Growing up in Iceland for the first 28 years of my life was amazing. We had little to no crimes to worry about as kids and unless you wanted to be cooped up inside the whole year, weather was not an excuse to stay inside. When I played soccer we would do warmups with 5K runs calf deep in snow. Now that was exercise! Then after practice me and my friends would go home and down a whole 18″ pepperoni pizza like it was air. The problem was I gained weight my friends didn’t. I was training just as hard as they were, but I was always either slightly overweight or by BMI standards obese. I’m not one of those that was skinny until college, I started gaining weight when I was 6 years old and have been overweight since then.
I grew up in Iceland during the 80’s as a kid (I’m born 1977) and availability to vegetables and fruits wasn’t very much. Heck we only had one government run TV station, with no TV on Thursdays. So now that I’m with my American friends and they are quoting some famous movie or show, I’m drawing a blank. But lets talk German version of Law and Order type show and I’m all in!
We ate lots of fish and potatoes, lamb and potatoes, pork here and there and lets not forget, potatoes. For breakfast we had either cereal or bread, and for lunch a sandwich and afternoon snack, more bread. There were and still are little mama and papa’s candy stores on every street corner, a lot of them offering soft serve ice cream too, so candy was always within walking distance. I would charge my mom 10 cents pr bag to bring to the trash bin which was located outside and then run to one of 3 candy stores within 5 minute walking distance and buy a few mouthfuls of candy (remember this was in the 80’s things were cheap back then).
Are you starting to get the picture, I grew up on very healthy meats and fish and lots of carbohydrates. I believe I am one of those people who is carb sensitive, meaning I can’t eat as many carbs as other people before gaining weight. I love that I got to eat fish at least 3 times a week, I believe the omega 3’s and healthy fats gave me a great start in life when developing from a child to an adult. It did make me dislike fish for years and still today I have to make myself eat fish, but I’m working on that.
2005 I moved to America and all of the sudden I had access to all sorts of yummy fast food and could afford to go out to eat. The portions here are huge compared to Europe but man is the food good. So the weight kept coming. I wasn’t particularly health conscious I figured I have good genes, my grandma on mother side lived until mid 90’s and so did my great grandma on fathers side (grandma on fathers side didn’t for other lifestyle reasons). Now that I am more conscious of health and food I wonder if I have good genes or if my grandmas simply lived a healthier lifestyle then I did.
3 years ago I got pregnant with my older daughter. Pregnancy makes me a little loony, I got overly worried about everything. We never spend as much money as when I’m pregnant, outside pregnancy I’m a full blown penny pincher (heck I’ve worn my pregnancy clothes now for 3 years, wearing a preggo shirt now as I’m typing this). I started with having a melt down over our pots and pans, so we got less toxic pots and pans, then my focus got to the food we ate. This is where my journey to better health starts, I started researching chemicals in our food, how things are made and if the way our food is produced today is a good or a bad thing.
After my older daughter was born January 2012 I made a resolution to slowly reduce processed food out of our lives. We did very well until my second pregnancy, I was more relaxed this time with a minor freakout over a recall on my vehicle (hence a new expensive vehicle in our garage and us very poor). My cravings were sugar, sugar and more sugar. I got heartburn from everything, water, banana, eating not eating doesn’t matter I was burning. Chocolate was the worst but worth it to me. I couldn’t get enough sugar. My second daughter was born in November 2013, I should’ve planned things better knowing my sugar cravings while pregnant and having a baby shortly before the holidays.
Me and my husband knew we were really bad when it came to sugar and we have known for a long time it needs to be cut out. I had tried once before and did a weight watchers diet. I was miserable as it was low fat and low carbs. I managed to loose about 12 pounds until I gave up and never picked it back up as I hated counting calories and being hungry all day. So when my research lead me to low carb high fat diet I got excited. I read some more, and more and Google scholar became my best friend. With no science background and English as my second language I slowly went through study after study. Everything I read told me this lifestyle was the best for weight loss and to reduce your chance of developing diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Armed with this knowledge we as a family decided to give this a go. We had a little mourning period over the holidays where we ate whatever was fed to us, and for me it was necessary to accept the fact that sugar was not going to be a stable in my diet anymore. We are now essentially paleo just with dairy, both my toddler and my husband will never forgive me if I cut out dairy too, we just make sure it is full fat and not loaded with sugar. Low carb high fat diet does allow dairy just not milk, so we are doing a little bit of our own thing that is a good fit for our family.
After starting this diet we very quickly saw improvements in our health. In as little as two weeks my husband saw a great reduction in his allergies, and for me, my blood pressure had gone down to normal levels. After giving birth to both my girls I developed high blood pressure. With my first one I had to go on medication and even with the pills it took months before it went back to normal. My last one, the same thing happened I was registering sometimes 145/100 which is awful for me. 2 weeks into the diet I was down to 118/82, 3 weeks 110/72. I’m not even monitoring it anymore as I know it is normal. Our energy level grew and we became more active instead of sluggish couch potatoes. All this with no sleep between the toddler and the baby was enough to convince us.
We did have a few kinks, we both have been scared of fats for decades so when we thought we were adding more fat, we really weren’t. It was a lot of fat for us, but we were eating way too much protein compared to fat. So Mr constipation made it’s presence. We increased the fat and the bowels started to move a lot smoother. We also have a few tools to help us such as Ketone meter and glucose meter.
There you have it, a not so short back story of how I came to the decision to go primal/low carb, ketogenic not sure exactly what to call this. It has been both hard and yet easier then I expected, and I have no desire to go back. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the kitchen exploring and creating new recipes with my family being my humble test subjects. I will keep on updating my progress, victories and failures here until I reach my optimum weight. I don’t have a set goal for my weight I simply want to be healthy and happy with my body. I guess I will know when I get there.
If you have a success story of your own, I would love to hear it!Google+