How to lose weight the easy way without counting calories.
In the last 11 weeks I’ve lost 5.5kg with out really trying, that’s nearly a stone in old money. I can hardly believe how easy it has been.
- I haven’t counted any calories.
- I’ve lost an average of 0.5kg a week.
- My appetite has decreased.
- I have a greater feeling of wellbeing.
- I have more energy.
- I walk an average of 12,000 steps a day.
I’m not a dietitian, and I’m not trying to sell you anything, I’m an IT Professional who’s led a pretty sedentary lifestyle. I was always quite fortunate in that, despite my lack of exercise, I could eat what I like and not put on any weight. Now however, middle age spread was starting to settle in it’s a different story.
We (my partner and I), like many of you I’m sure, have both previously tried and failed at calorie counting diets. They’re hard work and prone to failure. Sooner or later you fall off the wagon and put the pounds back on.
Inspired both by a family member who’s been living a low carb keto “life style” for a couple of years now, and the BBCs documentary The Truth About Carbs we decided to give the keto life style a go.
When you eat carbohydrates your body turns those carbs into sugars. If you don’t burn off those calories your body will store them as fat. The sugar equivalents of high carb foods are staggering. Take a look at this 3 minutes clip from the BBC documentary The Truth About Carbs where doctor Xand van Tulleken and dietitian Alison Barnes invite a group of office workers to play blood sugar bingo.
So, What's Involved In Going Low Carb
Like anything in life there are always exceptions to the rules, but basically:
- You don’t need to count calories.
- Meat is fine, you don’t need to take the fat off or the skin off the chicken.
- Dairy is fine; milk, cream, butter, cheese and eggs etc.
- Eat vegetables that grow above ground.
- Avoid vegetables that grow under the ground.
- Avoid starchy foods, typically wheat based products, bread, pasta, rice, beans and potatoes.
- Eat smart: eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re not.
On most food packaging carbs are measured in grams per 100 grams. As a general rule of thumb foods fall in to three groups.
- Good – Less than 5g of carbs per 100g
- Moderation – Between 5g to 10g of carbs per 100g
- Avoid – More than 10g of carbs per 100g
People on a strict low carb diet often referred to as as a ketogenic diet or a keto diet aim to eat less than 20g of carbs a day. We aim towards the 20g but probably lie in the moderate category 20g to 50g per day.
Benefits that we have both experienced:
- Easy and sustained weight loss.
- Decreased appetite.
- Increased energy.
- Improved feeling of general wellbeing.
- Hunger satisfied after eating smaller portions than before.
After talking to my brother-in-law about his low carb diet, he directed us to the Diet Doctor site which has a wealth of information about keto and carbohydrates. It’s well worth exploring.
The Diet Doctor site will try to encourage you to “Start your FREE 30-day trial”. We didn’t sign up for anything. We just took advantage of the information and recipes that are freely available. But there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t.
Amongst other things Diet Doctor has a great guide for low carb foods.
Type 2 Diabetes
Now, I’d also like to mention that my partner was diagnosed as a borderline type 2 diabetic about 2 years ago. She managed her diabetes by making dietary changes, basically avoiding foods with added sugar and by and large this was working.
Taking care to buy products like Gullon Sugar Free Cookies which have only 0.5g of sugar per 100g she thought she was doing the right thing, until she learned what her body was doing with the 75g per 100g of carbohydrates that are in sugar free cookie.
Since starting her low carb diet (with the exception of 1 week at 7.1) her blood sugar has been consistently between 5.5 and 6.9 which is well and truly within the “normal” band.
Fitness Bands And Smart Watches
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As a rule I love all things Samsung and Google (and Google just bought fitbit, yeah) and dislike Apple and Facebook (who owns WhatsApp and Instagram). Just thought I would get that out of the way. I had until recently, a Samsung Galaxy Fitⓔ band which served me well until recently (just after we started out keto diet) when I upgraded to a fitbit Versa 3. The primary reason behind upgrading was that I wanted a smart watch with a bigger screen so I can read the display with out having to use my glasses.
Whilst not essential to loosing weight, I do find it motivating being able to set targets and have my fitness tracker monitoring my progress. Though I do only use a fraction of the available functions typically; Steps / distance, calorie burn and weight loss progress, I find them very useful and motivational.
What have we missed
Previously, our diets included a lot of; bread, pizza, potatoes, rice and pasta. When we discovered they were all to be avoided on a low carb diet we thought we were going to struggle.
To our surprise we really didn’t miss the potatoes, rice or pasta very much. However we did miss our pizza and bread.
There are some breads on the supermarket shelf claiming to be “lower carb”. They may be “lower” carb than regular bread but at around 28g per 100g this is well and truly in the “should be avoided” category. Always check the nutritional values.
There is keto bread available on the internet which is truly low carb coming in around 5g per 100g but with a price tag of between £6 and £9 for a 600g loaf… no thank you!
We found some great recipes for keto pizza and keto bread on the Diet Doctor website our favourite keto bread comes in at 2g per 100g, fantastic and meat feast pizza at 13g per 100g brill for a treat. Keto breads use low card alternatives to wheat flour like; almond flour, ground psyllium husk, coconut flour.
We found baking keto bread to be much quicker and easier than baking regular bread, no kneading required, no waiting for the dough to rise.