Like most young adults, my three sons hate when photos are taken of them, however when we gather for a holiday each year in the spring and fall, they indulge me in a group photo. This has provided me with visual documentation of my progress these past two and a half years, since I first learned about a Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) style of eating. These cell phone pictures certainly aren’t the best quality photos, but they serve the purpose.
The first photo from the left with me in the plum shirt, was taken April 2015, around the time a retired-physician friend first told me about the work of Dr. Jason Fung, a nephrologist in Toronto that teaches his patients a LCHF-diet, along with intermittent fasting (IF) to reverse the symptoms of Diabetes and obesity.
The second where I am wearing a scarf was taken in September 2015, shortly after I began eating a liberal lower carb diet, but was not following a ketogenic lifestyle or intermittent fasting. I was not eating as large amounts of carbohydrate as I had been, and guess I was probably eating ~ 130 g carbs per day.
The third photo, the one in the middle, was taken exactly a year ago in September 2016. I had lost some weight, but as you can see, the crocheted cardigan I was wearing was stretched skin-tight over a striped camisole.
Quite by accident, in the fourth photo taken in April 2017, it turned out that I wore the exact same outfit as I did in the previous September. This photo was taken only a month after I had begun following a LCHF lifestyle seriously at the beginning of March (6 months ago). I wore the crocheted cardigan open, and one can see that while I lost a lot of weight on my face and neck, my abdominal circumference had decreased to a lesser degree.
Two days ago, I deliberately wore the same cardigan and skirt that I had randomly ended up wearing in the previous two photos – with the identical camisole in a different colour, underneath. What can be seen in this last photo (September 2017) is that my face and neck have continued to slim, but what can’t be seen is the huge amount of space under the crocheted cardigan. So here is a photo of that space:
Through the large spaces in crochet pattern of the cardigan, one can see the outline of the bottom of my skirt and my pink sandals. There is 4″ of space all around! The significant changes in weight, abdominal fat, and overall much lower blood sugar at all times of the day has occurred since I first lowered my daily carb intake from ~50 g per day in March to ~35 g per day in July – and began seriously intermittent fasting a few days per week, from supper to supper (except for coffee in the morning).
While I still have another ~25 pounds to go to reach what I believe will put me at a waist circumference of 1/2 my height, I am definitely “getting there”. The progress is slow, yes, but consistent. My lab tests and daily glucose readings reflect the change. These photos serve as more evidence.
This weekend, for the first time, I forgot to take my “baby dose” of Ramipril one night and decided to measure my blood pressure at several points the next day, to see whether it was coming down compared to 3 months ago when I began temporarily taking it, by choice. My systolic blood pressure without medication was 15 mmHg lower than it was three months ago and my diastolic blood pressure is ~5 mmHg lower. I’m going to continue taking this medication until my blood pressure is ideal without it, but it is encouraging that I am much closer to that goal.
I am sharing these photos to encourage others that for me, following a low carb high fat lifestyle has made a huge difference – and the more seriously I limited the amount of carbs I ate, the more significant my changes have been. Had eating 50 g of carbs per day produced the results I sought with respect to my insulin resistance and weight loss, I would have stayed at that level, but it became evident that I don’t process carbs at all well. For me, it was necessary to lower the amount of carbs I ate, but it is certainly worth it. There are days, such as holidays that I choose to eat more than 35 g of carbs per day but I choose to avoid going higher than 50 g per day.
I consider my intolerance to carbohydrates to be no different than if I was wheat intolerant or lactose intolerant. Some people who are lactose intolerant, for example can consume some lactose and their bodies can digest it. Others lack the ability to digest significantly smaller amounts of lactose and necessarily limit it in order to feel well. The inability of my body to process carbohydrates is no different.
Everyone is different in terms of the amount and even the types of carbohydrates their bodies can process without impacting their insulin levels, blood pressure, lipids or weight, which is why there is no one-size-fits-all “low carb diet”. What is ideal for someone else will be different than what’s ideal for me. My role as a Dietitian is to work with clients and their physicians to help determine what level of carbohydrate intake works best for them – in order to lower insulin resistance (and in turn blood glucose), lower high triglycerides and cholesterol, as well as blood pressure. Weight loss is a natural byproduct of addressing these.
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I’m Joy Kiddie, practicing what I preach.
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Note: I am a “sample-set of 1” – meaning that my results may or may not be like any others who follow a similar lifestyle. If you are considering eating “low carb” and are taking medication to control your blood sugar or blood pressure, please discuss it with your doctor, first.
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