It is simple. I merely cut my daily intake of carbs in half. I did not go on a “diet” for “diets” necessarily have an end. When someone goes on a “diet,” it is usually understood that the “diet” is a limited time program designed to shed some pounds. OK. The only problem with a “diet” is that when the “diet” ends, the pounds come back on, sometimes adding more weight than was lost. I put diet in quotes to distinguish it from the normal daily intake of food, which is our regular diet.
I did not go on a “diet,” but actually changed my lifetime eating habits. I avoid processed sugar, white flour, potatoes, and most starchy vegetables. While I do occasionally eat potatoes or other starchy vegetables, I do so sparingly. They are not a part of my regular daily diet.
I watch my carbs. I attempt to eat only complex carbs, which are necessary for life. We get our energy from such carbs. I read labels to check the carb and sugar content of foods. If there is processed sugar, or enriched flour (a marketing term for white flour), or a high carb count, I avoid that food. I also use the glycemic index, which is available online, to help me plan meals.
I cut my daily intake of carbs to half of the daily USRDA recommendation for carb intake for a person of my age, activity level, and weight. That level is about 300 grams of carbohydrates per day. I limit my intake to 150. I do not count calories or watch my fat intake. It is not the fat intake that causes us to get fat; it is the sugar. Consuming simple carbs is the same thing as eating processed sugar. I repeat, it is not the fat in our diet that makes one fat; it is the sugar that makes one fat. How? Excess blood sugar stimulates insulin release. Insulin converts excess sugar in the blood to fat and the body stores it in the tissues, usually around the middle. Simple carbs like white flour, potatoes, white rice, corn, etc immediately convert to sugar in the digestive tract and enter bloodstream. That is just like eating raw table sugar. Sugary foods and drinks also cause weight gain.
I changed my lifestyle because my Doctor said I was close to becoming diabetic. So I changed my eating habits to low carb. I did not do it to lose weight, but to keep my blood sugar in acceptable limits. Even so, I lost 60 pounds in the first six months. In fact I was surprised at first at the weight loss. I first noticed the weight loss one day when I looked down and was surprised that I could see my belt buckle and zipper without sucking in my gut. I have maintained my weight for three years now. I still could benefit if I lost another 10-15 pounds. My optimal weight for my age and height is about 185 pounds. I now weigh 194 pounds. Before I changed my eating habits, I weighed in at 260 pounds. My waist size was 44 inches. My waist size is now 36 inches. There is one drawback. My old clothes fit me like a tent—I had to buy all new clothes.
“Diets” that have a goal of a particular weight and that end when the goal is reached are not the best way to lose and maintain weight. Most low fat, high carbohydrate, calorie restricted regimens are not satisfying and do not alleviate hunger. Therefore people finally get fed up with the regimen and quit the “diet.”
When I eat, the food is tasty, satisfying, and filling. Do not misunderstand, I love veggies and eat plenty of them. Yet, I find that the ability to consume fats is much more satisfying than low fat or no fat regimens. I am fully satiated after eating yet my weight remains constant.
By the way, my cholesterol ratio is good. It was not so good before I changed my eating habits. My blood pressure was moderately high before I changed my eating habits. It was in the 145/95 range. I had to take blood pressure medication to keep it in the 120-130 over 80-85 range. My BP now averages 117/70 with my medication. I recently stopped my medication for a two week period to see what would happen. The BP rose slightly to an average of 124/82. However, stroke runs in my family and I want to keep my BP as low as possible so I still take my meds.
UPDATE 9/3/2015. Six years have passed since I changed my eating habits and I am still maintaining my weight, blood pressure, and health and I have not become diabetic.
The upshot of all this is that the low fat, high-carb, calorie restricted diet recommended by the USDA and many health organizations does not work. High carbohydrate intake increases blood glucose levels. Excess blood glucose increases insulin levels in the blood. The insulin then converts the glucose into fat and stores it in fat cells. The most common place for fat to initially increase is around the belly. The USDA recommended low fat, high-carb, calorie restricted diet that is recommended by many health experts and many health related organizations has caused the obesity epidemic in America.
As a parallel, the extremely unsatisfactory diet recommended by First Lady Michelle Obama is based on the low fat, high-carb, calorie restricted diet, is causing hunger in school children and adolescents, and a large percentage of food waste in school cafeterias. Children and adolescents simply will not eat the absurd Michelle Obama diet. Even those students that do eat all of the food on their plate are still going hungry. There is simply not enough food on the plate for growing children and adolescents. Let me see, now, does Mrs. Obama have a degree in nutrition? No; she has an undergraduate degree in sociology and a JD. Is this a health move on her part or a political one? I say it is political.
This proves the idea, at least to me, that the government should stick to its Constitutionally enumerated powers. It should not be in the business of dictating what food is healthy and what is not. The diet recommended by this leviathan government is based on consensus and not on science. This USDA recommended diet was a political contrivance that had little to do with nutrition and much to do with politics.1
I am not giving medical advice. This is how I lost weight with my Doctor’s approval. I do not advocate that you take the same approach as I did. You should consult your Doctor for advice on losing weight.
Note: This is my story about how I lost weight. You should not follow my example but should consult your Doctor for advice on losing weight.
- See Gary Taubes’ “The Soft Science of Dietary Fat,” Published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science; available at: http://garytaubes.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Science-The-soft-science-of-dietary-fat-21.pdf ↩