I started the Low-GL (Glycaemic Load) diet eight weeks ago, there’s a post with a bit more about it here if you want more information on what it actually is. I have to say that when I hear the word diet I automatically think of not being able to eat much, feeling hungry or avoiding carbs but I have not found that I missed anything in this diet.
The main idea is to have the right proportions of a more carb heavy food, protein and a lot of low carb veg so it turns the carb into a more slow release sugar rather than having the peaks and lows that I was having before.
I started this as it’s a bit of a different version of the Low-GI (Glycaemic Index) diet that was recommended by an ME specialist a couple of years ago. I tried Low GI and I just couldn’t work it out so ended up giving up as it didn’t seem to work but it may be more to do with me failing to get it right. With my ME one of the symptoms I have is post prandial hypoglycaemia, though I don’t have diabetes my blood sugar drops low a few hours after eating so this diet was recommended to even that out.
I didn’t start this diet to lose weight and I will admit to not sticking to it 100%, for example due my health I can’t do the exercise it says to do every day and on pancake day I did have a pancake or two, though I have been doing some exercise and have a daily routine. My original plan was to get my blood sugar even and then to work on losing some weight, with this diet I ended up getting both in one but if you follow it completely with the exercise and no extras then I see it being one where you would lose more than I have, if that’s what you’re starting it for.
As I’ve been on this diet for eight weeks I thought I’d do an update on everything; weight, inches lost, blood sugar and what I’ve thought of the food I’ve tried. I’ll try to keep it short but I thought I’d cover it all as I know I like to find out as much about things as possible before starting it and some of you might have found this when looking up if it’s right for you.
I’ll start with the blood sugar as that’s why I started it and I have to say that I have found a huge improvement on that for me. You’re supposed to have main meals along with snacks in between and, even if I missed a snack because I was out, I didn’t get the blood sugar dips that I used to and six hours without food doesn’t leave me feeling like I’m going to faint. It did take some time for my body to learn that when I feel hungry I’m not going to be feeling shaky, they always used to come together so I did need to learn that but after the initial panic at times when I started to feel hungry I’ve had no problems.
Weight loss has been more than I expected, I have had two weeks with gains so it’s not as low as it would have been but then these are hormone related gains so won’t happen for everyone, each time I gained 1½ lbs so you could add 3lb to my loss. Over the eight weeks I have lost seven lbs and weigh less than I have since starting the medication that made me gain so much to start with, only a couple more to get back to pre-medication weight.
The inches I lost were mainly in the first few weeks, I haven’t really seen any difference since then. I lost 2” on my thighs, 2” on my hips and my chest and waist have stayed the same but I didn’t expect any change there as my medication can make that change by 3” in a day, it does seem to be staying more towards the lower end more often so I guess you could count that as a loss maybe.
I think the thing that surprised me the most about this diet is how much it’s made me enjoy cooking again. Since I became ill I’ve tended not to care that much about cooking, I used to love it when I was younger but it always seemed to take up too much energy recently. A lot of the recipes I’ve found tend to be either fairly quick to do or they can be done in advance and left in the oven or heated up at the time so I can pace myself better.
Some other things I’ve found since starting the diet; I actually really like peanut butter when it’s pure peanuts and nothing added, you can have a lot of quinoa in a portion and I actually like it (I had a previous attempt at it years ago and didn’t) but it does need some stock when cooking it, I can actually eat red onions (still not the white ones but these taste better anyway) and there are so many types of vegetable you can get in jars that taste amazing and are cheap from Lidl (current favourites include roasted peppers in vinegar and a mushroom mix which I could eat straight from the jar!). Also I can actually boil eggs pretty well and poaching eggs is nowhere near as difficult as I was making it out to be.
As part of this diet, and a bit of an extra thing I’m adding, I’ve decided that I want to try either a new food or a new recipe at least once a week. So far so good, in fact I’m way over that, but I’m going to try and keep it up so I’m not falling back into the same routine of the same five meals every week. I’ll see how well I’ve done with that at the end of the year but so far my food diary is definitely helping and I’m enjoying trying the new things.
I am definitely enjoying this diet so far, though it’s less what I think of as a traditional ‘diet’ in a restriction weight loss way and more of a change of diet in the meaning of what you eat as it really doesn’t feel like a weight loss thing. I have seen it recommended for people with diabetes and I can’t really comment on that as I don’t have it myself, I do get checked regularly when I have blood tests as it runs in the family, but I have found that it helps my blood sugar stay even. If you have ME and are considering it I’d say have a look around on the internet but it does seem to have helped me a bit. I won’t say it’s given me a big energy boost as I can’t really tell but I know that the constant up and down of sugar can’t have been helping as the dips and faint feeling were leaving me exhausted, even when I cut actual sugar out pretty much it came from carbs.
Basically it’s an option to consider and it seems like it’s a healthy way to lose weight if that’s what you’re looking for and a way that is actually easy to maintain rather than getting to your goal and then not knowing what to do. It is a long term thing, more a change of lifestyle than some diets, and I’m going to stick with it as it seems to be working for me. Not sure how many people are interested in it but I wanted to do a follow up as I did a post about starting it anyway.