Recently I have been asked by friends and family on what I did to lose weight and improve my health. I thought that I can share the things that I have learned in this post.
But first let me give you some background story so you can rely.
As a child, I was always the cubby one… I lost the “baby” fat around middle school by diet and exercise and remained in the “recommended weight range” till I got married. With my first baby at the age of 25, I gained and lost all the weight without even trying. However with subsequent pregnancies and 17 years later things are quite different! As you might have heard or know… as you age; the pounds keep piling up and losing the additional weight keeps on getting harder. I also came to realize that my “bad” cholesterol (LDL) was high.
When I sought medical advice, my doctor would say: “You have to have a low fat diet and loose the weight” (DUH??).
Well I tried the low fat, fat free, no cholesterol, whole grain, lean meat, no egg yolk….etc. for a while, but the weight and the cholesterol kept on increasing! Besides this my migraines where getting worse, I had low to no energy, and I was constantly having brain fog!
This is where I started doing my own research on high cholesterol and weight management.
These are things that worked for me. I urge you to do your own research, ask your physician and decide if they are suitable for you.
The following are the tools that I embraced to reduce weight, feel better and improve my health. I am not THERE yet, however I understand that this is a journey and not a destination.
I took the following step in the chronological order listed and the transition proved relatively easy for me.
1- Abolishing Refined Sugar
This was one of the hardest but the most important! Sugar can be more addictive to the body than cocaine! (AND I WAS DEFINITELY ADDICTED)
I don’t want this post to become a biochemistry explosion so this is a simplified version of why sugar is directly related to high lipids and obeisty.
2- Going Wheat/Gluten free
This one was a game changer for me. I had cut down the sugar and was on a low-fat diet but that scale would not budge! And though I felt better without the sugar, I still felt tired, and my migraines where still debilitating.
I heard about the book “Wheat
Belly by William Davis, MD” from a lady on YouTube who cured her Rheumatoid Arthritis and lost a lot of weight by adopting this life style. I bought my self a copy and dove right in.
If you live in Saudi Arabia; you can get the book from Jarir
Did you know that eating two slices of whole wheat toast causes your blood sugar levels to rise more than two table spoons of sugar!
I took my time to research about the side effects of wheat and grains. Once I was convinced I went gluten free.
This meant cutting down on all the breads, pasta, cereals, muffins, donuts, cakes, cupcakes, crackers, biscuits, cookies, pies, samosa, fatayer, kunafa, …etc.
By cutting down wheat/gluten and decreasing my grains I had lowered down my carb intake tremendously. This lead to dramatic reduction in body water retention as well as my total body weight.
I felt lighter, my joints where more flexible and migraines much better.
3- Going KETO-ish
By now my diet was basically no wheat and low fat. I did not want to go high protein because that would start a whole new bunch of problems and protein is processed in the body as carbohydrates… The problem was that I was hungry and tired.
This is when I discovered the Ketogenic diet.
What is a ketogenic diet?
A keto diet is defined as a low-carb diet, where the body starts producing ketones as the main source of energy.
Using ketones for energy versus glucose is like using clean oil versus dirty crude oil. The key is to have low-carbs, moderate protein and high “healthy” fats.
Being on a ketogenic diet has tremendous benefits. I will dedicate a whole blog post for this topic.
I say KETO-ish because I am not there yet. I have tried to embrace as much as I can and have witnessed amazing results.
Again it is a work in progress. I am not seeking perfection but rather for minor improvements every single day.
Ketogenic diet needs to be done correctly with supervision. So do your research and seek medical advice from an experienced health care provider.
4- Intermittent fasting
While I was researching the ketogenic diet and ketosis, I stumbled upon “Intermittent Fasting”.
Intermittent fasting is going as long as possible without eating in between meals.
So the typical eating window would be of 6-8 hours followed by a fasting period.
There are many variations to intermittent fasting and we will discuss this in more depth in upcoming posts.
Intermittent fasting gives your body a brake from metabolizing all the food, keeps the Insulin levels stable and taps in to your body fat for fuel instead of relying on all the carbohydrates from continuous eating.
I started having early dinners and pushing my breakfast as late as possible till I went down to only two meals a day.
5- Adding a workout routine
If you adapt a wheat free and keto life style, you will start shedding weight very rapidly.
Some experts say that health is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise.
I started adding a workout routine very slowly and gradually. We all have to start somewhere.
I did it to gain more flexibility and stability. Then started doing cardio and added strength training. Finally when I had more energy and endurance I started High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
Following is a summary of the tools that I have embraced to improve my health. Click on 5 tools for better health to down load a PDF version.