I’ve never told anyone that what they needed to do to lose weight was “eat less and move more”, but I know many of my clients have been told this by other clinicians, but who was I to talk? After all, I was an obese Dietitian.
The photo on the left was me before I began what I’ve called “my journey”, a Dietitian’s Journey.
Not only was I very overweight, but I had Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol and was in denial about how very metabolically ill I was.
I was in denial partly because I believed that I was eating a healthy diet for someone with Type 2 Diabetes. I dutifully followed the recommended diet from the time I was pre-diabetic until I was diagnosed as having Type 2 Diabetes and continued on it because that is what was recommended to control my blood sugar. I deliberately avoided missing meals or fasting, to keep my blood sugar stable.
As per the recommendations for Diabetics, I ate 193 – 259 g of carbs per day, plus sufficient daily protein for my age and a little essential fat. Keep in mind that only the recommended amount of daily carbs adds up to ~800 – 1000 calories per day — and with sufficient protein for my age was another ~4oo calories, plus another ~150 calories or so in olive oil and a few nuts or seeds on my salad. With intake of 1400 – 1500+ calories per day, how was I supposed to lose weight?
If “eating less” was not an option for me then of course, I was expected to “move more”. If I didn’t move enough to burn off the excess carbohydrates that I was expected to eat as someone with Type 2 Diabetes, then this was my fault. This is why I was fat. Right?
My diet was “healthy” by most people’s understanding — certainly as defined by the Dietary Guidelines (Canada’s Food Guide) as well as the Clinical Practice Guidelines for Diabetes. My bread was whole grain and so was my pasta and I ate brown or red cargo rice (with the husk). Lunch and dinner and my 2 snacks per day were comprised of lots of fruit and vegetables of all kinds along with some lean protein; 3-4 oz at each meal and an ounce of cheese at snacks. I barbecued meat, fish and chicken all year round and if I did pan-fry something, I always poured off the ‘excess fat’. The quantities I ate were recommended by the guidelines and as evidenced by the fact that I neither gained nor lost any weight.
Eating 65 g of carbs at each meal along with protein and 45 g of carbs at each of 2 snacks each day along with a bit of protein however didn’t help me avoid getting Type 2 Diabetes — so what was I expecting to accomplish eating this way after I was diagnosed?* It was supposed to help me “manage my blood glucose levels”, but unfortunately after a few years of eating that way, I ended up getting high blood pressure and then abnormal cholesterol as well, which is common.
*I believe that some people with Type 2 Diabetes do well eating according to the standard recommendations of the Clinical Practice Guidelines and others by following a whole foods, Mediterranean-style Diet. There is also strong research evidence that still others achieve excellent clinical results following a therapeutic low carb or a well-formulated ketogenic diet for a period of time. There is no one-size-fits-all diet for everybody and it is for this reason that I offer people choices.
When I saw my Endocrinologist 2 1/2 years ago, she said that if I kept eating as I had been, that in 2 years I would be on medication for Diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol and within 5 years, I would be on insulin. At that time, I discussed with her my intention to eat a low carb diet and how low in carbohydrate I was willing to go, if I needed to. I was expecting a great deal of resistance from her, given some doctors consider a low carb diet unconventional. Her response surprised me. She told me that me that eating very low carb was the best chance that I had to avoid the scenario she outlined above as well as the complications of Diabetes, including blindness and lost limbs. In fact, she recommended less grams of carbs per day than I was intending.
Unfortunately, it took another 2 years before I became metabolically unwell enough to actually begin to implement the dietary changes, but with my Endocrinologist’s approval and encouragement, as well as my GP monitoring my health, March 5, 2017 I began changing how I was eating and I’ve never looked back.
The photo on the left is of me yesterday.
As of today, 16 months into my journey, I’ve lost;
- 39 pounds (18 kg)
- 10.5 inches off my waist (27 cm)
- 2.5 inches off my chest (6.5 cm)
- 3 inches off my neck (8 cm)
- 1.5 inches off each arm (4 cm)
- 1.5 inches off each thigh (4 cm)
- Both my HbA1C and FBG are in the non-diabetic range
- My blood pressure is normal for someone without Type 2 Diabetes
- My lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) are considered ideal.
I still have an inch and a half to lose off my waist to get to where my waist circumference is half my height and I’m guessing that will take me losing another 18 lbs but who knows? Whatever it is, it is.
I had a foot to lose from my waist when I started — so what’s an inch and a half more?
Now, “moving more” is possible! Yesterday, as I do most weekends, I walked for 2 hours and wasn’t tired at all. I work out each week doing slow High Intensity Training and love it and am thinking about joining a dance class in September. “Moving more” is the result, not the solution.
Keep in mind that my results are only relevant to me, as I am “a sample-set of one” (n=1). As well, my doctor’s recommendations to me may not be the same as your doctor’s recommendations to you. Everyone’s results following a low carb diet will differ, because each person’s Meal Plan will be based on their own medical history, any metabolic conditions they may have, medications they are taking, their family risk factors, starting weight and lifestyle factors. What my journey and yours will have in common if you’re working with me is that it will begin as a moderately low carb intake, where you’ll be eating whole foods from all food categories, with your doctor monitoring your labs and the dosage of any medication that you may be taking. I’ll gradually lower the amount of carbohydrate you’re eating only as necessary to achieve the clinical outcome(s) that you’re seeking and with you doctor monitoring the dosage of any medications you’re taking. This often has to occur quite soon after lowering the amount of carbohydrate, and in time they may be discontinued entirely.
Some “low carb diets” available on the internet or in popular books promote unlimited amounts of meat, cream, butter and eggs and others promote (or promise) “rapid weight loss”. I don’t do either. But if you are looking for a Dietitian to support your desire to eat a low carb diet in order to lose weight and lower metabolic markers of Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure or abnormal cholesterol, then I’d be glad to be part of your healthcare team.
I have almost a decade of experience providing services via Distance Consultation (Skype and long telephone) and for those living in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia you can see me in-person in my Coquitlam office.
Do you have questions about how I might be able to help you?
Please send me a note using the “Contact Me” form above and I will reply shortly.
To our good health,
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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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