Tuesday, 26 June 2012

How we genuinely changed our lives.

About a year ago, my husband asked me what I wanted for my 40th birthday.  I said a buff husband.  After he had finished laughing and he realised I was actually quite serious, he embarked on changing his life.  

After watching him taking more notice of his nutrition, walking a lot and lifting weights in front of the telly of an evening rather than lounging on the sofa, I began walking daily, lifting a few weights and taking more notice of my own nutrition - partly because he made it look quite fun, partly because I was fed up with mood swings and feeling lethargic and partly because some of my clothes were, frankly, beginning to get a little snug. = /

I began by cutting starchy carbohydrates in my evening meal (no potatoes, rice, pasta, bread etc).  The reason for this being that starchy carbohydrates are turned into glucose by your body and stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver.  If you eat these sugars in the evening, there are fewer hours in the day to work them off.

I then began to focus on how much sugar I was consuming and began to eliminate that from my nutrition.

I have always been pretty aware of what I eat and drink, and I think I must make adjustments pretty automatically when I feel I may have consumed more calories than normal.  I would say that my caloric intake varies very little from day to day.  By concentrating even more on my nutrition, I became hyper aware of what I was consuming.  This is not the same as being obsessive; I found it interesting to see how my nutritional habits were changing and how my mind and body reacted to these changes.

For the first few weeks, I was pretty resentful at giving up my evening carbohydrates.  After all, what's a meal without potatoes or rice or pasta?  I found it hard.  I found it made me a little anxious, I worried that I would be hungry and being hungry panicked me a little.

After a few weeks, however, it became perfectly normal not to have starchy carbs with my evening meal.  I didn't miss them at all.  I was still having potatoes or rice or bread with my lunch.

But then I found sometimes I would forget to include starchy carbs with my lunch.  This was not deliberate.  But I wasn't hungry.  I didn't panic.  It was fine.  In fact, if anything, I was less hungry.  In the process of doing more exercise (an hour in the gym two, three or four times a week) and cutting processed food and starchy carbs in the evening, without thinking about it or meaning to, I lost a stone.

I subsequently put on half a stone in muscle from resistance work in the gym, which is why I don't like scales - they don't tell you anything useful.

Then after about 9 months or so, I realised I had pretty much cut all starchy carbohydrates and sugar from my diet without really realising it.  I was no longer eating bread, cakes, pies, pasta, potatoes or rice.  I had cut all flour from my diet and I didn't miss it.  I had probably increased my vegetable and fruit consumption fourfold to compensate, so I was still having a high carbohydrate diet, just without the starch.  I was still having a big bowl of porridge or sugar free Alpen for breakfast and the occasional oat cake or two but no other starchy carbs.

By cutting starchy carbs I was eliminating the risk of overloading my liver with glucose and feeling hungry even though I had just eaten.  A glucose-overloaded liver reduces your release of leptin, which tells you you are full.  By eating fewer starchy carbs, I was less hungry.

And then I noticed I hadn't had a major melt-down at the kids for months. Don't get me wrong, I still lose my temper and shout at my kids but not to the guilt-inducing extent that I used to.

A year down the line and everything has changed.  I have retrained as a personal trainer and fitness instructor and am showing others how they can transform their lives too.

I still have a high carbohydrate diet, I reckon 60% of my nutrition comes from carbs, just not from starchy carbs.  I can't quite imagine life without porridge for breakfast, yet...  I rarely feel hungry but when I do, I don't get the same panicky feeling I used to get; I know I can wait.

Cutting sugar has had quite a dramatic effect in that I can now taste the sugar that has been added to all the savoury things we eat.  Ham and packaged, cooked chicken for example are almost unbearably sweet to me now.  

I have fewer mood swings, I get out of bed each morning feeling ready for the day and I sleep better.  Adding exercise to my improved nutrition has meant all round I just feel pretty great.  Simple tasks are easier and don't wear me out like they used to (I may have been slim but I was really unfit!)

I can honestly say that a year down the line, I feel transformed.
AND I have a buff husband who is 40lb lighter!

Krish x

1 comment:

  1. Great post! We really did change our lives. I still wanna get those last few pounds off! Russ xxx