Larry Diamond has a fantastic husband and wife success story to tell. Combined they lost nearly 200 pounds and transformed their lives. He’s also sharing some LCHF lessons and reflections, things he wished he had known when starting out:
My LCHF success story is a family success story brought on by an all too common family tragedy: a devastating chronic lifestyle disease in a loved one. My uncle, my father figure and best friend growing up, developed Alzheimer’s. I was 47 at the time and morbidly obese for decades.
But there was also light in my life. My wife and I had recently adopted our daughter from foster care. I intuitively knew my uncle’s condition was lifestyle-based and I wanted to forestall that or some other chronic disease. I didn’t want to leave my family for good or become ill to the point of not contributing.
For DietDoctor I wanted to share some LCHF life lessons I’ve lived the past couple of years.
It is by far the easiest way to get healthy and lose weight I’ve ever tried five fold. But there is a transition period. Almost all of us have become carb burners and down regulated our ancestral gift of burning body fat as the preferred fuel for body and mind. Eat less move more, high carb diets, are the most unsustainable way ever devised to lose weight. You slow down your metabolism and you are constantly hungry. You are fighting your body every day and most everyone cracks. And those that maintain seem to have to focus a ton of energy daily on maintaining weight l. So even the successes are arguably failures. Basically a 100% failure rate.
LCHF is the exact opposite. LCHF brings insulin levels down since high natural fat meals produce almost no insulin response. This allows glucagon to do its job and mobilize stored fat for energy and metabolic processes. It is truly wonderful when this happens. Instead of my fat being a 100 lbs. (45 kg) plus-daily weight straight jacket, it was there to be used. Finally. My appetite plummeted and the inches started melting. I lost 100 lbs. the first year from 290 to 190 (131 – 86 kg). Not being hungry any longer is such a life upgrade that if LCHF had just given me that and no weight loss it would have been worth it.
Am I depriving myself not having grains, seed oils, and industrial fake food any longer? Not to me. In fact just the opposite. My wife and I feel we are truly ourselves and living a life beyond anything we could have imagined two years ago. The food is delicious. But LCHF is also very healing at the gut biome, hormonal, and mitochondrial levels that we healed in both body and mind.
The extent of the mind healing was somewhat unexpected by me. But I’ve become calmer and happier than ever. Growing up my mind often moved way too fast and I seemed to be bombarded by sensory information fairly frequently. In retrospect I was probably very mildly on the autistic spectrum. LCHF has resolved this. Going grain free, in particular, has been an almost magical rejuvenation of both of us. Bodywise we are both on no medications, completely pain free, and stronger than ever. Mind, energy wise, mood wise better than ever.
I try to describe it to people I know that we both feel we’ve won the lottery. Compare this to any diet you’ve ever been on. If someone said “I will give you 50 million dollars. My only condition is this: you must stop your ‘diet’ and go back to the way you ate before”. You’d probably do it in a heartbeat, but not us. We feel so amazing, hunger free, disease free, great energy and mental wellbeing. Money can’t replicate that.
Experts, both those with degrees, and lay popular ones like Jamie Oliver and Michael Pollan can be very, very wrong. One thing that I use to vet people is this: is their only or their main go to explanation for obesity, diabetes, and chronic diseases that it’s your fault – my advice is great? That is both angering and pathetic but does have a small kernel of truth. Few follow the dietary guidelines faithfully. But, as we know in the LCHF community, the guidelines themselves are at the heart of the problem. And many people did follow the guidelines and did lots of daily exercise only to be overweight or obese and develop a chronic illness. Plus the hig-carb recommendations, most certainly including whole grains and daily fruit, make many ravenously hungry. Worse, they make people insulin resistant. Yet people are meant to see themselves as failures, not the recommendations. Very little is communicated by mainstream experts on insulin resistance.
There is increasing evidence mainstream views on whole grains, seed oils, and fats are particularly flawed. Especially fats. Good quality animal fats and saturated and mono saturated natural vegetable oils are healing and anti-inflammatory. Polyunsaturated seed oils particularly toxic and pro-inflammatory. The flawed recommendations, especially for the insulin resistant, matter a lot. In the LCHF community we’ve seen ourselves or friends or family fail on them over and over and over. And we’ve seen people heal and thrive on LCHF over and over and over. I can’t tell you how many people I meet that say they eat healthy and it’s a super-high-carb low-fat diet.
There has not been a single random control trial (RCT) to show whole grains are healthy. For me I know they were extremely unhealthy. They created inflammation in me, IBS, abdominal pain and fat, poor mood, lethargy, constant hunger, and the state of often being hangry. Experts have also fallen for the ‘fruit trap’. Fifty years ago no one said ‘fruits and vegetables’. They said meat and vegetables. Fruit is vastly overrated to me. Not that full of nutrients and the high carb varieties not only are chock-full of sugar but I believe keep many people carb/sweet addicted. During transition to LCHF and until at a goal weight most fruit should be avoided, and minimized thereafter, with the exception of moderate amounts of berries and low carb fruits like tomatoes and avocado.
LCHF is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and your loved ones. I am a much better husband and father than before. Calmer, sweeter, stronger, more engaged, happier. I also helped guide my wife and child to their best health ever. I’ve seen my wife get younger, stronger, and happier on LCHF. What greater gift can a husband give? One of the sweetest things my wife said to me is she no longer worries about losing her independence in her 80s. She feels she will be healthy for life.
I’ve seen our daughter thrive like never before. She was third percentile for height 26th for weight pre-LCHF. Now she is 25th for both. And much happier and developing very well. She is particularly articulate and outgoing. We don’t treat her like a mini us though. We do allow her white rice, more fruit, and more beans than us. But she is corn, wheat, and soy free. And still on the LCHF spectrum. She has many fatty foods and they are some of her favorites. Raising a child on real food LCHF is hard. But raising a child not on real food LCHF is much harder. And with inferior life long outcomes I believe.
Does it take some work? Yes. Especially at first. We are living in an era where industrial food is engineered to be as addictive as possible. But make no mistake overcoming an addiction to high carb and industrial foods, and most especially grains is the most important thing you can do for yourself. This will then translate to the best thing for everyone who is a part of your life. LCHF gets much easier very quickly. There can be an ‘acute’ keto flu phase for a few days or a week. And cravings for a few weeks. But living the rest of your life hunger free and in health is priceless.
The secret weapon for your health, for turning around global health is ourselves and real food, and for most LCHF. Not big Pharma, not a breakthrough, not running every day, not being hungry every day and working really hard at health. We are designed to be lean and healthy. Give yourself the right inputs from food primarily, but also sleep and movement and weight loss and great health improvements happen for most. Humans are remarkable super-organisms. We have only about 19,000 genes from our parents and millions of genes contained in our gut biota.
Real food LCHF is clean burning fuel that triggers good gene expression in us and a healthy gut biota. It naturally reduces hunger and inflammation. It uses everything about you to make weight loss and optimal health so much easier than any other approach I found. It harnesses your entire ecosystem: your genes, your microbiome, your mitochondria, your hormones, your fat burning ability to give your healthiest version of yourself, mind and body, with the minimum amount of work.
Real food LCHF will be there for you when you are ready. Maybe you try this week, maybe this summer, maybe next year. Maybe you don’t get to three weeks the first four times, but you do the fifth time. When you are ready though, go for it. Do not couple it with a spouse, friend, parent, or child. Great if you can do it as a family, but I found when I was ready, it was go time. You are responsible for your food intake. If they want to join, awesome. If not the best thing you can do for them is heal yourself. My wife took seven months to join me.
Our healing has felt like magic but it is all based on the science that Andreas share with the world. What they or I can’t do for you is to get you to go grain-free LCHF. Only you can. But there is no right way to do that. There is the way that works best for you. Maybe you go cold turkey, maybe in stages. But if you are overweight or obese or have ailments like arthritis, IBS, allergies, or GERD I firmly believe that you need to give real food grain free LCHF a chance. If it works a quarter well for you as it did for any of us, it will have been the best decision you’ve ever made.
Now for some tough love. A big part of healing for me was not wanting to be just another victim. Not doing LCHF was killing me. But more than that it was reducing my quality of life. Ultimately it was reducing me. I wasn’t my true or best self. Certainly I was far from my healthiest. But thankfully LCHF starts healing literally the first meal you start. The human body/ecosystem is incredibly receptive.
But here is the empowering part: you and your family are much more nimble than dietary guidelines, businesses, RCTs, anything. You can measure and test and feel results of different foods on you as often as you want. You can reject dietary dogma and embrace natural fats with your very next meal and then forever. And every time you choose high quality, well-produced LCHF food and reject junk food and junk fats, you help change the food production system. Every time.
The human body and mind is designed to be lean, healthy, happy, and vigorous. Intentional or unintentional but misguided nutrition, exercise, and weight loss advice has created huge markets in pharmaceuticals, supplements, medical procedures, gyms, and weight loss centers. Bending and broken humans create markets where none should exist. But this cannot and should not last. It is not acceptable. Or necessary. We still spend the same amount of money. Just on different things. We, collectively, have to transition to a health economy. Only healthy, thriving humans have a chance to tackle our collective problems. Andreas has given you the blueprint for you and your family to thrive. That is the first step. Then you will likely find yourself passing it on.
Congratulations to finding health for your entire family, Larry! And thank you for sharing your thoughts and reflections.
You can follow Larry Diamond on Twitter, where he’s quite active.
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