Low Carb Lifestyle

So many of you have expressed interest in this subject that I have decided to create a section dedicated to the Low Carb Lifestyle on my website.

I’ve written an initial website article which you can read in full if you like, but you can consider this blog post to be like an executive summary!

Please do not act on any of this information without checking my Medical Disclaimer. I am NOT qualified to give professional advice in this matter.

As a growing lad I had a huge appetite and ate a varied diet – anything and everything put in front of me (except eggs, liver and mackerel).

I was also very active and sporty.

For the best part of the next 30 years I continued to indulge my healthy appetites, eating my fill of the delicious food available firstly on cargo ships, then the fancier cuisine of the cruise ships, and then the hearty filling fare served up on hydro project construction sites. I also fully indulged my passion for imbibement of the varied nectars of the gods that I made it my business to discover all over the globe.

Because I remained extremely active in all these environments, and was often working in extreme temperatures – of up to 40 C (104 F) or more in some of the ships’ machinery spaces and confined underground power station sites – I do not recall my weight ever getting higher than around 100 kg .

 

Then in 1999 I came home to UK and settled into a series of rather more sedentary occupations. By mid-2002, whilst studying to become a Hearing Aid dispenser and alarmed at having crept to over 140 kg (22 stone, 308 pounds) I took the advice of a fellow student and together we went on the Atkins Diet. It actually worked for me and in 3 months I lost about 15 kg.

A Large Object in Assynt

But when I qualified I reverted to my old habits and appetites, and for the next 15 years my weight shot up to around 146 kg with the most that I actually recorded being 152 kg.

In 2015 I discovered that I had a problem with my right hip, and by September 2017 it was so bad I had to see an orthopaedic specialist.

He was able to confirm that I had virtually no cartilage left in the joint, and as a result my right leg was measurable shorter than my left. He confirmed that I needed a hip replacement as soon as possible. However, he was unable to perform the procedure until I lost a considerable amount of weight.

He referred me back to my GP for weight loss assistance and whilst I was waiting for that referral to crawl its snail like way through the system I got stuck into a calorie counting regime with the assistance of the fantastic Samsung Health app on my S7 Edge. The details are for another article but basically I successfully limited myself to about 1800 calories a day for the next 3 months.

So I put myself on a DIET, carefully counting the calories. I was often not satisfied with the quantities I was allowing myself; it was quite hard work; and I was often tempted to eat more but by Christmas I had gone from around 143 kg to around 129 kg, and my blood sugar had fallen to acceptable levels (I was diagnosed Type 2 diabetic during this period).

I allowed myself to feast at Christmas, and with my weight loss to date significantly alleviating my mobility issues I stopped calorie counting and just tried to eat sensibly. In early May 2018 with my 6 monthly diabetic check due in 6 weeks I checked my weight again and found it had crept up to around 133 kg – so I needed to get back on the diet treadmill again.

Round about this time I saw a fascinating BBC documentary “The Truth about Carbs” and that reminded me of my success on the Atkins and inspired me to try “keto” again. The documentary actually told more about limiting the types of carbohydrate rather than the total amount of all carbs. This interested me for the longer term but I decided that until I reached my first way-point target (which for me is 115 kg) I would go with the “virtually no carbs” approach to start with, and then introduce “good carbs” at the way-point and see what happens.

Now a word of warning – and please remind yourself of the medical disclaimer and my opening paragraph – severely reducing your carb intake can induce a condition known as ketosis. Simply put, your body senses the lack of fuel (carbs) and starts converting stored fat into ketones which are an alternative fuel. This process puts extra work on your liver, and the by-products are removed through your kidneys which then require plenty of water to help flush through. There is potential for ketones to cause poisoning if not controlled, and once again –

DO NOT EVEN THINK OF FOLLOWING THIS ROUTE WITHOUT MEDICAL ADVICE IF YOU HAVE EXISTING CONDITIONS OR MEDICATIONS.

(I believe that going in to ketosis is not necessary if you just want to control your weight – for me it is a way to lose weight quickly. If you are not obese like me it is probable that simply controlling the types of carbs consumed will suit you more.)

I have been eating foods with absolutely no more than 10% carb content, and more generally 5% or less. I’ll give a list in a moment, but if you want to know how to find the carb content –

  • Food labelling laws in the EU mean that it is displayed on the packaging. Not sure about elsewhere in the world, sorry.
  • The Samsung Health app on my smartphone has many popular foods pre-loaded, and the facility for you to add your own items
    • This app works with a Samsung account to store your data so may not be compatible with other manufacturer’s phones – but I’m sure equivalents exist
  • You can do Google searches for “nutritional values foodstuff

Because the foods I have been eating are varied, tasty and have satisfied my hunger I have now lost more than 15 kg in less than 4 months. In fact I find them so filling there are days when I go 10 or 12 hours without needing to eat, which of itself must also assist in weight loss I would think!

Here is a list of foods that I have been eating (careful if selecting processed foods – the nutritional value will vary from product to product and from manufacturer to manufacturer. For instance Aldi’s Snackrite salted peanuts are lower in carbs than KP):

Unrestricted quantities (fresh or frozen) of:

  • Red meat
    • Lamb, beef, pork – steaks, joints and chops
  • Poultry
    • Chicken, duck, turkey – leg and breast meat
  • Processed meats
    • Ham and gammon – loose, pre-packed and home-cooked
    • Sausages – only butcher’s own
    • Continental meats – german and polish sausage, salami
  • Fish
    • Smoked haddock, basa, cod
    • Tuna canned in oil
  • Dairy
    • Hard cheeses – cheddar, gouda
    • Butter
  • Nuts (generally good for fibre)
    • Almonds, Filberts, redskin peanuts, salted peanuts
  • Leafy vegetables
    • Lettuce, cabbage, kale
  • Brassicas
    • Cauliflower, broccoli, cauliflower rice
  • Salads
    • Cucumber, radish, tomato (careful)
  • Mushrooms
  • Real mayonnaise
  • Ready Meals
    • Many pre-pack curries have acceptable levels of carbs, and are great with cauliflower rice

OK, but watch the carb content and size portions of these accordingly:

  • Legumes
    • Peas, beans, peanuts (unusual for portion size to be an issue with peanuts for snacking)
  • Root Vegetables
    • Carrots, beetroot, onions

Ones I’ve been avoiding (mainly starchy):

  • Potatoes
    • Avoiding all types and all potato products like the plague
  • Pasta
    • As above
  • Cereals
    • Porridge, muesli, granola, corn flakes etc
  • Bakery
    • Bread, cakes, anything made with flour
  • Dairy
    • Milk
  • All manufactured sauces, pickles, cook-in sauces etc

This is not intended to be an exhaustive list, and you will find out for yourself where items not mentioned fit into your personal criteria.

I drink mainly fruit tea, black tea with lemon, green tea, black coffee and water.

You need to make sure you have sufficient fibre and vitamins. Supplements should be OK (I take multivitamins). There is a concept known as “net carbs” where if some of the carbohydrate content is fibre you deduct the total fibre from the total carbs to arrive at the figure to use in calculations of effective carb intake. This can apply to some of the starchy foods mentioned but personally I have just been avoiding starches altogether.

At the end of the day I am talking about a regime for weight loss. Once I’ve lost the weight I will re-balance my intake (I’ll have to, I love pasta!).

So there you have it – My Keto Story so far. If this issue affects you and you would like to keep up to date with my posts you can register for email updates using the form near the top of the right sidebar, or you can click on this link to Message Me Directly.

 

 


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