This transcript is brought to you thanks to the hard work of Cheryl Meyers.
Welcome Jackie to the Ketowoman podcast. How are you doing today?
I’m very well Daisy. Thank you for having me. It’s a real pleasure.
It was lovely to meet you in person. You are another one of the lovely ladies I’ve met at the PHC conference the other weekend. It was great, wasn’t it?
It was great. Although, as I don’t know if you remember, my son had called me in the middle of the night to take him to the hospital and so I was a bit sleep deprived and kept dozing off, but I really enjoyed it.
Oh gosh. Yes. I remember now. I’d forgotten that you had great dramas, didn’t you? Really bad timing.
Yeah, I was. So looking forward to the conference, you know, had been booked it about six months before now, five months before and I was really looking forward to it. So that night, sitting in, sitting in the hospital is that they go, these things happen.
They do often in opportune moments. What was your best bit, what was your favorite takeaway from the conference?
I loved Dr Robert Lustig. I thought Zoë Harcombe’s was really good. And really interesting considering that she isn’t Keto, but how she was saying that you don’t have to have carbohydrates. I thought they were all very good. I was even really impressed with the president of the Royal College of GPs and that looking forward to how AI is going to interact with our health and how we deal with things going forward.
Absolutely. I must admit, when I, when I was looking at the lineup, I was thinking that his presentation might be a bit dry, but actually like you say it was really great, wasn’t he? He was. He was very entertaining. I really enjoyed his presentation.
Definitely and I think it definitely got me thinking about how AI is going to interface with our lives. We already see it a little bit with Alexa, but that’s taken it even a step further and how people might start recognizing issues before they even get to a major level.
I must admit, I’m very tentative about allowing an Alexa into my house. I don’t have one. Although I did, did have a very entertaining interlude at my sister’s house. My brother in law had been online and he’d found out these different things you can do and you can ask Alexa to fart and she has this whole catalog of farts and we were being Brits and liking toilet humor, we were very much entertained, to the point of yes, tears of laughter. So if anyone’s got an Alexa, ask her to show you an array of her farts. It very entertaining.
I have to try that later.
It’s very funny if you find that kind of thing funny, which obviously I do and my family does too, so yes, that was very amusing. Let’s get onto the matter at hand, which is you. So Jackie, tell me a bit about you.
I’ve done various things throughout my life, jumping from one thing to another. I’ve never really stuck with things very much and I was thinking that I’ve always considered myself quite healthy, but it’s only in the last year that I realized that I probably wasn’t as healthy as I thought I was. I’ve always been overweight from probably nine or 10 years old. I felt overweight. Now when I look back at the photos, I just think you look lovely. What was wrong with that? But obviously compared to some of my peers, I was overweight and my dad was overweight. My granddad used to have the nickname Cannon because he was so overweight. And I just grew up with that belief and I took after my dad, so I took after his side of the family.
So I grew up with the belief that I was going to be fat and of course that translates into being fat anyway. Then when I was 17, I had a, they didn’t know what was going on–it had been going on for years and I’d been in and out of hospital, not hospital, but the doctors trying to find out what it was. And they thought I had something wrong with my kidneys. And when they did a scan, they then thought I was pregnant and I was only 17. So they took me into the hospital–where I’d never even met the gynecologist– came in and operated on me and afterwards found out I had a tumor the size of a football.
And they removed one and a half ovaries and my appendix at the same time. Now at that time I was nearly 18 I was still in hospital on my 18th birthday. I didn’t understand the consequences of what was going on. It was only later when I was in my thirties when I got married and my dad stood up to give a speech that I realized the impact it had on the whole family at that time, but I was completely oblivious. Now I realize that that operation in itself probably led to the ongoing weight gain that I experienced in my late teens and early twenties. Then around, I was probably about 27 at the time, I was living in Majorca. I had just, what a one off to start with was a headache. Like I’ve never known before. I ended up in bed for five days and someone had to look after me cause I was living on my own at the time and from then on I started to get migraines very regularly and paracetamol wouldn’t do anything. I was on really strong pills for my headache and I was taking those pills. They reckoned you should take one or two a month. And I was taking on average nine a month.
Probably getting headaches every other day and I couldn’t function without the pills. I was just, and when I took the pills, it would knock me out for a couple of hours. I had to just go and lay down. I couldn’t do anything because the side effects were so bad. Then I got married in my thirties and couldn’t have kids–not realizing at the time that I’d lost one and a half ovaries. So it’s not surprising really. After two rounds of IVF, um, managed to conceive twins who are now 16 and just doing their GCSEs. Over the last, well up until 2017 and for the few years before that I’d been in a situation which was quite stressful and I was often working at night, usually once a week. But there was a period of time before that when I was doing quite a lot of night shifts and they work 12 hour night shifts.
It was in my own business, but for staffing reasons, I had to step in and I didn’t realize at the time how that was influencing me. So from February 2016 to May 2017, I put on something like 23 pounds over the year. So my weight had gone up really quickly, but I hadn’t really noticed it because you just don’t do you. And it was at that time that I was listening to a podcast that recommended a book and the book was Gretchen Rubin’s “Better Than Before”. And in the book, Gretchen Rubin said about another book, which was Gary Taubes, “Why We Get Fat”. I was listening to the book on Audible. So the following month when my credit came up, I thought I wasn’t in the mood for dieting. I’d tried lots of times before, all through my teens, and I’d got to the point where diets don’t work. I was also telling myself, I know what to do. You have to eat less and move more.
Of course. That’s what we’re told, isn’t it, by pretty well everyone.
Yeah, absolutely. I just figured that I wasn’t any good at it and I was a failure and I would go to bed every night and I would say to myself, tomorrow’s going to be different.
Why is that? I find I’m exactly the same. I have this massive boost of motivation in the evenings and it tends to manifest well with all sorts of things, but it’s that those lists of things you’ve got to do, and I often walk around my house, looking at all the jobs that need doing and think, yes, I do that and I’ll do that. Why is it you have that real peak of motivation before you go to bed, but when you wake up the next day, somehow, it’s all disappeared.
Is it because you’ve had, you feel like you’re such a failure during the day because you haven’t done what you said you’re going to do. And so you go to bed thinking “Tomorrow’s going to be different.”
I don’t know, but it really seems to be a pattern. I wonder if something that popped into my mind then was perhaps it’s that you can think like this because you’re not going to do anything about it right now. And there’s some kind of, because you know you’re going to sleep, that there’s some kind of cutoff. I don’t know, but it’s weird. It’s just when you said that, it just immediately resonated with me because it’s something I do so, so often.
And I did that for a long, long time. And particularly around diet and food and just telling myself I was going to eat less. I was going to move more. And then I’d wake up the next day and nothing had changed. I think that leads you to a place of feeling like a failure and like it’s all your fault and you’re useless. And even at that time, I knew wheat was addictive. I’d read, “Wheat Belly” by William Davis. And so I knew wheat was addictive. I knew the effect it was having on my brain, but I just couldn’t stop eating it. I’d seem to be eating more and more as time was going on. And I know now that stress was an influence as well.
Yes. I just wanted to pick up on that actually–just going back a little bit, when you mentioned about that it was a very stressful period of your life, but also the fact that you were having to do night shifts and you had that period of quite rapid weight gain. And do you put that down to one or either or both of those things with hindsight?
I think what I’ve learned on my Keto journey is that it probably did have a huge influence, both the stress and the working at night was most probably influencing my insulin levels. Now when I was working at night, I was taking my own supper with me, which was usually something like roast chicken and a salad and my own homemade dressing. And once I eaten that I didn’t eat for the rest of the night. So it wasn’t as if I was snacking all night. So I was keeping up fairly good food times, but my whole circadian rhythm was probably just thrown out of balance. And it would take me a few days to get over it and then it would be back to Sunday again. I’m back doing the night shift again and then we’d start the week again. And that went on for well over a year, maybe longer that I was doing that.
Hmm. Interesting. So often people assume that it’s all to do with the food or you know, at least the majority of the change that they think they need to make is the food, it’s what everyone goes to first and it’s what throws a lot of people, I think, when they’re saying, but I’m doing everything right. I’m following all the rules–yet I’m not losing weight or I’m gaining weight. And they don’t look at all the other things that are going on that can actually have a massive, massive impact.
Yeah, agreed. And it’s taken me until probably earlier this year to recognize that it’s not just about what I’m eating. It’s other things as well.
I’ve taken you off track a little bit. So going back, you started to discover some interesting books via podcasts. Let’s go back to that and what you started learning from. If I could have a pound for every time someone mentions Gary Taubes, I’d be a rich woman. It has to be, I think the most cited book on this podcast that people talk about. That was really the turning point for them.
Yeah, and I think it was just that understanding of calories in, calories out don’t matter. Fat is not the thing that we have to be scared of. We want to be avoiding carbohydrates as much as possible and the vegetable oils and just going back before that, when I was listening to the Gretchen Rubin book, I was telling myself, oh, I can’t do this. I’ll be useless. I’m no good. I can’t keep anything up. But I still went ahead and bought the book. So obviously part of me, although I didn’t want to diet, part of me was thinking I’ll listen to it and see what I think. It just all made so much sense. Previously I’d been thinking about the best way to go would be to have a vegetarian diet, but I wasn’t–I had tried that in the past, but it wasn’t very good because I love my meat too much and I was thinking I needed to get back to that.
And then this book was sort of talking to me in the sense of, you can eat meat and you can have butter. I love butter. The things I absolutely adored. My favorite foods, which is bread, potatoes and pasta are the ones that I shouldn’t be eating. So I just thought I’m going to cut that out. And I didn’t read anything more or do anything else other than read that book. And I cut out potatoes, pasta, bread or wheat, biscuits, cakes. I just cut that straight out. And I said to my husband, because he does all the cooking, I said, I don’t want potatoes anymore. Can you replace my potatoes with another green vegetable or another vegetable? I didn’t even say green vegetable. And for the next six months that’s what I did. But I didn’t realize I was eating loads of peas, loads of meat and loads of corn, um, corn on the cob over that following six months. And I still managed to lose probably about a stone, maybe just after just over a stone–17 pounds, I think in that six months until I felt ready to investigate a bit more and I bought Jimmy Moore’s book, “Keto Clarity.” Then I started to understand more about the ketogenic diet, so I started to make some changes to what I was eating, so I cut out the peas and cut out the corn and replaced those with green leafy vegetables. That’s when I started to see a change and I started to incorporate some intermittent fasting by, the first thing I did was not eat after my dinner, although I didn’t do it very often since I’d been on the low carb. I’d started to eat cheese at about 11 o’clock at night or something like that, so I cut that out.
I’m a late night snacker, too. I’m a devil for that.
Well, I never used to be, but then I started doing it because I could. I can eat cheese, so I’ll eat it. From January last year, January ’18, I cut out anything after my supper and went through to the morning. Then I found that eating in the morning wasn’t sitting well with me and I didn’t feel great eating and I was eating quite a lot eggs and bacon as Jimmy Moore recommends and avocado and sour cream and I was feeling quite yucky so I just cut that out completely as well and went through till lunchtime. And that’s my day to day regimen is to have my supper and then nothing till lunch. I do do some network meetings where they, it’s a breakfast meeting and they have breakfast and it’s really hard sitting there watching other people eat. So I quite often will have some egg and bacon but most days I don’t have breakfast.
From there I started listening to Jimmy Moore’s podcasts, from there I’ve found other podcasts, and I’ve been listening to lots of them all the time really and making different changes. So back in January I tried carnivore and did that for a couple of weeks but was really missing vegetables. I was even craving, which I’m never usually bothers me. I was even craving fruit at that time. So I only did it for two weeks cause I thought I can’t do this long term. And then when we were at the PHC conference the other week, I met a lady called Christina who said two weeks is not really enough and you need to give it a bit longer. So I thought, okay, I can try that again. So now I’m doing a sort of lighter version of carnivore where I’m just eating meat and fish and butter, 85% chocolate and occasionally some nuts. And most evenings I will put some nut butter on my chocolate. But other than that I’m sticking to carnivore and eggs. Of course.
Yes. I suppose you’d more call it just that, you know, really just the real drilling down on the carbs I guess. Um, I think quite a lot of us sort of jump to carnivore when we’re thinking of that because it’s, I don’t know about you, but it’s this, like you just, you just kind of need a name for something. But what you’re really saying is just that you’re really drilling down those carbs as low as you can comfortably go. But still including some things in your diet that keep you happy doing that.
Yes, definitely isn’t no carbs at all. I’ve still been having some olives as well, occasionally.
That’s an interesting thing that came to mind when you were speaking earlier and I’d be interested in your perspective on this and whether you agree. It’s going back to when you were talking about listening to the Gary Taubes book and before that talking about how you just felt a failure a lot of the time because you couldn’t do what you thought you were supposed to be doing, whether it be eating vegetarian diet and/or the whole eat less, move more like we’re all told and instead of automatically assuming that what we’re being told is wrong, we feel that we’re failing at it. And I wonder if there’s part of us in there and it’s, it’s thinking about the Gretchen Rubin’s tendencies and I, I don’t know what tendency you are, but I’m a rebel tendency and I’ve always felt this sort of inner part of me rebelling and fighting against what I’m being told I’m supposed to be doing.
And I wonder if there’s a part of us, because we’re intelligent humans, we’re intelligent women. We shouldn’t blame ourselves first and foremost and assume that we’re the failure. We should be thinking, well perhaps it’s what we’re being told. And I wonder whether so many of us have this massive light bulb moment when we read something like Gary Taubes who is saying, and the phrase that is often picked out in these kind of books is when they say, “It’s not your fault, you’re not doing anything wrong.” It’s what you’ve been told and this system that you’re trying to squeeze yourself into, that’s never gonna work for you. And I wonder if, if that’s why it really resonates so much with us where when you were saying, and I’ve heard so many other people saying, it all suddenly made sense, you know, because there’s the science that goes with it and everything suddenly makes sense. It’s logical. Whereas before, I wonder if there is a part of us inside, although it’s not shouting loud enough, that was saying, you know, hold on a minute, none of this makes sense. Why are you doing it? And so sort of pushed against it. I don’t know. I don’t know how you feel about that, but I think maybe that’s part of the issue that I used to have.
It might be part of it and I was always, I sort of flip between rebel and obliger.
Right. That’s definitely a flip one extreme to the other.
Yeah, and in all these psychometric testing, I never fit in one box neatly. I’m always a bit of something, a bit of one and a bit of another.
Oh, absolutely. And I think she really just talks about your dominant tendency doesn’t she? We’re all made up of different parts, but she certainly found that most people tend to fall predominantly in one, one tendency with overlaps of other ones.
I sort of flip between both of them and just going back further, I never bought into the low fat products. I would have full fat yogurt, I wasn’t a great yogurt eater anyway, but you know, whatever there could be low fat of, I would always have the full fat version and I would always have butter. I’ve never had margarine–if you go to what we used to say was a cafe, I would say no butter because I knew it was margarine and I’d rather have no butter than margarine. But even that over time we’ve become so brainwashed into what the government are telling us, not so much school when I was at school, but just everybody, especially the young people growing up now, they still have an influence on us as to what we should and shouldn’t be eating and how we should be moving so much more. And I think with Gary Taubes’s book, I think that the one thing that really stuck out with me was even if you exercise an hour a day, every day, every year, you have to do even more just to maintain your weight where it was. So it’s not definitely isn’t about calories in and calories out because you have to increase that exercise year on year to just maintain where you are. I think that was very prominent.
And I think at the time I was also still scared of the fat issue, of eating the fat. I love the idea of it, and maybe the reason it resonates so much with us is because that’s our natural way of eating. We would have come through thousands or millions of years of eating meat and eating fat and it’s only in the last 40 years that we’ve stopped doing that as much. But maybe that is our natural tendency and that’s why it feels so right to do this. And so at that point when I had sort of been doing the low carb thing for about three or four weeks, maybe, probably three weeks, and I was on holiday with my friends in Spain and my friend is a nurse and she said she was doing the low carb and that they’re now recommending it to diabetics as a way of controlling their diabetes. And I was asking her, but is it safe? Is it okay? It didn’t feel it still, there was still that part of me, that brainwashed part of me that felt it wasn’t okay to do low carb. And I am so glad that I had that conversation with her because I think if I had an, I might have just gone back to eating carbs and gone back to that belief that we need so many carbs that we have to have carbs. So I’m so grateful to my friend for, you know, just reiterating that. And, and I think at that point it was still hard, but it was easier and easier to eat the fat and leave out the carbs.
So remind me, you’ve been Keto low carb for, for how long now? Getting on for that must be getting on for a couple of years?
It’s two years now. It was the end of May. I did the low carb with the peas and the corn version for about six months. And then in January ’18 was when I started to dial it down. And really, you know, I ordered my ketone meter, started to check my ketones and it still took me a good few months to get those ketones up to more than 0.5 or 0.4. It took quite a lot of work and a lot of dialing down and a lot of titrating. I’ve always been a big eater. I used to worry, if I’d go out, I used to worry that they wouldn’t be enough food and that I might be hungry and I used to eat loads. It took time for me to recognize, even just tell myself if I’m hungry later I can eat more, and I had to keep doing that and saying it’s okay. You don’t just have to have your one meal. If you’re hungry later you can eat more. And that was really a massive thing for me because I was so used to eating my lunch and my dinner. I never used to snack a lot between meals–I used to eat loads and it took me a long time to sort of dial down the portions to be satisfied without overeating.
Yes. It’s interesting isn’t it? What you’re used to. I was exactly the same before I had weight loss surgery and I would say, I’m a good few years out of weight loss surgery now and I can eat, I would say the amount that an average person eats, but I used to eat a huge amount and it’s funny when you keep saying things that sort of send these bells off in my head thinking, Gosh, yes, I used to do that too. And it was, there was that kind of panic wasn’t there, that panic of thinking that there might not be enough food, that you weren’t going to feel satisfied and that you were going to need more and I wonder how much that’s actually relating to food and whether it’s some kind of other emotional need or something because logically it doesn’t really make much sense does it? We get to do that, especially as you were saying with you starting to do some intermittent fasting and what I always find that is most interesting when you do do that, you really get to see what real hunger is. The difference between that real stomach growling, ravenous hunger and then when you do eat you don’t find that you can eat that much before you’re satisfied and it’s, I just find it interesting, the whole concept of hunger.
I don’t think I ever really got hungry before. I don’t think I allowed myself to get hungry. And even now I still will tend to have my lunch around lunchtime and my supper at suppertime probably irrespective of whether I’m hungry or not.
Creatures of habit aren’t we?
Part of it is habit and part of it is the social aspect. So lunch I will mostly have with my mum, so it’s a time for me to be with her so she’s not on her own and then in the evening it’s with the boys and we will tend to watch something on TV and that’s become part of the social network of how I eat. But outside of those times I don’t usually eat. I might have a little little bit of chocolate after my lunch. I might have occasionally a few nuts if I want to in the afternoon. Sometimes I’m just craving something to eat. But for the most part, I will just have my lunch and my supper.
Yes. I think a lot of people seem to fall into the two meal a day category, don’t they? I would say, oh, I know it’s a bit of a generalization here, but most people I know who are Keto tend to fall into that group. The two meal a day.
Yeah. I don’t know. It’s easy. I do do the occasional–I’ll go through from one suppertime to another. I do do on a Thursday night, I go to taekwondo, so I will probably go from the Wednesday night through to the Friday lunchtime. Do you know what I love is the freedom to not worry about food. To know that if I don’t eat all day to day, I will be fine.
Yeah. You’re not going to pass out.
I’m not going to pass out. I’m not gonna get a headache. I’m not going to get the jitters. Which would have happened beforehand. If I went past lunchtime, I would end up with the jitters and I would have a headache and a migraine and it’d probably last for a few days. I always made sure I ate, but now I always walk around with things in my bag. I’ve always got two or three bags of one ounce of nuts and I was generally got a bar of 85% chocolate and I know that if I’m really hungry I can eat that and I can still go all day without touching it. Even though it’s there and it’s beside me and I’ve got it with me, I don’t actually need it. I think that brings so much freedom to the way you live now. Way I live now.
You mentioned that it’s just reminded me about when you were talking about the migraines that you had and there are two questions, really, one that would you attribute to your change of diet, which you attribute the easing of the migraines to that, but also what did you notice? What were the big changes you noticed? Obviously when you went from how you were eating before and you went through that period where you lowered your carbs but you weren’t keto and you mentioned how you lost weight, but then when you went to keto and you started measuring your ketones and, and so on and so forth. But what kind of changes did you notice from transitioning between those stages? Because I know I too had a period where I was quite sort of, well, moderate to low carb I guess. And there were definitely improvements from a weight loss point of view, but it wasn’t until I dialed down to keto levels that I started seeing changes to things like my migraines and depression and things like that. So I’d just be interested to hear from you what the changes were that you noticed with those different periods.
Just going back to the migraines, they had been changing over the years. So, from when I was pregnant, I still had them through my pregnancy, but afterwards they eased a bit and they weren’t as bad as they used to be. And then with time, that has got even better. And I, I even got to the point where I would stop taking the sumatriptan pills I was taking.
Oh, is that what you were taking? When you mentioned the tablets that you were only supposed to take a few a month and you were taking them a lot more? Is that what you were referring to?
Oh, well you would be horrified then that the point I got to, and this is where I realized something had to change, where my migraines so bad and that’s what I took as well. There’s a whole group aren’t there called triptans, which they use to treat migraines and it’s to do with, changes the flow of blood doesn’t it? I can never remember whether it opens up or constricts the blood flow, but it does one or the other and that’s supposed to be how it works.
I think it’s constrict, yeah.
I can never remember. In my worst months I was getting migraines half of every month, so I was taking, that’s probably about 15 tablets a month. That’s what I was taking. And I got to the point where, and I’m sure you’re probably familiar with the whole concept of rebound headaches and migraines and that you actually start getting headaches or migraines because of the tablets that you’re taking. And so it just becomes this vicious cycle. And I can remember reading a really interesting book about it and they said, at some point you have to break that. And the only way you can break that cycle is to stop taking the medication. And that’s why I did.
And somebody years and years ago said to me, she had migraines and she said she stopped taking the pills, but it just seemed inconceivable to me to stop taking them.
Yeah. Because how can you function with the migraine?
Exactly. Once I came out of the pregnancy, and so even before I went low carb, I probably had a couple of years where I did, for the most part, I did stop taking them. And if I had a headache, I would just grit my teeth through it. And it would often be three days where I felt lousy and nine times out of 10 I would not take a pill, but then I would have the occasional one, which would make me very sick in my stomach. And at that point I would need to take the pills. So I was down from nine or 10 a month to maybe one or two a year.
Wow. Big change.
Once I went low carb, that sort of continued. But when I started keto, I started to actually get more migraines than I had been previously. But I haven’t had one for ages now. And I’m wondering if now sitting here right this minute, thinking back, maybe it was the electrolytes, because now when I feel a headache or any sign of a headache coming, I will go and eat some salt or make myself a drink of water with salt and low salt in. And so I’ve managed to keep it at bay. So maybe in those early days when I was getting migraines, maybe it was an electrolyte imbalance.
Quite possibly. It’s with that transition phase, isn’t it? When your body’s adjusting to the new fuel, I guess, is literally what it is–everything goes a little bit sideways, as far as things like that go, especially if you’re vulnerable to headaches. I found the same thing when when I was doing my carnivore challenge that I was getting at a lot of headaches. I got a tremor in my eye and as soon as I started taking magnesium, that really helped actually. So similar thing. What changes did you start to see then when you were fully into keto and were in ketosis that you no doubt saw on your ketone meter. What changes for the better did you notice, if any?
So I think the main thing was, which completely astounds me, even now, probably around April last year, I decided to exercise–
Of your own volition?
Of my own volition. Somebody in a group that I belonged to was mentioning about Joe Wicks, the body coach. So I started doing his absolute beginner video. I’d put it on, and I’d do that about three times a week. And then in June last year, two people said to me in the space of about 10 days that they were doing the Couch to 5k, I don’t know, you did it as well. And I thought, well I might give that a go. So I did and I couldn’t get to the 5k but I could run eventually for the 30 minutes.
Oh, well done. Did you actually get to week nine? I’m a shocker. I got to week eight, which you believe before I stopped and I haven’t taken it back up again. Um, but did you actually get to the end of the program then?
I did and I got to the end of the program and I kept it going.
Until October. So then back in August I thought I might go back to taekwondo. I’d done it a little bit beforehand, but hadn’t done it about three years. So I went back to taekwondo. Then in October, while sparring, I damaged my toe, my big toe, and the nurse had said to me, don’t do anything. So then I stopped running and I didn’t do anything for about five weeks. And then I started the couch to 5k again and thought, right, this time I’m going to try and go faster, faster, but I wasn’t doing very well. And then back in January, I started again on week one again, I thought, right, I’m going to start again. And now I do it and I’ve done about three park runs so far, but I’ve done it with the couch to 5k. So I do my walking bit and the running bit in the walking and the running bit. But since then I’ve just been running and I’ve been extending my mileage. So I’m up to about 2.4 miles that I can run without stopping. But very slowly. And then recently this week, I’ve just thought, well, I don’t have to just run for 2.4 miles. If I’ve only got 10 minutes, I could just run for 10 minutes. And so that’s what I’ve been doing as well. And just giving myself a bit less of a hard time, but trying to do something a bit more regularly.
Mm. Yeah, I was going to ask you actually if you had a a park run near you, you know when you talk about going to a taekwondo class, it just struck me that you might be the kind of person that likes to go and do an organized type of exercise, if you like. And especially doing it with other people. I know a lot of people really get a lot out of park run.
I think I’m doing it to push myself. I don’t think I need to go. We’ve got quite a long drive so, and we live on the top of a hill with no pavements and cars going past very quickly. So running on the road is not really advisable. So I tend to just run up and down the drive. So getting to the park makes it just a bit different and it’s also pushing me to aim for that three mile or 5k goal really. So I’ve been pushing myself a bit harder and I think other changes, well I just, I don’t know about you but I just feel, I tell people I feel amazing. I feel like I’ve never ever felt before in my life. And somebody said to me a little while ago, you probably just don’t remember what you did feel like when you were younger. But actually I do because leading up to that operation when I was 17 I’d been ill for years before that. I felt something hard in my stomach and my mom said go to the doctor and I didn’t like doctors so I wouldn’t go. And it had been going on for years and I used to come home from school in the middle of the day because they’d send me home because I was in so much pain in my side. It was usually around my period time. And what they reckoned afterwards was at the time of my period, everything would, the tumor would push on some of my vein, um, yeah, probably veins and arteries and all sorts of things in roundabout about my kidney area and that was causing all the pain. So I never felt great. I always was, always felt overweight and I never felt great. And then afterwards I was probably going through a hormonal change. This probably similar to menopause, if not, not exactly, but you can sort of imagine that having all your ovaries ripped out, and Gary Taubes does mention in the book about rats where they take out their ovaries and how the body totally changes. So I never felt great, but I never felt that bad that I thought there was anything wrong. It just became, this is me, this is who I am, and I’m a person that can’t follow through. I’m a person that can’t do things, you know, I’m not consistent. I can’t keep up new habits. And since going keto, and particularly in this last six or eight months, I’ve come to recognize that that wasn’t true. What it was was what I was eating or how I was living. Probably eating was stopping me from being the person I am today because I feel different.
It’s lovely to hear when people say they feel amazing. I mean, you know, what more could you ask really?
And I’m still not great because I still get a tired slump in the afternoon and I haven’t quite worked out why that is. But other than that, I’ve been able to introduce new habits. Previously I was having problems with my gums and I would have to go to the hygienist every three months and more recently she said, I don’t need to see you for six months because I’ve started flossing and brushing with the interdental brushes, which I would never have managed to be consistent in keeping that up previously. And I think that as well as avoiding all the sugars and the carbs has helped my dental health.
There’s interesting, right when you mentioned about having that afternoon slump because obviously you’ve experimented a lot with your diet. So I mean it strikes me that it’s not what you’re eating that’s impacting that. Something that jumped to mind was, and I can’t for the life of me remember which one of the Rangan Chatterjee podcasts it was, because there’s been a few that I’ve listened to recently that have had a lot of overlap with sleep and with circadian rhythms and things like that. So I can’t remember exactly which one it was, but one of them was talking about how we have transitioned, evolved over time as a human race, but also how we evolve from birth and as we grow up between different patterns of sleeping and they were talking about, I think do they call it the bi-phasic? That sounds logical because that’s too, but this sleeping in either sleeping in two blocks of time when it was quite normal–and babies and very young children do this, but we also used to do it apparently quite a lot, however many years ago–where we’d sleep for a block of time and then actually have a period of time in the middle of the night where we might get up and talk to each other or whatever and then go back to sleep.
Interesting enough, I did that for a few months when I worked on a kibbutz and because of the way we socialized in the hours we worked, we started very early. I slept in two blocks of four and actually felt very good on that, but the point I was going to make to you that might be worth trying, I don’t know if it would fit into your lifestyle and it might have been, thinking about it, it might’ve been the Matthew Walker podcast. He has his book about sleep and the importance of it and the different patterns and they talk about as long as you have the whole period that you need to have all the different phases of sleep, which for most people is 90 minutes so you get that entire sleep cycle. He was saying a lot of people benefit greatly from having a nap or sleep during the day.
It’s quite important that you have it before, I think the cutoff point was about 3:00 PM or you’ll struggle getting to sleep and that will cause problems, but a lot of people really benefit from having a sleep cycle length nap in the afternoon and I remember my grandmother, it was always absolutely part of her routine and she set her alarm after lunch. She had her nap and then you know away she went for the rest of the day. I just wondered if it’s worth experimenting with something like that. Maybe your body is telling you that you need that rest at a certain point in the afternoon.
It could be. It also relates with the Spanish siesta time as well. What I’ve found that I’ve been doing is I’ve been going to pick my boys up from school and getting, aiming to get there about 10 minutes early and then I just sleep for about 10 minutes in the car. And that 10 minutes makes a big difference to the rest of the day for me.
What I’ve been doing is trying to get my circadian rhythms in balance by going out in the daylight as early as possible without any glasses or contact lenses and then going to bed a bit earlier at night. Also, I’ve been wearing blue blocking glasses, not all the time in the evening when I’m watching the TV, but definitely when I’m in bed reading my Kindle and if I get up in the night, I quite often put those on. So I’ve really been focusing on my sleep hygiene as well and trying to dial that down. But that’s been a recent thing over the last three or four months I’ve been working on.
And you mentioned to me you’ve been playing around with the “Miracle Morning” concept of getting up early, is that right?
It’s another book that I’ve read and had great, great promises to myself at night that I would do. And weirdly enough, actually the week it took to read, I would read it as I was going to bed and I was actually waking up at six o’clock in the morning. It was most bizarre, not that I did anything with it. This is um, you’ll see this is a bit of a recurring pattern with me, but by all accounts you have actually been putting it into practice.
I have, you gave me that recommendation a couple of months ago and I had it on my wishlist on Audible. So I downloaded it on Monday, listened to all the way through and then listened to all the way through again, this time bookmarking certain areas of the book. And so I think Wednesday morning was my first day. Now I normally get up at six o’clock in the morning. So I got up at five to five and I was the 10 minutes of everything, which for the listeners are Silence–so meditating for 10 minutes, Affirmations for 10 minutes, Visualization for 10 minutes–I’m not very good at visualizing things that are not yet, but I’m working on it. And the E is exercise, the R, he says SAVERS–the R is reading and the S is scribing or journaling. So I have been doing that. Over the weekend, I was up late on Friday night and Saturday night, so I didn’t get up early, but I still had time to take that hour and a bit of time to do that. So I have done it for six whole days now.
Wow. And what are you feeling about it?
I’m feeling–I think it’s adding to my confidence and my confidence has been growing over the last 18 months. It’s been adding to my confidence of I can install new habits. I don’t know how long this is going to last because I’m sort of person that would do it for a couple of weeks and then stop. But something feels different inside this time. Something feels like I might actually do this and carry on with it. I bought another book, by Emily Fletcher called “Stress Less, Accomplish More”, which I’ve been reading this week and it just, it’s given me more of an outline of how to meditate and giving a bit of a leeway around meditation. So I’ve quite enjoyed that book. Today was the first day that I’ve put her session into my miracle morning. So we’re going to see how that goes. I have to report back to you on that.
Yes, you absolutely will, okay. I find this with a few people, I might recommend something. They actually go out and do it–other than me who reads the book and doesn’t do it. So I will be, I will be fascinated. I love this recurring theme of a building of confidence and it’s something I really feel strongly about that keto seems to have this empowering this, this gives people, their sense of empowerment. It seems to happen over and over again that people gain confidence because they suddenly start figuring out, I guess, how their body works, why their body works the way it does, start gaining control of food maybe where they’ve thought they haven’t had any control of it before. It just seems to be an overriding thing that comes up again and again, particularly with women. I feel that just a sense of empowerment and confidence.
I think before, I felt I was controlled by food, that food had some sort of power over me. Whereas now I know that I’m in control and I can choose to eat something and I can choose not to eat something. I can choose to eat off of what we would consider a ketogenic diet or I can choose not to. That control is very, not only liberating, it gives you back your power. But also I think that the carbohydrates, particularly the wheat, affects our brain to the point where we don’t feel like we can do anything. And that then influences out over our whole lives. And we then quite often you were talking about depression, I think was I depressed? I don’t know. But I was very lethargic and couldn’t be bothered. And I think that freedom from that also allows you to do other things and feel good about other things. And like for me, as I said, it’s like I’ve never felt before in my life. So it’s just amazing.
Another thing that seems to happen with a lot of people, we get rather evangelical about it and want to want to spread the word. We, we are running out of time here a bit, but I would really like to hear about your plans for that because I know you have several things in the offing where you’ve, I believe you’ve already started with some things. You have some YouTube videos, and whatnot, don’t you? But you have some plans for, for spreading the word and helping other people. Tell us a bit about that.
Back in April last year, I started a website and a YouTube channel and I was just doing a weekly update of what was going on for me and that was taking up quite a lot of time as well as doing everything else I was doing. So I did leave that go a little bit to the wayside and I was very evangelical about it and I was telling everybody whether they would listen or not. It was just, Ah, you’ve got to do this. I’ve managed to dial that back down and try and bite my tongue a bit, and not say too much, too often, but sometimes it comes out. But I was having a conversation and I’ve met Louise Reynolds a couple of times for coffee since she’s working in the UK and she’s only up the road from me. It was just a comment that she made and I thought, actually, this is something I really want to do. I think people talk about their passion and living life on purpose. And I never knew what that was before, but this really feels like it’s the right thing for me to do. I already have a Facebook group and I am going to be doing some coaching and I have been, I have started coaching a couple of people recently, so I’m going to be doing some coaching and I’m going to be starting my own podcast, British podcast and all things coming up in the future.
Fantastic. And what’s it going to be called? Because I rather liked it.
Oh, you did? Okay. It’s called Fabulously Keto.
I love that. It makes me think of AbFab, which all ties into the whole Brit thing, doesn’t it?
Yes. And Louise actually did actually mention to me AbFab, but the domain had already gone—AbFab Keto had already gone, so I stuck with Fabulously Keto. So I think for me, I’m aiming this at over forties because I look on Facebook groups, on Keto Facebook groups, and I see lots of, particularly women losing lots of weight very quickly, but men as well. And that hasn’t been the case for me. And it’s been a very slow process. I’m probably down to about 53 pounds I’ve lost so far, but it’s been very slow and very plodding. And I think that’s because once you either start to go into your menopause or you’re in it or you come out the other side, things in your body are working very differently. And even though it might not be exactly the same for men, I think the older the body gets than it does have a different effect on your body. So fabulously Keto is aimed at the over forties. And it’s not that I must have this weight loss and I must have it by next week, but it’s about an understanding that we’re here and it’s about health.
And I think that is really key. And I heard a great quote the other week that says we have two lives and our second life begins when we realize we only have one.
I like that.
And I thought, yeah, and I think I’ve got to that point a couple of years ago where I am now on a completely different trajectory. So that my first half century or just over was on one trajectory and my second half century is going to be on a different trajectory and I want to get to that point where I get to, I decided about 10 years ago, I wanted to get to 107. Well, I want to get to 107 now being able to do the things that I’m doing at 55 and not be sat in a chair in a home waiting for my sons to come and visit me, who probably won’t want to do that.
I want to be able to enjoy them and see their kids grow up.
I love that. I’m going to repeat that. I think for the end quote–that ties in very well. Talking of quotes and tips, we’ve come to that point in the show where we’d like to hear from you what would be your top tip?
I listen to your top tips and I always said that my top tip would be your why. And for me it started out about weight loss but very quickly became about health. And I know so many people have said that over the time. And I think it is really important because that’s the thing that keeps you on track and keeps you choosing and making the right choices. And as I said, my why is now to get to 107 and be able to do that with great health and maybe even still be running and to see my kids grow up because I’m 40 years older than they are and I want to see them grow up and I want to see them have children of their own. I just want to add in another little tip that I think has been a key for me. And that is I don’t feel like I’m on diet. I feel like this is the way I eat and this is the way I choose to eat. But if I choose not to eat this way, then that’s fine. But it’s a choice and it’s not something I just throw all caution to the wind and say I’m not doing this anymore. So I will sometimes choose to have something which is non-keto and it might be a whole meal, it might be a holiday, it might be a whole day. But I know and I set in my mind that is my time span. So it might be the meal, it might be the day, it might be two weeks and I will then choose to get back on to the way of life because I’m not on diet and I haven’t fallen off. It’s been a choice. And I think I always say to my kids, you have to do well at school so that you can have a choice of what you do. And that’s what I feel like I’ve got now is I’ve got choice. And I would say to anybody, don’t think about being on the wagon or off the wagon. It’s about choosing to eat the way you want to eat and choosing not to at certain times.
Yes, I love that perspective. It changes it doesn’t it from this thing that you’re shackled by something that you’re restricted by that has these constraints and boundaries to just flipping that on its head and it being your choice. So automatically all those, all those boundaries just disappear because it’s your choice. You have complete freedom in what you do.
Yeah, and last year when I was on holiday, my choice was I’m going to eat bread and I’m going to have chips if I want to. And in reality when the bread came up at the dinner table, if it didn’t look that good, I would just say to myself, do I want to eat off plan for this bread that doesn’t look that great? And the answer would be no. So I wouldn’t have it. And if the chips look like they come out of a packet, then I wouldn’t have them because it’s then choosing is this worth eating off plan for? And quite often the answer is no. And so you end up sticking to the plan anyway.
Yeah, that’s right. That’s, that’s one of my rules actually. I think it’s one of the things that is, I’m going to go out there and say impossible to ketofy and that is chips or French fries for our American cousins. We’re not talking about crisps, which is what we call chips. Your chips are our crisps and our chips are your French fries. But yes, it’s something that I just don’t think that you can get that hit with keto, but my rule is I will not have them in the house, but if I’m out at a restaurant and it’s on the menu choice that I want or I feel like having them, I see them going out to another table and they look like amazing chips, then it is something that I will have in that context, in that situation. And I’m the same as you. I’m very picky. So if they, if they don’t look like they’re very nice, well then, I’m not going to bother. If they look like real knockout chips then I’ll have them. But what is interesting to me is that I won’t eat them all. So they will come and I’ll have some and I’ll enjoy them and I’ll probably leave at least two-thirds of what ends up on my plate, which I never would have done before. So I do think there are some, uh, I called it a rule, didn’t I? But like you say, let’s use your perspective. It’s a decision. It’s a decision for me that, that I make in a certain context and it works. It might not work for somebody else, but it works for me.
Mm. And I’ve had you say you’re an abstainer. Well, I’ve worked out, I’m a moderator so I can have something occasionally and then straight away get back to it. I don’t have that. I must eat the whole–even beforehand, if I had a bar of chocolate, I would eat one or two squares. I’d be quite okay with that. I wouldn’t have to eat the whole lot. I give myself a little bit of flexibility, but the rest of the time I’m so strict with myself that I can have that leeway if I need to.
Yes. And there is a scale because I am definitely an abstainer, but I can set up these rules for myself. If I had potatoes in my house, I would not be able to moderate them. No way. But I can selectively have them sometimes when I’m out at a restaurant. So it’s interesting isn’t it? How in certain conditions I can be a moderator, but there’s a very narrow window of when that works. Overall, I’m an abstainer, but I do think keto or whichever of eating that you find works really well for you can empower you to make some of those decisions and have them work well for you.
Yeah, definitely find liberation there.
Well, wonderful, fabulous. I should say. Seems fitting to use while I’m talking to you. It has been truly fabulous talking to you today and it was fabulous also to meet you in person and enjoy the conference with you. I think it’s, it’s always nice to share something like that with somebody else, isn’t it?
Yeah, it was really good. It was really good to meet you because I felt like I’ve known you for a long time, but you probably not the same because I get to hear you every week and you don’t get to hear me every week.
You’ve got me in your ear holes every week. What it’s going to be the other way around soon and I shall get to hear you and your podcast. I very much look forward to that.
Okay. I think it will be launching in September.
Fantastic. Well, what we’ll do is we’ll update the show notes and I’ll put out something on social media to remind people so that they can find you when it comes out. I wish you all the best with that. Good luck.
Thank you very much. Thank you for having me.
And I have to ask you, are those peacocks in the background that I keep hearing?
Yes. Sorry about that. They are peacocks.
First of all, I thought it might be a cat and then I thought, oh no, that’s a peacock, isn’t it?
They’re yours presumably, are they?
No, they just arrived and they sometimes visit our house and sometimes they’re next door. I think at the moment they’re next door somewhere, but this is their screeching time of year.
Oh, it’s a particular type of year, isn’t it? They don’t do it all year?
No. It seems to be now around the springtime and then the rest of the year they’re fairly quiet.
Well, that’s merciful because they are rather noisy, aren’t they? Beautiful birds.
And they do it at night and early in the morning.
Oh goodness me. What a joy. Not! Well, thank you very much, Jackie. It’s been a great pleasure.
Thank you Daisy. It’s been lovely talking to you.
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