Losing Weight in the New Year

Scale and measure photoIt’s the start of a new year right now and we’re looking at a new focus for this website – daily routines. One of the most important that we’ve found is diet. Both of us (Meryl and John) have put on weight in the quarantine times of the past year. We’re home more, moving less and snacking more! So we’ve decided that losing weight will be one of our goals, in fact the biggest one, for the months ahead, and we’ve picked out a Low Carb diet plan being the one we think will suit us best.

So what is a low carb diet? Well it turns out there are lots of different ones. What they have in common is that you will restrict the number of carbohydrates that you eat. It’s not just a question of cutting out potatoes, rice and pasta – although you could do that for a start. But the real biggie that a lot of people don’t even think of as a “carb” is SUGAR. Refined sugar is virtually 100% carbohydrate, which is not true of those other foods – at least pasta and such have some vitamins and minerals too!

When we looked into it, we found that some vegetables also have a higher level of carbohydrate than you might think. Some examples are corn (which is kind of a grain anyways), rutabaga, winter squash, and even carrots. In fact any vegetable that grows under the ground is liable to have quite high carbohydrate content. Then many fruits have a lot, too.

So a good thing you can do is look at a list of the foods that are higher in carbohydrates. Then either cut them out of your diet or reduce them right down. Because you will still get some carbohydrate from the other foods, as all vegetables have a little and even so does milk.

If you want to go really deep into the numbers, which John likes to do being somewhat of an engineer type, you can download an app for your smartphone that has all of the nutrients in all foods, then figure out a plan that will give you only around 10% of your calories coming from carbohydrate. The rest comes from the other main calories sources which are protein and fats. (The other thing that can contribute to calories is alcohol, but we don’t drink so we don’t have to factor that in.)

It may seem counterintuitive to be adding fat to your diet when you want to lose fat off of your belly or wherever. But the secret to losing weight with this type of diet is that the fat you eat is not the same as the fat that your body stores. It’s when you eat a lot of fast-converting foods like sugar and flour that your body will lay down an extra layer of fat in storage.

Winter squash photo
Some high carb characters!
At the same time, insulin is produced to complete this process. Eating a lot of carbs makes the body produce a lot of insulin. Over time the pancreas, the gland that makes insulin, gets worn down and cannot keep up. Insulin production drops and stops being enough to cover the needs of all the sugar and other carbs that we are eating. That is when people are diagnosed diabetic or pre-diabetic. Or anyway that’s how I understand it. Probably that’s overly simplified and there are other factors. But that’s why following a low carb diet can be so good for people who have type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes, which I think we are in danger of at our current weight.

We do need some carbs but as I said before, we can easily find these in all vegetables and dairy foods. So we are going to begin following a plan, I was going to say a simple plan but I don’t know after John has finished with it. Anyways the aim is to start losing weight in this new year. Wish us luck!