Maybe I was wrong!

Monday, March 31, 2014

I know by writing this that I may very well lose some of my avid keto followers or some hard core paleo followers and I'm ok with that.  The whole purpose of my blog was always just a platform for me to go through the motions of this weight loss journey without driving my family crazy with information they found boring, it was also to share my ups and downs as many of you relate.  It's never been about popularity and although my facebook page and this blog has become relatively popular in recent years it's never been my driving force, I am always grateful for the followers I do have and I hope that my authenticity and open mindedness is what keeps you reading.

Most of you know of my history with Primal, I've been primal for over 5 years and I've always classed myself as an 80/20 follower because I have a love affair with dairy and chocolate and lets face it I've never really been 100% compliant because I just don't want to live like that and I haven't felt the need to, I take my hat off to those that do Primal/Paleo 100%, I'm not one of them.  I have had my fair share of macro-nutrient adjustments over the years, plenty of trial and error and I've learnt a great deal about myself and my relationship with food in the process, it's something that cannot be taught, it comes from experience in living it day in day out.

lost 40 kgs back in 2008/2009 following a very low carbohydrate diet of around 30-50grams a day which I did for a year, then for the past 5 years I've mostly stayed around about 50-70gms most days with a few higher carb days thrown in for good measure and a few intermittent fast days also.  Last year I played around with nutritional ketosis here and here, I dropped my carbohydrates and my protein levels a lot lower and ramped up the fat, it was fantastic for dropping weight fast but I am becoming convinced that it's not a healthy state to be in 24/7.  At the time I felt amazing and had so much energy it almost felt unnatural. Fast forward to the last couple of months and I felt my body screaming at me to change something, I couldn't go on eating such a high fat, low carb diet, not because I didn't enjoy it but because I feel like it was taxing my hormones.  The one important thing I have learnt from my journey with weight loss and trying to obtain perfect health is that hormones and gut health are at the core of it all.

I was noticing that my sleep was becoming very erratic, my energy was lagging big time (even while in ketosis) when previously I was bouncing off walls, my gut health started to become very bad to the point I was struggling to digest vegetables, and my menstrual cycle was becoming very out of whack and extremely painful. I made sure I had bone broths, I kept the salt, potassium and magnesium high but none of it made a difference.  I thought it would all iron out but it didn't.  Once I started doing the research in places like Paleo for Women, Paul Jaminet, Chris Kesser, PaNu, Free the Animal and listening to all sorts of podcasts from Balanced bites, Robb Wolf and Dave Aspery etc..I have started putting a few things together in order to untangle the web I had spun myself.  I read forums, blog posts and comments, more books and taking all the information in, I found myself feeling conflicted and confused and a little bit angry, had all this keto dieting I had done recently been doing the damage, after all the studies I read on it had me convinced that Keto was amazing for long term health, the success stories alone are enough to make anyone make the change.  I thought it wasn't that far of a stretch to what I normally do.  I was wrong.

So in my long journey of regaining my health and maintaining my weight I gave the Perfect Health Diet another whirl, the last time I had done it I found I would binge on carbs all the time, what was different this time? I believe it was not going crazy on the fat while I was eating potatoes and rice, if you add tons of butter to starchy carbohydrates it makes it really hard to stop eating them, if you have them with only a little bit of fat and keep the meal much simpler it's much easier to only eat the amount you need.  From the data I've read on the subject it has a lot to do with food reward and our ability to listen to our real hunger cues.  Most of us find it hard to stop eating overly processed foods like pizza, cakes etc because it's the combination of sugar, fat and salt that keeps us gagging for more.  I have always struggled with moderation and felt like I have an addiction to these kinds of foods, especially when on a very low carb diet.  The most unusual and awesome side effect I have noticed since I have upped the starch in my diet is that I do not crave these foods like I used to and I can have a small amount and stop, that was unheard of for me and the reason I could never do moderation.

I still haven't formed a strong opinion about whether I think that strict nutritional ketogenic dieting is something that I agree with, I've had a pretty good stint with it and I have since changed my stance on it - hence why I'm writing this.  However I cannot deny that I had wonderful results in the weight loss department, in terms of health I found myself becoming unwell. Dropping carbs below 50gms per day undoubtedly works for weight loss, it was how I got off my 40kgs relatively effortlessly so I cannot deny that.  Would I recommend others do the same? I think it really depends on what kind of health you have, many people are much more resilient and can possibly handle the stress that low carb puts on our hormones, others might not be so lucky. 

So what does my daily diet look like now? Well I still consider myself very much Primal, the way I always have been, I'm still 80/20 because of dairy and chocolate and while the area or "safe starches" is still very controversial I am happy to include them in my diet.  I still stay away from wheat and excess sugar.

My day usually starts off with a decaf coffee with cream, at about 10am I generally have brunch which is almost always eggs 2-3 of them, I love them poached, scrambled, fried, an omelet and I'll add some cooked and cooled potato or sweet potato fried in ghee (clarified butter) and some sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), some avocado, maybe bacon if I feel like it.  That meal generally keeps me going most of the day until about 4-5pm and then I'll have a small snack of fruit, say a banana or apple with some nut butter.  Dinner is normally some meat, green vegetables and either some potatoes, kumara (sweet potato), rice, rice noodles and some days I just stick to zucchini noodles, cauliflower rice or mash because I like to change it up, everyday isn't the same otherwise I get bored.  I find myself cooking from cookbooks lately for new ideas.  My macros are probably about 100gms of carbohydrate a day, give or take, sometimes it's 150gms and other days it's 70gms, my protein is normally always around 70gms and my fat intake is roughly 70-80gms.  In terms of Percentages each day I'd sit around 45% Fat / 30% Carbs / 25% Protein, all very rough estimates.  My weight is fairly stable at 69-70kgs, (5'7") and I feel happy here, I could probably do with losing a few kgs but really have you ever met anyone that doesn't say that?! Mostly I'm just thankful that I have managed to maintain my weight loss while enjoying delicious food.

I personally think the following are really great websites to help get you on a good path to health and weight loss, I have no affiliation with any of these recommendations.

New Zealand Pages:

Please remember I'm not a doctor or dietitian and everything I have stated above is all from my experience, before diagnosing yourself please speak with a medical professional you trust.

Rebecca's Transformation!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Meet Rebecca, she has been following me since May last year and she asked if I would share her story.  I feel incredibly honoured that she wanted me to be the one to share it, Enjoy!

The photo to the left I was 82kgs and the photo to the right I am now 60kgs,  I was a size 14NZ and sometimes a 16NZ in tops, I hated them clingy and now I'm a comfortable size 10NZ.

I was a bridesmaid at my sisters wedding 30th October 2010, I was so unhappy with how I looked.  I had no hobbies, no interests and ate meals the same size as my partner who has a physical job. I felt extremely down and was so miserable and moody.

I joined the gym for 6 months and only lost 2kgs. I ate more than usual as I thought I could because I was working out. I left the gym and downloaded my fitness pal. I was given 1200 calories a day and they weight started disappearing! It took me about 2years to lose 15kgs but then it stopped, I got stuck at 67kgs and soon enough bumped back up to 72-73kgs. I felt happier I retrained my stomach to be full of smaller meals (normal size) and got back into horse riding which has always been my number one hobby.

I got annoyed and frustrated and wanted the extra kilos gone. I stumbled across Paleo, did a lot of research and started eating that way in May last year. I found Michelle Martangi from Primal Journey and followed her journey. I loved checking in daily seeing her food, it gave me motivation daily. Seeing other people food pics gave me ideas and made me want to push harder. By October 2014 I had hit 59kgs! I now sit about 60-62kgs and I am comfortable.

My goal now is to increase my exercise and tone up. I am more than happy with my weight but I just want to get rid of the last of the “jiggly bits”. I have a kettle bell arriving Thursday and I cannot wait to get started.

You can find Rebecca on Instagram "beccisully"

Health rollercoaster!

Monday, March 17, 2014

For the past 5+ years I've been Primal, keeping my carbohydrate at around 50-100 a day, I've had moments of 20-50 (only when in weight loss mode).  More often than not I wouldn't have been in strict ketosis the majority of the time, probably on the cusp of ketosis, certainly dipping in and out.  For the past few months I have generally been strict keto (20-50) to see if it would improve my health after a nasty inner ear virus I got last year. Unfortunately I've come to the conclusion that my delicate hormones weren't happy with the extreme low carb.   

I was noticing my monthly cycle was a LOT worse than normal and I was having pain for 3 weeks out of the month which felt very abnormal, I have terrible menstrual pain due to my PCOS but never had I experienced the random pain in the same place when I wasn't menstruating, it was concerning me.  My dizziness (due to Menieres) wasn't improving and I was feeling really tired most of the time.  My energy was just really lacking and exercise was the last thing on my mind, I was struggling to get through the day without a nap and everything in life was just feeling so much harder, it felt like a mystery and that maybe I was having a stint of depression.  

I decided to change what I was eating to see if it was in fact the strict level of carbs I was eating that was causing my issues.  I know for a fact that food affects our bodies and brains so much, it's the most powerful form of medicine.  So I started eating a lot more carbs, the addition of kumara (sweet potato), potato, white rice and bananas and lowering the fat a little to compensate so my overall calories don't go too high. While I miss the high fat keto levels interestingly enough I have felt incredibly satiated on the lower fat levels and higher carbohydrates than what I thought I would.

The best part is the pain I was having in my lower abdomen has gone, my period pain is much more manageable.  My energy has been so much higher and I no longer need to nap during the day, most importantly the dizziness has mostly vanished which has made life feel so much easier. As a bonus I've actually been very surprised that I've lost cms, the scale has stayed the same but I'm fitting things I haven't fitted in a while.  

Before anyone gives me advice that I didn't do keto right, believe me I know a lot about it and I love all the science behind it.  I made sure I had bone broths, I kept the salt, potassium and magnesium high, fat was 70-80% and I have in the past felt amazing on keto so I was miffed that I felt my health declining.  I'm all for doing what works, but if it stops working I'm the kind of person that will keep digging until it feels right.  

I'm yet to find my perfect macro nutrient amounts but for now I'm just feeling so much healthier.  I wholeheartedly think keto has it's place for so many people, including myself for a moment in time, it was crucial in getting that 40kgs off effortlessly, however my long term health is most important to me right now.

While I still wouldn't consider the macronutrient ratios of my current style of eating "high carb" compared to the conventional carbohydrate wisdom it is a lot higher than I thought I would ever go, I'm averaging at least 100gms a day at the moment.  

I've been at this weight loss, weight maintenance, health journey for a long time now and i've been every different weight imaginable, what is my priority these days is my health, waking up and feeling amazing and happy.  Its not always about a number on the scale or the size of your clothes but how you feel in your skin, my focus these days is to be healthy and confident.
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