I have been overweight all my life. Since nearly losing my sight as a child, exercise was restricted for years and by the time I was 11 I was a right old porker.
Since then I have tried every diet under the sun: Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Dukan, High Protein, Low Fat, Cambridge, Lighter Life… You name it, I’ve tried it.
But no matter what I did the weight kept creeping up. While having children I gave up on dieting and my weight went up even more. This picture is me at my heaviest.
Then in October 2016 I had some shocking news. I had been feeling unwell all year. I can’t really describe in what way, but I felt awful: dizzy, tired, headachey, sick. I thought I was dying and constantly googled symptoms to work out what was wrong. I ranged from thinking it was a brain tumour, to a stroke, to an impending heart attack.
I went to see my GP who sent me off for a full set of blood tests. The results weren’t good. My HbA1c result (which measures blood sugar levels) was 54. This placed me well within the category of a type II Diabetic. The dangers of this diagnosis are well known.
I was absolutely devastated. I asked my GP if he would give me a few months to try and turn this around. I had read that there were some exciting studies which indicated that losing weight was key to controlling your blood sugars. He wasn’t keen as he wanted me to go straight onto medication but I managed to persuade him to give me some time.
A year and a half later I have lost three stone and kept it off. I still have some weight to lose but the absolute best news was what happened when I went to see the diabetic nurse in March 2017 to have my blood tests re-done.
Here are the results:
- HbA1c changed from a very alarming 54 to a diabetes free 34!!
- Cholesterol from 6.5 to 4.3
- Fasting blood glucose from 9 to 5.4
The nurse could not believe it. I was officially no longer a diabetic.
However, the chances of my diabetes coming back as I age are very high, even if I keep the weight off. It runs in my family.
I decided to think of my diabetes as being in remission, and I will have to continue to be very careful to stop it coming back for as long as possible.
To lose weight successfully for the first time in my life I did three things and they made a huge difference. Obviously I can only speak from personal experience – I have no medical education whatsoever! – and please make sure you consult with your GP (as I did) about any weight loss and exercise plan you want to undertake. I hope you find the following tips helpful.
Step 1 to Weight Loss
The 8 Week Blood Sugar Diet
This is it. This is the diet that changed my life. I read absolutely everything I could about this diet before I started. There is some controversy about very low calorie diets and I read all the arguments for and against. These were my personal conclusions.
- Telling someone who has four or more stones to lose that they have to lose weight at a rate of 2 lbs a week means it could take them over a year.
- It’s really hard to stay motivated when your weight comes off so slowly.
- I read some evidence that indicated that whether you lost your weight quickly or slowly, the chances of the weight going back on were the same.
- If I only stuck to the very low calorie (VLCD) for 8 weeks it was better than the three month long VLCD diets – Cambridge and Lighter Life – I went on in the past.
- It was either this or medication as I had to do something quickly.
This book is excellent and it is backed up by a supportive and informative website which I used all the time. If I’m honest I didn’t bother with the recipes in the book. I didn’t like any of them. But the research in the first chapters and the following instructions are excellent. It’s basic premise is we have been pushed low-fat high carb diets for years and there is a strong link between the introduction of those diets and the rapid increase in type II Diabetes. The book argues our bodies are designed to cope well with fats and proteins. So you can’t have donuts, but you can have olive oil, butter, cream and nuts. (With the occasional pork scratching – yum!). It’s basically a Mediterranean diet.
What this book helped me to identify was my distorted and destructive relationship with carbohydrates.
Now I LOVED carbohydrates: Krispy Kreme donuts, Pastries, sausage rolls, crisps, sandwiches, toast, sweets, chocolates … the list is endless and I’ve had ’em all. In binge quantities. That all had to stop.
It was tough to begin with. I would dream about buttered toast. But I stuck with it. For the first 8 weeks I was strict and cut out most carbohydrates as instructed. Yes I had headaches, I was irritable (this is putting it mildly, I was a bitch queen from hell for the first two weeks) then the fog lifted… I felt GREAT!
You know what I noticed for the first time in fifteen years? My stomach wasn’t bloated and tender. I didn’t have indigestion. I was sizzling with energy. My mind was clear, I slept brilliantly.
After a year of feeling like I was going to die and about 100 years old, I was a new woman. I can honestly say I didn’t even think about carbs and food. I was too busy doing other things. On the blood sugar forum entitled ‘Non Scale Victories’ I wrote: ‘Strange one this – but the best thing about this diet is the relief of feeling freed from the slavery of food. Not thinking about food all the time. Particularly unhealthy sugary and pastry rich junk food.’
The weight absolutely fell off. Here is my weekly weight loss. I am not going to mention my actual before and after weight; my husband reads this blog. I had to tell him my age, but there’s no chance in hell I’m going to tell him how much I weigh.
AS you can see I lost 28 lbs in the first 8 weeks. The weight loss then slowed down as I upped my calories and just did 800 calories two or three days a week. I also ate slightly more carbs.
Losing it so quickly meant I could see results straight away. This was a massive motivator.
I am not saying this diet will work for everyone, but I suspect that if, like me, your body can’t handle carbs, you may find this works.
By the way, when I got to the end of the 8 weeks I went out and got the biggest load of crap I could from Macdonalds. I ate: Large Big Mac meal, Apple Pie, Chicken Wrap, Mozzarella balls and an extra small chips. Probably about 8,000 calories in one sitting and more carbs than I’d consumed for weeks.
Well, dear reader, the next day I thought I was going to die. I felt poisoned. Sick, dizzy, exhausted, upset stomach, greasy, weak and with a thumping headache. I couldn’t believe that I had got so used to that feeling over the past ten years I didn’t even notice how crap I felt. It certainly made me think twice about eating carbs in the future.
Step 2 to Weight Loss
My Fitness Pal App
Get this app. I have hundreds of apps to help me lose weight including Fitbit, Human, Weight Watchers, Runkeeper (this is a good one for exercise). But the only one I couldn’t delete is My Fitness Pal. I found it to be a Godsend.
You may think after a few weeks that you can guess how many calories/carbs are in your food and drink. You can’t. That’s why I have always failed in the past. This app makes calculating easy, particularly the scanning option which means you can just capture the bar code of any food and it will add the nutritional content to your diary.
It has the best database of foods hands down.
Have a look. I honestly don’t think you can successfully lose weight and keep it off without using an app like this. I still use it today and it keeps me on the straight and narrow. It has got records of hundreds of meals I have put together and I can just add them to my day with ease.
Step 3 to Weight Loss – and keeping it off!
Yes I know. Bloody exercise. I hate exercise. Always have done. Apart from a bit of yoga I didn’t do any. But when I visited that nurse and got those great results at the beginning of 2017 I was terrified I would put the weight back on (as I have always done in the past). I knew I had to do some exercise to help keep it off. Rapid dieting can waste muscles so I wanted to build them back up. Also muscle cells burn more calories than fat cells.
My local gym had an offer on for some personal training sessions so off I went. I also started jogging once a week with the dog.
Then in July 2017 I was delighted when our local gym introduced eGym. I have never done weights in the past and my trainer kept pushing me to work on my muscle strength.
Basically, eGym replaces the old weight machines (which I used to hate as they were clumsy and I could never remember what weight I was on, and I always crashed the weights down to disapproving looks from gym bunnies). The eGym machines ‘generate resistance using an electric motor and adjust the weight dynamically to the user’s strength.’
So you go over to a lat pull down, for example. You scan in using a wrist band. The screen welcomes you and shows a screen detailing how many reps you have to do and at what weight. The seat then shifts to accommodate you and the bar lowers ready for you to pull it. Brilliant!
When you first use the machines they give you a strength test. From this they can assess the muscle power of your upper body, your stomach and legs. eGym can then give you a biological age based on how strong you are. This was my first assessment,
Bloody 59!!! Bear in mind this was after jogging and about five months work with my trainer. I was particularly upset with my 63 year old stomach. (My husband was very smug about his 26 year old stomach).
What a great motivator, though. The eGym equipment repeats the strength tests at regular intervals and I am very happy to share with you my results since then.
32! Ha! That’s more like it. Physically I feel so much stronger. My limbs are firmer and my legs in particular are much more powerful. Little things like carrying shopping, or running up the stairs are much easier.
If you aren’t into exercise I know this may not persuade you, but there was an unexpected side effect to this that may make you think again.
Around Halloween I went on holiday for a week and, stupidly, thought screw the diet. I’m going to eat what I want. And I did. Carbs. The works. Chinese takeaways, Macdonald’s, KFC.
When I have been on holidays like this in the past I have put on 11 lbs. I’m not joking 11 lbs, IN A WEEK.
With my new muscular body I put on 4 lbs. 4 lbs! Which I lost very quickly. I have no medical evidence for this, but I am sure this is because I am made up of more muscle. I can’t think of any other reason – I ate like a pig.
One final tip.
Weigh yourself. Every week. Religiously. This worked for me. I always put on weight when I stop weighing myself. It is so easy to think, ‘oh, I’m sure it’s fine’. Or, ‘I’ll weigh myself after I’ve dieted for a bit.’ Nope. Well, certainly nope for me. You need to keep checking. If you don’t, you suddenly you find you’re a stone heavier.
I hope you find this blog to be of some help. I am rather evangelical about the Blood Sugar Diet because it has given me a new life. And it works. Trust me. Just stick with it, and if you do fall off the wagon don’t eat carbs.
You don’t have to be that food-slave on the sofa mindlessly shoving in sugar filled crap. It’s a form of slow suicide. You can be released from that carapace of lard. I wish I could convey how strongly I feel about this.
I wasted my life by living through a sugar-fueled dopiness. I had no energy. I hated the feeling of being squashed into small chairs. Not being over to bend over because of my huge belly. I wish with all my heart I’d done this diet ten years ago. If I can encourage anyone who has more than three stone to lose to give it a try I would be so happy.
Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments below. Share your stories of struggling with food. Support of friends is essential. If you fall off the wagon and binge, read my post about getting back on track.
I wish you all the best in finding your energetic, clear thinking and wide-awake you!
My Top Best Things About Losing Weight with The Blood Sugar Diet.
- Not having to use my asthma inhaler nearly as much – also, no more Gaviscon.
- Walking easily for long distances without aching hips, knees and feet. Not thinking anything of going back to get something as have so much more energy
- Not feeling that horrible sense of being ‘unwell’ which I didn’t know was being caused by high blood sugars
- Trying on and fitting into a pair of SIZE 12 Jeans after being 18-20 for at least ten years
- Having a thinner face instead of a giant moon face so don’t have to lash on so much shade on my cheeks
- Buying clothes because I like them rather than because they are the best at hiding all the fat
- Not being a slave to food. Not even going down the chocolate aisle at supermarkets.
- Being able to cross my legs properly!
- Not feeling like I’m carrying round a load of exhausting blubber when exercising.
Update: I have written a further post detailing the Five Foods that kept me on the Straight and Narrow.