My journey with weight loss and the 2 day low carb way of eating.
Up to the age of 50 I was very active, my body lean and fit. Around 50 I went through predictable hormonal changes and unbeknownst to me my thyroid began to malfunction. I had to stop running and hiking because of parts failure in my hips and knees that was eventually diagnosed as Lupus. At about this time I quit my very active job for my growing career with Reiki. Reiki is about as active as meditation!
Somehow all of that manifested in my gaining a significant amount of weight for the first time in my life. Several times over the years I lost 20-30 pounds only to have it creep back on.
Not surprisingly I developed a number of metabolic disorders. Besides the thyroid malfunction which turned into Hashimoto's auto-immune thyroiditis and the Lupus which is a very serious auto-immune disorder, I manifested heart disease and a major coronary occlusion, diabetes, IBS and finally, breast cancer. Whoa! Let’s backtrack a little here.
My doctor's told me what I already knew, that my weight played a key part in what was going on inside my body. "Just eat 25% less" said one slim and helpful doctor. "Walk 5 miles a day" said another. Their consensus was for me to just get off my butt, use a little discipline and to quote Nike "Just Do It!"
I won't go through the litany of all the ways I tried to DO IT. Suffice it to say that it was a great many and they added up to self criticism and discouragement. This last year the Lupus attacked my hip and I was virtually immobilized and in agonizing pain. I was sent to an orthopedic surgeon who talked about giving me a titanium hip. Yikes, that is major parts failure. My primary care doc ordered an MRI.
I didn't think it would show a thing. I knew it was a Lupus flare. Ah, but it did show a great deal. This was the first I had known of the damage Lupus can cause within the bone and bone marrow. Both the hip and the femur were involved. I darned well didn't want a titanium hip and thigh bone! And I know the flare would end and my body would do all it could to heal the damage. Bodies really like to heal.
The orthopedic surgeon was certain I'd be in his OR soon, meantime he told me to exercise more. At that point I could barely stand and was on opiates every 4 hours. He also told me to lose weight. I felt pretty darned helpless at that point and his advice wasn't helping any.
Before I left the office he turned to me and said, "I've been telling people to lose weight for 30 years. Last year I joined Weight Watchers and lost 30 pounds. It really helps."
What did I have to lose except weight? I had yet to try Weight Watchers so I decided to sign up for one month knowing I could cancel after the first meeting if it turned me off or I didn't like the leader, or whatever reason I came up with to quit. Well, I liked the leader and the program seemed reasonable and doable with it's built in splurges when you wanted or needed them and very real encouragement.
I wasn't the only one with failures and cravings and weak days and weeks. Best for me I could eat in the ways I'd found to work best for me. I have been working on that much of my life and particularly the past 6 years, writing 2 cookbooks in the process: first, the 'Accidental Cookbook' and then Sheila's Kitchen, 2nd edition. Simple, easy to prepare recipes for those with food intolerances like gluten, lactose, soy and sugar.
Weight Watchers does not limit WHAT you eat, just asks you to keep track of the Points + values of all you eat and gives you the framework for that and many ways to make it simple to track. And best of all, you get 49 extra points plus to 'spend' each week however you want . Well, it works! It's worked for millions and it works for me as well. In 4+ months I’ve lost 10 % of my body weight without being able to do ANY exercise and I’m darned proud of that.
And then the weight loss slowed down and I decided to do a little fine tuning of my own while staying within the Weight Watcher's guidelines. To this end I've been studying nutrition for the umpteenth time to find my own body's perfect fuel blend, one that supports my body moving to it's ideal weight and one that supports the reversal of dis-ease within my body.
Over the years I've gotten a clear picture of my own metabolic type....a strong protein type that is intolerant of many grains and large amounts of carbohydrates in general. I'm used to avoiding the foods that my body red flags. Now to move onto the next level for health and healing.
I noticed in particular the balance of proteins, carbs and fats in my WW food journals. Hmmm...higher in carbs than is ideal for me. Searching for a better balance and for a way to move off the weight loss plateau, I have read 3 separate books that describe 2-day diets...each pretty differently.
I don't want to fast 2 days a week for life...too hard to maintain and I want a lifetime way of eating for health. Nor do I want to limit calories to 5 or 600/ day two days a week...deprivation is too hard to live with.
The third book speaks of a simple carb restriction 2 days/week. Not only do I think I can do that, the whole idea makes good sense to me. And, I can fit it into the Weight Watcher's guidelines. I plan to implement it for the next month and notice how I feel and see if I move off the weight loss plateau where I've been lingering.
I began this last week. This week I'll have four low carb days, two days with my usual Weight Watcher's balance and one feast day where I use up a bunch of my discretionary 49 Points +. Translated, my body doesn't have a chance to get used to a certain pattern of caloric intake. The low carb days support extra fat burning, the feast day allows for splurges and make sure I don't feel deprivation and the other two are days I can eat out or with others without a problem. I'm excited to see where this will take me. I'm happy to send you my notes on the Two Day Carb restriction eating plan. Try it if it makes sense to you! Or read the book, published by Prevention Magazine, "The 2 Day Diet, part time diet, full time results" by Sari Harrar. The study Prevention conducted had some pretty amazing results including significant health benefits.
At the end of this study those on limited carbs just 2 days a week showed appreciably more weight loss than those on a 7 day per week calorie restricted diet. More importantly, they had more energy, better sleep, lower cholesterol and triglycerides, lower blood pressure and blood sugars and less belly fat with a smaller waist size.
It appears that the 2 low carb days each week reset the body chemistry in beneficial ways that low fat and low glycemic diets cannot. This equals less inflammation, less risk of cancer, less insulin and less leptin in the body. Too much insulin points us toward diabetes and encourages cancer. Too much leptin causes cravings and is directly linked to cancer.
Yes, I'm eating to lose weight but more significantly, I'm eating to heal my body. Simply lowering my body weight by 10% has lowered the leptin levels by 37%. This makes it much less likely that I'll have a recurrence of cancer. The lowered insulin levels lessen the diabetes and further reduce my risk of colon cancer by 50%.
I'm for that! Having cancer was just not all that much fun. I have begun the 2 day a week low carb eating plan. It fits in perfectly with Weight Watchers. What I've noticed is that on low carb days I have absolutely NO cravings and feel completely satisfied with what I eat. This makes those days much easier that I thought they would be. I think this will be a plan I can follow the rest of my life.
If you are interested I invite you to give it a try. You may need to get a carb counter book or app, I did. And if I can help, let me know.
PS: As I send this out to you I’m on week #3 and loving it. No more weight loss plateau for me!