A couple of years back I noticed that my body was changing. I’d always been on the slim side, so I wasn’t too concerned about losing the few extra pounds; after all – being a naturopath I should have all the tools I needed to be able to sort that out.

I WAS

WRONG

I started by trying all the usual methods believing that in a few weeks’ time, I’d be back at my former weight. I cut out sugar and dairy, started practicing Yoga four times a week and bought a juicer. To my absolute horror, not only did I discover that the scales weren’t budging – I was getting heavier. I simply couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong. Time went by and I got heavier, moodier and more uncomfortable with my body.

This was a real problem for me. I refused to believe that eating “healthy” food wasn’t enough to get slim. Neither did I accept the theory that I was getting heavier because I was getting older, and my metabolism wasn’t what it used to be. How could I help other people if I couldn’t help myself?

THE INSULIN PROBLEM

As a teenager, I’d been diagnosed with Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, so I’ve always known that sugar was a particular problem for me. When I cut sugar out of my diet, my periods returned to normal, my moods were lighter and my energy soared. Cutting sugar from my diet helped me to stay slim and avoid all the other problems that went hand in hand with this hormonal imbalance. Although cutting sugar had worked in the past, it wasn’t working now. I was missing something.

It wasn’t until a chance conversation with a friend (randomly on the subject of her husband’s fatty liver,) that I realized what I thought I knew about the food I was eating wasn’t the full story. Following conventional guidelines wouldn’t help me. Although sugar was a problem – I’d totally ignored the role of insulin (the fat storing hormone) that comes along with many metabolic conditions including PCOS.

In that light bulb moment, I realized that the amount of carbohydrates I was eating (potatoes, brown rice, and wholegrain pasta) was what was really driving my weight problem. As soon as I ate those high carb foods, my body went straight to work converting them into blood sugar and then storing it as fat.

This Ted Talk presented by Obesity Doctor Sarah Hallberg explains more about how this happens:

WHY EATING A DIET HIGH IN CARBOHYDRATES MAKES YOU FAT

There are 3 macro nutrients consumed by humans:

Fat

Protein

Carbohydrates

Fat and protein are essential to life, but few people realize that carbohydrates are not. Whenever you eat carbs, your body produces glucose (blood sugar) which then sends a signal to the pancreas to release insulin.

Insulin is called the fat storing hormone because it drives excess glucose out of the blood stream and into the muscles and liver. However, if the storage capacity of your liver is running low, any excess glucose circulating in the blood is immediately packed away and stored as fat.

To make matters worse, because glucose is easier for your body to convert into energy, it will inevitably burn it for fuel before dipping into any fat stores you might already have.

This was the reason I was piling on the pounds. I’d made the mistake of not questioning the guidelines around the food that was right for me.

The fact of the matter is that when you remove carbohydrates from your diet, your body is forced to burn fat. This result is natural (and often rapid) weight loss and a reduction in sugar cravings. In a nutshell, Instead of burning sugar for fuel, your body becomes “fat adapted” which means it burns fat (and not sugar) for fuel. 

WHY FOLLOWING CONVENTIONAL WEIGHT LOSS GUIDELINES WON’T WORK FOR EVERYONE

Most people believe that if you take in more calories than you need, any excess will be stored as fat. If this were the whole truth then we’d expect everyone who followed these guidelines to lose weight. We all know this isn’t happening.

This is because this popular theory doesn’t account for the type of calories a person consumes (e.g. fats, proteins or carbohydrates.) it only focuses on the amount. Think of it like this: which is better – 100 calories from chocolate or 100 calories from a bean stew?….Calories are calories right?

It’s my belief (after losing ten pounds in just two weeks of following this protocol) that the “hormonal model of obesity” which places more importance on the sort of calories consumed rather than the quantity is a far better approach to weight loss and goes a long way towards explaining why we’re currently experiencing an epidemic of obesity here in the West.

The science behind following a low carbohydrate diet (also known as a ketogenic diet) is solid. An increasing number of heart surgeons, GPs and prominent scientists are now coming to the forefront to challenge currently held beliefs about the low fat dietary advice we’ve been following for years.

Read more about this here:

Banting, weight loss and heart disease: Why we got it wrong about fat

Does this resonate with you? Please get in touch to find out more about how we can work together to help you achieve your health goals.

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