I’m 45 years old, and all my life I’ve had to battle with my weight. And when I say battle, I mean constantly, almost everyday has been a struggle just to stay on the right side of what is an acceptable weight. I’ve fluctuated most of my adult life from being about 15lbs overweight to being 45lbs overweight, despite leading a reasonably active lifestyle which involves cycling and weight training.
I’ve tried every diet going to lose the flab. I’ve had modicums of success, but in the end the lure of food has been too great, and my old eating habits have surfaced. Not that my normal eating habits were terrible. I would eat what most people consider healthy, yet I was always overweight and hungry. I know that if I hadn’t gone hungry most days, then I’d easily have been 50lbs or more overweight most of my life.
Constantly thinking about food and how to eat less of it, has been a horrible, depressing, demotivating way to live my adult years. I’m sure that many readers will feel my pain. There are slim people in the world who can eat as much as they want and who don’t put on weight. I envy them. But there are also millions of people in the world like me, who are perpetually hungry, permanently dieting, unhappy, and overweight.
I’ve always been fascinated by food and diets, looking for the latest information on what is best in health magazines, newspapers, the internet etc. My greatest success with weight loss came about when I read about water fasting and decided to give it a go. Water fasting is where you eat and drink nothing but water for an extended period of time. I tried this for the first time when I was 38 years old. I lasted two days before giving up, but it’s these first couple of days which are the toughest.
With a holiday approaching, I attempted another water fast, and lost a stone in weight by eating nothing for eight days. I have to add that there were other benefits to fasting besides improving my body shape. I felt great, my energy went through the roof, and even my eyesight seemed to improve. In fact, the whites of my eyes went a brilliant clear white, with all traces of being bloodshot disappearing. It all sounds fanciful, but it’s true. My water fasts were carried out following extensive research, and I would recommend that anybody wanting to try one does the same.
Water fasting was something I used as an emergency method to lose the flab before a holiday each year, whereby I would then undo all the good I had achieved by partying, eating and drinking. By the time I came home each year, I settled back into my old eating routine of trying to eat healthily, but inevitably putting on weight, gradually creeping back up to undesirable levels. Over the next few years, the Ketogenic diet made headlines, and I became knowledgeable about it, but never tried it because I knew that nothing could beat the speed and effectiveness of water fasting. If I needed to lose weight, I would simply fast when needed, as it was quick and effective. So. my weight fluctuations continued.
In May 2018 my friend Kevin told me that he was going to try the Keto diet. I half-listened, thinking to myself; yeah whatever mate, that’ll last all of about four days. I’ve been friends with Kevin a long time, and like me, he’d attempted many diets before, none successful, and usually lasting no more than a week or so.
Kevin weighed around 210 lbs (15 stone) but he’s a short guy at 5’5”, so looked big. He has a medical condition which means that his cholesterol is always high which he takes medication for, and his doctor told him that his blood sugar level was 10.2, meaning that he was diabetic. All of this in his mid-forties. He did need to lose weight, but like me he was useless at sticking to any kind of diet for a sustained period. And I don’t care what anybody says, it does get harder as you get older.
I forgot about Kevin’s Keto diet until he mentioned it two weeks later, saying that he was still doing it, I was impressed. We speak most days on the phone and every other day, he talked about the Keto diet, telling me how easy it was to stick to, how fulfilling and delicious it was, and how he never felt hungry but kept on losing weight. I kept thinking to myself, he’s becoming a bit of a food bore, but it doesn’t matter because he’s gonna quit this diet soon. But nope, he went on holiday with his wife and stuck to it, did it at work, weekends, still drank alcohol and kept losing weight.
Kevin and I live on opposite sides of London and lead busy lives, so we don’t see each other too often. I caught up with him face to face at a social event in August and he left me gobsmacked. The man I’d known for fifteen years no longer existed, and in his place was a trim, healthy looking person. He’d lost 45 pounds in three months. His HbA1c blood sugar test, previously at 10.2, was now down to 4.1. His doctor was so amazed that he’d questioned Kevin as to what he was doing to get these remarkable results. To the doctor’s credit, when Kevin said he was doing the Keto diet, he told him to stick at it.
Kevin is very modest, and doesn’t like talking about himself or his achievements. But he wanted to educate people, so at his request I put out a Facebook post on his behalf letting people know what he’d achieved by doing the Keto diet. He received a lot of kind comments, but what was particularly impressive was that the post inspired a lot of people to try the Keto diet too.
Five people who I knew well commented and said that they were doing it. Now what happened next was somewhat extraordinary. All of these people, like Kevin, had spectacular results within a few short months. They didn’t know each other, but what they all had in common was that they were overweight, had tried many diets, and yet had always fallen off the wagon and gone back to their old eating habits. Not so with Keto, every person stuck to the diet and achieved significant weight loss.
That’s when I realised that there was something special and different about this diet. People from all walks of life, different ages, sex, races, who had struggled like me all their lives to stay a healthy weight were now losing fat with ease. I spoke to a few of these people; the thing they kept saying to me is that on the Keto diet, they could eat as much as they wanted but still lost weight. They sounded like the thin people who can eat what they want. It was at this moment that I knew that I had to really research this diet, in a scientific manner, to discover what was happening.
I spent hours on the internet, researching whatever I could find about the Keto diet, wanting to know everything, and specifically why this particular diet was working for so many people. What enabled people to stick to this diet whilst not being able to stick to others? Looking at what could be eaten on the diet, it seemed almost too good to be true. Many of my favourite foods were available in unlimited quantities; eggs, cheese, steak, salmon, olives, avocados, nuts. So by eating as much of this delicious food as I wanted, the pounds would melt away? It was a no brainer, my Keto journey would begin.