My LCHF Journey

What does LCHF stand for?  “Low Carb High Fat.”  As those of you who read my blog know, I watched a movie back in March called “Fat Head” (available for free on Hulu.com or live streaming on Netflix).  It was the first time I heard someone tell me that carbs are bad for you (as in, they cause cancer, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, etc) and fat is good for you.   I tried the Atkins diet a few years ago, but I just followed the rules, I didn’t pay attention to the science or the principles behind it.

Let me give you my history. I am going to be open and honest here. I am five foot nine. I’ve always had a big frame. When I was in high school I weighed between 180 and 190 pounds. I ran track, cross country, played football, and was pretty athletic. I was not “fat,” and yet the government told me I was (see this chart.) I went to college and got a job as a “package handler” at a shipping company.  I started adding muscle and when I met my wife, I looked pretty good.  (Disclaimer: “the older we get, the better we were” applies here.)

Then I got a job sitting at a desk. My diet was poor and my life had become sedentary.  I started to pack on the pounds until, at age 23 I weighed 250 lbs.  I had to buy two new suits in 1998 because I didn’t fit in my old ones anymore.  Now I was fat.

Me in 1996

Me in 1998

Me in 1998

I tried several diets to get rid of the extra weight., but nothing worked.  Over the past 13 years my weight has fluctuated between 245 and 270, until this past winter, when I got up to 285, my heaviest ever.  I realized that I either needed to do something or buy bigger clothes, since mine were all too tight.

Then in March 2011 I got sick.  It was just a cold, but it hung on for over two weeks, and made me sit around most of the time.  I watched the Fat Head documentary on Netflix.  The weight loss started when I ditched the carbohydrates. Even though I’ve lost 30 pounds, I still feel like I haven’t done much, since I am still in my “normal” range where I’ve been for the past 13 years.  I told my wife that I don’t feel like I’m doing anything until I get down under 245.  That’s still ten pounds away.  I’m losing slowly, but I guess that’s the healthy way to do it.

I’m reading a book called Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. This book gives details on studies done over the past hundred years, showing that fat is good for you, and carbohydrates (bread, pasta, sugar, oatmeal) are bad for you. Revolutionary stuff.

It is taking me a while to adjust my thinking. I go to the store, and see things that say “low fat!” and even though I know better now, I get the feeling that “low fat is good for me, high fat is bad. Salt is bad, bread is good, etc” It’s hard to adjust your thinking after being told your whole life that 2+2=5.

It felt really good this weekend when I went to work and someone who hadn’t seen me in a few weeks said, “Wow! You’ve lost weight!” And it wasn’t the question of someone being polite (you know, “have you lost weight?”), it was a declaration that she could tell I was less large. And then at church yesterday someone told me the same thing. “I can see it in your face,” he said.

I’m jogging about two miles every other day (slowly building it up), I haven’t taken the elevator at work for over a month now (and I work on the 5th floor).  My plan is to get down to my college weight of 200 lbs by hunting season (November) at the latest.  This is a journey.  I didn’t gain 95 pounds in a month or two, and I’m not going to lose 95 pounds in a month or two.  Ideally I’d like to get down to 180, but I’ll be happy at 200lbs.  Updates to follow over the next several months.

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About Steve Picray

I have been many things, but right now I am a registered nurse attempting to pay off my debt so that, God willing, I can be a pastor again someday. I have a wife and three kids. I am a conservative Christian (of the Baptist variety). This blog is about me: the things that happen to me, the things that interest me, and the things that bother me. If you have a question, just e-mail me at spicray AT gmail DOT com. God Bless!
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6 Responses to My LCHF Journey

  1. Carbs are not “bad” and fat is not “good”. Excess is bad. Moderation is good. We are omnivores – which means God designed us to eat both carbs and fat. Both have a place in a healthy diet.

    Personally I go by the rule of dark – the darker it is, the better it is. chocolate, for example. IN moderation, chocolate is a good carb. And since it has sugar in it, it also qualifies as a light/white carb – so one must be careful how much is taken in.

    Red meat is good – it’s darker than most carbs. But meat is expensive so it must be balanced with light meat – chicken, pork, white chocolate. That said, I’m considering whether dark chocolate could be balanced with white chocolate – but I’ve never seen the point of white chocolate, and so avoid it as a freak of nature kind of thing – like zombies – and so I try to stay away from it.

    You get the idea.

    • Steve Picray says:

      Carbs are not “bad” and fat is not “good”. Excess is bad. Moderation is good.
      If eating carbohydrates causes one to have cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and other so-called diseases of civilization, then yes, they are bad. As to whether fat is good or bad, I was referring to the current zeitgeist which states that “fat is bad for you,” as evidenced by all the foods advertised as “fat free!” The fact remains that there are three macronutrients: proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. There are essential proteins that we must consume in our diet to remain alive (isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, tryptophan, etc). There are essential fats that we must consume to remain alive (linoleic acid, EPA, DHA, etc). There are NO essential carbohydrates. In other words, you can live quite well with no ill effects by eating little to no carbohydrates whatsoever. Many “primitive” peoples have done just this: the Zulu, Inuit, etc.

      We are omnivores – which means God designed us to eat both carbs and fat. Both have a place in a healthy diet.
      Omnivores are designed to eat not carbs and fat, but rather meat and vegetables. While vegetables do have a place in a healthy diet, I would submit that sugar, flour, cereal, bread, and other refined carbohydrates do not. Does this mean I will never eat these things again? No, it means that the base of the current “food pyramid” should actually be the tip.

      Personally I go by the rule of dark – the darker it is, the better it is. chocolate, for example. IN moderation, chocolate is a good carb. And since it has sugar in it, it also qualifies as a light/white carb – so one must be careful how much is taken in.
      Chocolate is a good carb? That’s like saying filtered cigarettes are better for you than nonfiltered cigarettes. Yes, they are less carcinogenic, but they are STILL carcinogenic. One kills you, the other kills you with extreme prejudice. And I’m sorry, but the idea of “dark” foods being better for you simply because they are dark smacks of the kind of science that had doctors bleeding people to release the “bad humors.” Or quite possibly Taoism. In the interests of being open minded, is there any science behind this dark idea?

      I highly suggest that you read “Good Calories, Bad Calories” or his less technical book, “Why We Get Fat.” Download the first few chapters for free from the Kindle store on Amazon.com. Here it is: http://www.amazon.com/Good-Calories-Bad-ebook/dp/B000UZNSC2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1306221699&sr=1-1 . If you don’t have a kindle or the kindle app, you can download the kindle program for your computer for free, and read the first chapter or so for free.

    • Steve Picray says:

      I never said there weren’t carbs in veggies. I also never said I was eating no carbs whatsoever. LCHF stands for Low Carb High Fat. I’m sorry if you thought I said that no carbohydrates were ok to consume. I thought that was obvious from the word “Low” in the title.

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