Today marks day 1000 since I started LCHF.
1000 days of healthy eating. 1000 days ON-PLAN.
Me just days into the diet - February 2014
The journey has been far from perfect. I had lots of good eating days and a few bad ones. A bad day was me eating too much OP food or simply struggling to stay the course due to carb cravings. That happens. That is part of the process. But I have stayed away from all of my problem foods - those foods that hammer my system with sugar. I've done that without fail. If it wasn't on plan, I didn't eat it. It looks like that approach worked for me. I've got my life back. I finally found the right path to success.
I used to think that a low carb diet was simply another diet Ė a means of losing weight. It was all about results on the scale. Low carb also happened to be the only diet I could stick to for any length of time (although I didnít really know why). I did, however, worry that this high fat diet might be an unhealthy means to my desired goal of losing the weight. After all, that is what the ďpowers that beĒ had been drumming into our heads since the early 1980ís. I was skeptical and confused about what I was being told. Information overload from all directions. I guess I just didnít know what to believe. Still, my concept of a diet was that it was short term thing anyway. Once the weight was off I could resume eating normal food, work on portion control, exercise more, and do my best to keep the weight off. It never really worked, but I didn't enjoy being fat. I gave dieting the old college try time and time again.. All told, I dieted for years across 3 decades. I always regained. I always wound up heavier than ever. Fail, fail, fail.
In my early 30ís I crossed over the 300 pound mark to stay. For years I considered myself a Ďhealthyí fat guy. I tried to stay active. I still managed to get things done. I wasnít happy to be so fat and periodically tried to do something about it. I could sustain a diet long enough to meet some short term goal Ė such as fitting in an airplane seat. But I didnít enjoy dieting - not even low carb. I felt crappy most of the time (in and out of the carb flu regularly, I suspect). I always felt deprived. I cheated regularly. I thought cheating and taking breaks was part of dieting. Dieting was always difficult and I could only take so much of it. In my 30ís and 40ís I certainly didnít feel any healthier from all that dieting other than the weight loss aspect. When needed I could always buck up and drop some weight. I'd never read a diet book. I thought I knew what I needed to know to lose weight. I just didnít know how to keep it off. For a time I would feel more fit and capable from shedding the pounds. It was only good while it lasted. It never lasted long.
Slowly but surely the Ďhealthyí fat guy argument started losing the battle. I began to have lower back issues in my mid 30ís. I started to get sick more frequently. I stayed sick longer. My 40ís brought me ever closer to the 400 pound mark. Sciatic nerve pain in my left leg started limiting my mobility. Obesity was now starting to take its toll on me. Then, at or around age 45 my health started to take a serious turn for the worse. I started taking blood pressure medication. Skin issues started popping up. UTIs started to become a regular problem. I started getting lengthy bouts of chronic bronchitis every winter. The healthy fat guy was no more. I knew some of it was weight related. Some aliments I attributed to age and some to my kids bringing home bugs from school. In 2009 I made one last good go of the diet, losing around 70 pounds. I did feel better - even healthy again for a while. But like always it didnít last. The weight flew back on along with a myriad of health problems. By 2013 I reach my max weight: 440 pounds. I had become a type 2 diabetic, but did not know it yet. Even with diabetes in my family, I was totally ignorant on the subject. I kept my head in the sand and hoped for the best. I later learned that I had been having all of the classic symptoms. I was not loving life. This was the bottom for me and it wasnít pretty. Being fat sucks. Losing your health and being morbidly obese really sucks. I needed to figure something out or I was going to be checking out way too soon. What I had been doing was never going to work and I finally realized that. So I started looking for some answers. Thank God I found them.
If youíve read my other milestones or my journal then you know the rest of the story (see links in my signature line). In a nutshell, the only real change that I made was to abandon the idea that a diet was temporary. I now realized that a permanent lifestyle change was needed. I stopped cheating and that made all the difference. Eating OP every day I gained control over what I ate. I stopped feeling deprived. I started to enjoy my ďdiet foodĒ more and more each day. I lost weight. But best of all, my health came roaring back with a vengeance.
I could tell that my body loved what I was doing. Within weeks I felt better. Within a few months I was no longer testing as diabetic. One year into this WOE I was totally off blood pressure medication. That was the affirmation I needed. LCHF is a healthy diet.
This WOE can restore your health. It sure did for me. This is how I need to eat. This is how I was meant to eat. This WOE healed me and it did so long before I lost all the weight. I am happy to have lost the weight. There is no denying that. I was happy at 370 pounds. I was feeling pretty darn good, too. I was happier and healthier still at 325 pounds. Life was even better at 285. This WOE Rocks! I went on a hike for the first time in years at 270 pounds. Frankly, reaching my goal weight was anticlimactic. I went from having a foot in the grave in 2013 to a rich and vibrant life within that first year. And it just kept getting better. The scale number was only part of the story.
I love living life again. Restored health was a big part of that. My old diet is what was unhealthy. It made me fat. It made me sick. Eating LCHF everyday
was the answer to my problems. It took me 30 months to lose the weight -- 250 pounds in all.
I became fit and active along the way. Iíve pretty much given up grains, processed food, and foods with added sugar. Iíve changed how I eat and Iím planning on eating this way for life. My weight loss is a huge milestone, but I consider my health improvements on an even par. I created this milestone because wanted to document everything that this lifestyle change has done for me. Below is the laundry list of what ailed me in the years prior to this WOE. Most of these issues are now completely resolved. Those that are not gone completely are much improved.
Elevated fasting & post meal blood sugar (Type 2 Diabetes)
Abnormally high Ďbadí cholesterol
Insulin resistance (blood sugar spikes even from eating minimal carbohydrates)
Reactive Hypoglycemia (a rapid blood sugar spike & crash to below normal levels)
Unquenchable thirst/frequent urination
Bouts of blurry vision
Liver inflammation/fatty liver
Poor eyesight, especially in lower light
Fatigue Ė total lack of energy
Diabetic nerve pain in my feet
Skin tags large and small from my thighs to my eyelids
Eczema/dark spots on hands and arms
Dry skin/cracked and sore on elbows
Slow healing cuts & bruises
Thick skin buildup on lower legs
I'd had thick, yellow toenails for 15 years. Healthy nails grew out in the first 9 months
Excessive foot/body odor (stinky shoes and arm pits)
Large discolored patches of Candida on my chest
Periodic fungus related itchy skin rash on my arm pits, between toes, and my private parts.
Slow urine flow
Decreased bladder control (leaky pipes)
Weak immune system - frequently ill
Slow recovery from colds, flu, and other bugs
Chronic bronchitis/persistent coughing lasting weeks (even months)
Frequent and often very painful urinary tract infections
Excessive plaque & tarter buildup
Frequent bad breath
Excessive ear wax & periodic ear infections
Excessive 'sleepy' buildup in my eyes
Chronic lower back pain (mostly resolved)
Sciatic nerve pain
Stiff/inflexible neck & back
Poor sleep, snoring
Reduced mobility/activity (easily out of breath/exhausted)
Hygiene issues related to obesity
Abnormal hunger with a tendency to resist, resist, then break down and binge.
The doctors seem to think that obesity is the problem. Lose the weight and get healthy. I don't think obesity is good, but the root of the problem lies elsewhere. I think bad food is the problem. When I eat right the rest seems to take care of itself. It really doesnít matter what I think. What matters are the results. The weight loss would never would have happened without me changing how I eat to low carb. Low carb food stabilizes my blood sugar. I stopped feeding blood sugar swings and started eating to real hunger. No other diet would have done all of this.
Ham & swiss, peperoni, peanuts, cucumbers, a flax muffin, & Carbmaster yogurt with chia seeds
So what didnít get better? My hair didnít grow back. I still have male pattern baldness. My lower back can still ache, especially if I have been sitting too long. I had minor flare-ups of plaque psoriasis before this WOE. Iíve had a flare-up since going low carb as well. I did have an issue with cholesterol that occurred since starting this WOE. I covered it extensively in my journal. With a few diet tweaks the issue resolved itself and now my cholesterol numbers are the best they have ever been.
These days I rarely get sick. When I do catch a bug I seem to get over it much more quickly. I donít know if I can actually call it health benefit, but this WOE turned me into a morning person for the first time in my life. I sleep great. I sleep deeper. I wake up refreshed and Iím ready for the day. For 50 years I hated getting up early. Now I love it. And for what it is worth, I would swear that my eyesight has gotten better. I no longer wear my reading glasses and I can even thread a needle. I have not been able to do that for years.
My diabetes is resolved. I have no symptoms whatsoever. The year before changing how I eat I had them all. At 5 weeks into the diet I had my first A1C test. My score was 6.7 - a full blown Type 2 Diabetic. It was likely much higher than that before the diet. 3 months after my first A1C I was retested. The score was 6.0 (pre-diabetic) at the 5 month mark eating low carb. At my next two annual checkups my A1C scores were 5.1 and 5.3 Ė totally normal. Quote from my doctor... "It looks like you have cured your diabetes!"
I'm off of BP medication. I'd had hypertension for years. Not anymore.
I take no prescriptions. How many of those conditions listed above have corresponding pharmaceutical commercials on TV every day? At least half of them do. Sorry big pharma. Sorry big food. Iíd rather just stay healthy. I love this way of eating. Iím LCHF for life.
P.S. I did say that it is not all about the number on the scale. Making this more about eating for my health did a lot for me. It helped relax about the scale and that helped me stick to my program. I do, however, like being a normal weight - fit & active. I wanted the weightloss, too. Once I changed how I eat, it wasn't too difficult to make the scale cooperate. I did no exercise for the first few months. Later on I started a walking routine. It took time. I used the diet to learn how I needed to eat. It took patience. I made a few diet tweaks along the way. I eventually reached a good weight. Then I did some weight lifting and actually put a few pounds back on. I'm technically still overweight by BMI standards. I don't care. I'm living my life again. I've got my health. That is what really counts.
Stick to eating good food, stay out of the junk, and you will get healthier with each passing day.