In Blogs, Sugar, Weightloss

Whether you’re just looking for something more successful to help you lose weight and get healthy, or you’ve been experimenting with a low carb/higher far diet fora while, I hope these 20 insights from my experience with this way of eating will help you gain a bit more understanding on how it works and why it’s so successful. Enjoy the read, and please do comment on the post if you’ve found it interesting…


1…You’ll go in and out a 1000 times

Which the real power of this way of eating…you can go off track, but get back on it again easily. Painlessly. It’s possible to jump straight back into low carb eating in a way that’s not so easy when you eat a low fat diet. The feeling of deprivation on a low calorie diet makes it very hard to stick to in the first place, and really unappealing once you’ve dropped into eating more calories/fat again, making it feel so damn painful to go back to. Not so with low carb eating. The pleasure and joy from being able to eat and feel fully satisfied makes this way of eating a joy to come back to, and prevents the self sabotage that is the All-Or-Nothing Thinking of either being on a diet, or completely off it and splurging, with no half measures!

2…Sugar addiction is very, very real!

When I first embarked on eating a LC/HF (low carb/ high fat), diet, there was a general consensus that you couldn’t get addicted to sugar, therefore addiction was all in the mind and just a case of not being self disciplined enough. I knew at the time how wrong that was, I KNOW what addictive behaviours look like, and trust me, sugar is a classic! Even the addictive thinking patterns are the same. It’s pure misery for the sufferer, and sugar addiction can literally last a lifetime if it’s not treated. It often gets worse over time. It’s sinister, because it’s not seen as all that bad, and yet it causes every major chronic illness we suffer from in the west! I’m also aware that there’s a lot of hope though, and this diet is one of the most powerful ways to beat that sugar monster!

3…A diet is for life, not just the 1st Jan

So I don’t beat myself up if I go off track for some reason. You can’t get it ‘wrong’ for long! And the longer I eat this way, the less I go off track. I genuinely can’t remember the last time, maybe briefly last Christmas. You have to be self-disciplined to stay on a very rigid eating plan like the traditional low calorie diet. There’s no room for error, because even small mistakes will trigger weight gain.  I’ve discovered over the years that this really isn’t the case with L/C eating. The success is in the longevity of eating this way. There’s no need to worry if you’ve gone off track, it just helped to deepen my understanding of my own triggers, helping me to be armed and dangerous for the next time. Being in it for the long game also takes the pressure off losing weight instantly. This means you can drop at a comfortable rate, learning about your personal triggers along the way, knowing it will stay off this time. I lost 4 and a half stone 15 years ago, but it took me about a year and a half altogether. I’ve honestly never looked back since then.

4…It’s ALL about how you feel

How you feel is everything. It’s  reliable, trustworthy feedback from your body that tells you how you’re doing. You don’t need to be a martyr to the scales. Let them tell you the general trend in your weight, by all means. But your body will tell you everything else. The first indications will be the bloating beginning to diminish, but also your energy levels will change and brain fog evaporates. Conversely, it’s also how you’ll know when you’ve gone off track, as these symptoms will be the first to return. They are the first indicators, and lots of people tell me that they are so uncomfortable, they can’t wait to get back to L/C eating again, simply to feel better! You, and no one else from then on, can tell you what this feels like personally. No matter who they are, all those diet experts out there can never tell you how you’re meant to feel. Your body is your very own feedback system, and she’s never wrong. You can learn to trust her signals, and just know when it feels like you’re doing the right thing, because your body feels so right. No one can ever stand in for that super powerful tuning system, so don’t hand over your power to people who try and tell you how to feel on this, I promise you that it’s entirely personal to you.

5…I know the difference between cravings and hunger now

Again, this is something you only personally know when you experience it for yourself. We are ruled by cravings to such a degree that we mistake them for hunger, even though we’re well aware that we’ve already eaten enough! Unfortunately the western diet sets us up for mistaking our body’s messages, and our natural appetite fades off the radar. We don’t know hunger and we don’t know full. There are a few physiological reasons for this, but just knocking out the processed carbs and sugars, and upping your fats, will stimulate your natural appetite within 2-3 weeks…as quickly as that! And it’s just wonderful! I can’t count the amount of clients who come to see me after a couple of sessions and they’re delighted with themselves, because they feel real hunger and satiety too, for the first time in forever. It’s easily done…we were born with it after all. But once re-gained, it’s something most people never want to lose again!

6…No need  for detailed weights and measures

For me, this one of one the great aspects of this way of eating. Calorie restriction is such an old-fashioned way of managing weight loss these days! Quite apart from the fact that it’s a very unsafe harbour- the amount of calories you eat bears very little relation to the amount of weight you lose in the long term because of the way your body manages energy from food. She demands energy and will not be ignored for long. So the sheer freedom of letting go of calorie counting, (and yes, it’s scary at first!), from worrying about the amount of calories in what you’re eating. It took me a while to keep the faith with this one as I’d been indoctrinated into the low fat, low calorie weight loss advice like everyone else. I’m a nutritionist and calories were the bible back in 1996 when I trained. I really couldn’t quite believe what was happening with my body, when I ate all the fats I wanted and yet I was dropping the lbs too. It doesn’t take long to become familiar with carb levels in foods, especially if you keep your meals as clean and unprocessed as possible. You can see the right portion amounts, because you’re not craving…just hungry! So you become very quickly aware of what a comfortable amount of complex carbs looks like on your plate, (and by the way it feels too!). You quickly get to know how much is too much without having to be super precise about the carb content of each food. Imagine that…never calorie counting ever, ever again! Bliss!

7…You can enjoy eating low carb foods anywhere in the world.

I’m over in Goa, India at the moment, and haven’t eaten a single grain of rice, or bite of bread! There’s no need for me to, and I don’t miss those filler foods at all. The curries are delicious without them, and so are all the dishes cooked up by the amazing chefs that work in the kitchens here. And so it is with most of the world too…especially if you go on holiday in the west. You can always ask for more salads or veg when you’re eating out, and most places will offer a protein rich, higher fat choice on the menu that you can adapt for yourself.

8…You can also enjoy eating low carb any time…birthdays and Xmas included

There’s not much of a need to worry about dieting before or after these life events either. L/C eating fits in well with Christmas, birthdays all the other celebrations we enjoy in our lives. If you enjoy baking, there are 1000’s of LC/HF recipes for cakes, deserts and treats minus the sugar and stodge. I’m not famous for being master chef, but I love making simple low carb treats like mince pies and even birthday cakes too. It satisfies my creative streak, and I get to eat as much as I want with zero regret afterwards! It means that you can still enjoy that feeling of over-indulging in a treat at celebration times, but doing it your way! How nice. and even if you do go off track for a day or so around these times, it’s such a pleasure to jump back in again, it’s easy to get straight back into LC/HF mode.

9…It’s ALL about health!

It really, really is. After all these years, (and coming up to 60 now),  I honestly can’t imagine what I would feel like if I had been eating a high sugar and carb diet. As it is, the only medication I’m on is HRT. I’ve had a couple of MOT’s and all my organs are healthy and functioning normally. I do yoga every morning, ride my bike and climb mountains when I can. Would I still be able to do that if I’d been trying to eat a low calorie and low fat diet? It’s hard to tell, of course for sure, but I suspect that my ongoing sugar addiction would have been causing some problems by now, even if it was just in my energy levels.

10…Give up the fight, you’ll never win!

And this is the little secret to the whole thing! This our FOOD we’re talking about here! The most intimate relationship we have to the world around us. Our body is ultimately programmed for survival, which means she will never let us suffer a calorie deficit for very long. She runs you, simple as. And the deep pleasure of feeling satisfied and fed is part of our fundamental biology. It’s really, really not to be messed with! Have I stressed this enough?! Haha. So this is why we have to be super intelligent in our approach to dropping the lbs and work with the body. Feed her well and do it in a way that triggers satiety- it’s the opposite of cravings. Cravings drive our behaviour. They are how she gets you to reach for the fuel that she senses you’re missing, and we all know how that story goes! I learned many years ago in my career, that you can never over-ride cravings- it’s like trying to stop your brain from working or your heart from beating. It’s one of the subconscious physical processes that run our body without us having to think about it. So one day I had an epiphany. I decided to just let myself off the hook and understand what my body was trying to tell me. That I was craving because I wasn’t eating enough calories. That processed food was triggering cravings and making them worse. And that I was a MASSIVE sugar addict. Then I knew what I was working with and the rest fell into place.

11…Do it for YOU.

And let me tell you why…because if you eat to please other people, you will feel such a deep regret at letting yourself down. The sugar sharers and feeders in your life don’t worry about the consequences of your eating pudding, or too much stodge. It’s not because they don’t care about you, it’s just that they have their own cravings to worry about. They can and will get used to you saying “sorry, I’m full”. Trust me, they will. Also, there will always be people who challenge your way of eating. It’s because we all individually have a deep emotional relationship to food, so some people feel very threatened when you eat in a different way to them. It’s no one else’s business though is it? It’s your body, and you have the right to treat it as well as you want! Others will always eat in a way that’s right for them. They really will. Let them. And you can eat in a way that’s right for you. End of. We’re all entitled to that one, and it’s the strongest boundary we have. It creates a deep sense of safety, and that one’s your birth-right.

12…Don’t be hungry when you go out to eat.

Being hungry makes it impossible for me to make controlled choices! I don’t tolerate feeling hungry very well, and I don’t think many of us do. I’ll simply cave in and eat the nearest thing to me, so I always ensure I’m not hungry before I go out. It’s not a waste of food, and you don’t have to ‘do justice’ to your meal. You’re allowed to leave some of it these days, no matter what your mum may have told you! it’s just ensuring you eat what you intended to, and you walk out feeling that you honoured Your Own Sweet Self.

13…Don’t compromise yourself for other people’s needs, and you don’t have to defend yourself!

Really. If you don’t want to make a fuss, and I know it can be hard, especially when you’re eating with others who know you well. Especially if they’ve heard about every other single diet you’ve ever tried in the past, and shared every single painful detail with them. Even so, to say “I’m full” when you’re faced with the choice of what to eat, or when refusing a sweety pudding, is called a closed statement. They don’t invite a response. I know it can feel like you’ve got to justify this one, but you really don’t need to explain yourself one bit. I believe that nobody cares really. They will be busy having their own issues and relationships to food anyway. You can just quietly get on with yours too. It’s very pleasantly surprising to discover how much people do respect your boundaries actually, and it gets easier over time  too.

14…Diets will come and go…keep the faith with what FEELS right for you.

Yes, they will. When I first adapted this way of eating for weight loss, people would ask if it was the ‘Atkin’s diet’. Now they ask if it’s Keto, or Paleo, or even carnivore. It’s far more simple than that and therefore easy to sustain through all the fads and gimmicky eating plans out there. I just cut out the crap and upped the good stuff 15 years ago, used my nutritional and A&P training to understand and manage my sugar addiction, and dropped 4 and a half stone. I’ve maintained that WL ever since, which is something I’d never ever been able to do, as a serial yo-yo dieter and sugar monster for most of my life. I’ve literally got healthier as I’ve got older. So I know this is the way my body needs to eat. No need to change what works. Now I’ve found it, I’m more relaxed. There’s very little obsessing and self punishment. I can get on with other things in life, and trust that my body’s just doing her thing. I trust how she feels these days, so why would I mess with all of that?! It made me realise just how much obsessing and worrying I’d had about food in my lifetime, and that it took a few years to change. It was a deeply habitual thinking style, and they don’t always let go easily! But it’s faded into the background significantly these days, thankfully.

16…Health is an absence of illness, that’s all.

I’t’s just the normal. A natural state that requires very little attention. The absence of illness, which is something we don’t even notice. We only pay attention to the drama of illness. It can make it very easy to forget that you’ve made strong changes to the trajectory of health over the years. The reminder, for me, is hearing other peoples’ health complaints. So far, so good, is what that feels like! The only help I need at the moment is with the menopause. I’ve continued a LC/HF diet, exercise lots, and meditate for an hour every day. But my body was still struggling to function well with low oestrogen levels, so I took the decision to supplement with HRT, and personally, it was the best decision I could have made. My body feels restored. It’s not for everyone of course, bit it’s just right for me 🙂 Using HRT felt like I was just re-normalising my body again. I’m restoring something that she had become deficient in to bring her back to homeostasis. Back to balance. It had been a steady, slow decline. So I’d stopped noticing, stopped listening to my body for a while, all those little signs became normal. But, oh! How many symptoms of low oestrogen actually cleared up once I’d started using HRT! We can can get used to lower levels of health if we’re not careful, especially if it doesn’t feel dramatic. I’m just glad I listened when my body eventually said “enough is enough!”

17…Treat your body like a toddler, because she IS!

It feel like the ultimate definition of self-care, treating my body like a toddler. Because she is. She is entirely innocent. Although we grow the signs of age on the outside, don’t we all still feel like small children inside? The only part of you that really ages is your sense of self. Society, culture, conditioning and family training give us an expectation of what we’re supposed to feel like as we get older, most especially when we’re comparing our age against others’. But the truth is that your body feels the same inside as she always did. She’s a toddler alright, with exactly the same needs. And if you were caring for her as a toddler, wouldn’t you prioritise her needs more highly than anything else? Her needs are simple…to be fed healthily, rested and exercised, loved and cared for. All you have to do is listen out for her signals…she’ll tell you when she need any of these things. It’s been a deeply personal journey over the years, this sense of entitlement to have my basic needs met, as it’s seeped into other areas of my life too. The feeling of entitlement to treat ourselves well is at the core of our motivation for weight loss…even if we don’t personally acknowledge it, because, god forbid, it might sound selfish! But I use the word entitlement here to emphasise that we all have the same responsibility actually, to ourselves. Because no one will ever, ever know how to take care of her the way that you do. You can be an inspiration to people around you then, as they see you prioritising your body first. how nice to offer that delightful permission to others, that they can do the same?!

19…Doctors don’t know more than you do about your health…it STARTS and ENDS with YOU!

GPs typically get 19 hours of training in nutrition. And that’s out of 7 years of training. And the nutrition bit? Its voluntary. They don’t even need to turn up for that particular lecture! Are you sure you value their nutrition advice above your own intuition?? Of course they are the experts at diagnosing health conditions, but keep the nutrition personal baby, they don’t know more than you!

20…You’re allowed to have it all. It’s yours for the taking!

There’s a very subtle lie that’s told to us…especially women…that you can’t have it all. In fact you’re greedy for even asking! But it’s a big fat damn lie. Yes you can! I promise you that my body is no different from anyone else’s. You get to have it all for this simple reason…far from being an  audacious ask…it’s actually your right. You were BORN to enjoy your food, love your body, and be brimming with health too. AND what’s more, you were born to sustain that health through the whole of your life…chronic conditions and health issues aside…you DON’T have to suffer with you health as you get older, and it’s NOT an inevitable decline.  You’re allowed to let go of suffering and striving for weight loss, find what works for you, and then go and do something more interesting with yourself instead. So go. Do it! Trust your body and honour your needs. You may be very very pleasantly surprised at just how far it takes you!


Written with love,

  • Deborah Somerset

    Wonderful. Thank you

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