Gaye, a dental hygienist in her early 50s, had been dieting for 20 years without much success. She still struggled with losing the 50 pounds she had slowly gained over the past decade. “I’d occasionally be successful, but starving. I could never sustain that way of eating. Therefore, inevitably I’d gain the weight again.”
When she decided to try the popular high-fat, low-carb, moderate-protein Ketogenic Diet, she set an achievable goal to lose 30 pounds. Originally, she thought this diet looked similar to the rest: daunting and restrictive. However, nine months later, she had lost 50 pounds, looked and felt happy, healthy, vital and youthful, and gained a new outlook.
Gaye’s weight, not her health, prompted her to begin the diet. Then she watched a YouTube video featuring Dr. Tim Noakes who explained the issues linked to excessive sugar intake including cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. She became keenly interested in the science, and began reading articles, watching documentaries, and following Dr. Noakes, Dr. Eric Berg and Dr. Stephen Phinney online. Her primary focus soon shifted to health. She had been on blood pressure medication, used nasal sprays for hay fever, got migraines regularly, was lethargic, depressed, and lacked energy. She explains, “But I didn’t realize how badly I felt until I felt better!”
How did she do it? She “eased herself into it” by reducing her daily net carbs to 50 grams; then to 25 grams; and then 20 grams. Once she was aware of the foods she could enjoy, she collected lots of delicious recipes. (Although this diet counts carbohydrate grams rather than calories, Gaye says she keeps to approximately 1100 calories per day.)
Benefits: In addition to lost weight, her blood pressure dropped enough to discontinue medication; she has no more migraines or hay fever symptoms, has less brain fog so is thinking clearer, her appetite diminished, and she says she has energy like never before in her life.
Gaye’s attitudes have also changed. “I’m no longer ruled by food. If I miss a meal, that’s quite okay. This is liberating! Exercise is now easy and desirable. I used to come home from work so tired I would flop onto the couch in front of the TV. I assumed this was normal lack of energy. Now, I always buzz around doing things; I much prefer walking the long trails for an hour and a half around my home or working out at the gym in the evenings.” She now works out at least 4 times a week, which builds muscle that burns fat and calories.
She concludes, “At first, I never believed I’d be able to sustain it, but I continued because I started to see results. Now, I like it so much that I don’t want to change it. It’s no longer a diet for me. It’s a way of life.”
Gaye’s Ketogenic Diet Tips
For the first two weeks, you’ll need to be especially disciplined. “I just kept saying ‘no’ to carbs, and after two weeks, my cravings were gone. Fat consumption kept hunger at bay.”
Gaye never used to obey hunger signals. She ate because the food was there/it tasted good/she was bored. “I’ve learned to ask myself whether I really need that snack now. I ask: Are you hungry, or do you just ‘feel like’ eating something?”
Don’t snack between meals. “I haven’t found avoiding snacks nearly as difficult as I thought I would.” Instead of grabbing a snack at a coffee shop, she enjoys making her own portable healthy snacks. Most of the time, she doesn’t even need it, and just waits until she gets home to eat. “But enjoying coffee with cream tides me over in a pinch.”
Get support. “Friends have been wonderful. If I’m going to a friend’s home for dinner, they’ll ask me what I can eat, and if it’s a meal I’m reluctant to eat, they never try to coerce me.”
Do research to get the right information. There is a lot of misleading/incorrect information online about this diet.
Consume good fats (including omega 3, 6 and 9) from avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and healthy saturated fat from coconut oil instead of high amounts of animal fat. Eat only enough fat to keep you satisfied. If you’re hungry between meals then you need to increase your fat intake.
“It’s very empowering when you realize that you can say NO to a tempting treat. You’ll even get to a point when foods you formerly craved no longer interest you.”
“Don’t do it half-heartedly. Commit to follow the diet properly and healthfully. You will sleep better, have more self-confidence, and feel absolutely awesome!”