My background with low carb diets:
The first time I had heard about the Atkins diet was when my mom lost 50 lbs. on it back in the mid-90s. I went on it so that I could lose enough weight to join the Army (where I met my wonderful hubby). It was only a short-term fix for my life-long slightly overweight problem [which I blame on the "eat everything on your plate" mentality of my father's family. Not hating on them but the fact that that was drilled into our heads when we ate definitely impacted my brain and my fat cells.] In the years after 2000, I put the weight back on (and more). I decided to go on Atkins again in January 2003. By August, I was looking great ;) But as I moved into the years of having babies starting at the age of 30, the weight crept back up.
Up until a few months ago, I didn’t have much motivation to attempt to lose the 110 lbs. that would get me to the top of my weight range for my height. I had even given up going to the gym this past year because the exercise never seemed to produce any visible results. I despise keeping track of calories or points or anything really. While I’ve heard many people rave about Weight Watchers, I’ve just never felt drawn to that program. The only diet that I believed would work for me was Atkins but I really didn’t want to “do Atkins” again for a few reasons. First, since I became a whole foods foodie in 2006, I have shunned artificial sweeteners as well as soy. When I did Atkins in 2003, I was addicted to the Atkins (candy) bars and soy shakes; both the bars and the shakes are made with soy and Splenda. I can remember the feeling of lusting after those (candy) bars that were technically legal. So, when I would think about Atkins to lose weight again, there was just a block there. It was too fake for me and too obsessed with keeping carb counts super low.
A year or so ago, I had borrowed from the library The No Grain Diet by Joseph Mercola. It didn’t move me enough to follow it. But it was a seed planted, I believe. But for the meantime, I just ignored my weight problem (which was easy to do since I was actually very healthy otherwise — good blood pressure, no diabetes or even pre-diabetes, etc. — because we eat no processed foods and only whole foods made from scratch (even bread) and usually organic).
About the same time as I moved toward being a whole foods foodie, my political/philosophical journey to libertarianism began. By 2012, I was a full-blown libertarian and getting Lew Rockwell’s daily email (with articles from various contributors on a variety of topics). There would be at least one health topic in each day’s list. Sometimes by Joseph Mercola and by some guy named Mark Sisson. Occasionally I would read them since I am big into natural health. Every once in a while there would be an article on “going Paleo” or “going Primal” but I wasn’t really interested until I saw this post: The Anarchist’s Diet by William Green. What?! I just had to read it with a title like that. He mentioned Mark Sisson’s book The Primal Blueprint in his post but I still had no desire to look into it more or even go on the paleo diet. But it was another seed planted.
So, when my husband said to me in mid-October that he needs to “go low-carb” again so that he can lose some weight, I replied that I would do it with him. But I wasn’t going to do Atkins, I was going to “go primal.” I returned to Lew Rockwell’s site and did a search for the articles that I had seen: The Paleo-Libertarian Connection, The Disappearance of the Fat Libertarian, Libertarians Going Paleo (Primal) as well as The Anarchist’s Diet. This led me to Mark Sisson’s website where I got the big picture of how to “go primal.” I was so excited that I started the diet the next day and have not “cheated” since.
I LOVE this diet because I already loved eating lots of veggies (since I learned how to cook them in wonderful ways, starting with this guest post by Diana Bauman The Mediterranean Secret to Phenomenal Vegetables. And we already purchase grass-fed beef, pork and lamb from an amazing local grass-based farm (even though you can use store-bought meat if you don’t have access to pastured meat). And we have 10 backyard hens who give us AMAZING eggs with deep orange yolks (so good for my 3 boys’ developing brains). We already take cod liver oil. I already make every meal from scratch (and it helps that I really do love cooking). So, for me to switch to this diet was easy — just cut out the grains and lower the sugar dramatically. Eat more veggies to replace the grains (if need be).
The biggest hurdle for me was a mental one. I really LIKE some sugary things. Grains would be no problem for me to give up forever but giving up my 1 Tablespoon of sugar in my coffee would be really hard as would the occasional sweet treat (which I do NOT keep in the house because I would eat the whole batch of whatever). I’m convinced that sugar is like a drug — that it can take over my brain when I start eating something sugary (more to say on this in another post). Anyway, I gave up coffee for a few weeks. After reading that Mark Sisson uses 1 teaspoon of sugar in his coffee, I thought I would try and see if I could enjoy my coffee with 1/3 of the sugar that I particularly enjoyed having in my coffee. I was very surprised that after several weeks of no sugar that 1 teaspoon of sugar in my coffee was actually pleasant. Woo-hoo!
I’ve lost over 10 lbs. since I started but I weighed myself for a few weeks now so I cannot tell you my up-to-date progress is as far as the scale. Additionally, my husband measured my hips, waist and ribcage when I started and then a few weeks ago and there were several inches lost!!! I took before pictures but I’m just not ready to post them for anyone to see yet. Maybe when I’m a lot closer to my goal weight :)
This post is already long enough so I will plan to share other thoughts, successes, and tips in future posts. Cheers!