How I lost weight and gained health
How I lost weight and gained health is a story of my own struggle. It's a true story. I am writing to share this in the hope that it will help someone out there, someone who is also trying hard to lose weight and regain his health, but has not seen any fruitful result despite years of trying. Let me straightaway articulate the message of this article: the thing you thought is healthy might not be healthy at all, and mainstream medical advice may have misguided you. This is a long article, but I hope you will find the time to read it in full.
I consider myself the happy jobless guy. I have almost everything I want in life. My lifestyle is often the envy of many. I don't have to go out to work, and yet I am able to live a good life. And yet there is something I wanted, something I craved for, and for once it's not something that money can buy.
In the past ten years, I found that my weight has crept up steadily. In around 2002, when I began watching my weight for the first time, it was around 61 kg (134.2 lb). When I got to 62 kg, my pants began to feel tighter. Eventually I had to get new pants to accommodate my expanding waistline.
I did not ignore my weight gain. I went on a regimen to cut fat from my diet. I began to exercise regularly. At that time, I was still holding on to a job. I remember waking up at 5:00 am in the morning, arriving at the gym at 6:00 am, worked out, and then rushed to work.
My weight of 62 kg slowly grew to 63 kg, then 64 kg. That was how much I weighed when I got married, in 2007. It was also the year I became happily jobless. I think both have been good to me (but not to my health and waistline), for I ballooned to 65 kg shortly thereafter.
By 2010, I was hovering between 65 and 66 kg, and I was getting concerned. Friends who saw me after a long break commented that I was putting on weight. Although most were very polite in how they framed their words, I knew what they meant. Moreover, cameras don't lie. The pictures that came out weren't flattering.
Blood tests and blood pressure results did not provide any comfort. I remembered the doctor, in seeing my cholesterol level, told me to stay off fried food, seafood, eggs, red meat and other high-cholesterol stuff. She also wanted to put me on medication, but I refused to take any medicine. I told her I want to improve my health through my diet.
Although I have not reached the point of obesity, I was certainly overweight and I did not know why. I have been watching my diet - or so I thought - and yet I am losing my figure. My stomach began to protrude. How could they call it beer belly when I don't drink beer (or any form of alcohol)?
I also noticed a lot of men my age have this protruding stomach although some of them are otherwise quite thin. I learned the meaning of "love handles," though I can't find much to love in them. The beer belly and love handles are signatures of the "un-fit" appearance that I would become increasingly determined to lose.
I tried to cut down on my food intake and at the same time increase the frequency of my exercises. Needless to say, this only made me feel hungry and often exhausted. Despite the strict regimen, I wasn't losing much weight. If it went down to 64.5 kg, I would be ecstatic. But I would quickly gain it back to 65-66 kg the moment I went off the diet for a bit.
Another doctor wanted to put me on medication. Again I refused. I read somewhere that once I start on such medications, I would have to take them for life. Not only that, they only provide a cloak over the figures, but does not actually protect me against heart disease and other ailments.
I was almost obsessed with staying healthy. I moved from three meals a day to five, of which two were oatmeals. To increase potassium and reduce my blood pressure, my oatmeal porridges were prepared with prunes, dried cranberries, raisins and sunflower seed. I consumed fresh milk and eggs from free-roaming chicken.
By the beginning of 2012, my weight has crept up to the 66-67 kg range and I was feeling desperate. Up till then, I have done everything possible - apart from taking medication - and my weight just refused to go down. I could not bear to look at myself in the mirror. At that time, in addition to my meals, I was also running or walking every morning. I could not understand why I failed to lose weight. I of course began to question my diet and my exercise regimen. Perhaps I was not on the right diet program. Well, desperate times called for desperate measures.
For the last two weeks of April, 2012, I went on a full vegetarian diet. I did not touch meat or eggs. I did continue to consume fresh milk, but other than that, my meals were quite spartan. By the end of April, my weight did go down to around 65 kg, but I knew I could not carry on with this diet forever. I didn't feel full. It made me sleepy. This diet did not work for me. I knew as soon as I let loose, my weight will bounce back to 67 kg. Something got to give.
A New Beginning
In May 2012, I took a different path on health and weight loss. Instead of relying on mainstream sources of information, as I had been doing all along, I began to look for books by doctors who have done real research on this matter. I surfed the web and looked for You Tube videos on weight, nutrition and exercise. The things I learned were shocking, and a reversal of what I have been taught so far.
You mean I can east this?http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Costillas_de_cerdo_asadas.jpg
I started a fresh new health regimen on May 6, 2012 with a weight of 65 kg from my vegetarian regimen. Today, as I am writing to you on June 16, 2012, my weight has been around 61.8-61.9 kg for the past few days. I have never weighed this little in the last ten years, and I managed to do it without taking any form of "weight loss formula" or supplement (except multi-vitamins, which everybody should take anyway).
Not only that, my blood pressure has gone down and I feel healthy. I also do not have those hunger pangs that accompanied my vegetarian diet. My goal is to get back to 61.0 kg, so I still have a short distance to cover, but my beer belly and love handles are almost gone.
If you have always been slim, this would not mean much to you. But for someone who has struggled to lose weight and failed all these years, this is very big deal to me. In retrospect, I could have lost all that weight right from the start. That's because way back in 2003, when I first noticed my weight gain, I bought a book that would rescue me many years later.
The message of the book was radical to say the least. Unfortunately, at that time, circumstances were also against my trying it out. My heavy workload and the fact that I was surrounded by naysayers forced me to shelve and eventually forget the book. After a lapse of nine years and a whole lot of weight-loss failures I come full circle to revisit the book.
It is called Protein Power
, written by a doctor couple, Dr Michael R. Eades and his wife Dr Mary Dan Eades. It explained in detail why people put on weight. High blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, body fat, the works, are the result of a malfunction in our body triggered by a single substance: insulin.
Most of us never pay much attention to insulin unless we are diabetic. When our parents or grandparents get type-2 diabetes, we often say that it is due to the excessive consumption of sugar in their diet. Doctors would then advise them not to take sugar. But have they really been consuming that much sugar? Don't you think children and teenagers consume even more sugar, in sweets, candies, soda, etc., and yet it's the adult that generally get type-2 diabetes.
The Drs. Eades explained that it's not just plain sugar, but all forms of starch we consume that causes insulin resistance, and this leads to diabetes and other aforementioned ailments, including the accumulation of body fat. A lot of the food we eat contain too much starch, called carbohydrate. They are found in the bread we eat, as well as rice, pasta, noodles, even the oatmeal I consumed and the fresh milk I drank. Carbohydrate is present in most of our food, including the vegetables we eat, but at varying amounts.
Each time we consume carbohydrate, enzymes in our body turns it into sugar. Regardless whether we consume plain sugar or bread, it's all turned to sugar. To counter the rise in sugar level, our body (our pancreas to be exact) releases insulin. However our body is not created to handle that high amount of sugar intake, and over time, things start to malfunction. This manifests itself with weight gain, blood pressure, and if we still don't watch out, diabetes and heart disease.
In order to arrest and reverse this slide into more health issues, the Protein Power book recommends that I overhaul my diet. It was in fact a full paradigm shift in how I approach food. For the first two-week period, I should reduce my carbohydrate intake to 30 g or less per day. I should stay away from breads, rice, pasta, pastries, ice cream, anything starchy or sugary, whether solid or liquid. I have to diligently read labels, to calculate the amount of carbohydrate that I take.
On the other hand I am allowed to consume as much protein and fat until I'm full. For breakfast I had at least two whole eggs fried in lard, with cheese. The rest of the day I consumed copious amount of butter and olive oil as well as all forms of meats, particularly fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel. I ate beef, pork, even fat.
To chart my progress, I measure my waistline and wrist circumference, rather than relying solely on the weighing scale. It took my body a week or two to get used to this new diet. And then I began to lose weight. Unlike my previous attempts, I felt good and I am confident this is the diet that I can maintain. Unlike the vegetarian diet that left me feeling inadequate, this protein-and-fat diet gave me the energy I need, yet at the same time allowed me to become healthier.
Is this a new-fangled diet? Apparently not. In fact the history of this form of eating can be traced back to 19th century Britain. There was this fat man named William Banting. At the age of 66, he was five-foot-five and weighted over 200 pounds. Recently retired as a London undertaker, Mr Banting had a good life, was quite wealthy but fat. He could not tie his shoe and had difficulty doing things that slimmer people could do with ease.
Mr Banting noticed that he began to put on weight in his thirties. He tried all sorts of ways to lose the weight. He took up rowing, but it only gave him a big appetite, and that caused him to put on more weight. He tried cutting calories. He tried walking, horseback riding, manual labor. His weight just kept increasing.
Then Mr Banting discovered a surgeon, William Harvey, who has just returned from Paris, where he learned from the great physiologist Claude Bernard. Dr Harvey prescribed a new regimen for Mr Banting. He was to eat three meals a day of meat, fish or game, with just one or two ounces of stale toast or cooked fruit. He was to avoid foods that contain sugar or starch, particularly breads, milk, beer, sweets and potatoes.
Mr Banting began the diet in August 1862. By May 1863, he had lost thirty-five pounds. He was so delighted by his progress that he published a 16-page pamplet, at his own expense, describing his experience. It was called Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public
. That pamplet caused a diet sensation and was even republished in the United States, Germany, Austria and France, and the word "Banting" entered the English language to mean "to diet".
The established (and conservative) medical community was not too happy with Mr Banting's pamplet. They first reminded him that his diet was "old news", he wasn't a doctor, and so should keep his opinion to himself. Banting responded that while it may be old news to doctors, it was news to him. In later edition of his pamplet, Mr Banting also thanked Dr Harvey as well as three Frenchmen Claude Bernard, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin and Jean-François Dancel. Mr Banting's diet was popular well into the 20th century. It is being described in a number of books that I am reading now, including Good Calories, Bad Calories
by Gary Taubes (see the Prologue) and The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living
by Dr Jeff S. Volek and Dr Stephen D. Phinney (see pages 25-26). My health is so important to me that I don't rely on just one book. I checked and cross-checked to ensure what I'm doing to my body is healthy and right.
The USDA Food Pyramid: Not everything you see here is in the right spothttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USDA_Food_Pyramid.gif
United States Department of Agriculture
Then why is it so different from the dietary information we're fed today, you know, the one on "eat less fat if you want to lose weight". Where did that come from?
came from one man, Professor Ancel Keys of the University of Minnesota. He is the one who single-handedly convinced the world that the fat we eat and the cholesterol in our blood can cause heart disease. Prof. Keys came to this conclusion following his visit to Naples, Italy, in 1951. He noted that the people in Naples ate very little meat or butter. They had pasta every day. He observed that there was no evidence of nutritional deficiency (though he did note that the working-class women were fat
but did not explain why). Nevertheless, his observation of the dietary habit in Naples helped him frame his opinion: a healthy diet is one low in fat and low in cholesterol. That's the key to prevent heart disease, he insisted.
In January 1961, Ancel Keys appeared on the cover of Time
magazine where he gave his endorsement to the low fat, low cholesterol diet. It took ten years before the American Heart Association (AHA) gave its public support to Key's hypothesis, that heart disease was caused by dietary fat, and another 30 years were to lapse before the rest of the world bought in on it.
The USDA Food Pyramid, which I show on this page, was created in 1992, and reflects Prof. Key's idea of what we should be eating. The American public were told that they have been eating too much fat and red meat, and as a result are paying for it with heart disease. A new crop of food industry appeared to support the low-fat diet. But instead of making the American public slimmer and fitter, the low-fat recommendation only caused them to balloon in size and weight. Today the United States has among the highest rates of obesity in the world (reference
). Walking down a street in any city in the US today, and you will see many obese people of all ages, sometimes whole families.
What went wrong? Don't these people care for their health? Are they lazy or what? Again we tend to blame the victim. You're fat because you ate too much fat. You're diabetic because you consumed too much sugar.
Many doctors nowadays are realizing that the dietary recommendation, even from the USDA and AHA were not based on scientific experiments, but rather on flimy hypotheses. When these doctors did their own experiments, they discovered that the result was the direct opposite from the expected. However, when these doctors publish their recommendations, they were often branded as quacks by the established medical community. Doctors who dared to get away from the mainstream found their research grants withdrawn. It was moreover more lucrative to promote cholesterol and blood pressure lowering medicine than to fight the big pharmaceutical companies. Having said there, the number of doctors to stand up and challenge the established views on low-fat diet have increased in the past three decades.
Perhaps the most popular was the late Dr Robert C. Atkins. I read his book about the same time as Protein Power, back in 2003, but found that Protein Power provided clearer explanation. Nonetheless both seem to promote the same thing: too much carbohydrate is not good for you. Since Dr Atkins' demise, there is now a new, updated book based on his original idea, Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution
There are many people who condemned Dr Atkins' diet and said it is dangerous. I am not following his diet, but I am following a variation that promotes eating less carbohydrate and more protein and fat. There are people who said Dr Atkins died of a heart attack. He didn't. He fell on an icy pavement, hit his head, causing his death.
I am finally coming to the conclusion of this lengthy article. My struggle to lose weight spans over ten years, much of which I spent trying to observe the low-fat dietary recommendation. I failed. From May 6 until today, June 16, I followed the low carbohydrate diet, and it returned me to my 2003 weight. I feel much healthier today than I have ever felt in the last ten years. I have read many books on this subjects, some of which I recommend on this page, and some I may recommend in future articles.
If you wish to lose weight and gain health, what should you do? Don't just follow what I say. I am not a doctor. Read books from various authors on this subject and draw your own conclusion.
Copyright © 2007-2017 Timothy Tye. All Rights Reserved.
Thank you for visiting my website, Happy Jobless Guy. I create it in November, 2007, two weeks after I left my job in the corporate sector. It is to celebrate the alternative lifestyle that I have embrace. I told myself back then, that as long as I am able to continue supporting myself, I will never return to holding a job. Well, so many years later, thanks be to God and my family, I am still happily living this alternative lifestyle.
My name is Timothy Tye
, you can call me Tim. I am a full-time website author. My main website is called Penang Travel Tips
. I created it to satisfy my curiosity about places and sights around me, and it has grown to become my main income earner. To know more about me, go to www.timothytye.com
As a Christian, I hope that through this website, I am able to deliver God's Good News
to people all over the world. And finally, if you wish to contact me, please submit the contact form
. Thanks again, don't forget to follow me on Facebook