It’s no secret that I’ve put on weight, I’ve got fat again. In fact I’ve put on so much I’m getting concerned phone calls from Jabba the Hutt. Something about Oocha beeka mo Jedi bahoola Weight Watchers mochar Atkins. His English isn’t very good. But I have gone from a respectable, within my BMI range, 11 stone something back up to 17 stone 3, or 242 lbs. That’s not good. None of my waistcoats fit.
But I decided to try and get my life back on track, so restarted the diet that lead to me initially getting down to 11 stone in the first place- low carb. Now lets get a few things straight, yes I know its not the healthiest option around- but it’s not a life long plan. Yes I know it probably has little to do with ketosis and blah blah blah and is actually just a way to get into a calorie deficit and not be hungry. And yes, the 60 minute walk and 30 minutes weight work I do each day now probably has a lot to do with it. But there is evidence to show that a low carb diet is more effective as a weight loss tool than low fat. It isn’t just some fad diet, though of course everyone on a fad diet insists it isn’t a fad diet- lets hear it for the Pop Tart Diet yo!
I’m sticking, as best as I can, to 20 grams of carbs a day. The recommended daily intake is 230 grams. Now some low carb diets allow you up to 100 grams, and I’d probably lose on that version too, just over a longer period of time. I’ve been on the diet for a week, I stopped smoking almost a fortnight ago, and my drinking has reduced to the point where I’ve been tipsy once since early in the month and honestly didn’t enjoy it. Oh, and I’ve lost nearly 8 lbs since last week.
Now granted, that’s likely to be water weight, but still, I’m pleased. Not only that, but my favourite shirt (read- pretty much the only one that about fits) is no longer tight but feeling a little loose. I can even button up one of my larger waistcoats- though it’s still a couple of weeks forom being entirely comfortable. Its annoying I have to be back on a diet, but I have very much gone full circle from January 2012 to now.
There are however some downsides to this diet plan. For a start, in the early days, it isn’t great for your bowels. I haven’t had a satisfactory shit in about 4 days and I imagine after this laxative kicks in I will be down at least another 2lbs. Also, you crave carbs. Holy shit do you crave carbs. Even after eating a breakfast of 2 sausages, 2 rashers of bacon, 2 eggs, 2 slices of pork, a gherkin, a handful of mushrooms, some mayonnaise and a cup of tea (about 7 g of carbs) and being full and satisfied, I could still kill a man if it meant I was allowed to eat just half a slice of pizza. There are of course ways to deal with these cravings. Crying is one method. Another is to see just how many carbs are in tasty things. Berries for example are fairly low carb, as are some nuts. Also, high cocoa chocolate tends to be fairly low- a square of really dark chocolate can be as little as 2g of crabs, which means if you are under at the end of the day it is a pretty decent night time treat.
There is also the option of cheat meals. Now these are generally not recommended, but in the long term wont hurt. Today I will be treating myself to a kebab- minus the pita. Kebab, though advertised as “meat”, isn’t purely carb free and may, like some sausages, contain bread crumbs. But, its still low enough that even if it takes me above my 20g, it wont do to such an extent that my body will suddenly put back on the weight. It is also important to experiment with what you can eat. If today’s kebab results in a stalling of weight loss, or even weight gain, then I’ll know to cut that out. But one cheat meal a week isn’t going to break the food bank… okay, poor choice of words. But you get me, right?
There is also the fact that some days you might eat less, maybe a lot less. Yesterday, for example, I had my usual breakfast which came to about 7 grams of carbs, and was out in the evening doing a show. I prepared myself a low carb dinner to take but only got a quarter through, ultimately ending the night with a Pepperami, a popular spiced sausage treat which keen observers will see looks a little like a dogs penis. I had only around 10g of carbs yesterday total. So I feel less guilty about a cheat meal tonight. Another reason I need to experiment and find what I can eat is because in May and June I will be traveling across Britain to perform my one man show- How to Talk to the Dead- and eating out on a low carb diet is really difficult to do. I need to find out how much I can fudge around the edges, and if on some days I edge closer to 60 or 70 g of carbs then I will have to just accept that as a consequence of the life I lead. Even then, though, it would still be a low carb.
I’ve found quite a few ways to make my favourite foods on a low carb- a few days ago I had Chilli Con Carne, and though that meal was about 12 g of carbs, it was still low enough that I could easily consume it and not go over my daily allowance. This is another good thing about low carb- you keep full throughout the day. When on the diet I usually only have breakfast and evening dinner, I don’t intentionally skip lunch, I’m just not hungry. And if I do get peckish, a Pepperami or a few slices of cheese is enough to tide me over.
The low carb diet might not be for everyone. By adding a cheat meal once a week I might lose slower than I did the previous time- but I will still lose. For now though, I am pleased with my weeks progress. The losing will slow down of course, but I fully anticipate being back in my waistcoats and suits by the time summer comes around.