Here’s what happened when he started eating more fat:
Before I tell my story – thank you for being a source of inspiration for me, along with Dr. Annika Dahlqvist and Dr. Ann Fernholm. I’ve read a couple of books, watched some presentations online and even attended a presentation by Ann Fernholm. Thanks a million for the work you put into spreading this information and the knowledge of a sensible diet that improves health for many people. :)
I was never overweight as a child, it became a problem when I reached adulthood. Suddenly, I weighed 243 lbs. (110 kg) but successfully lost 55 lbs. (25 kg) with no greater changes to my eating habits except exercise. When I moved from Denmark to Sweden I became overweight again. I tried the usual, calorie counting, and exchanged regular rice, pasta and so on for the whole-grain versions and lost a little over 44 lbs. (20 kg), but there things came to a screeching halt. I still ate very little fat. I started gaining the weight back again. I stopped eating meat, but still ate fish, and lost weight again but couldn’t keep it up and fell back to my old habits again. In 2011 I weighed 300 lbs. (136 kg), heavier than ever.
Then I started eating more fat and fewer carbs, although not quite real low carb, more like a carb-reduced diet, and I could eat until I felt satisfied, still lose weight and lost 53 lbs. (24 kg). But I didn’t stick to it and, again, gained the weight back. This was in 2012. On New Year’s Eve 2014 I weighed 282 lbs. (128 kg). I was constantly tired and very often hungry. I decided that this was it, no more.
I began in January 2015. I took away all sorts of sugar. The regular pasta and rice were exchanged for their whole-grain counterparts, cereal became oatmeal with fruits, nuts, seeds and berries, I added cream to the milk. My lunches and dinners were more traditional low carb. After a couple of weeks of stabilizing my life without sugar, I started cutting down on starch products and went to a more or less traditional low-carb diet with between 20-30 grams of carbs per day.
My weight started to dive from the very beginning. Although I decided a more liberal approach to low carb would fit me better and I re-introduced fruit into my diet. Not that I had a lot of fruit, but I have to admit that I was tired of fighting with my conscience if I wanted to eat fruit, and some root vegetables came back as well, such as carrots. This didn’t influence the weight loss negatively. I had also started exercising quite a bit by taking more walks, I also stopped taking the bus when I went out to fish and used my biked or simply walked to the river instead.
There hasn’t been a single week during my weight-loss journey when I didn’t lose weight. There were only a very few weeks (and this was actually when I ate relatively strictly low carb) when I only lost very little, but after this I lost around 2-3 lbs. (1 kg) every week, except in August, where I lost ca 1 pound per week. On the 21st of August I weighed 185 lbs. (84 kg). I haven’t counted even one single calorie during this weight-loss journey, I just stayed below 100 grams of carbs per day. :) However, I continued losing weight even though I ate more food. One week, I didn’t exercise and started counting calories in order to gain a little weight back and ate around 5,000 calories per day with liberal low carb and I only gained 0.4 pounds!!!!
In order to stabilize my weight I therefore started including bread in my diet again, though it was sour dough, home baked and only whole grain, without any added sugar or white flour. Instead of the low-fat bread you buy in the grocery store, I use half a package of butter when I make my bread which provides satiety. However, my stomach needed a couple of weeks to adapt to grains again. Consequently, I eat more of a carb-reduced diet, where I allow myself carbs during the day and eat a more true low-carb diet (both strict and liberal) for dinner. :) I never eat more than 200 grams of carbs, usually 150 grams per day.
I have now stabilized my weight at 180 lbs. (81,5 kg). Some weeks I am above or below this. I don’t react negatively, I simply continue to eat as usual without panicking or increasing my regular exercise. I feel good. Lots of energy and feeling good. I no longer have to use medicine to treat my ADD (I took Concerta before), my blood pressure has been lowered from 146/84 to 124/65. I haven’t measured my blood lipids, but I think it’s reasonable to assume that they have been restored to normal levels even if I don’t know what they were before, but considering the extremely poor diet I used to have, I can’t imagine there were a lot of positive things to say.
My journey has done wonders with me and my approach to food. It’s nice to let go of the fear of fat and still stay lean and healthy by eating real food which actually tastes something. :) Fat doesn’t just satisfy, it also makes the food taste a lot more. :) The amount of vegetables I eat – I mean, I barely ate any before, how would I fit in all the pasta, rice, bulgur, couscous, ready-made bread and so on, that I used to eat before? No thank you – I’d rather eat the way I do now. :)
Thank you for changing my thoughts on food and giving me great knowledge. I say this even though I don’t eat very strict low carb, as I do eat my home-baked bread (every day) and that is why I’m writing this. My diet is all about keeping my blood sugar stable and this works and there are different ways of doing it. I move freely between strict and liberal low carb, some paleo thoughts, thoughts about foods with low glycemic index. No matter which way you go, there’s this red thread – the blood sugar! the picture depicts me on Christmas Eve 2014 and what I looked like the day I reached my goal: the 24th of August 2015. :)
Congratulations on your big weight-loss journey and your increased health! For some people, such a liberal form of low carb could work well. A big thank you for sharing your story.
Try it yourself
Do you want to try a low-carb diet yourself? Use these resources: