‘This way of eating is for life for me’
After starting low carb, Lyndsay Ray, 57, from Great Britain, has improved her health in so many ways.
“My stomach is calm; my skin is better with fewer weird unexplainable rashes; depression is minimal; my brain is sharper, and I’m not hungry constantly and craving sweets,” she says.
In this interview, which has been lightly edited for length and clarity, Lyndsay Ray shares what she ate before and what she eats now, and her best advice for low-carb newbies who want to lose weight and improve their health.
What’s your name, age, and where do you live?
My name is Lyndsay Ray. I am 57, and I’m a Brit currently residing in Limassol, Cyprus.
How did you discover keto or low carb?
I discovered low carb a few years ago. I had heard about the Atkins diet, but I, like many others, just dismissed it as a fad diet. My sister mentioned Diet Doctor a couple of years ago and I started to read the comprehensive information on the website and see some of the stunning transformations.
Did you have any health or weight struggles before going low carb?
I have hypothyroidism and have a propensity to gain weight around my middle. Although I had no health issues per se, I seemed to have many skin rashes and stomach upsets, mood swings, and occasional depressive periods and I was much heavier than I wanted to be.
More often than not, I felt overtired from doing little and had no motivation to make any changes. Diabetes is in my family and I knew that’s the way I was heading. With the belief that dementia may also be helped along with carbohydrate-laden and sugary diets, I believe I was setting myself up for a potentially problematic old age (if I was lucky enough to make it that far).
What were you eating before making this lifestyle change?
Before low carb, I ate constantly, and I ate everything! Bread, pastries, sweets, chocolate, and large carb-laden meals that, conversely, never satisfied me but sent me into a carb coma. I also drank a lot of tea with sweeteners and diet coke or orangeade.
When did you start low carb?
I first started low carb in 2018, I think. But the problem I had at that time was not addressing my addiction to sugar and sweeteners. Therefore, I made many low-carb versions of cakes and pastries and continued to overeat, so I abandoned the attempt.
In March 2020, I decided to try to go 50 days without sugar. It seemed daunting to even last one day, but, taking each day at a time, I have now been sugar and sweetener-free for a year. After a few weeks of no sugar, I then started to eliminate carbs from my diet; potatoes, bread, and pastries went first, and then fruit and more carb-rich vegetables.
In what ways has your health improved?
There are innumerable improvements to my health. My stomach is calm; my skin is better with fewer weird unexplainable rashes; depression is minimal; my brain is sharper, and I am not hungry constantly and craving sweets. I don’t weigh myself so I cannot tell you that, but even I can see that I am smaller. And what I can tell you though, is that I have lost 25 inches (64 cm) from my body measurements (eight of those from my waist) and I have gone down four dress sizes (I have replaced my whole wardrobe!)
What does a typical day of eating look like for you now?
I eat one meal a day now most days at around 6:30 pm. Maybe at the weekend, I may have something at midday – a chunk of cheese with my coffee. For my meal, I will eat roast chicken and salad or broccoli and cauliflower with bacon or pork chops with veggies. I know many of the Diet Doctor recipes by heart now. And who knew that cauliflower was so versatile?! I also drink gallons of water each day and a couple of coffees, no more fizzy soda, or sweet tea.
Have you made any mistakes on your journey (that you’ve learned from)?
I don’t really think of any things I have not done strictly as mistakes. For example, I do not weigh or measure food or count carbs. Just eating pretty much one low-carb meal per day frees me up from worrying how many carbs the meal contains. This way of eating is for life for me, there is no ‘diet’. This is how I eat, and I certainly do not miss being in the cycle of weight loss/weight gain I had been in. All my life I have lurched from unnaturally overweight to unnaturally thin. This way of eating means that I no longer have to think about what I weigh, my weight will settle where it should be… People ask me what I have done and when I tell them they say that ‘they cannot do it,’ (they can if they want to) or ‘it cannot be healthy,’ (er… so was the additional 25 inches (64 cm) on my body healthy?)
Do you think exercise is necessary for success on low carb?
I don’t think it is essential and should not take precedence over what and how you are feeding yourself. What and when you eat is everything. The body needs to be fed or fasting and the constant snacking (the eating every 3 or 4 hours, nonsense that all of us who started low-fat dieting in the seventies were told) makes it difficult to manage weight (or so I have discovered!). I do yoga every day and try to walk outdoors (COVID permitting), but I do these things for strength, balance, and mental wellbeing rather than weight management.
What are your top three tips for people starting low carb?
- If you have a problem with sugar, you will most likely need to address that before attempting a low-carb lifestyle (in my experience, as I had mentioned earlier)
- When you start low carb, don’t get too stressed with how many grams of carbs you are eating. Diet Doctor has some great visual guides and you can eliminate the most carb-rich foods and gradually hone your intake.
- Remember: this is not a diet. Diets don’t work – we go on them and then off them and back to ‘normal’ ways of eating. Low carb is a lifestyle change. (Oh – and read everything on the Diet Doctor website!)
Thanks for sharing your story with us Lyndsay-Ray. I really appreciate how you differentiate a diet from a lifestyle change. And it looks like you found a wonderful lifestyle that works for you! I am thrilled Diet Doctor played a role in your journey. Keep up the great work!
/ Dr. Bret Scher
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