I ran a half marathon in 2018 with my friend Jodie who dragged me round the last bits, it is one of my proudest achievements. All through training my knees hurt, that wasn’t unusual for me, I have had bad knees for as long as I remember. My doctor said to take Ibuprofen, I knew that wasn’t the solution and after the race, I went to see a specialist.
The specialist told me I could never run again and that I was likely to have the start of osteoarthritis already which would only get worse if I carried on.
I was gutted, running was my me time, my peace and quiet, my time to think, to get away, and it’s also how I controlled my weight. I had, since my early 20’s, been about 9st which for someone who is 5ft 3 is fine. Without running, and eating the same amount as before, my weight started to creep up. This made my knees worse. I took up ballet again and although I loved it, it wasn't the same level of intensity as running.
My diet consisted of a lot of carbohydrates, I always had a bagel for breakfast, a bagel for lunch and a salad or a meal with rice/pasta for dinner. By 2 pm I would be so tired that I would struggle to concentrate, I suffered from heartburn often after eating certain foods, especially if I was drinking too which made drinking quite unpleasant.
The turning point for me was watching a programme by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. It was about the effects of a low carbohydrate eating plan for people with type 2 diabetes. There’s a lot of science which I don’t understand and won’t quote, the conclusion was that a low carbohydrate diet, where the total daily consumption of carbohydrates (mainly rice, pasta, wheat) was drastically reduced, made the body burn stored fat. For some, it reversed their diabetes or reduced their reliance on medication.
On June 18th 2018 I changed the way I ate, I don’t have type 2 diabetes, I just wanted to try and lose weight. It wasn’t easy, I didn’t know what to eat half the time and I had excruciating headaches for 2 weeks. After those two weeks, I started to slow;y lose weight and I am now the lightest I have been since I was a teenager, I feel heaps better and I hardly suffer from heartburn.
Eating at people’s houses can be hard, explaining I don’t eat carbohydrates confuses people. Eating out can be hard, restaurants aren't keen on swapping chips for salad and suitable grab and go lunches are few and far between, I try to plan ahead.
It was all going well until I started a career in catering in August 2019, I have to try what I make before I give it to customers and there are always leftover sweet things which appear to be my downfall and the tightness of my jeans fluctuate as a result!
My other downfall is an Afternoon Tea, my sister and I have a few a year, they are laden with carbohydrates and they’re the only time I really let myself eat loads, I have to take tablets before I do to stop the heartburn.
I’m not planning on changing the way I eat. I don’t think about myself as being on a diet although people love to tell me I am. I like that my knees don’t hurt as much or as often, and while that continues I will continue to eat the way I do, odd looks and comments or not. I truly believe you have to listen to your body and find what works for you and I feel like this is my answer.
* I am not a dietitian, I am not advocating that anyone changes their way of eating to the way I am or that a low carbohydrate diet is for everyone.