Like Sarah, I, too, have been doing a lot of nutrition reading. I reached a point of enormous frustration last week, when my weight continued to hover at its highest-ever point in spite of the fact that I have been strenuously calorie-tracking and exercising for the last month. In fact, with some breaks here and there, I’ve been calorie-tracking and exercising regularly for the majority of the past 4 years. As far as I can tell, all I’ve succeeded in doing is slowing the rate of weight gain. The fasting thing I was doing for awhile last year was effective, but it just isn’t practical when I’m living with another human being who likes to eat regular meals.
So a little over a week ago I picked up a book I bought awhile back but hadn’t read. It’s Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes, and it basically blew my mind. He destroys the calories-in/calories-out weight loss model, and explains why some people’s bodies will do just about anything to keep from giving up the fat in their fat cells. In rat studies, they’ve found that obese rats’ bodies will starve their brains of energy before they start using the fat in their cells.
So based on that book and a lot of studies I’ve read up on, I’ve started a ketogenic diet. It’s a low-carb, high-fat, moderate-protein approach to eating. It has a lot of overlap with paleo – lots of people eat a diet that is both paleo and keto. I’ve gone a week now without any sugar or grains. I get my carbs (20-30g per day) and fiber from non-starchy vegetables. I’ve upped my fat intake. And so far, it’s been awesome. I’m never hungry, even though my caloric intake has actually fallen.
And I lost 7 lbs in the first 5 days. I know that it’s partially water weight, and I don’t expect it to keep up at that pace, but my waist is definitely shrinking and my clothes are fitting better.
I realize it might sound kind of extreme, but all moderation ever got me was an average gain of 10 lbs per year for the past few years. And I swear it isn’t crazy; Sweden recently put together a committee to examine the scientific literature and determine the best diet for weight loss. They ultimately recommended a high-fat, low-carb diet. Here is a great literature review of the uses of a ketogenic diet beyond weight loss, which include reducing likelihood of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and possibly guarding against Alzheimer’s and cancer.
So what have I been eating?
Here is a smattering of what I’ve been cooking up this week.
Mini bell peppers, stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon, then broiled for 20 minutes.
Coconut shrimp with mashed parmesan cauliflower and sauteed broccolini.
Let me just say that this is the most delicious diet I’ve ever been on. And while I hope to eventually be able to reintroduce some sugar and grains into my diet, I’m having fun cooking with SO. MUCH. FAT. while also losing weight. Sarah, please keep the paleo recipes coming!