After making my resolution to find a way to slim down, get fitter, healthier and most importantly staying there, I have spent most of my spare time of last trying to work out how the hell I’m actually gonna do that.
I have read, researched and chatted with friends. Two friends who particularly stuck out to me, suggested the complete same thing without even knowing each other. One is my lovely sis in law who after recovering from breast cancer has run two marathons and does countless amazing things for charity all the time. Another is a work colleague who I have watched over the past year really slim down and I know she also feels great. What they both have in common? They both eat a low-carb diet. Not just a fad-temporary one, but they have been on this way of eating for, I’m guessing, about a year, if not longer. That’s very encouraging for me as I want to find something that can change my diet forever, not just for as long as I can stick it. And whilst I know that it will also take discipline, it has to be relatively easy, enjoyable and fit in around a typical family life.
So what does it mean to be on a low-carb diet?
I’m a complete novice here but it didn’t take long for me to understand the principles. I actually went to the library and got the book “The New Atkins Made Easy”. I know what you’re thinking: another fad diet!!! Well, actually I only got the book to understand why and how a low-carb diet would work. (Although, I should add, it ‘seems’ the Atkins diet has come some way since 2003 when it was first hugely popular in the UK. The amount of steak, butter & cheese you are allowed to eat is certainly not unlimited and so it doesn’t seem as unhealthy as I had always assumed)
Carbohydrates are in a lot of things, I had no idea! And because we eat so many (I worked out on average 250g/day), when our body needs energy, we burn carbs. Any carbs we don’t burn, get stored as fat. See where that’s going? A lot of foods we eat are low-fat versions because for years it’s been drummed into us that we need to cut down on fat. BUT to make something tasty that has low or no fat, sugar has to be added, making it laden with carbohydrates. To burn the fat that we have been storing, we need to lower the amount of carbs we eat, and switch our body to burning fat instead of carbs. Eventually we need to find the balance and amount of carbs that we can eat everyday without turning it into fat storage.
So this is what I’m currently doing. This week I plan to reduce my carb intake by a lot. I will follow the Atkins induction phase, although not to the letter. I will still have fruit but as fruit does have a lot of carbs, I am limiting my fruit intake. I will also have a low-carb cereal that I found which wouldn’t be allowed on Atkins’ first stage. As I keep saying, this is a change for good and I’m happy for progress to be slower if it means I can actually keep it up. There will be lots of veggies, lean meats, good oils (cold-pressed oils like extra virgin olive oils) and lots of water. I never drink enough water anyway.
This week I will also start a proper running training schedule for a Half Marathon I have signed up to at the end of September. I will do 3 runs minimum. In between, I will try to fit in a couple of “Davinas” (Davina Fitness DVD – love them!).
I start the week after a hot weekend of BBQ overindulgence: