When I was 18, I was used to avoiding mirrors, I learned to look away because I did not want to see the truth – I weighed 273 lbs.
But one day I got into my car and I could not help noticing my reflection. I did not recognize the man who was looking back at me.
I sat in the car and cried. Then I went home to my mother, and for the first time I told her I couldn’t stand it anymore and I had to do something about my weight. It was the start of a long journey which eventually led me to drop over 100 pounds.
Over time I have learned things I wish I had known before. These are the things no one told me about weight loss.
Being obese was something I was aware of constantly and it affected my every day life. It makes looking in the mirror and clothes shopping a nightmare. There was also a constant feeling of not being like everyone else.
Brand new habits
Once I had decided that I wanted to lose weight the first thing I did was to look at the foods I was eating and which were healthy. I was shocked when I realized that what I’d been eating my whole life was not helping me.
It turned out that my fear of fatty foods was actually one of the biggest causes of my size. Throughout my life, I had always heard that fat was the main cause of obesity, but when I started to look deeper into this, I realized that low fat products were worse than their regular alternatives.
The reason being that low fat products usually contain more sugar. Today, we know that sugar and carbohydrates combined can cause people to gain weight. When you eat sugar and carbohydrates, the body produces insulin and it is this hormone that causes us to put on weight.
Flour is sugar
This led me to discover there is another food that was not helping and that was flour. The finely ground flour we have today is hardly comparable to what my grandmother ate when she was little.
Also milk causes your blood sugar to rise as well as white bread and pasta. When I understood this, I thought: “Yes, but at least I have potatoes and rice.” But, these foods can also cause weight gain due to starch levels.
“But the body does need carbohydrates to function, especially for the brain,” I thought. But I came to the realization that man has managed tens of thousands of years without the levels of carbohydrates and starch we eat today.
Something that really worked
I learned that when you severely restrict your intake of carbohydrates (I eat less than 20 grams of carbohydrates a day), this is a ketogenic diet (or keto diet, for short). Then the body begins to use its own fat as energy.
After countless failed attempts to count calories, limit portions and trying several different diets, I thought I was a lost cause. But when I turned my thinking around, things started happening.
Unfortunately, as soon as I came off the diet, I did what so many other people do and started gaining weight again. I was stuck in a vicious cycle.
Am I carbohydrate intolerant?
After each period of weight loss, I tried to go back to my “normal” eating habits consuming “normal” portions, but it just led to my weight going up again. I was told about something called “carbohydrate intolerance” and after sticking to a very strict low-carb diet for a longer period of time, things started happening to my body.
There isn’t a huge amount of research on carbohydrate intolerance, but suffice to say that I feel so much better on just fat and protein.
The first thing I noticed when I completely excluded carbohydrates was that I no longer had back ache. It also felt like the foggy feeling in my head had been lifted.
After a while on this diet, I noticed that I had a lot more energy and I felt like I wanted to go out and run. I bought a pair of running shoes and started running, and this was when miracles started to happen.
My whole body began to heal itself. My skin got better, my stomach got well, I started to sleep better and I was so much happier. Medicines that I’d previously taken for various conditions, I no longer needed.
Now that I understand how important it is to be healthy, I am always conscious of what I put in my body.
My journey has been difficult at times but I’ve needed to make the mistakes I have to get where I am today.
The most important lesson
The most important thing I learned is the value of acknowledging failure. Because when you do, you open up new roads.
I once heard a quote: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
If you are overweight or have a friend who you think may need some inspiration, share this story so that more people can read Jannik’s motivating health tips.