About Steve & Dawn

Why Steve created this blog

I created this site as an aid to the diet that Dawn (read more below) and I started in January 2015. Like Dawn, I always struggled with my weight, finding it impossible to lose weight or keep it off for any length of time. I was a carbohydrate monster – munching through crisps, bread, and beer. Here I am back in the 90’s looking like a chubby hamster.

The primary aim of this site is to explain the science behind low carbohydrate dieting, and in particular ketosis, in a friendly and accessible way, and to provide information that might be helpful to other hoping to lose weight and become more healthy. Most of all, I firmly believe this can be done without the humiliation of submitting to lycra and spinning classes surrounded by people half my age.

The word diet has become synonymous with the act of losing weight as opposed to maintaining it, and in this context it is not difficult to see why people rarely stay on a diet for long. Once a few pounds have been lost, many diets fail to present an attractive long term proposition because the subjects fail to find any comfort in maintaining their weight.

This is because most diets are based upon a simple restriction of calorie intake while retaining the consensus definition of a balanced diet (i.e. moderate to high carbohydrates, and low in fat) – and if there’s one thing the medical establishment should have realised by now, it is that low fat diets don’t work for millions of people.

The problem for the majority of us is that even the lower levels of carbohydrate intake that ensue from a conventional low fat diet still causes several metabolic difficulties. These in turn give rise to, or fail to address, a whole range of health issue, including cardiovascular disease (CVD), type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and other problems caused as a consequence.

However, if your genetics favour a lower carbohydrate diet (and there is growing evidence to suggest over two thirds of westerners fall into this group) then losing and maintaining your weight on a low carb diet becomes surprisingly easy, satisfying and fun!

From my own experiences, here are what I found to be the biggest hurdles to starting and sticking to a low carb diet.

Don't do it – you'll kill yourself

I’ve had this and similar reactions from friends, family, personal trainers, and even nutritionists. In fact, one of the most shocking things is how dogmatic even health professionals can be regarding a low carb, high fat diet.

While you can forgive the general public for a degree of ignorance, once you study the science behind ketogenic diets, you will begin to question the foundations upon which many health professional base their objections.

Understanding the science behind the metabolism of dietary carbohydrate and dietary fat is important if you want to have confidence in what you are doing. While there are plenty of videos on YouTube, I think one of the best starting points for an enquiring mind would be the book The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living by Jeff S. Volek PhD RD and Stephen D. Phinney MD PhD.

Low carb flu

This isn’t flu in terms of an infection, so let’s make that clear. However, reducing carbohydrate intake causes the kidneys to retain less salt, which is then excreted in urine. Salt is necessary to main blood pressure amongst other things, so to avoid any uncomfortable symptoms, you should get used to consuming a little more salt each day – between 1 and 2 extra grammes is ample for most people.

Personally I felt a little light headed after the first day or so, but this was easily corrected by increasing my salt intake to around 5g (5000mg) a day by drinking a couple of cups of Bovril, Miso soup or other clear broth. So called Keto Flu is discussed in more detail here.

A marketplace saturated with sugars

This is just one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. After starting this diet, and reading into the science behind it, I found that walking into my local supermarket became akin to that scene towards the end of The Matrix, where Neo starts to see the world in a new light.

When you begin to understand how little sugar your body retains in the blood, compared to the amount of sugar in most foods, you find yourself looking at isle upon isle of colourfully packaged sugary foods and becoming less surprised at the epidemic of diabetes and (probably insulin resistance mediated) obesity.

Feel free to drop me a line at steve@lowcarbsteve.co.uk

Dawn’s story

beforeafter4I love my food, so yes, I’ve had a weight problem all my adult life. An habitual yo-yo dieter, I’ve lost large amounts of weight (between 140-230 pounds) 4 times in my life time and gained it all back and more besides. I’ve tried countless things with varying success but always found it impossible to maintain a steady weight, and ultimately returning to my normal habit of over eating. The periods of weight loss were always short lived but always seemed an unsustainable fantasy.

Shortly before Christmas 2014 I hit an all time low as my weight was soaring again, for the fifth time, gaining 52 pounds – after my biggest ever weight loss of 196Ib! Previously, I was a size 32 and standing at just 5 feet 2 inches I was as almost as wide as I was high.

beforeafter2I felt a constant hunger, craving for the wrong foods. Even after eating something healthy, I would always end up eating what I craved. Consciously, I knew this was wrong, but I had lost control to the Jekyll and Hyde see-saw that was driving my eating habits. My Jekyll knew that keeping crisps and chocolate in my glove box was bad, but the Hyde part of me just didn’t care – and it was only a matter of time before I binged, and then suffered the inevitable self-disgust and guilt. Most of my bad eating went on out of Steve’s sight, so although Steve was supportive, he was usually walking on egg shells because food had, predictably, become a VERY sensitive topic.

That Christmas I sobbed to my husband, “here I go again, back up the scales”. There’s never been anything I could do to stop it, and it seemed impossible to prevent history from repeating itself.

Luckily, at that time, Steve also decided it was time to lose some weight (albeit only 20 pounds or so), and he suggested we do it together. Rather than shy away, I made the decision to see what he could come up with. I had visions of being squeezed into lycra and put on a mountain bike.

beforeafter6Steve started to research weight loss, in particular the effects of carbohydrates on the body and the conventional assumptions regarding low fat diets. All my life (over three decades) I’ve been brain washed by TV, media, the food industry with the low fat mantra – my kitchen was like a carbohydrate warehouse.

And so it was with abject horror that I sat down to the breakfast Steve cooked on the first day of our new lifestyle. The arrangement of bacon, sausage, and egg looked a lot like the stuff we had all been told for years would clog our arteries and lead to an early heart attack. I looked at Steve, wondering if he secretly just wanted me fat!

He didn’t, but it took me a while to re-educate myself specifically on the science of carbohydrates, and fats and how they are processed by the body. I read books, historic and contemporary scientific research, and enjoyed a number of videos on the subject (mostly available on YouTube). As my confidence in the diet grew, it was truly vindicated after subsequent blood tests showed that my blood cholesterol markers hadn’t hit the ceiling, but had mostly stayed the same or improved.

After living a low carb lifestyle now for almost a year I can honestly say that my previous cravings have just gone – it’s like a fantasy that came true. I can buy petrol without buying bags of sugary junk to fill my glovebox. Regaining control over my diet has borne fruit in many other areas. I’m far more able to enjoy exercise, clothes are cheaper and the benefits to self esteem are hard to quantify.

beforeafter5I no longer hate myself and feel great to be able to pull on a pair of jeans like I did in my twenties.  I had the confidence a few months ago to ceremonially burn my “fat” clothes – a wardrobe-in-waiting that has always been on standby due to a lack of confidence in my ability to maintain any weight loss.

Those 52 pounds are now gone and have shown no signs of returning. Despite the occasional pub lunch or family BBQ, my hunger is no longer a wild untamed force. I simply don’t have the cravings I used to, and when I do fancy something, it’s more a psychological issue than what used to feel like an uncontrolled physiological urge.

I hope my story can help you to find it in yourself to tackle your own uncontrolled eating. While it would be wrong of me to proclaim low carb diets are the cure for everyone – don’t you owe it to yourself to find out if it’s the cure for you?

Feel free to drop me a line at dawn@lowcarbsteve.co.uk


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