally enough, two weeks before I fell pregnant, we switched to Gary Taubes’s suggested way of eating. I always credited my nearly symptom-free pregnancy to this. I am still breastfeeding my now 15-month old and have been low-carbing all the way.

    Now, I clearly couldn’t be 100% sure that the reversal in my fertility came from the LCHF lifestyle. About a month ago, my husband started talking about trying to conceive again. I mostly rolled my eyes, panicked a little (okay, maybe a lot!) about how things went before, but tried to relax by telling myself that it’d be better for our first child to be a little older and that we’d end up with just the right child one way or the other. Imagine my surprise two weeks later when I got a positive pregnancy test! I had been having regular 35-day cycles since March of this year, but that was no guarantee of ovulation. Here was my proof.

    TL;DR – LCHF *CURED* my PCOS. I am still considered slightly overweight for my height, but I feel (and look!) so much better than I ever did as an infertile 90% vegetarian. To anyone considering this diet, I highly recommend the work of Gary Taubes and Dr. Peter Attia, and also their joint venture NuSI. And the Wheat Belly Cookbook is fabulous!! Key lime pie anyone?!

  • chomps

    No. There is no need to monitor calories. There have been studies (Gary Taubes’s books cite many) that show eating 5000 calories of LCHF still results in weight loss. When I plug my numbers into a calculator, I usually end up between 2500 and 3000, but I do it for curiosity purposes very rarely. It’s also funny because it screams at me for my sat fat intake. Teehee! And yes, berries and cream are a gift from heaven!

  • Lizzie

    Thank you chomps! And congratulations :-).

  • paulc

    go read Banting’s Letter on Corpulence… predates Atkins by quite a bit.

    It’s freely available online:

  • Stephanie

    I’m a low carb lover! I’m down 88 lbs in the last 14 months and feel fantastic. This is the only way of eating that works for me.

  • Kirk Otto

    Unfortunately, I’m one of those that can still eat to excess while following a LCHF diet plan.

  • Glen0

    My wife and I have both become keto adapted for the last couple of months and we both agree that although the physical benefits are fantastic they still pale in comparison to the mental clarity and focus when needed but also the ability to relax your mind without it running off in all directions. I didn’t think that I needed to lose weight but after cutting carbs I dropped from 72kg to 61kg over about a 2 week period. Scares me to think how much visceral fat I must have been carrying around. For a Male who has always carried a decent amount of muscle, watching my arms and shoulders shrink so rapidly was hurting my ego but also teaching me that most of what I had was “show muscle” as I was no less strong. Over the last few weeks I have been doing some very high intensity training and eating plenty of quality fats and my ego is happier that my arms are about 75% their original size but solid usable muscle this time. I would and do recommend Low carb High fat to anyone as it ages you less and you don’t need tonnes of antioxidant rich foods as you do as a carb burner, just some foliage.

  • Gill Proudfoot

    I am so glad that the Diet Doctor tweeted this article. It is bang up to date and very interesting.

    I have been on the LCHF way of eating for nearly four weeks and have lost about 6 lbs which is good going for me! For example I lost 12lbs with Weight Watchers but that took 18 months!

    Today I had three rashers of bacon and a tomato, fried in about a teaspoonful of oil and then a cup of tea with whole milk. I didn’t feel hungry at all during the morning which I often used to before.

  • mehdig3

    Tried it too. Yes the hunger goes away but when you’re addicted to food to compensate for boredom or stress then this diet is a killer. No need to feel hungry to eat a dessert a den with whipped cream. After 3 months I had not lost but gained. I have to watch what I eat and find compensation somewhere else than around the kitchen. So please when you write this kind of testimony do not overlook the particular cases. 2 other things that I find puzzling in your story. First if you are never hungry why the need for snacking guiltlessly 2)where did our ancestors find supplément pills?

  • Gill Proudfoot

    Mehdig, someone with more knowledge than me will probably tell you why it is advisable to take Omega-3 etc. I personally don’t take supplements and probably won’t do so.

  • Anonymous

    Easy answer:

    1 Hunger is not the same as feeling peckish … feeling peckish is like emotional eating, but far less serious.

    2 Food today is less nutritious than food in the past … Hence our uncertainty about getting enough vitamins and minerals …

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  • Tuck

    “No need to feel hungry to eat a dessert a den with whipped cream.”
    Then it sounds like you’re not really following the diet…

  • mehdig3

    Diet says not to count calories. Just that we should eat less since we’re no longer hungry. I’m just saying that some of us (and going out on a limb most of us) are overweight not because we’re constantly hungry but because either we love food or use food to compensate other issues. In that case eating mostly fatty foods will make you gain. Advising not to count calories at all is plain silly in my opinion.

  • mehdig3

    What is not said here is that our ancestors ate livers and guts where they found those micronutrients. The author did not want us to gag. ;-)

  • mehdig3

    Me too. People like us are the dirty little secret of this whole thing. Somehow our case is never taken into account. Not even by the guru Diet Doctor.

  • lass

    I’m not addicted to food but I am recovering from other substances. You have identified your addiction, now it time to change the behavior. Try getting out, exercising, don’t sit around and succumb to the emotions and triggers related to the addiction. LCHF is an excellent way to reduce body fat and regulate your health markers, but there ate other alternatives. The book Eat-Stop-Eat, is an excellent resource as well. Be blessed.

  • Anonymous

    Why don’t you try to repair your emotions instead of blaming the food then??????????????????

    You have to be very obese to be able eat 5000 calories and still loose weight..When you reach only slightly owerweight some of us have to watch it…… Been there don that… ;-)

  • Anonymous

    And the food was grass-fed… Full of the right vitamins and minerals and with the correct fatty acid balance…

  • Robin Nixon

    What I classify as hunger is different to feeling peckish. If I eat a few nuts when peckish I will not become hungry. But if I ignore my peckisness, it may lead to hunger, which I prefer to avoid, because in the past hunger has led me to overeat.

  • Robin Nixon

    Thanks for the tip. I’ll check out that book.

  • Robin Nixon

    When I first went low carb I totally ignored calories and concentrated on simply settling into the new way of eating. I understood that the early weeks of a low carb diet are usually very easy, anyway. But as I continue I do find it sensible to keep a rough count of the calories in a meal, and I find that I can serve myself less than I might have by doing so and, if I wait for 20 minutes or so after finishing eating, I’ll find that I am completely sated, and the contents of my plates is slowly decreasing. After all, calories not consumed are ones you don’t have to later lose.

  • Robin Nixon

    In my case I noticed a difference after losing about 10% body weight, which was when I started trying to minimise my portion sizes, and still remain sated. So far so good. I know that as I continue to lose weight, though, I will also require fewer calories, so this is an ongoing process of reduction, back to a sensible eating level.

  • Robin Nixon

    Nutrients is an area I continue to actively research, as I am unfortunate in that I detest the taste of all brassicas such as cabbage and cauliflower, but I would prefer to get my vitamins and minerals organically rather than through pills.

  • Robin Nixon

    Thanks Gill. I am also grateful to him as this has introduce many people to me via these comments who are on the same path, many of whom seem to have plenty of experience and advice that I can learn from. Well done on your success so far. It’s amazing how well this works, and how good you feel.

  • Robin Nixon

    Yes, I noticed my mind brightened up considerably without all the carbs, and I can think through things much more clearly (very useful when programming). It feels almost as if I was in a semi-drugged state before, which has now been lifted – one of the many benefits I have found of LCHF.

  • Robin Nixon

    I have read about people with these LCHF problems and hope that as more and more proper research is performed, answers will become available. I know a friend of Robert Lustig’s who lost weight on a low carb diet and then regained it all, but at Dr Lustig’s advice he has been able to lose and keep it off for three years by cutting out all fructose entirely. Whether this is the type of information that will prove helpful to people having LCHF difficulties I don’t know. But surely there will be tweaks that become known to help out. Maybe Andreas (the Diet Doctor) will have more to say on this.

  • Robin Nixon

    Wow. That is amazing. That’s almost exactly the total amount I needed to lose (of which I have achieved about a third). Well done.

  • Robin Nixon

    I’m pleased that LCHF has worked so well with your condition. It continues to amaze me (almost daily) the things that it can help with. Human bodies are so poorly adapted to the modern western diet that it messes with so many different things. I’ve been reading up on dental disease and cancer too, and these are hardly ever seen outside of eaters of the western diet. And yes the Wheat Belly Cookbook is on my bookshelf too, as are Taubes’ books – all highly recommended. Talking about Peter Attia, his blog is also information packed:

  • Robin Nixon

    No, not at first. I simply wanted to get into the way of eating. I would say, though, that as you lose weight, and your waistline slims, if you find the weigh-loss decreasing or stalling, do check that your daily calories seem reasonable for your current weight. I have found that by putting a little less on my plate than I had intended I can still be filled up, but the daily calories saved make a difference to the scales at the end of the week.

  • Robin Nixon

    I have seen these studies too. But my experience is that if I can manage to eat a little less than I planned, while still ensuring I am full up, I can lose weight a little faster than otherwise.

  • Robin Nixon

    This is the thing I am waiting for – reaching target weight. I know from all I’ve read that this is when dieters are most vulnerable and when it can all go wrong. AT the moment I think I’ll plan to stay at that target weight for a few months and only then slowly reintroduce a few simple organic carbs, while closely watching the scales :)

  • Robin Nixon

    Thanks. I am yet one more LCHF convert, and now I plan to try and pass on the message to others who haven’t learned the truth about what makes us fat. Hopefully the evidence of my own success will be strong evidence, at least for those who know me.

  • Christine

    My husband and I have been doing lchf starting last July 5th. My weight has been the only wrong thing in my live. We as a team have over come this problem with real food lchf has saved our lives. I did not want to go the way of my parents poor health. My kids and grand kids need better of us. Take a stand for your health improve your brain improve your body

  • mehdig3

    Thanks Lass. You nailed it. Only a combination of behavioral changes can lead to improvement. All those “look at me I only eat fat dont exercise don’t count calories and still lose weight very easily” are not helping. Counterproductive even.

  • mehdig3

    Maybe you can help me. You sound like you have all the answers.

  • mehdig3

    This is it Robin. Talk about this too in your testimony. People like us need to hear what it really takes to get to where we need to be. Not just stop eating high carb packaged foods. It does not work. Discipline, and every day efforts to watch what it is we put in our mouths (quality AND quantity) is really the key to losing weight. This part of the journey to success is grossly overlooked in all the testimonies I read on LCHF. And because of that LCHF is just another fad.

  • Robin Nixon

    Good luck with your ongoing weight loss. From everything I have learned you are now on the right path.

  • Anonymous

    I was on LCHF for a year and lost nothing. I was even under the care of a
    low carb diet expert (doctor). When I wasn’t losing, and I asked why,
    all he could do is say “the diet works” and “you must be cheating.”
    It’s the same with all the diet LCHF experts. They extoll all the
    virtues but don’t want to hear about all those who have problems. Even
    the “diet doctor” is ignoring this. He has a list of things to do to
    lose weight and said the last three will be for those who have problems.
    Well, he’s up to the last three and its been months since he’s posted.

    They seemed to want to promote their theory, and love to hear from successful people, but if someone comes to them it’s like their ego is hurt. (As an example, I wrote to doctor who wrote “Wheat Belly” and asked why so many people in France and italy eat wheat but don’t gain weight. He said, they are now. Sure, in the last few years their obesity rates have gone up but not because of wheat–it’s because they’re eating like the U.S.

    I had more energy on LCHF, slept less, and my mind was clearer, but the weight is my big concern in regards to health.

    I would really like LCHF to work. I have to eat a low carb diet becaue I’m Type 2. I have over 100 pounds to lose. If I eat starchy carbs, I balloon up overnight. Yet following strict LCHF doesn’t seem to work.
    I’m lost or should I say, I’m lost but my weight isn’t.

  • Chris Bennett

    I have never heard that before. The doctor who put Banting on the diet was called Dr William Harvey in 1862. Is that just a strange coincendence? Not having a dig. I was just curious as to the first record of this diet in western civilisation. I do low carb on and off for health reasons not weight. I think it is the way we are meant to live and there are numerous benefits.

  • Robin Nixon

    It seems you are more accurate than my recollection, and I stand corrected as there were two famous Dr William Harveys, but it appears to be the latter one in the 1800s who was known for treating obesity.

  • mehdig3

    Buzz you’re text book case of what I’m trying to tell Robin here. They make us feel like crap because it seems so easy, and they refuse to acknowledge that the issue is not simply carb vs. fat. For me what works best is count my calories with everything I ingest. If I eat more I try to go on an elliptical and burn the equivalent calories. It’s a hellish life, but it does work. The issue is not slipping back, which I’m having a lot of trouble with. No one can help with that. Not the diet doctor, not jenny craig, not weight watcher either. We’re on our own.

  • Marilyn Schroeder

    Great to read your blog Robin. I’ve been cutting out fructose since February and switched to LCHF since May. My total weight loss has only been between 5 to 6Kg. I’m constantly fluctuating between 76Kg and 74Kg. I keep tweaking by reducing cream, eating fewer nuts, cutting out milk and reducing meat portion size in an effort to move things along. Plate size has been reduced as well. I’m not craving carbs at all but I wish I could budge another 4Kg. I walk around 10000 steps every day as I have a dog to exercise, and apart from a 15K cycle once a week, I just have a normal active life. As I am a 65 woman, I think Gary Taube’s theory on loss of ovarian function and therefore loss of active oestrogen following menopause, affecting fat gain/loss, may be what I’m really fighting! I’ve run out of answers however I’m determined to stay the course for all the other health benefits!

  • Julia McA

    I’m in the same boat as you! The health benefits are great, but weight loss is tricky. I’m about to quit all dairy to see if that helps (do pure Paleo) and would also consider an autoimmune protocol as I have some joint issues this might help. It seems over the top to do this when not diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and it’s not socially acceptable but I’d love to figure this out!

  • Amberly

    I know how you feel because that is what everyone would say to me when I faithfully followed a low-fat high-carb diet. It was so frustrating!

    Perhaps you are eating too much protein and not enough fat? Have you followed Jimmy Moore’s one year N=1 Nutritional Ketosis experiment? Google it and you’ll see that he had the same problem–faithfully following LCHF but stuck above 300. By lowering protein and watching what triggered him, he lost another 75 pounds or so in a year.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I saw what he did. I also watched a video of him explaining it and what he did.

    While he won’t admit it because “calories dont’ matter,” he would brag about only eating once a day or so. When he described what and how much he ate, I figure he was eating below 1500 calories/day.

  • Robin Nixon

    Your comments make me realize that I’m actually one of the lucky majority. I was unaware that there is a significant minority who are struggling with making low carb work. Clearly, although our weight gains are the result of the western diet, losing the excess once it’s been accumulated is not the same for everyone.

    From what I understand metabolic resistance is generally the underlying problem, and while restricting carb intake may have many health benefits, it will not always ensure you lose weight.

    This is an area I intend to research much more, particularly since I already encountered a slow down/stall in which I had to begin restricting calories (thankfully while still remaining sated). If I come across any insights during my research I’ll be sure to pass them on in my blog.

  • Robin Nixon

    Of course, by restricting carbs you are limiting your exposure to cancer, protecting your heart and teeth, lowering blood pressure, reducing triglyceride levels, readjusting your internal flora, and much more.

    So there are many benefits even if weight loss is not immediately one of them for you. Clearly the picture is bigger than we know, but I am confident that there are the beginnings of a groundswell of change in our understanding of nutrition, and this will in future lead to the correct types of research needed, instead of concentrating on statin and low fat research etc, that will lead to properly understanding how to make effective and long-lasting weight loss.

    But restricting carbs surely has to be the first and main starting point until we know even more.

  • Robin Nixon

    Well done on the 6Kg loss so far, that in itself is almost 10% of your previous weight, which I understand will already be providing many health benefits. I hear you about the exercise. I found it to not be a great way of losing weight. But it does keep you fit, and it replaces fat with muscle, which is heavier, and can partly account for stalled weight loss. Gary Taubes has done an incredible amount of research, and that theory may be your problem.

    You are right to stick with it for the other health benefits. Something I intend to research much more is whether people who go low carb but don’t lose weight, eventually readjust their bodies and do finally begin to lose. My current theory is that we mess up our bodies with the western diet, and perhaps some people need to settle in to a paleo way of eating for a while (or even a long time) to adjust back to the point of being able lose weight again.

    My thinking is that our bodies are highly evolved and over millions of years have found ways of dealing with untold different types of situations. Perhaps, once we start to eat properly again, even highly stressed bodies can slowly return to being more normal and eventually drop the weight.

    Anyway, I need to see if there are any studies on this, or even anecdotal evidence before talking much about this idea.

  • Robin Nixon

    I mentioned elsewhere that someone I know made low carb work for him by restricting 100% of all fructose. So different things seem to help different people. I wish you luck with finding what works for you.

  • Marilyn Schroeder

    Thank you for your response Robin. I’m yet to have my annual ‘bloods’ done. Due next month. Hopefully my dietary changes will show lower blood glucose, fewer fatty liver symptoms and lower triglycerides. Stopped taking statins in February so it really will be interesting s getting those results. I will ask to have an HBA1c done as well to pick up the 3 month ‘window’ of sugar responses. As I have always ‘carried’ weight since puberty I have no expectations of being sylph like but it is so frustrating to never be able to take my eye off the ball with weight management!

  • Marilyn Schroeder

    I would find it hard to give up all dairy Julia. I certainly eat some cheese almost every day now (Gary Taubes suggests no more than 125g daily) but am limiting cream and milk. Luckily I have no joint problems and am in very good health.

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  • Robin Nixon

    As I am now learning, it seems that the more you progress into low carb eating, the more there is to know. Evidently eating too much protein, as Jimmy Moore described, can resist weight loss. I looked into this and apparently protein can be turned into fat by the body. So now I’m curious to establish what my optimal protein level is too. Maybe the term should be LCMPHF (Low Carb, Medium Protein, High Fat :)

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  • Marsha

    I am a traditionally nutritionist married to a traditionally trained MD. for 27 years. Your right about our backward thinking in regard to our own health as well as the patients in our office. Not until we read and incorporated Gary Taubes book Good calories, bad calories did we start Treating ourselves and our patients well. The patients who lose and maintain their weight are the ones who do their own research and realize that LCHFF is a way of life and a fun one at that. I say LCHFF because Fiber in the way of psyllium and Glucommanon is such an important part of our lifestyle.

    Best regards,

    Marsha Navar

  • Julia McA

    That’s absolutely critical for me Robin. More than the fructose in a kiwifruit and I crave rubbishy carbs quite strongly. A banana or an apple blows all my motivation out the window! The great thing through all of this is my “attachment” to having to have certain foods has almost all gone, (cheese perhaps not so much!) I actually want to eat what works best for me (unless some fructose or wheat creeps in and then I have to “get off” it like a drug almost) Fascinating area to self experiment on and so much good reading to get into! It all started with Gary Taubes’ “Good Calories Bad Calories” in 2010, and then David Gillespie’s Sweet Poison in the same year. Have you read him? Australian lawyer. His blog Raisin Hell is good.

  • chomps

    Well, Dr. Lustig’s main concern is added sugars. He’s not really a LCHF guy in the strictest sense. He’s right in that many obese people could enjoy weight loss and better health through eliminating so much sugar, but some of us (raises hand!) need something stricter.

  • Robin Nixon

    I haven’t read Sweet Poison as it’s not out in the UK until late September, but I have pre-ordered it. Thanks for the tip.

  • Robin Nixon

    Taubes has been instrumental in the recent awareness of proper nutrition, and I agree with you on the fibre, as Dr Lustig describes, fibre is nature’s way of packaging food to make it safer.

  • Marsha

    Thank you for responding, Robin. I, like you am very busy and read, read, read a lot. I didn’t read all of your posts, but I did read a few. Most of them positive which is a good thing. The one from, “anonymous”, which almost doesn’t deserve a response just because it is anonymous…..I am going to address. In our Bio- Identical Medical practice, we treated thousands of patients for weight loss. All of them on LCHFF protocols. Some started with a kick start of HCG. Seldom did we have a patient not lose weight and if we did I would pay a visit to their pantry with permission of course. I would then find, “sugar free”, items loaded with aspartame, maltodextein and MSG. All huge sabatours of a LCHFF way of life. It brings me such joy to see ex patients around town who have maintained their weight loss and share tricks with me. I would say probably 60 percent maintain. The others relapse and hopefully will get back on board at some time. I hope I never relapse. I love being of normal weight!

    Best Regards,

    Marsha Navar

  • Logan

    Sam Feltham is now on his second 5000 calorie/day challenge. his first challenge was LCHF, His 2nd is LFHC. I don’t think he’s ever been obese.

    Sam has admitted that he hasn’t had his metabolism checked, so it’s possible he may be underestimating his resting calorie expenditure and he’s not really eating 2000+ calories over his needs.

    Why are we stooping to blaming people for their emotional baggage? Seems like blaming the victim all over again.

    I’ve been doing a lot of reading on LCHF recently. And this is what I’ve learned:

    If the LCHF isn’t working then you need to maybe move to No Carbs/High Fat. First cut out the dairy, nuts and berries, then the greens. If that doesn’t work then you need to look at the protein levels and start reducing there (while maintaining the no carbs), get yourself down to 1g per 1lb. of lean body mass.

    You also need to get up and move you body for a hour every day. Do this regardless of how much you weight, there are health benefits beside weight loss to exercising. The exercise does not have to be vigorous, just go for a walk. 1 60min. walk, 2 30min. walks, 3 20min. walks, 4 15min. walks, 5 12min. walks, 6 10min. walks.

    Stop drinking the diet sodas, the fruit juices, the teas, the coffee, the booze. Save the flavor for the food and drink only water, about 1 oz per 1lb of weight.

    One strategy I use is I find it a lot easier to make a decision not to buy something, than a decision not to eat something. Spending/saving money engages my logical side, whereas eating involves my emotional side.

    Intermittent fasting may also help, we fast every night when we sleep, assuming you stop eating a couple hours before bed, that daily fasting could be anywhere from 8-12 hours. Avoid eating breakfast and you can stretch it out to 16 hours. Doing that a couple times a week can boost weight loss, even if your total calories consumed in a day doesn’t change.

    I haven’t mastered all these techniques yet, I do find it easy to do the fasting bit though, I just sit down in front of the computer and I loose hours before I realize I should maybe eat something. And even then I’m not really eating because I’m hungry, but because if I fast too long my arrhythmia will get worse and make it hard for me to sleep the next night.

    I’m all about saving money too, shop at Costco and bought some pork shoulder for $2.79/lb. and beef brisket for $1.99/lb. I slow cook them in the over until the meat just falls apart and portion everything out into 6 oz. servings and fill up freezer. Save the drippings to add back into the pan when reheating. I’ve decided to stop buying the frozen chicken breasts and cod (as it is I need to use lots of fat to polish off what I have left in the freezer) as they are pretty much all protein and no fat.

    I think my biggest challenge is the protein/fat ratio. And the cheese, cheese invokes a very strong addictive crave response in me. So I’ve decided to cut it out, I can’t afford to have any food having that kind addictive impact on me.

    I don’t think anyone will have all the answers to everyone’s particular issues, but read enough different strategies and you have a better chance of finding the combination that works for you.

  • Robin Nixon

    Thanks for a thoughtful and idea-packed post, Logan. In summary, it seems to me that if it tastes sweet avoid it: No aspartame or other sweeteners (not even the ‘healthy’ stevia), no polyols such as maltitol or xylitol, no Atkins bars or ‘low carb’ pasta or cereal etc, no fruit, no berries – UNTIL you have kick-started the weight-loss again.

  • Logan

    I think it is important to address the social/emotional issues behind relapse.

    I watch TV and people are constantly bombarded with high carb junk food commercials. It’s a form of brain-washing, all this repetition we expose ourselves to. One tactic I do is to record my shows and fast forward through the commercials. Another is a mute the TV and look at something else or get up from during the commercial breaks. Ideally I’d like to ditch the TV altogether and stop living life vicariously through fiction, but that’s a hard nut to crack as my partner is addicted to it. If it weren’t for him I could go days without watching anything.

    My first hand experience with this brainwashing, I’d be watching a show with my partner and when commercials come on I’d turn my attention to him and snuggle and kiss, and he has (or rather I have) a very hard time to get him to stop looking at that KFC or Red Lobster commercial. Sometimes I resort to tickling to break his focus. I worked in advertising for many year (and have been out of it for even longer now), so maybe I’m more aware of the tricks being used and immune to them. But I’m still amazed at how drawn into the advertising he gets. He’s also glued to news media as well. It’s insidious.

  • Marsha

    Logan, you are spot on! We are a sheep mentality group of people. Just watch Joe Smoe dig into that perfect slice of pizza and listen to his oohs and ahhs over how great it is and you are hooked! Yes, fast forward,Get up, mute, turn your head and plug your ears……….Anything but watch that manipulation ! Be sure and be a mindful reader of ingredients because the same thing is done on a box of low carb cereal or a high protien meal replacement. They read no sugar and then they are loaded with carbs from agave, honey, maple syrup,maltodextrin……you get the picture.
    Us carb sensitive people must be very diligent if we are to stay crave free!

    Marsha Navar

  • Michelle Ellie Lance

    Fantastic post, thank you so much for sharing your journey!

  • Rae Phillips

    atkins called this a fat fast for metabolically resistant patients who struggled to loose fat on the atkins diet…low calorie feedings throughout the day of 80% fat or higher if possible. Total daily calorie intake is about 1000-1500 calories, apparently even the most resistant patient can loose body fat.

  • sam

    Similar story for me, Paleo has been great. I’ve lost loads of weight, added muscle and feel 20 years younger. I have known for a long time that bread, grains & sugar were the culprit in my failure to maintain proper weight, I just didn’t want to deal with it. I actually did my first six months without any Paleo knowledge and dropped 30 pounds, but once I started reading about the reasons why all those foods were bad it gave me the impetus to stick with it for good. Knowledge is power as they say.

  • A1c

    If your HBA1c is higher than you expect, please read the blog post from Chris Kresser L.Ac.

  • Sue Cottle

    I’m in the same predicament. I’m Type 2 diabetic (adult onset/menopause onset), intolerant to gluten, lactose, nightshades, FODMAPS and all sorts of other things. I have a hiatus hernia in my oesophagus, and the valve is burnt open (shischke ring?), IBS etc.
    I’ve been eating Primal for a year now, and I think that most of that time my gut has just been busy healing. My weight has stayed at its 10 year setpoint of 74kg. I started eating LCHF a couple of months ago. The weight is slowly coming off and I’m now down to 72kg.
    I suspect it’s going to take just a wee while to heal the damage to my gut before I really start losing weight. I just have to be patient (yeah, right!)

  • Anonymous

    Hi Robin. Thank you for posting your weight loss using the LCHF method. I am most appreciative of the graph you posted because I’m tracking and watching the weight loss the same way. I recently began to feel concerned, until seeing your chart. Mine (in lbs) looks very similar, with lots of gains and losses, but overall losses. Whew, the gains and losses are normal.

    To date I’ve lost 53 lbs (since 9/26) using the LCHF method and I feel great. However, eight days ago I plateaued and gained four pounds and stayed there until two days ago when the weight started to decrease again.

    I keep meticulous records of food and nutrition intake, for record purposes and have the ability to analyze when my wieght might fluctuate unfavorably. And there it was … splenda with fiber for a total Carb load of 3g per 10g (1 tsp) of splenda with 0 sugar carbs. I recorded that I had increased to 30 g of splenda with fiber per cup of coffee/tea and 60 g with cocoa. My total Carb load shot up to over 100 g of fiber carbs which I didn’t think would matter. At least for me, total carbs do matter in this case.

    Thought to share because I wasn’t liking my weight loss chart until I saw yours and discovering that excessive fiber carbs can cause weight gain and plateauing, might be something others can use.

  • Robin Nixon

    Well done on your weight loss so far, and yes, it is indeed the case that your body weight fluctuates throughout the day, and from day to day, sometimes wildly. This is why some people recommend you weigh yourself only weekly. I don’t do that, though, because you need early warning of any weight gain, so I weigh daily and use an Excel formula to plot an average line for me, which is what I follow.

    Sudden drops in weight I hope are nice but often average back up again, but any sudden increases cause me to weigh myself a few times a day to ensure I haven’t eaten something that’s causing weight gain. If I waited a week I might have more work to do to remove any gain.

    For example, I am adjusting my medications all the time and found that when I go below a certain level of one that my weight dramatically increases, and I caught that after one day (thankfully) and was able to up the dose and bring my weight back again within a couple of days.

    As for sweeteners. I have found that Stevia is OK and so is Erythritol. Xylitol isn’t too bad, but is not great either, and all others either taste bad, have side effects or cause weight gain.

    Interestingly, recently I discovered that a handful of tart cherries now and then has very positive effects on weight loss. Don’t ask me why, I am researching it still to see if it’s only me – but I’m beginning to ask myself whether it’s some kind of wonder food :)

  • Robin Nixon

    FYI, here’s how my chart looks today. You can see a good dip from where I cut back on my Omeprazole (a proton pump inhibitor I take for acid reflux, but which also seems to interfere with weight loss), and then a big jump when I dropped my hypertension meds down too far. Fortunately it seems it was water weight I gained in that instance, because upping the dose brought the weight back down again and I caught up with where I would have been. I’ve now resolved to adjust meds much (much) more slowly and gently until I am at my ideal weight. Oh, and the most recent big drop? I think that may be due to the cherries :)

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