“A Light Went on for Me”

mullens

Anne Mullens

Anne Mullens is an award-winning health and science journalist, located in Canada, who writes about health issues for a wide variety of magazines, including International editions of Reader’s Digest. She is our newest recruit to Team Diet Doctor. Here is her first post.
 

In the fall of 2015 I received a phone call that shocked me and changed my life. It was my doctor’s office telling me my recent fasting blood sugar result was 5.7 mmol/liter (103 mg/dl). “You have pre-diabetes,” my doctor said.

How was that even possible? I had been writing about type 2 diabetes for more than 25 years. I knew all about it — and I didn’t fit the typical risk pattern. I was a normal, healthy weight — 143 lbs (65 kg) on a 5’6″ frame (165 cm) giving me a BMI of 23 — not bad for a 57-year-old woman.

I exercised and lifted weights at least three times a week and walked to and from work every day, always getting 10,000 daily steps. I ate the recommended low-fat diet with plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. My avoidance of fat was so dedicated that I always put insipid skim milk in my morning coffee and ate dry, skinless chicken breasts. I was doing it all because I truly believed it was better for my long-term health.

Now I know that I was wrong.

Searching for an alternative

After that phone call I went searching in the medical literature – something I always do when researching a health story. I wanted to learn more about the 20 per cent of type 2 diabetics who are of normal weight. I learned that type 2 diabetes risk isn’t as much about excess weight as about the underlying insulin resistance.

Researching insulin resistance led me to the work of Dr. Jason Fung, which led me to Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt and Diet Doctor.

The Diet Doctor site blew me away. I spent hours going into all the fantastic information: the blog posts and links, the interviews with experts and the questions they answered, the links to new research, the movies, the inspiring stories of individuals whose health had turned around.

And a light went on for me: Most likely I had been reacting badly to carbohydrates all my life.

Carbohydrate intolerance explained almost every health issue I ever had — my IBS, my polycystic ovarian syndrome, my hangry blood-sugar swings in which I felt I would faint if I didn’t eat this very second, my borderline gestational diabetes in two pregnancies and my two huge 9 lb+ (4 kg) babies. Moreover, the solution was so clear and simple: adopt a keto diet.

I cut out all flour, breads, potatoes, rice, cookies, cakes, crackers, even most fruit except blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. My carbs came primarily from leafy green and above ground vegetables.

I bought Ketostix to test whether I was in ketosis. Within a week I was; by three weeks my blood sugar had normalized and I had lost 10 lbs (5 kg).

Even better, I felt fantastic: mentally clear, no more hangry spells, full of energy, muscles strong, barely a grumble from my IBS.

Unexpected benefits, to which I credit the diet, also emerged within a few months: my joints hurt less, my muscles weren’t as sore after a hard workout, I hadn’t had a migraine since I switched, and my skin felt more supple — I had to use less moisturizer even in a cold Canadian winter.

I had been denying my body the fat it needs for almost 30 years, and adding it back in was like finally lubricating a rusty old machine. My body was loving it.

I admit, a longstanding fear of fat was my biggest hurdle with the keto diet. After all, I had written hundreds of articles in my career quoting leading health experts saying fat was the enemy and the low fat as the only way to eat. I feel guilty now for helping spread that low-fat message for so long.

Now I feel compelled and excited to help more people achieve better health and feel great eating low carb and HIGH fat. Since writing about reversing pre-diabetes with low carb eating for Reader’s Digest, I have been coaching friends and family in the diet and creating and adapting recipes. I always say “If you don’t feel great on this diet, it may not be right for you.” But almost everyone I know who I’ve coached or linked to Diet Doctor sends me an email thanking me for helping them feel so much better.

I have now been on a ketogenic diet for 18 months and I won’t ever go back to my old way of eating. I follow all the advice and it works. I eat when I am hungry and stop when I am full; my food is wholesome, natural and satisfying. I am strong, fit and trim. My health is the best it has been in years — not bad for a woman closing in on 60.

And, oh yeah: full-fat cream in my coffee and crispy chicken skin taste so darn good.


Anne Mullens

Guide

Low carb for beginners

More

Did you like this? Then check out the new posts from our two other new contributors, Kristie Sullivan, PhD, and Dr. Evelyne Bourdua-Roy, M.D.:

How a pumpkin pie spice muffin can mean freedom

How I became an LCHF doctor reversing type 2 diabetes

Top videos about low carb

18 Comments

  1. Elizabeth Carter
    LCHF is a real life changer. I started it in June 2015 and I will never go back to the way I used to eat. My husband and daughter both died of diabetic complications. When I discovered LCHF, I realized they might still be fine today if we had only known the truth. We followed the doctors and nutritionists recommendations, took vitamins and exercised. It did not help at all. I did not become diabetic but I did have a lot of issues that went away when I changed my diet and I lost 50 pounds. I am 75 now and feel better than I ever have. I am glad you are helping people now. We can only teach what we know.
  2. bill
    "I feel guilty now for helping spread that low-fat message for so long.

    Now I feel compelled and excited to help more people achieve better health and feel great eating low carb and HIGH fat. "

    Here's hoping you have more influence now that you
    have come over to the evidence based side of the
    issue.

  3. janet
    'I had been denying my body the fat it needs for almost 30 years, and adding it back in was like finally lubricating a rusty old machine. My body was loving it.'

    As a 66 year old woman who followed the low fat advice for many years I totally agree! My only regret is that I didn't know about this years ago. I look forward to reading your posts on Diet Doctor.

  4. Julie
    Hi. Last week my Doctor confirmed I am NO LONGER a type 2 diabetic! The message is getting out! It took so little time after takin Metformin for 7 years! 2 months and my doctor tells me my blood work is better than his. Thanks so much Andreas! Will remain a member just to help spread the word!
  5. Jeanette
    Welcome Anne - I am curious though, as a researcher, had you heard about LCHF in your past life, or just ignored it as there being "no evidence"? My dad always said that a convert makes the greatest crusader....I look forward to your posts.
  6. 1 comment removed
  7. Suzanne
    Anne, I am so grateful for your earlier recipe as it led me to Dr Diet! I started the 2-week challenge on Sunday and already feel better! I had gastrointestinal issues for a few years just wishfully thinking I could eat like everyone else. It was the carbs. My sister has eaten by the Ketogenic plan for about a year and shed 45 pounds so she is also an inspiration. I had similar results in my early 40's on Suzanne Somer's plan which did trigger ketosis in me and helped me stay slim for about 10 years until I gradually went back to carbs. Now that I am 60 I need to shed 40 pounds. Dr Diet's plan is easy to follow and so far the meals are delicious! Thanks for the inspiration!
  8. Jackie Lea
    Hi Anne

    I have had T2 for half my life (25 years - am now 50). I am still fighting 18 months into my low carb journey to wean myself off Metformin. You have done so well to get yourself n check so quickly. Its changed my life for sure. Thank you for sharing your story.

  9. Francoise
    Welcome to the team! Look forward to hearing from you.
    Wbr
  10. Anne
    Thanks for your question Jeanette. As a researcher I had heard, of course, about ketosis and the Atkins diet, but almost all the medical research at the time was saying it was dangerous. I saw a number of overweight men I knew do Atkins at that time (journalists) who had otherwise very unhealthy lifestyles of smoking and drinking. They would eat tonnes of eggs, bacon, steak and drop pounds, then it would come piling on again when they stopped after six or seven months. They never struck me as role models or a sustainable way of eating. I also have had for years a big vegetable garden and growing food and tending my garden is both exercise and relaxation therapy for me. Atkins never appealed because I could not imagine a diet where I didn't eat my vegetables. For me, I would be eating salads and fruit, some meat but not a lot, more chicken and fish, exercising regularly. I kept the pounds off and so it seemed like my approach for years was working and the "low fat" experts and research was right. I never had a weight problem and in fact at times was underweight. It really was only when my blood sugar went awry, while still doing all these things that I went "what the hell?" Honestly, I felt if I -- the poster child for "eat less fat move more dogma" was on my way to type 2 diabetes, the recommendations to do what I had been doing for 30 years must be wrong. Finding Diet Doctor, and learning I simply needed to put butter or olive oil on my freshly picked garden kale, or add whip cream to the berries from my berry patch -- and not gorge on steak & eggs! That's when I knew I could do this diet long term. And rapidly, my blood sugar resolved, and so did other things like migraines which I always linked to stress, not my diet. I actually couldn't believe it at first, but when I recognized adding FAT (not meat or protein) back in my diet made me feel so much better, I was a convert. Hope that helps you understand why, even as a health researcher, it took me a while to see the light. We all see through the lens of N=1.
  11. Siv
    Hi! I have been on LCHF since last August. I feel so much better! And I have lost 16 kg. I have struggled with overweight since I gave birth to my oldest daughter 30 years ago. So for me LCHF is right. My husband also eat the same food, he is 10 kg overweight. But he doesn't loose any weight. We don't understand why. He has done everything by Diet Doctor's recommendations, he practises intermittent fasting but nothing happens. He feels better, his blood pressure is better, but the weight seems stuck. Any suggestions what to do, read or try?
  12. Siv
    Forgot to say that he eats ketogenic and is in ketosis
  13. Elaine Markley
    You've discovered what many of us have. There's the Standard American Diet (SAD) and the Healthy American Diet (HAD), what many of us followed, thinking we were doing our body's good. But we'd all been HAD! Now if I could only get my very well-educated, know-it-all daughters on board this very sustainable keto train, as I have been for over two years! 50 pounds lighter and off all acid reflux and blood pressure meds with an HbA1C of 4.7! No naps, smooth skin and rockin' my 69 years!
  14. Anne
    Elaine, I am with you! My daughters have been the same, but are gradually seeing the light. (Although they warn their friends, whom they bring for lunch with me, that they will get "lunch and a lecture.") They are all coming around, because they are seeing the difference. I'm rocking my 59 years!
    Siv, your husband's situation is a real challenge. On the membership side you can ask questions of medical experts on this diet. Maybe try that if you haven't done so?
  15. Debra
    I am totally excited to see a fellow Canadian as a the newest "recruit/spokesperson" of the lchf way of life. I have been following this lifestyle for almost 4 months and love it. It is still very disheartening to see our Canadian dieticians [and others] still knocking coconut oils, butter and high fats in relationship to cholesterol and heart disease without fully doing their research. You are very brave to step out of the box. I will be watching any posts you may make. Thank you Anne!!
  16. Siv
    Thanks Anne, we are members but haven't tried your advice. Will do!
  17. Amy
    Dear Siv-
    Although Intermittent Fasting works for many many people, sometimes you have to tweak the IF/keto diet to lose weight. My suggestion is to keep eating KETO, but eat every 3hrs for 12 hours & only do a 12hr fast each day in the evening hours. Try eating 3 meals and 2 snacks a day-all keto/LCHF and if he starts to drop weight then you have your answer, if he
    doesn't then no harm done.
    This simple change made all of the difference in my weight loss and helped me to lose 93pds in three months.
  18. Catherine
    Anne - so glad to have another Canadian on the team. How can the registered Dieticians be convinced that fat is not bad for us? I suspect that even if if they know it, they can't say it because they will lose their "registered" status. I get so tired of listening to a local, near-celebrity dietician spouting on the local morning show how low fat high carb diets and frequent meals, and healthy snacks are best. She strays into healthy fats once in a while but often contradicts herself in the same episode. And sadly, she also works in the field of eating disorders. The high rate of eating disorders in young women is often blamed on social media, but I think it also has a lot to do with being told that dietary fat is bad for us which leads to chronic hunger which leads to binging on junk food which leads to guilt, purging or starving. 5 years ago when I discovered Gary Taubes, Diet Doctor, etc I stopped buying whole milk. Guess what, my teenage daughter, who resisted at first, did not gain any weight! For me, age 57 now, the list of unexpected benefits of LCHF include: no more Gastric Refux, no more Restless Leg Syndrome, no more general stiffness in the morning or after sitting, significant reduction in joint inflammation, and... I was shocked when I went for a dental cleaning and my gums did not bleed at all. I had not changed my brushing and flossing habits. The only thing that changed was my diet!
  19. gbl
    5,7 is not pre-diabetes. It is frank outrageous fear-mongering. This is pharma pushed health information.

    If this writer is an example of your sciency specialists, you confirm your worst public relations; just another conflict of interest appointment to your dubious roster.

Leave a reply

Reply to comment #0 by

Older posts