‘I never thought I would get to where I am today, but here I am!’
Around the time Sam decided he’d had enough of the yoyo-dieting roller coaster, a timely Diet Doctor ad popped up on his social media.
Since all of his previous weight loss attempts had been unsuccessful, he felt he had nothing to lose from trying something quite different. He read every article and watched every video he could on Diet Doctor. Then, one month later, he took the plunge and started the keto diet.
“I have lost 75 pounds (34 kilos), and I have plenty of energy throughout the day. I never thought I would get to where I am today, but here I am!” Sam says.
In this interview, which has been lightly edited for length and clarity, Sam shares what he eats, how his health has improved, and why he thinks it’s important to learn plenty about keto before starting.
What’s your name, age, and where do you live?
My name is Sam. I’m 44 and live in Sydney, Australia.
How did you discover keto or low carb?
Just like many other people trying to lose weight, I got fed up with yoyo-dieting. My local doctor didn’t help much and simply repeated the standard mantra to eat low fat and move more. At the time, I wasn’t aware that many doctors don’t have much nutrition education. (Although, I do think this is slowly changing for the better.)
I went searching for answers online, just as I had done many times before, but only to find programs that would have kept me hungry or have me endure many hours in the gym. I had tried all these approaches in the past, and even though they helped me lose some weight, I could never keep it off.
Fortunately, a Diet Doctor ad popped up on my social media. Looking into one more diet couldn’t hurt, I thought. And so, I clicked on the ad and the page opened to Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt’s introductory course on the keto diet.
Wow, was I in for a shock (and an awakening)! I quickly learned how the body could use either carbs or fat for energy and the effect these different fuel sources have on hormones (especially insulin) and fat loss.
Hearing Diet Doctor’s message that I could lose fat without any pills, supplements, products, or hours in the gym strongly appealed to me. Not long after, I became a Diet Doctor member and consumed every article and video I could find. One month later, on Oct. 26, 2019, I started my keto journey.
Did you have any health or weight struggles before going low carb or keto?
Before starting keto, I had high blood pressure and was likely pre-diabetic. I did not take any blood tests before starting the diet. Still, my current low-carb doctor deduced that I was likely pre-diabetic and possibly suffered from metabolic syndrome by going through recent blood tests. At noon every day, I would feel the afternoon slump and lacked energy.
What were you eating before making this lifestyle change?
Lots of carbs! Bread, pasta, rice, beer, spirits, and occasional fast food. Thankfully, I was never addicted to the sweet treats that many dieters struggle with, such as donuts, chocolate, and milkshakes.
In what ways has your health improved?
The first thing I noticed was the improved mental sharpness. I no longer had any brain fog, just a general focus on any task I undertook. Then came the fat loss. To date, I have lost 75 pounds (34 kilos), and I have plenty of energy throughout the day. I never thought I would get to where I am today, but here I am!
My metabolic markers all improved on keto. Whereas my blood pressure before keto was 165/100, it averages 127/85 these days. It’s almost normal but has some room for improvement.
My waist circumference drastically reduced, and my hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c), a measurement of long-term blood sugar, is 5%. My high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is 1.3 mmol/L and triglycerides 0.8 mmol/L — and I’m no longer pre-diabetic!
What does a typical day of eating and/or fasting look like for you now?
I skip breakfast most days of the week and usually fast from 7 pm to 11 am or 12 pm the next day. But this is not set in stone, and I vary the routine from time to time.
My first meal in the day is usually bacon and eggs or leftovers from last night’s dinner. For dinner, I usually cook up one of the delicious casseroles on the Diet Doctor website.
Have you made any mistakes on your journey (which you’ve learned from)?
To not fall into the trap of eating too many carbs throughout the day, I try to stick to no more than 20 grams of carbs per day. And in situations where you’re unsure you are eating correctly, I think a blood monitor that can measure ketones and glucose can be handy in helping you check the effects of different foods, but these are not necessary.
Do you think exercise is necessary for success on low carb?
No, not in the beginning. It’s important for anyone starting keto to understand how the low-carb, high-fat diet (LCHF) works and then make an effort to get the nutritional aspect right.
Exercise in the form of resistance training (weight lifting) can come later, and I think it should be encouraged for overall bone health and muscle development to help further fat loss.
What are your top three tips for people starting low carb?
- Learn, read, and watch as much as you can about the ketogenic way of eating and implement that knowledge in your lifestyle. That way, if things go wrong (such as a weight-loss stall), you have the troubleshooting skills to determine what could be the underlying cause.
- Invest in a blood monitor that can measure ketones and blood glucose. (Again, it’s a troubleshooting tool that indicates if you are on track.)
- Last but certainly not least, find a low-carb doctor who practices and understands the ketogenic lifestyle. These doctors will order the correct blood tests with a full lipid panel and then tweak the diet to your needs and support you throughout your low-carb journey.
Congrats on your remarkable journey Sam! Your story will likely inspire others who feel they have “tried everything” as you likely felt. You show the perfect example of how the benefits go well beyond the number on the scale. Congrats and keep up the great work!
/ Dr. Bret Scher
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