I’m 56 and I am a husband to Louise, my rock and sweetheart. I’m a dad to our 2 grown ups kids, and a grandad (Grampy) to my daughters’ 4 beautiful children. I work as an Employment Specialist for a mental health charity supporting people with serious and long term mental health issues to find meaningful paid employment.
I have struggled with my weight since I was in my 20’s. I’ve tried all the main diets – Rosemary Connelly (low fat), Slimming World, Weight Watchers, the Cabbage Soup Diet etc. And I’m sure like you, I had some successes for a few weeks or months, but inevitably they / I failed. They weren’t sustainable ways of eating and I’d go back to eating my “usual” diet and the weight would creep back on and I would end up heavier/fatter than I was before the diet!!! I hated being overweight. I always felt other people were judging me! I hated going clothes shopping and looking at myself in the mirrors from a 360 degree angle – front and back views, warts and all!!!!! I hated being sweaty all the time, especially in summer!
I did have a period of success when I went into the fitness industry as a personal trainer and did a lot of activity and exercise and kept my weight at a reasonable level for me. For various reasons I stopped training and my life became a car wreck of stress and anxiety, and I piled on the pounds again.
So, I thought I’d share some of the info and my insights that I’ve picked up along the way on my journey since October /November 2020 into the low carb / keto world.
So, why choose low carb / keto? The appeal to me is that this way of eating is what our ancestors ate like! We are humans because our ancestors ate fatty meat. If we’re carried on eating plants like chimps or gorillas we’d still be just another type of ape spending 12hrs a day eating plants, sleeping in trees.
The second reason is to help maintain a lower insulin level in your body. As I understand it elevated insulin levels, which are caused by eating foods that spike blood sugar, like the high carb, highly processed diets we’re advised to eat, are believed to be the root cause of many modern chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, dementia and even cancer.
Restricting your carb intake will help you maintain a lower and more even insulin level.
For the first time in my life I feel in control of my food intake. I no longer feel like I am ruled by food or hunger. I no longer have cravings for junk fake foods like sugary drinks, sweet treats, cakes, biscuits or crisps!
It has worked for me, and I’ve lost over 4 1/2 stone in since November 2020.
I was obese, unhealthy, I had low energy and had to snooze every afternoon! and felt like I was on my way to some bad health outcomes. The SARS-COV-2 situation focused my mind on improving my metabolic and general health, and losing weight.
So, having listened to many hundreds, possibly 1000’s, of hours of podcasts and YouTube videos/lectures, I decided to take the step to take responsibility for my health and cut out processed foods, sugar, cereals, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes and seed (vegetable) oils from my diet.
I started gradually and just cut bread, pasta, potatoes and rice from my diet. For me I knew I had to get rid of the starchy carbs out of the house, and therefore have less temptation to eat these addictive foods! Having my wife adopt the low carb lifestyle at the same time has been a massive help as we’re in it together and support this lifestyle change together.
Over a period of weeks I gradually moved breakfast later and later in the morning, until in the end my first meal of the day was lunch at noon. I view it now through an ancestral lens. Our ancestors wouldn’t have had food available to them 24hrs a day!! They would have had periods of no food available to them and this natural “stress” on our bodies seems to have beneficial consequences according to current research. Did our Palaeolithic ancestors have a bowl of cereal when they woke up or did they just go out hunting and gathering?
Having adopted a low carb / keto diet for the past 15 months I have a new zest for life! I never feel bloated. I’m not hungry an hour after eating a meal, and therefore I don’t snack between meals. I have increased energy levels and actually want to be active and exercise. I don’t snooze in the afternoons any more. The arthritis in my hands and feet have resolved themselves. My brain fog has gone – I have a sharp clarity of mind and I feel much more alert and feel a vitality for life that I have not felt for a very long time! I have not suffered a serious bout of depression since mid 2020, which I believe is in part due to my lifestyle and diet change.
I did a charity marathon (27 miles) walk in January 2022, and a did a 50km walk along the Essex Way from Epping to Braintree, in May 2022 – both fully fuelled by with a keto diet – no sugary snacks or gels needed. Just protein and fat, and a handful of berries. I took no sugar laden drinks or gels. I didn’t “bonk” / “hit the wall” (run out of energy), because my body was using fat and ketones as energy.
- Follow the advice of Zoe Harcombe – “Eat Real Food”. Or like Dr Ben Bikman says – “if it’s in a box or a bag or has got a barcode, avoid it!”
- This is a lifestyle not a short term diet – having the mindset to change your life. One “bad” meal or snack doesn’t break the diet and mean you’ve failed!! Just start again!
- Join a club or group to get the support of others if you can’t do it with a family member or friend
- Get a keto cookbook and be adventurous! Cook your own food and be in control of what you eat.
- Always take your own food to work. Be prepared!!!
- Write a weekly plan for your evening meals – don’t leave it to chance.
- Bin the junk foods – if they’re not in your cupboards you won’t be tempted.
- Start being active every day. Whatever you enjoy or can manage.
- Get good sleep.
- Keep stress to a minimum. I practice mindfulness and meditation. But whatever works for you, like a walk in nature.
Geraint’s Top Tips
- Get your mindset right – what is it you want to achieve? Who is it you want to become.
- Identify the foods that you know are problematic for you and get rid of them.
- Practice mindfulness and meditation – start small.
- Sleep and stress reduction are also important.
Quotes by Geraint Hole
“I was starting to see hope in my life.”
“I want to be fit and strong and active into my old age.”
“I just felt so focussed and single minded.”
“You are looking through a frosted piece of glass and then someone takes that away and everything is so crystal clear.”
“I tend to look at this lifestyle and the way I approach things through an ancestral lens.”
“I kinda wish that I had done the whole thing fasted because I think I could have done.”
“If I am a caveman 15,000 years ago and I need to go out hunting buffalo and there is nothing in the cupboard – what am I going to do? I am going to out and hunt buffalo and your body will make all the energy you need.”
“It’s those lessons that I have learned along the way that I want to share with other people.”
“When I look back it has always been that the food has controlled me.”
“It shouldn’t be for the government to look after me and my health.”
“I feel like I just want to take on the world and take on life, whatever it’s got to throw at me; To have been a few years without any depressive symptoms at all, I can only think that’s got to be in part to what I don’t eat anymore.”
Connect with Geraint Hole on social media
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