A Non Low-Carbers Asks…

“Why do you follow a low-carb regimen?”

My Father was an Atkineer back in the early 80’s when he broke his back and still managed to lose 80 pounds in 6 months.

I began down a road of low-carb eating then at the age of 14. Without trying, I actually became too thin, and forced myself to regain some of the weight. Still, with children and marriage and moves due to my sweet babboo’s career, weight losses and gains put me at a staggering 350 pounds at the beginning of this year. My children were worried, and my doctor had his hands on his hips. So, on January 1st of this year, I rededicated myself to healthy, whole-foods eating. I dropped 50 pounds in about the first 10 weeks of 2008. Then through some stalls and missteps, I’ve still managed to lose 30 more pounds, to a total of 80 for the year. I’m excited to see what the next 6 months will bring.

I know that many are skeptical of low-carb diets, and totally understand that there are many who mis-use the plan for weight loss (eating the bars and shakes instead of finding healthy alternatives) or who eat scrambled eggs everyday and eschew the importance of vegetables as phytonutrients. For me, to be able to eat what I would like to through creating foods with healthy ingredients is a great amount of fun, and is also healthy for my family.

I believe with all my heart that the low-carb way of eating worksas well, when the body is depleted of carbohydrates, for fuel it turns to the fat stores in the body. A meaningful state of lipolysis has helped me drop from a woman’s 6X to a woman’s 2X in pretty short order. I have regained my mental clarity, feel energetic, my depression is gone, and my blood pressure has stabilized. My doctor– who’s seen me recently for the first time since last year for a bad back– almost dropped his clipboard. He tells me I’ve lost over 90 pounds (at the time I’d lost roughly 80, so I might have weighed even more than I’d realized!), and rubbed his chin a lot during the appointment. That, coupled with a perfect blood pressure was worth the trip (the pain meds for my back didn’t hurt, either).

Speaking to hunger, because a low-carb plan keeps hunger at bay, where I was a binger on a higher-carb plan (I ate literally thousands of calories a day and could not stop), I have a difficult time overeating on a low-carb one. The foods are filling and have staying power due to the moderate amounts of fats and proteins. I don’t deny myself lasagna when I want it because I’ve put together a fantastic, ‘legal’ one that works for many gluten-free low-carb eaters. If I want mozzarella sticks, I make them. Pizza, waffles, you name it. And I’m in the kitchen constantly trying something new (which is why I was so excited and envious that you were able to see the BHG test kitchens). While following WW online, I ate to plan, was hungry all of the time and very moody. I lost 25 pounds in 3 months following WW. Following a low-carb plan, I lost 55 pounds in 3 months without hunger. (I totally accept that not all plans work for all people)

Low-carbohydrate eating is a very fun, rewarding and healthy lifestyle when good foods are employed as a means to this end. I show people what I enjoy on the food pyramid and suddenly they’re seeing that I’m not really eating all that differently from them. I double their vegetable intakes, double healthy proteins, quadruple heart-healthy fats, eat fruits high in anti-oxidants and loaded with vitamin C, and when I want something high in fiber I look to flax seed meal or other low glycemic-load fiber items for ‘grain replacement’. (Flax crackers are fantastic and easy to make).

I could seriously go on forever regarding low-carb eating (can you tell?), because it is a passion and something I wholly believe in.

One more thing? In a study, two groups, both eating the same number of calories per day, showed very different results: Low-Carb/higher fat dieters lost 15% more weight than the high-carb/low fat dieters in the same time period. Ketosis/lipolysis has an advantage.

So, I embrace any lifestyle which helps a person shed weight and is one people can follow for a long and healthy life, but my purpose in much of my writing is to share healthy, whole recipes for those not only who follow a low-carbohydrate/gluten-free lifestyle (or even just a gluten-free one), but for those looking to use whole food ingredients (such as the previous recipes for cauliflower crust pizza, which employ vegetables in an almost totally undetectable way) for general better health.

I also want to show others that eating a plan which is lower in processed foods can be exciting, fulfilling and results in some serious weight loss with very little effort. It’s difficult to shift in a society where we love chips, cookies and Milk Duds, but because I am doing this for my family as well as myself, I remind myself that the rewards far exceed doing the breast stroke in a vat of Cheetos.

Here’s to another 80 pounds gone by the end of the year through eating fun, whole, healthy foods without hunger.

*strikes a Disco pose*

Jamie

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Comments

  1. debrahubbs says:

    Jamie – I am SOOO enjoying your blog. Good for you – your success is incredible! I’m still trying to get all my weight off – after losing almost 80 of it on Kimkins -and then as a result – having to deal with hair loss and gall bladder surgery. I’ve gained about 25 of it back and now I’m trying to LC it – but smarter this time. Keeping my calories up, etc…. Keep up the good work!

  2. I love your blog. You are a fantastic inspiration! We have to WANT it. I know I want it, and although I am not to goal yet, somehow I feel like I’ve already “won”. I know the secret formula to weight loss and long-term health!

    keep up the good work, and I will too! :)

  3. You go girl!!! You’ve done an amazing job loosing weight AND inspiring the rest of us…. ok so I’m jealous but not in a bad I wish you would fall in a vat of cauli-mashers, face first kind of jealous, just in the I wish I had lost as much as you had… I’m at 50lb down and can’t seem to get past it.
    Hugs,
    Have a great week
    Vikki

  4. Former Donut Junkie says:

    Congrats on 80 pounds gone. That’s 60 dozen donuts gone! Woo-hoo!!!

    Rewards! Rewards! Rewards! They are one of the most important elements of successful weight loss and maintenance. Just don’t reward yourself with donuts…unless of course they’re Oopsie Donuts!

    I was on a self-induced plateau for a while, but it has come to an end and I am once again eating ‘clean’.

    Anyhow, keep them posts a comin’. Oh, and since you mentioned Milk Duds, I can hardly wait till you come up with LC Milk Duds. Oh yeah babe!!!

    Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie

  5. I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and though I enjoy it, I’m still skeptical of low-carb diets. I’m from the “a calorie is a calorie” school, and while I certainly wouldn’t advocate doing so, I believe that if you eat a 1400 calorie bag of Cheetos every day you will lose the same weight as if you eat 1400 calories of real food (though of course you would be healthier by doing the latter).

    However, your latest post is really interesting. I’m not quite ready to go low-carb/no-carb yet, but I’m wondering – if I don’t go completely low-carb but just make an effort to reduce my carbs at least somewhat, will it have any effect on weight loss (assuming same # of calories)?

  6. cleochatra says:

    Thanks so much for your support and great comments! I seriously appreciate them!

    Laura asks “but I’m wondering – if I don’t go completely low-carb but just make an effort to reduce my carbs at least somewhat, will it have any effect on weight loss (assuming same # of calories)?”

    If you are eating a low-enough carb amount that your body burns fat for fuel instead of those carbs, and you’ve hit that balance, you bet you can eat a moderate number of carbs! I know folks who exercise and can eat 90 carbs per day and some who can’t go over 35 without gaining weight.

    Here’s the deal, though: The body consumes these things in this order: alcohol, then carbs, then dietary protein, and then your body fat stores.

    The more carbs you’re bringing in, the less likely your body will ever use those fat stores because it has energy at its fingertips. The body wants the path of least resistance when it comes to finding energy. It’s easy to suck a Snickers Bar out of your system– it’s difficult to convert your body fat stores to useful energy. One those carbs are out of your system, your body says, “OK. Looks like we’re going for it guys!” and it starts liposuctioning your fat stores and converting this into energy, with the byproduct being ketosis (not ketoacidosis).

    So, even the healthy vegan eating 1400 calories is feeding the body carbs that the body can easily use for fuel, not touching the fat stores. The healthy low-carber who restricts their carbs on 1400 calories? Well, they’re burning more fat because their bodies don’t have the other impediments in the way!

    So if you peel the onion, discard alcohol use (save for occasional use) and the processed carbs, you’re leaving your body room to burn 15% more fat on average than the person constantly giving its blood sugar carbs– even when the calorie counts are absolutely identical.

  7. Thank you SO much for that information! Really enlightening, and I will definitely look more seriously into dropping my carb intake.

    I already avoid really processed carbs most days, though I do load up on pasta and bread if I’m going to be running long distances (I’m a marathoner). On an average day, I eat 130-200g carbs, usually in the form of fruits and vegetables, though I typically have 1/2 cup Fiber One Cereal for breakfast.

    One thing you said confused me: you said that you burn alcohol, then carbs, then protein, then fat. So how would a high protein diet (as many low carb diets are) help? Of course you can’t not get your protein without creating other problems for yourself, but it seems like the low-carb/high-protein approach of something like Atkins would just cancel out the effects?

  8. cleochatra says:

    Hey!

    1. My friend Betty (whom I adore) runs marathons fueled by eating steaks. You don’t need to carb-load to run a marathon.

    2. “One thing you said confused me: you said that you burn alcohol, then carbs, then protein, then fat. So how would a high protein diet (as many low carb diets are) help?”

    No, because eat enough protein and your body treats it like sugar. Protein is great for staying power and fueling muscles (as is the case with Betty and her steaks), but too much of a good thing and you’re feeding your blood sugar, which can keep you from using that left thigh for energy. The ratio Atkins gave for induction (as an example only) is 65% fat, 30% protein and 5% carbs. This gives an idea that this is really a higher-fat way of eating initially and not a high-protein one (as many think it is).

    3. “Of course you can’t not get your protein without creating other problems for yourself, but it seems like the low-carb/high-protein approach of something like Atkins would just cancel out the effects?”

    It’s only a moderate protein way of eating. High-protein and your body thinks it just had a Snickers bar made from cow.

    So, higher fat (heart-healthy), moderate protein, and low-carb (especially when you figure the average American eats 200+ carbs per day!).

  9. cleochatra says:

    vikki– you can do it! That 50 pounds is phenomenal!

    Look at Ron over there equating it into donuts.

    Ron– you’re going to like some of the stuff I’ve got coming. We have the same taste buds!

    debra– You are doing great!!! I am so excited for the positive changes you are making!

    shelley– you work it honey! You’re definitely winning!

  10. I……want to move in with you. Maybe you can start a LC B&B or something….lol…

    I started (again) today low carbing…so I will be sifting through all the recipe links you have…

  11. skeopple says:

    You are such an inspiration! Congrats on your huge loss.

  12. Just came across this posting this morning, and thought you might find it interesting: http://www.diet-blog.com/archives/2008/06/26/big_breakfast_diet_a_diet_that_works.php

  13. cleochatra says:

    High carbs and protein?

    PISH! PISH I say!

    The failings with ALL “diets” is our unwillingness to make a lifestyle out of them. Recidivism takes place in every diet plan. Not just low-carb.

    Low-carb simply threatens the cereal makers and the lobbyists who pay for many of these types of studies.

    I’m about to go some Kung Fu Hustle on that finding!

    Lifestyle is the key here. Not DIET.

    Those Endocrinologists probably were treated to Special K breakfasts.

    Am I right? Am I right?

  14. cleochatra says:

    Thank you skeopple!

  15. Dana Seilhan says:

    People who think “a calorie is a calorie” don’t understand basic endocrinology.

    If you eat 1400 calories’ worth of Chee-tos it is going to have a markedly different outcome than eating 1400 calories of cream cheese. First off, good luck stuffing all 1400 of those calories down your gullet–you’ll be puking. Secondly, fat is processed differently by the body than glucose is. WAY differently.

    You can only ever make glucose out of maybe 10 percent of the fat calories you eat, and then only if you need to. The rest of the fat goes through different metabolic pathways than glucose does, IF you use it for fuel to begin with. If you are not in ketosis, don’t count on burning much dietary fat, and definitely don’t count on storing it. Fat is used for other things like building up the nervous system and producing hormones. The excess? Well, that’s what your gallbladder’s for. Your body has various ways of getting rid of the extra.

    Glucose doesn’t work that way. If you can digest a carbohydrate, you will make glucose out of it. If you can’t use all the glucose you intake, you HAVE to do something with it or it will destroy your internal organs. (This is why diabetics suffer organ damage and need amputations if they don’t control their blood sugar.) Above a certain threshold blood sugar level that your body always maintains for energy purposes, the rest of that sugar goes into fat storage. This is where your body fat comes from.

    More importantly, if you are constantly intaking glucose sources, your insulin levels never have an opportunity to drop, because your body has to get rid of all that glucose in some way or another. This is why high-carb eaters get and stay fat.

    You’re just not going to see that happen with 1400 calories of cream cheese, or 1400 calories of butter, or 1400 calories of lard per day. But you will see it with 1400 calories of Cheetos.

    I don’t know where these supposed “studies” come from that “prove” that “a calorie is a calorie,” as the USDA seems to think, but I’d bet they were sloppily done and funded by someone with an unsavory agenda.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I’m LC’ing – haven’t tried any of your recipes yet, but plan on trying the oopsies soon – but I just had to say, YOU CRACK ME UP!!!!

    Sandy

  17. sjwnana says:

    Miss Jamie..
    the new place looks great.. And sweetie you have done a super job.. you are my INSPERATION
    I have loved every recipe of yours I have tried..
    and to top it all off.. You have done Super this year..
    My MOTTO…
    JUST KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON.. AND IT WILL ALL WORK.. I chose the LOW CARB LIFESTYLE..and very proud I did..
    SENDING HUGS
    SHEILA IN GA

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