One Month On
How am I getting on? – The proof is in the (low carb) pudding.
OK, this page should a bit more readable (it's also easier to write)
Weight and general health!
A month in and I've lost a stone in weight!!
I'm no taller, I'm still annoying, but I'm slimmer.
I've been pretty busy renovating a couple of terraced houses for my step-daughter – in other words exercising plenty!
Considering my legs are knackered, according to the vascular surgeon, I do pretty damn well. I've been lumping bags of plaster, bricks, timber etc, around and working up to ten hours some days. Cause for optimism? We'll see.
I've lost a stone in this first month so I'm happy.
We're in the pub. I'm drinking red wine and eating pork scratchings! Yes, they have no carbohydrate and if you can get past the filthy taste, an ideal snack for me!
Brother looks at me and wants to know if I'm ill because I've lost weight!
Well, yes and no I tell him, but the weight loss was expected, and intentional.
Before my diet I was a little on the large side and had developed (minor) facial psoriasis.
I tell my brother that in a month I've gone from a Porky Scratching to a twiglet! (see, the humour (?) is back).
He seemed more impressed with my developing physique than my quips.
I have virtually eliminated carbohydrate from my diet. No bread, pasta, rice, potatoes etc. etc.
Example of a typical day's food is as follows:
Breakfast – two eggs (any way) with either a few slices of bacon or cooked meat or a tin of mackerel / sardines.
Lunch – More slices of meat (tongue / corned beef / ham) and a lump of cheese.
Dinner – Fish or steak or casserole or burgers or sausages with above ground leafy vegetables. Possibly a few berries to follow – with double cream! Yes, double cream. And a glass of wine (2!)
My wife has embraced my diet and does really well cooking us LCHF meals.
Initially we were pretty unadventurous, playing really safe, but gradually we're experimenting with other things and to be honest, most of them are pretty damn good. She is doing a great job.
There's really plenty to go at. Just have a Google for low carb meals.
(I've realized as I write that my wife, who is prone to nasty bouts of acid-reflux, hasn't had an attack since she joined me on our new regime - despite the fact she's not sticking to it quite as rigorously as me. But then she doesn't need to.)
Now I've started skipping breakfast! Sounds daft, but it's not a problem. My body is using it's reserves – that's why I'm losing weight.
'Fasting' like this (or even longer) appears to be a proven way not only to lose weight, but also help get vital organs back on track.
In effect, my body is using up it's fat and sugar reserves as fuel.
This guy, Dr. Jason Fung is a Canadian nephrologist. He’s a world-leading expert on intermittent fasting and LCHF, especially for treating people with type 2 diabetes.
(He's got a slightly annoying voice but is a nutritional inspiration)
We can all see the excess fat on our bellies, bums, arms, chins etc. (in adipose tissue).
However, one of the unseen problems about being overweight is the visceral fat.
As the the name suggests this is fat on my viscera, internal organs.
Most importantly I need to shift fat from my liver and pancreas.
Fatty liver (hepatic steatosis) is a recognized disorder and can be dangerous. Unchecked it can cause non-alcoholic cirrhosis.
The good thing is that fatty liver can be reversed through life-style changes – which is what I'm trying to do.
I'm told visceral fat will be the first to go and the belly fat last.
So, when I have a six-pack rather than a barrel, I'll feel I'm getting there. (Three-pack anyway!)
(I'm still having a glass or two of wine most days. Yes, I'm a naughty boy, but, hey.........)
One thing that Jason Fung (above) said in one of his videos seems to make sense:
What many people do is treat the symptoms of diabetes rather than address the root cause. In other words give medication to lower blood sugar levels rather than address the problem at source and cut down on the sugar in the first place. I paraphrase an analogy that he quotes, "If a person has a fever as the result of a leg infection there's no point treating the fever because the infection won't heal. As the infection gets worse more medication is needed to treat the worsening fever....... and so it goes on. We have to treat the infection."
Seems to make sense?
The amazing thing about eating LCHF is that the body no longer craves food.
It's quite extraordinary that after no breakfast and a small lunch I can work all afternoon and not feel hungry. I drink plenty of water though.
This lack of hunger is no lie, and I'm not trying to convince myself – it's fact.
Many others have the same reaction. Scan through the forums at www.diabetes.co.uk
You'll have to register, but it's well worth it.
The problem with carbs / sugar is that they stimulates a craving for more sugar. Our bodies are never satisfied and it's a vicious cycle.
Think Carb-laden Chinese meal. What happens an hour after a massive feast? Yes, you're hungry again.
Sugar is a fast-release energy source. It's either used for instant energy or stored in the liver or fat for future use - and pretty quickly.
Because it's either used or stored quickly, it's soon out of the blood stream and our body craves more. Makes sense doesn't it?
Following advice on the diabetes.co.uk site I've bought a glucose meter.
I prick my finger with a little lance, transfer a tiny drop of blood onto a test strip and pop that in the meter. The digital reading gives me an instant snap-shot of where I'm up to.
The best way to use it is taking one test immediately before eating and another 2 hours after the meal. This tells me how much whatever I've eaten has raised my blood sugar.
I expect it to go up a little but if it goes up by more than a couple of points, I've probably eaten something with too much sugar (or something that turns into glucose in my blood - like carbs for example)
I was advised not to buy a personal glucose meter by the nurse - but strongly advised to do so by my diabetic community – basically to enable me to tell which foods spiked my glucose levels.
The one I bought was about £12.
Lances (finger-prickers) and testing strips, a 3 month supply at the rate I'm using them, £50 (although I'm told I can get them cheaper than that).
Pity meters are not available on the NHS (generally) because encouraging us to look after ourselves could save a fortune for health authorities in the long run.
It's pretty spooky really. If I have a few slices of bacon and a couple of eggs fried in butter (or bacon fat), and a coffee, my reading can barely move after 2 hours.
This, lets be frank, is totally against what I would expect and certainly not the 'accepted healthy diet'.
Strangely (or not, once it's explained) a meter-reading first thing in the morning can be higher than expected. This is what's called 'Dawn Phenomenon' or 'Liver Dump'. What happens is while 'fasting' overnight the liver, recognizing that my blood sugar is getting a bit low, dumps sugar back into my blood stream.
I have not taken any diabetes medication to this point.
For information though, I do take meds for my arterial problems, things that 'supplement the lifestyle changes I've undertaken. A 75 mg daily Aspirin as a blood thinner, something that opens up my blood vessels and a statin to try and prevent my blockage breaking up.
Read on.......Medications and debate