Humble Calorie (Medium)

The Humble Calorie 2.0

So it’s been a little while since I posted, which is actually a good thing. I’ve been reading a lot of really interesting information and monitoring how I feel after eating different foods during this time. I think I’ve reached the point where I’ve done a complete U-turn, in fact, on how I feel about ‘diets’ and ‘calories’ and all the rest.  So much so, that I’ve made the decision to delete a recent post, which you may or may not have read, titled “The Humble Calorie”.  In it, I discussed the old ‘all calories are equal’ theory, and the possibility that dieting (aka low fat and/or counting calories, and exercising) was the way to lose weight. I wasn’t sure that LCHF wasn’t just another fad, another money making venture by the food industry and that it would turn out to be another failed ‘diet experiment’ on my part. But two things have changed my mind.

  1. I have been thinking a lot about the last time I embarked on healthy eating/weight loss (and was successful), and I’ve realised that what I deliberately cut down on or reduced was, in fact, carbs. I stopped all the sugary foods, I was eating a lot of salmon and chicken, and I would eat that with fresh salads or veges. I also cut down on breads/pastas and rice. I still ate them, but in far less quantities than previously. In essence, I was low carb.
  2. The other thing that happened recently was that I watched “That Sugar Film“, which is truly an incredible watch. It took me by surprise, to be honest, to see the negative effect that sugar had on Damon Gameau, the director and presenter of the film, during the course of the experiment. It really hit home to me that it’s not about weight at all. Weight gain is just the outward symptom of something that has gone horribly wrong on the inside.

I started researching again LCHF and the science behind it. I realised that my fear of it is simply based on low fat propaganda, and not on real science. A calorie is not a calorie, regardless of what food source your body gets it from. That much is clear from many studies, and is particularly shown in That Sugar Film. (If you haven’t watched it, I would highly recommend it).

I’ve decided that I will give LCHF a go. I don’t like the idea of labelling eating in a particular way, as it makes me feel like this is a ‘diet’ rather than a healthy way of eating.  But I also want to take note of how I feel, how my body responds and, importantly, whether I lose weight, and to do this, I need to be specific about what I’m choosing to eat, and what I’m not.

I am purposely choosing to reduce or eliminate from my diet, bread, pasta, rice, starchy root vegetables and obviously sugars in any form. I am purposely choosing to increase ‘healthy’* fats, such as butter, olive oil, and animal fats. I hope to do this for 4 weeks and gauge how I feel at the end of that time. I also plan to increase my incidental exercise, not strictly for the purpose of losing weight, but for good mental health and well being. I guess you could say I’m going LCHF for a month!

At my last weigh in, I was pleasantly surprised to have achieved a small loss, bringing me in at 74.7kgs. While it’s no-where near where I want to be, it’s nonetheless a good start. At the end of the month, I would like to think I could be under 70kgs.

* ‘healthy’ fats, as defined by the LCHF premise, see www//christinecronau.com for more information.

Coconut Pancakes_pe (Medium)

Sitting on the Fence

So I have a confession. I really don’t know if I’m a believer in the whole LCHF thing yet. I’ve oscillated between that and calorie counting for the last couple of weeks. I’ve gotta say, calorie counting is boring and obsessive and unjoyful so it doesn’t excite me much, but the methodical, logical part of my brain insists that approaching this whole exercise in a mathematical way will bring results. I mean, one plus one is always going to equal two, right? And this whole switching energy stuff (ie instead of using glucose, the body learns to use fat) seems a bit OTT. I feel like we should just eat food and our bodies should just do their thing.

But I’ve read literally reams and reams of information, by highly respected scientists and dieticians and endocrinologists, who insist that all calories are not created equal, that it’s actually quite difficult to accurately log calorie intake, and that the body treats different sources of food (and the calorie content) in different ways anyway. And I believe them. It makes sense. And they have the science to back up their claims.

And maybe that’s the problem. When I say we should just eat food and let the body do it’s thing, well, maybe it would if we were eating the right stuff?! Have carbs (high carb – bread, pasta, rice etc) been pushed on us because there’s money to be made in the whole process, but really we should only be eating low carbs, meats, and high quality fats? Hunter/gatherer stuff.

I feel like I’m in the middle of a great conspiracy and I’m just waiting for the ominous music to cue.

Who to believe? Which ‘diet’ to follow? And how soon can I get one of those “before/after” pics that everyone else seems to have?

Anyway. I have noticed a couple of things. When I eat LCHF, I don’t feel as bloated. Full but not fat. Which is interesting. And it’s very satisfying food and there’s a real pleasure in eating until I’m full, rather than eating with a sense of guilt (“I wonder how many calories I’ve eaten!?”). There’s a lot I still don’t know, but this isn’t a difficult way of eating. And the food isn’t horrible or difficult to prepare.

Upping the good fats is a little problematic as I’m allergic to avocado, one of the yummiest good fats. I’ve resigned myself to this, after many attempts to eat it which have resulted in an itchy throat, lips and tongue, sore stomach and feeling completely off for a 24hr period afterwards. It’s just not worth the discomfort.

That leaves me with nuts, coconut oil, butter, cream, cheese, and olive oil. Adding coconut oil to everything is definitely weird at first, and should be taken slowly (to avoid stomach upsets), but I’ve read a LOT of good stuff about it, so I’m happy to give that a go. Butter is a little sad without a fresh loaf of white bread to spread it on, but I’m willing to persevere for a little longer on that one too. Cooking in butter is definitely a lot yummier than cooking in canola oil.

I’m not missing the flour, the potatoes, pasta or the rice to be honest. Not like I thought I would anyway.

So all in all, I’d say the LCHF is winning by a smidgen just because it’s actually so easy to do. I’m going to give it 30 days.

I actually don’t know what I weigh right now because my hubby hid the scales (I had a little meltdown over the numbers on the screen). It’s a good thing really as I was pretty over the accusing glances it kept giving me, and it actually doesn’t matter how often I weigh, the numbers won’t change unless I physically change too. Which I’ll see soon enough if it’s working. So the scales are irrelevant and out of sight, out of mind. What a relief.

Oh, are you wondering about the feature picture? Looks like it can’t be any good for you, right? Well, they’re coconut flour pancakes, with bacon (cooked in butter), strawberries, a dollop of natural full fat greek yoghurt, some pecans and a tiny drizzle of maple syrup.  Surprisingly delicious, very filling and very LCHF. Good on me.

lunch (Medium)

Status Quo

Third post, just over one week in and I’m doing great.

I think.

I mean, it’s hard to tell, really, at this point. I feel better but that might be psychosomatic. I think I look skinnier. Again, this could just be my imagination. Or wishful thinking.

One thing is for sure. After eating a bucket-load of high fat (but the good stuff), high calorie food for almost a week (along with a reduced carb load), I am no heavier or fatter than when I started.

This, in itself, is actually quite remarkable. I weighed in this morning at 77.4. That is a respectable loss of 100 gms (haha), but in all fairness, given the calorie intake, it’s actually amazing. I was expecting to slightly increase weight or remain the same for the next 2 weeks, based on everything I’ve read. Apparently it takes a few weeks for your body to adjust to using fats as its source of energy, rather than carbs. I’ll be honest; the science sounds right, but the jury’s still out on this one. I think I need at least a month before I can tell whether this works or not. I’m looking forward to having a read of Christine Cronau’s book, “The Fat Revolution”, ordered on reserve through my local library, which apparently explains it all.

The upside of this little food experiment: I’m definitely not starving, the food is delicious, and I haven’t put on weight.

Although, I decided this morning to start measuring as well. That will give me a more accurate picture, overall, of what’s going on. It could be I only end up losing five kgs or so, but if I lose two dress sizes, I’ll be one happy camper!

I’ve postponed exercise this week too because I wanted to see if the high calorie, high fat food, combined with no exercise would result in a massive weight gain. So far, no signs of it. Stay posted!

 

 

 

 

Coconut Oil (Medium)

Fat is the New Skinny

So, welcome to post #2. I’ve got a few things on my mind – stuff that’s been hurtling around in the grey matter since Tuesday (which shall now henceforth be known as Fat Tuesday). So, let’s get started on the stuff that’s been occupying my mind.

The first of many things is the realisation that I have a deep inner fear of starvation. Don’t laugh. I know in our modern, first world society it’s highly unlikely this event could actually occur. (Incidentially, I also have a fear of finding myself stranded somewhere with not a single t.o.i.l.e.t in sight. Strange but true. Maybe the two are connected…..).

Anyway, I realised that this fear of impending starvation arises because I am actually hungry all the time. Despite having just eaten, in my head I still feel hungry. Un-full. Un-satisfied. Physically full of food but mentally and emotionally still hungry. What is it about what I am eating that is causing this effect?

I could get all scientific at this point (and this would end up being a very long blog post, book length in fact), but let me just say here; if you haven’t read ‘Sweet Poison’ by David Gillespie and his follow-up ‘Big Fat Lies’, you should, it’s life changing, and it explains in so much detail (and far better than I could) the physiological changes that take place in our bodies as a result of the types of foods we eat, particularly the full/hungry connection to food.

And while I have long been a believer in the facts put forward in his books, I have struggled to fully implement the changes in my life. David would say that’s because I’m addicted to sugar, and he’s most definitely right. I love the taste. Not the white crystal stuff of course. It’s the unseen sugars I love: bread (made into French toast), tomato sauce, chocolate, dessert, bread (not made into French toast, perhaps with a little butter)……you get the drift.

The downside of all this ‘sweet’ stuff, is that even while I’m jammed to the tonsils with food, I am still So Flippin’ Hungry. Un-full. Un-satisfied.

This brings me to this morning’s little epiphany, which took place between reading the news and checking Facebook. (Although don’t ya think checking Facebook at 7.00am is normally a pretty average event? – it’s far too early for anything of interest to actually have happened).

So anyway, back to my moment this morning, which could be traditionally referred to as a ‘lightbulb moment’: LCHF.

Never heard of it? Neither had I. Well, at least I thought I hadn’t. But the more I read through the article about Low Carb High Fat, the more I realised I had heard it all before, I had just not put it together in a way that seemed to hit me like a bolt through my brain!

In the past, I’ve been deeply cynical about low carb diets, shakes diets, certain blood group diets and all the rest. I firmly believe we are designed to eat real food and enjoy it. To not only enjoy it, but that our bodies are like finely tuned machines and are set up to deal with the food we eat, processing and discarding as necessary. In an ideal world, we eat good food, we have loads of energy, and we don’t need to worry about gaining weight, aka ‘getting fat’, because our bodies work the way they are supposed to.

For this same reason, I’ve resisted diets which restrict certain food groups or encourage the overconsumption of only one or two particular food items (banana diet anyone?). We are simply not designed to eat this way, irrespective of the fact it starts to feel a little OCD and boring to boot.

Here’s the thing though. The minute you stop thinking about what you shouldn’t eat and start focusing on what you should eat, to fuel and feed your body, is the moment it all makes sense. And reading the article on LCHF is the moment it all fell into place. Suddenly I got it.

The reason I feel hungry is because I am hungry – low carb is only half the equation, I need to increase the fat in my diet.

Okay: Don’t. Freak. Out.

(Did she just say increase the fat??).

Yep. It’s true. Talk to David Gillespie if you don’t believe me. It’s a well proven fact at this point that fat doesn’t make you fat. Sugar makes you fat.

Fat makes you full. Full, as in satisfied. As in, not hungry. Good fat that is, like coconut oil, avocados, nuts, salmon…..

Well then.

Stupidly, I actually already knew this.

I realised this morning, however, that I’ve been concentrating so hard on eliminating the sugar aspect of my diet but in the process I’ve forgotten to increase the good guys, the healthy fats, that will fuel my body and keep me feeling full. It’s a two pronged approach and I’ll fail in the weight loss department if I don’t get this part right. And that’s why I’ve felt so hungry. #Legit apparently, as the processes going on in my body are actually going seriously awry.

So, today’s mission was to stock up on good fats and reduce the carb aspect in my diet. Notice I haven’t said no carb, it’s low carb I’m going for, and combining this with good fats and proteins. I’m excited to see how I’m feeling in a few weeks eating this way, and more importantly how I look. Apparently I need to be prepared for a slight possible weight gain as my body adjusts and starts working as it should, but then the weight should start falling off without too much effort on my part. I have to confess at this point that I am so skeptical about that part – I mean, my only experience has been that dieting and exercise is essential to shift weight, and my brain is conditioned, even if only on a subconscious level, to avoid fat. Even though I believe the science behind LCHF, it’s scary actually considering doing it.

To celebrate my new found wisdom and impending skinny-ness, I did two things:

  1. I purchased a pretty awesome new dress from the local op shop, two sizes too small. I paid the exorbitant price of $9, because it really was something special and just imagine how great I’m gonna look in 2 months after chowing down on all this good fat.
  2. I stopped in at McDonalds and had one last meal, just so I could remember how much I love this bad-for-me-but-tastes-so-good food. I know. It was insanely immature but I enjoyed every last french fry.
I also discovered that Coke Zero gives me an instant headache, which probably makes sense given it’s not even a real food. Need I point out that it was also my last Coke Zero.

 

 

 

Margarita (Medium)

The Heavy End of the Pendulum

So I woke up this morning and realised with mounting dread in the pit of my stomach that I had gotten fat.

Overnight.

Well, not actually, literally overnight. But I had definitely crossed the line from curvy to fat overnight. Yesterday I was cool. Curvy but cool. Today, I am suddenly fat, and filled with disappointment and self doubt. Plus nothing fits. My comfy, happy pants are feeling more like leggings, which actually doesn’t make me feel very happy when it comes down to it.

It’s true when they say it’s easier to get the weight off than it is to keep it off. I didn’t believe it, but now that I’m back at the other end of the pendulum (that’d be the heavy end), I know it’s true. I suppose it’s because you start the initial journey to weight loss and ‘perfection’ with such dedication and motivation. It’s the only goal in sight and you become tunnel-visioned about it all. You refuse even a sniff of chocolate or a dash of red when you’re on The Mission. But once you arrive? Suddenly everything is allowable again – you take to it with incredible enthusiasm (making up for lost time, so to speak), and because you’re a skinny chick you can get away with it. You think.

Although, if I’m being honest, I still never felt like a skinny chick on the inside, even when I was at my ‘perfect weight’. I felt like an imposter, a fraud. I would still grab a size 16 off the shelf, or insist to the shop assistant that I was definitely an ‘L’. Even if I ventured slightly south, choosing an ‘M’, it was with a deep sense of trepidation, waiting for the moment I would be busted by the shop assistant who knew (and could clearly see) what size I really was. I mean, was I delusional, for goodness sake?). I felt sure that sooner or later people would figure out that I was really just a fat girl in a skinny suit.

However that worked.

But after this morning’s wake-up call (and lack of clothing options), I’ve decided enough is enough. It’s time to get serious and make this happen.

So I’ve decided to blog about my journey back (again) to skinny because 1. if it’s not on the internet, it didn’t really happen; and 2. maybe public accountability will be the motivation I need to keep on track. (There’s a bonus 3., which is, if I’m blogging, maybe I won’t be stuffing my face full of food).

It’s hard. I mean, food is so good and I feel like I’m always hungry. Maybe that’s because I’m not getting enough sleep, or my hormones are mucking up. Maybe I have Syndrome X and that’s the reason for my fatness. I honestly doubt it has anything to do with the occasional glass or four of red every night, or the fresh side of pane de casa loaf (with butter) to round off dinner.

I’m being cynical.

Of course it has everything to do with the red, and the bread, and the granola brekky cereal and the chocolate…….

But enough is enough. I’d rather be a skinny girl on the outside feeling like a fat girl on the inside, than a fat girl on the outside thinking I’m a skinny chick, and who dies of shock every time I catch my reflection in a shop window.

So I’m going to say the number now. My starting number. I’m embarrassed about it. I keep trying to tell myself it’s not that bad. But really, I know it is. And I just don’t feel good at this number. And look, I’m going to be honest when I say I know that skinny isn’t everything. I use the word skinny ‘tongue-in-cheek’ somewhat, but what I really mean is ‘the right weight for me’. Everyone knows what that is, for themselves. This blog isn’t about me encouraging extremes in dieting, negative body image, or fat-shaming.

I’m just putting my journey back to good health, and the right weight, for me, out there in the public forum. Feel free to offer advice, tips, support and motivation. I’ve done it once before, and I know I can do it again.

I know you all just skipped that last bit because you really just want to know the awful, hideous truth. You want The Number. (Can I just say at this point, my period is due any day now. I’ve heard you can weigh as much as 2.5 kilos heavier in the lead up to that glorious event. I’m just sayin’).

SEVENTY SIX POINT FIVE.

I can’t believe I just typed that. Even I thought it must be a typo.

That’s a BMI of 27. Officially overweight. (Incidentally, I love how those BMI calculators are set up with the height and kilos already keyed in to the perfect height/weight ratio – like, is that to make you feel worse before you even know your results??)

Sigh.

It’s bad. That’s a whole lotta chocolate and red wine, right there. My husband tells me he loves big butts and he cannot lie, but I think even he would draw a line in the sand at this point.

I’ve come to the realisation there’s no point whinging about it. I got myself into this mess and it’s up to me to get myself out of it. Again. One lousy kilo at a time.

So, I’m gonna say another number. This is my goal number, my happy spot, my skinny chick ID.

SIXTY FOUR.

Using my nifty little iPhone calculator, that requires a loss of 12.5 kilos. Unfortunately, that’s probably not do-able by the height of the Australian summer but I could be half way there by Christmas. Which is better than nothing. My mother, bless her heart, says she can’t actually notice the weight gain but unfortunately I can and summer temperatures (think sweaty ribcage and thigh chaff) will only be confirmation of the fact.

So here goes. Today really is the first day of the rest of my life. Today is the day I start the long, sweaty, difficult journey back down the scale to where I know I am supposed to be. And this time round, I’ll be prepared to stay there. Wish me luck!

ps: I’m not sure exactly how the picture attached to this post is supposed to be motivational. But it seemed appropriate given that, along with numerous other ‘buddies’, it helped get me into this rather hefty spot. I don’t suppose this could be my weekly reward for good behaviour?….. No? I didn’t think so.

pps: There is, of course, the more noble motivation of being a healthier, more energetic mum and a good role model in terms of health for my kids. But let’s keep it real. At this point, I just want a few more clothing options and less fat rolls around my middle.