This is another part in my diet story, if you haven’t read the first part yet, you can do so here. Since my first article, posted beginning of August, I managed to lose 25 lbs, so quite a milestone.
Now how did I do it?
Well firstly I went on a strict low carb, high fat diet. As mentioned in my first article, it really works well, only thing is that you can’t allow yourself to fall off the wagon…. There is no cheating and most definitely no alcohol. It goes ok for a couple weeks but is a nightmare for any social gatherings, dinner parties etc. So yes, I did fall off the wagon and beat myself up afterwards about it. So going super strict, without an outlet, is just not my thing.
The next adaptation I made was not drinking at all. I packed my beloved beer and footie days in completely and only have some wine about every couple weeks. Yes it still has carbs but I turn it into a reward now. I mean I do like wine a lot, perhaps the family background of vineyards on both my mothers and fathers side has something to do with it and I see nothing wrong with a glass a few times a week. The truth is that they have so many empty calories that it is ridiculous and I have to achieve my goals first. It also goes to say that you are more likely to have the snack you shouldn’t or indulge because you had a drink, that is not just on the night you drink but also comes with the dehydration that continues when you sleep that makes you crave the fry up the next day. So that made a great difference in the amount I have lost.
I thought I make up my own style, the 2:5 diet or my reverse take on the 5:2 🙂 It consists out of 5 days on low carb, high fat and 2 days of eating and drinking what I like, within reason, but definitely containing carbs. This is achievable without depriving me and giving me those super grumpy “Give me some carbs” days. Sometimes I didn’t need the 2 days “off” and only had one or ate the “forbidden foods” without drinking wine. This works really good for me as I can have my favourite foods, Curries with Naan, Poppadoms, chutneys, the lot, potatoes and my love for fresh figs and passion fruit. My weighloss is at about 2.5 lbs per week so totally within the normal and recommended range. I gave up chasing the get skinny quick schemes.
Now here it gets a bit scientific. I think the first thing anyone that wants to lose weight does, is research. The low carb, high fat diet required a lot of it, together with trial and errors, or more errors in my case 🙂
Strict low carb only allows 20gr of carbs a day, whereas the more paleo or normal low carb is between 50-100gr of carbs per day. The recommended reference intake for the UK is 260gr per day (adults). Now it takes a bit to adapt your diet to that, but in the end there are plenty of recipes and tips out there to help, again a lot of research and then making everything work for me was required. It is to mention that the protein intake has some restrictions as well, the reason being that if you eat too much protein, it gets converted into glucose if no carbs are available for the body to burn. That is kind of missing the point, as my goal is to get my body to burn the available fat reserves which I currently carry plenty of with/on me.
I use a tracker diet app that gives me a break down of the percentages for carbs, fat and protein; it also shows the net carbs. Net carbs play an important role as they represent the total carbohydrate content of the food minus the fiber content and sugar alcohols (if present). This means that if some foods high in carbs are also high in fiber, they are allowed. For example avocados on average have 17 grams of carbs, but 13 grams of fiber; hence the net carb count is only 4. When eating between 20-50gr of carbs a day this allows for a lot of food and because the high fat content of it all, you never go hungry or hangry (hungry+angry=hangry) :). Being hangry is probably the most common reason why people break their diet or feel like strangling someone for no aparent reason.
During the week I stuck to 20gr at first but have now relaxed it, still mainly do 20gr but some days go to 50gr per day. On an average day this breaks down to 79% of fat (132gr), 13% protein (49gr) and the rest in carbs (32gr but only 18gr of net carbs), amounting to about 1500 calories.
Weekends when my other half is home I have my cheat days and even though I eat what I like within reason, I only come to 100-150gr per day.
One really important thing is to not eat past 6-7pm. This allows for some intermittent fasting and totally helps to shed the pounds. 12-15 hours are ok, I personally can’t handle more, but with high fat diet it is achievable.
Now let’s put the numbers aside and let me tell you about how it all affects by body.
You all know about the sugar rush and the subsequent crash, plus some of you will know that sugar and carbs converted into sugar can cause inflammation in your body. The first time I tried the diet, I had massive headaches from the sugar withdrawal. So much so, that it is similar to a full blown migraine. It was back in August and although I usually don’t eat sugar that much, it caught me at a time when I had sugar craving on an almost daily basis, hence the withdrawal was horrific. After a few days and lots of water, it was all ok again. And then I started to see significant changes. My knees are shot and often inflamed, I take supplements but they don’t always help, same with my lower back that gives me spasms on most days. I started to feel less stiff in the mornings and had fewer back spasms. For some reason there seems to be more lubrication in my joints now and less inflammation. Although I am not a medical professional, I done some research on this and it confirmed my suspicions.
Another thing is that I have so much more energy, like crazy. By 5 am I am up and getting things done, I have a clear mind and am wide awake. To be honest in winter this is a bit sad but in summer it helps me to seize the day 🙂
On my cheat days when I eat more carbs and some sugars, I can definitely feel the difference and hardship to get back in the swing of it all. My mind is somewhat cloudy or foggy if that makes sense and I can feel the stiffness returning to my knees.
So without going on for too long, so far my little 2:5 diet is working fine for me and due to the benefits I can feel and experience I am pretty sure to adapt my lifestyle to this sort of diet in the future.
After I lost another 25lbs I will post again to celebrate my 50 lbs milestone and tell you about he up’s and , so stay tuned.
I will be posting some of my favourite low carb recipes and of course if you have any questions or want to know more, don’t hesitate to send me a message 🙂