This transcript is brought to you thanks to the hard work of Michelle Richter.
Welcome Rosie to the keto woman podcast. How are you doing today?
Thanks daisy. Very excited to be here. So glad for the opportunity.
Well, it’s wonderful to be talking to you and you are almost in the same time zone as me. You’re in Edinburgh, aren’t you?
Yeah, I’m in Edinburgh. So, I’m an hour ahead of you or yeah, ahead of you.
Hour behind. I’m ahead of you.
Behind Oh yeah.
Lovely city by all accounts. I haven’t been, but it’s somewhere on my list that I’d really like to go to Edinburgh.
It’s beautiful. As you can hear from my accent, I’m not originally from Edinburgh I’m from the north of England, but yeah, Edinburgh’s a fantastic city, really easy to get around, so yeah, I definitely recommend it for a trip.
How long have you lived there?
This time around about 10 years. I came up here to university, first of all.
Ah, that happens a lot, doesn’t it?
Over 30 years ago. Well I left again, I left for quite a long while and then we came back about 10 years ago and, we’re settled here again now.
Lovely. And what with all the awful things that are going on in Britain really, with Brexit and all the rest of it, things in a lot of ways seem to be much better north of the border from what I can make out. You have a lot of better policies when it comes to education and all sorts.
Yeah, I was going to be very careful and avoid things like politics, but yes, absolutely. Yeah. I increasingly, I’m very happy to be in Scotland and kind of, it wasn’t a choice to come to Scotland. It wasn’t that kind of choice. I came because of work, but now that I’m here, I’m really proud of it as a, as a small nation doing a lot of really good things.
Yes I think that’s very typical actually of, you know, people in Scotland to be very proud of where they live, which, which I think is nice. A very dear friend of mine, Kirsten is actually the woman responsible for getting me into Keto. She lives very near Edinburgh.
Definitely a place I want to visit.
Yeah, well I would definitely recommend it, you know, maybe before you haven’t got access without a visa, you know.
It seems incredible, doesn’t it?
But you haven’t got much time for that. So.
Exactly. Anyway, enough, talk about the hideousness of Brexit. Tell me about you.
So I, I’m 55. In fact I turned 55, two days ago, so only just 55.
Oh, Happy Birthday!
Thank you. And as I say I live in Edinburgh, I live here with my husband. I work as a management trainer and personal development coach. So, I spend my time running training courses and workshops and working one to one with people, helping them perform better at work or frankly, from my perspective, I just want people to be happier.
So that’s what I do for a living. And other than that, the sort of thing that’s been dominating for the last few years have been these health problems that I’ve had and my discovery that I could use a low carb diet or Keto diet to really make radical positive changes to my health and wellbeing. So that’s my current obsession really. I think
That’s a good obsession to have, isn’t it?
I don’t know whether my friends think that. They’re probably sick to death of hearing me rant on about it. But yeah, that’s been, it has been the story of certainly the last five years in my life has been dealing with that.
So tell me a bit about, you know, what led you to go looking for this magical solution? It sounds like it’s going to turn out to be, but you know, what led you to find something in the first place?
Well, I actually, I knew like what I called the Atkins Diet from, from 18 years ago. I’ve been, I’ve been really quite seriously overweight for 20 years, I would say. Certainly 18 years. And I can’t even remember how I found it in the sort of pre-social media days, but I did discover Atkins, got Atkins book, read Gary Taubes, read Protein Power and was successful in the short term on a couple of occasions in using Atkins style eating to lose weight. But then the dreaded sugar had its claws in me and it was always a problem to keep off it. But it was kind of my go to diet of choice if I ever did it. But increasingly as I got older I, you know, I’d be the sort of person that would decide on Sunday night that tomorrow I was going to go low carb again and possibly like by Monday night I was already eating toast or chocolate or what have you.
But what happened really to change things was I developed these health problems, which probably were going on for about eight, maybe eight to 10 years. I developed a lot of joint pain. I was also very fatigued, but I think I was just thought I was getting old and was, you know, had things I was unhappy about. But looking back, there was a lot of fatigue and so I even ended up going to a uh, being referred to a surgeon for knee problems and he diagnosed osteoarthritis. I ended up with very bad hips and things and it just got worse and worse until about five years ago. I ended up going to see a rheumatologist who at that point diagnosed fibromyalgia, which is this chronic pain condition that, you know, basically there’s no real treatment for, and this, I must be honest with, despite the fact that I was what you call Serum positive. So, my mother had rheumatoid arthritis and my blood tests suggested that I was at least vulnerable to it. But at the time of the diagnosis I wasn’t showing any really clear symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
And then for two years after that I basically got worse and worse and worse. And looking back, I had like untreated rheumatoid arthritis for two years anyway. Asked for a re-referral, got a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. I think I was the only person in the world who at that point was glad to have a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis because I knew from a couple of friends actually that have the disease that these days there is treatment for it. That wasn’t the case for my mother but now there is treatment.
It’s strange isn’t it? Often that, you say it can be a relief just to get a diagnosis just so that you’ve then got something that you can tackle. I was wondering if you could just sketch out the difference, cause you mentioned that you were diagnosed, first of all with Osteo arthritis. Another diagnosis is, rheumatoid arthritis. Perhaps you could just sketch out, you know, what the difference is because you know, arthritis is a massive umbrella that different things fall under, but there are there different characteristics aren’t there for the different types and different causes.
Yes, sure. That’s, thanks for that question. It’s good idea to do that. So osteoarthritis gets talked about as a wear and tear disease. So osteoarthritis happens in certain joints and, and these are very common fingers are very common. And what it is, is the cartilage between the joints erodes and it can be a really painful disease. It’s not just wear and tear in the sense that if you, if you run a lot or a jump a lot that you get it. There’s obviously some people are more susceptible to it, but that is dealt with usually by some steroid injections, maybe to ease the inflammation that happens thanks to the pain and the rubbing of sometimes bone on bone, and eventually surgery. But it’s treated as a kind of localised problem or joint problem.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto immune disease. So, in rheumatoid arthritis, your body attacks your own joints and attacks the cartilage and it’s identified through pain obviously, and also swelling often. And often people get red somewhat swollen joints, which I didn’t get these red joints that people often get. Also inflammatory markers. So, there’s something that you can get rheumatoid antibodies tested and if you’ve got that, they don’t know, you’ve definitely got it, but it’s a clue that you might have it, but you basically have your inflammatory markers checked, so CRP in the UK and also ESR, and then they just kind of, oh, they get, you get an ultrasound as well. But the point about rheumatoid arthritis is autoimmune in nature and it is treated through immune suppressant drugs. And it’s a disease that attacks the whole system so you don’t just have it in one joint and it’s subject to flares and all of this kind of thing. So that’s rheumatoid arthritis.
Yes. It’s interesting, isn’t it? Whenever you have any kind of autoimmune disorder, two things to say about it really is that the end result is very similar, you know, similar with my experience with underactive thyroid, the end result is similar, but the causes your body thinking there’s a problem and ending up creating that problem by, you know, by attacking. But the other thing is, and I remember Donna Lordy telling me this, that auto immune disorders tend to come in packs. So if, and I guess that’s again because it is kind of your body generally attacking itself, if you have one, it’s quite likely that you’re going to have or develop others to go with it.
That’s the thing that I’ve kind of really only made sense of now looking back because looking back a long time, I think I was suffering from autoimmune problems. So about nearly 20 years ago, so this was a period when we’ve made a big, a big move in our lives again to live in the country, which was all a disaster. But that’s a whole other story but anyway, it was a big change and I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, but at that point nobody talked about it as Hashimoto’s. Nobody said it was autoimmune and it was only later.
Which is the most common form isn’t it.
Exactly. It was only much, much later when I was trying to investigate what I thought was fibromyalgia and I ended up at an endocrinologist in a sort of desperate attempt to try and find a way to solve this problem I had, and he said at that point, basically all hypothyroidism is auto immune, but nobody had talked about it in those terms. The other thing was that I had a premature menopause at around that time as well. Now again, when you look at things, nobody really knows what causes that, but there are definitely some theories that it is an autoimmune disorder and presumably in some way your body attacks your ovaries or something. Then I had this, the fibromyalgia, which isn’t supposed to be auto immune, I think it was rheumatoid arthritis at that point. And then during that fibromyalgia period, I also developed a short term, very acute auto immune disease called ITP, which is idiopathic. I can’t remember what it’s called, but basically your body attacks your platelet levels. So you basically don’t clot.
So this happened as well, and at the time I was given, they give you mega doses of steroids and it was really weird because I was really, really ill and in lots and lots of pain from this fibromyalgia, and I went on these steroids and all my symptoms disappeared. And I kept saying to the doctors, if fibromyalgia is an autoimmune, maybe steroids shouldn’t help it, steroids aren’t supposed to help fibromyalgia so maybe it’s something else. And it, I mean looking back, I don’t quite know why I got fobbed off, but I did. So it was then, as I say, I asked for a referral to a rheumatologist again because I was getting so much worse. And then very quickly they diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis. I think because my symptoms had got so bad that there was clear synovitis so that the fluid around the joints was clearly inflamed. So it was, it was kind of, you know, it was a no brainer at that point.
So at that point I got put on the standard treatment for rheumatoid arthritis in the UK anyway, which is again, loads of steroids, which was fantastic. Yeah, I put on weight but my God, I had energy. I was running around and it was wonderful, no pain, energy, and then they also put you on a variety of what they call it, dmards drugs, which is disease modifying antirheumatic drugs. And you come off the steroids, you taper down off the steroids as these other drugs, you know the other drugs take effect, which is quite slow. And it was very definite that my symptoms improved a lot. I mean, I was desperate before I was diagnosed, you know, I couldn’t get off, I couldn’t get off the loo, you know, it was, it was like my knees was so sore I couldn’t walk anywhere. It was just awful and my wrists were sore, it was terrible. I would get, you know, I had to book an assistance. I travel quite a lot for work, so I would have to book assistance at airports and be trundled around in a wheelchair. It was, you know, it was really bad.
So obviously immediately I felt much, much better. So that was great. But I didn’t ever feel THAT much better. So I ended up being, I would say like 60% better. And towards the end of that first year on the, on the treatment, I had a, had my consultant’s appointment and I was kind of challenging him saying, you know, is this the best I can expect? Because in the UK, the first line of treatment is these dmards, but there are actually new wonder drugs called biologics, which can treat rheumatoid arthritis. And they are apparently absolutely amazing. But on the NHS, you don’t get them in the first instance because they’re very expensive.
How do they work?
I don’t know. I don’t know. I mean, in all honesty, sorry. Not only do I not know. When I asked the nurse, they said they didn’t know.
They didn’t know either?
I just knew they were called biologics. I don’t know.
Yeah, but they weren’t available to you anyway.
They’re not available in the first instance.
So they would only go onto those if these other, these other treatments weren’t working.
Yeah. So a lot of people have very bad side effects from the, It’s a drug called methotrexate that you get put on in the first instance. And a lot of people can’t tolerate them. I could, although in the sense that I didn’t get sick or anything like that, but my white blood cells kept crashing, which is a symptom and I would have to come off them and then go back on them. And you’re getting tested, getting blood tests every week or every fortnight, the whole time because they’re monitoring your liver and kidney function and your blood, white blood cell levels.
So anyway, but I was on them for whatever, you know, for better or worse, but as I say, a friend of mine who lives in Switzerland has these biologics and she says, they’re like, well wonder drugs. So I was basically arguing for that and saying, I think I need to be on these drugs. And one of the reasons why I felt I should be on them, apart from how I felt was that my inflammatory markers were still slightly elevated and at this point the consultant said, well the reason your inflammatory levels are probably still elevated is because of your weight. And this was the first time anybody had mentioned my weight; my weight was high. I mean I was, at that point, after the steroids I was like a good 30 kilograms overweight. So I came out of that consultant’s appointment, which was October, 2016 I think determined to lose weight only so I could show the consultant six months for my next appointment, six months later, that it wasn’t my weight and I needed the good drugs.
Right? I mean I can to certain extent, I can see the logic. If you’re carrying too much weight then you’re putting more pressure on the joints. So I can see the logic from that point of view. But it does just seem to me that there are these umbrellas that get put over you and it can be too much weight, but the other things that, that doctors tend to talk about are that you have a progressive disease and they just start talking about pain management rather than try, you know, and 60% improvement is quite a good thing. And, and they just seem to quite often just get you used to accepting something that is way below you know, what, what is quite possibly achievable.
I think I, I don’t want to rant but I might do,
No, go ahead and rant.
I think one of the things that really challenged me you know, hands on heart I think, you know, losing weight would have been healthier in any respect so that’s fair enough. It wasn’t so much the pressure on the joints, although that might have been a factor, it was the fact that this, apparently there is a genuine association between excess weight and higher inflammatory markers. So, he was saying the inflammatory markers are down to your weight and not the disease. But one of the things I did discover during this last five years is that as a middle-aged woman, it’s very easy for people to not see beyond the fact that you’re overweight, middle aged woman who’s probably a bit depressed because she’s going through the menopause or something, even though I wasn’t, you know, all of these kinds of things.
But the thing for the consultant was that, you know, I think their hands are tied to some extent and they’re not meant to throw these biologics around left, right and centre because of the cost, and you know, I kind of get that, I see that. But I wasn’t happy enough. So I was determined to lose weight so I could demand these biologics. Plus, I was having problem tolerating the other medication so, I was on and off them on and off them all the time. So I did nothing for three months, really except eat lots of chocolate, you know, as per normal and panic. And then in January, after a fairly abysmal, yeah, as I say, chocolate fuelled Christmas, I thought, oh my God, I need to do something. And I couldn’t face doing low carb or keto, I just didn’t have the where with the sort of giving this comfort up just was too much.
But I ended up for some reason coming across Jason Fung’s book The Obesity Code and read it and he didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know in terms of insulin and the impact of insulin on weight, fat storage and the like. But there’s just something about it. I mean, he’s such a brilliant writer. He’s so no nonsense. He makes everything so clear. And he also talks about fasting, which I had never ever done. So it just, I just Kinda thought, I’ve no choice, I’ve got about 12 weeks to dump some weight. So I started with a little bit of intermittent fasting. I would do maybe one or two days a week, 23 hours. I didn’t go a whole day without eating. And I started back on low carb as I knew how to do it. And of course I started dropping weight, you know, of course I did because it works, doesn’t it?
But then what became really extraordinary was the impact of my rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. So, one of the things I’d been suffering from was a really, really bad back, which may or may not have been to do with the arthritis, but I had a terrible back, I’d even been sent to, in the previous year to get an x-ray and there was nothing in the x Ray. But so I couldn’t sit for more than about 20 minutes without having stabbing back pains. And I would have to go and lie down for a couple of hours. And I was swallowing Ibuprofen, like sweets and all of that and about, I don’t know, maybe two weeks after starting this, I was sitting at my desk working and I suddenly saw, I’ve been sat at my desk for two hours and it was one of those moments. So I kind of got up and walked around and I thought, I have no back pain. And let me tell you how remarkable this was because the first day I did a fast, which is what the first, when I got the book, I remember that I was going out for dinner in the evening to a works dinner, so I didn’t eat all day, which is great. I was very pleased. But I was actually wearing like one of these corset things that hold your back in place. So my back was that bad that I was wearing a kind of magical corset to cope with sitting at dinner for an evening, and two weeks later, I had no back pain.
And then it just began to be clear that what the sort of residual rheumatoid arthritis symptoms were improving. So there’s another moment, a couple of weeks, again, maybe three weeks, and I was walking the dog just round near the roads and I was walking along the street and I suddenly had this really weird desire to run. And I did. I just thought it was like my body was going, oh, we’ve got energy. Oh, we’re not in pain. And I actually, I didn’t run very far because I’m not a runner, but I kind of trotted along the streets for 20 yards because I had suddenly got this energy and this, this momentum and it was extraordinary. So, what became really clear was that this was having a, what felt like a miraculous effect or my residual rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
And there was losing weight, which made me feel very happy and I would still slightly worry it was some kind of massive placebo effect. You know, I was just, I was happy I was losing weight. Um, but the fact is these symptom changes happened before I’d really lost much weight. So I maybe lost half a stone and I, and bearing in mind they had like probably four stone to lose, to come back to what would be regarded as a healthy weight. And that alone meant that I knew it wasn’t just weight loss. Nowadays, if I eat carbs again, so if I overdo refined carbs, my symptoms come back even without, even if I haven’t put on any weight, you know?
Yes. So that completely nixes the sort of the, you know, the stereotypical image that came into my mind about excess weight, you know, impacting your joints. So I mean, I’m sure there probably is at some point a certain amount of excess weight that does that, but it sounds like, you know, like you say that was minimal in the cause and effect scenario.
And also, although my knees were bad and my back had been bad and my feet were bad, my wrist was very bad, my elbows were very bad. I never walked on my hands. I never did any handstands you know, so my excess weight was never going to be a problem with that. So yeah. So I mean to cut a longer story short, what I ended up doing was coming off most of my medication. So partly because I was on and off because of the, the problem with the white blood cells and I was feeling so good and I was so full of hope that there’s a point where I had to come off and my GP was away and I just thought, I’m not going to go back home. I’m just going to wait and see what happens, and nothing happened, I didn’t feel any worse.
So, by the time I ended up in June actually start having it. It was a second consultant’s appointment then and we just discussed it and he said, well, your inflammatory markers are normal, you’re not in any pain, we’ll just take it from there. And that’s the situation now. So I still, I think it’s important for me to be honest, I’m still on this one, what I call the little drug, something called hydroxy chloroquine, which you get put on with the other drugs. So I was on two additional dmards on top of that. And this hydroxy chloroquine is prescribed because apparently the combined action means that the bigger drugs work better when you’re on hydroxy chloroquine but it’s never prescribed on its own. On its own it’s not meant to control rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. And I would like to come off that and I probably need to just get my act together to taper that down because why be on anything if I can get away with it.
Yes. have you tried at all, has there been any time where you’ve forgotten to take it or something and seeing if it does have an impact?
I’ve definitely forgotten to take it. Um, and I actually forgot to take it for quite a few days at a time sometimes because I do kind of forget to take things and yeah, it’s been okay. I think I need a clear run at it because what I want to do, and we can talk about cheating later on the diet, but what I want to do is have a really clear run when I’m absolutely clear that the only variable is going to be that I come off the drug. What I don’t want to do is, you know, come off it and then also have a maybe a bad weekend where I’m away or you know, all of these kinds of things. So I kind of need to gird my, as I say, gear up to doing that. But I intend to do that because why, not?
Yes, exactly. I mean, you know, all drugs have some kind of a side effect. You know, some obviously less than others and the benefits can outweigh those side effects. But, uh, like you were saying before that, the other ones you want, I mean, when they’re really affecting your platelets, that’s certainly not something you want. So presumably, yes the more you can come off, the better.
Yeah. I mean the, methotrexate and the other one that I was on Zorthocelescene, you have to be tested, certainly at the beginning every two weeks to check your kidney function and your liver function. Hydroxy chloroquine, you don’t have to be tested. They just assume you’ve got, you know, there’s not going to be any kind of immediately toxic effect. But obviously over time anything is going to be toxic to some degree.
Yes, exactly. but it’s not quite so worrying as the other so, I can see like you say, while you’re hesitant to just drop it and you need to properly plan for that. But yes. It sounds like that’s, something that’s foreseeable. But you mentioned, you know, we had a chat before we started recording you mentioned you know, some of the other benefits that you noticed from eating this way.
Where do I start? This is a problem and it does make evangelists of us because of it.
I know. We do have to, okay you do have to sort of reign yourself in sometimes don’t you? Because you make it sound too good and people start not believing you.
Yeah, I know. I know I have, yeah, my friends have been very tolerant. So obviously when you speak about controlling rheumatoid arthritis symptoms with minimal drug intervention, I mean that’s extraordinary but sometimes I forget that because my new normal is not to feel like I have that disease and I only had rheumatoid arthritis, well at worst I had it for about eight years, you know, even though I wasn’t diagnosed then. The thing that feels almost even more transformative for me is because it’s the effect on my eating habits. And by that, I mean my addictive eating habits. So I’ve lost weight. At the moment I’ve lost about 25 kilos. I’ll be honest with you, I talk in kilos cause I don’t like to think how heavy I was. I don’t really know what kilos, what kilograms are. So I can 24 kilos.
Really I’ve, I’ve got used to it actually I made that change when I came to France and I do actually after a while you can start thinking rather than having to translate it can’t you but yes, you’re right.
You do. The maths.
Sounds a lot lower yeah.
So yeah, I’ve lost all that weight and that was weight I’ve been carrying for 20 years and I’ve, I have lost bits of that weight in the past and never kept it off for. So like 22 months, I’m, you know, I’m still, I’m still edging down, edging down as well. And the biggest other thing has been the way it’s, it’s enabled me to manage a really strong addictive eating tendency. And that has been in my life 40 years. I remember, you know, I say sugar is my drug of choice. And basically, I remember I started abusing it probably from my early teens. I would eat, you know, total sugar addict and those of us that are similar, know what we mean by this, the sort of raging desire, emotional desire for this.
So my whole life, you know, my whole adult life, I’ve struggled to resist eating, but particularly sugar. And I would include refined carbohydrates with that because if you can’t have chocolate toast will do. It’s not that low carb has, it’s not solved it completely, but what it has removed is the kind of biochemical need and certainly the biochemical excuse for it. Like, oh, I’m feeling a bit tired I better have a bit of chocolate to perk myself up. It’s allowed me a kind of degree of biochemical stability I would say and satiety as well. Hunger management, that has given me a foundation to really address this because what you find when you take out the, all of the excuses of hunger or low energy or anything like this, you’re left with the naked psychological elements of what I think is an addiction. So you kind of have to, you, you just have to say, yeah, fair cop. This is an addiction and it means that you’re kind of clearer around doing it. So the intermittent fasting, I don’t do a lot of intermittent fasting, but what it did was allow me to believe that I could do without food for more than about three hours, you know, the fact that I could go for 8 hours, 10 hours, 23 hours without eating was, was definitely broke, It broke me away from a certain dependency on food.
Yes, it’s very good at reminding yourself what real proper stomach growling hunger is as well rather than that niggling head hunger. Oh, I fancy something to eat when you know you can’t possibly be hungry because you only ate two hours ago when you’ve actually, you know, not eaten all day or not eaten since the day before. And you get, you know that real, real hunger, it reminds you the difference in the signals
I think as well. Yeah, I think that’s absolutely right. And I think as well is it not just makes you realize what real hunger is, but it actually makes you realize that you don’t even have to answer to real hunger.
So any sense of hunger, It was like, Oh, if I don’t eat immediately I’m going to drop dead. When actually you can feel hungry and go, oh, I notice I’m hungry. I will really enjoy my dinner in three hour’s time or what have you. So, so it was that ability to tolerate hunger, I think as well. That was, was really extraordinary in terms of developing a different relationship with food. And then, so even though I was doing a lot of, you know, I was doing low carb, I mean the reason I don’t call it keto is not because I don’t think I’m ketogenic, it’s because I don’t track and I don’t measure ketones. So I’m quite sure in terms of the way I eat that, that it, you know, it is a ketogenic diet that it’s a very low carbohydrate diet, but I would still give in to the psychological pull of sugar and I would still not some sort of crazy, crazy binge, but I would go out, you know, secretly and buy myself, sugar and eat it, chocolate. And so it was that point when I just had to say enough is enough.
And it funny, it was a 2 Keto Dudes podcast. I was away, I work away and I was sitting in my hotel room having gone and bought, you know, German chocolate and eating it. And I was listening to, 2 Keto Dude’s podcast and there was a woman on it, not like an expert, just an ordinary woman, and she said she had to treat sugar like an addictive substance. And it was that moment I… Total abstinence. And it was that moment where you go, Yup, I can’t pretend otherwise I have to treat this like an alcoholic treats alcohol, you know? And for me, I’d, although the blood glucose impact of things like refined carbs are the same as sugar for me, the psychological or the emotional pull is sugar. So I could, I could have a piece of bread and I could probably get away with it and it doesn’t send me on a sugar binge, but if I have anything, which is clearly sugar, I’m on the slippery slope immediately. So, I have found this brilliant tip, actually this is a tip because I used to try and keep track of my sugar intake and I would put a little tick on my calendar, I have a wall calendar. I would put a tick on every day that I didn’t eat it.
And of course, there were very few alarmingly, there were far fewer days than you would like, and then it was in earlier on this year I did this thing where I counted the days basically, I counted up. So every day that I didn’t take sugar I counted up. So I went from one and then second day two, three, four. And the longer I left it, the more I thought, I don’t want to drop back down. I don’t want to drop back down. Which was fantastic. And, and my husband reminded me that this is what alcoholics do. People that are in recovery can tell you how many days, and I think they can say how many minutes and all that kind of thing, but I can just do the days. And that was amazing in terms of me sticking to the, to the resistance of that.
Yes. Interesting. And so, you find it is certain substances that trigger you or, and or do you find it’s a certain level? Because I find both. I mean I would, I would say that I’m probably, yes, definitely a sugar addict but also refined carb addict as well. I mean I can’t just eat a bit of bread. I will, you know, that will be enough to, you know, pull me back in as well. It’s not something I can moderate, but I find two things. I find there are specific substances that will trigger cravings if I go near them actually, even if I just start thinking about them sometimes, but also, and I don’t tend to track that much cause like I can’t be bothered really. I’m a bit lazy when it comes to things like that, and also I just can’t, yeah, I just find it messes with my head too much.
But what I know is that I can feel if I’ve been eating too many carbs, if, so, if I was counting, if that count would have gone up past a certain point that I do start noticing that general carb cravings start coming back in. So for me, it’s two things. It’s the, it is the level of carbs I’m eating regardless of what they are. So I can be eating completely ketogenic, all ketogenic foods. But if I’ve just been having a few too many of the things that take the carb count up high, those cravings will come back as well as if I had the more obvious specific foods. So, does that affect you in the same way or do you find not so much, it really has to be specific foods that send you over the edge.
That’s really interesting. And I’m, I’m thinking about it, so no, I don’t think. I think my eating style is such that it’s is very low carb these days. So I suppose I’m eating a few veg, you know, like Broccoli or cauliflower or what have you. Add meat or fish and, yeah. So I don’t feel because I don’t track and I can’t be bothered with counting and all of that. And also, I kind of think that if this has to be a lifestyle, I’m never going to live my life like, you know, like I can’t do this sort of counting everything as I go along because then you’re not living then, you’re merely dieting. But no for me it’s the substances. So I could have like lots of lots of broccoli or you know, I wouldn’t find that I then it accumulated and sent me over the edge. It’s definitely the substance. I can get away depending on the circumstances.
So, if I was to cheat, and I don’t really like the word cheat, I can’t think of another word. So, it tends to happen for me If I’m out and I’m at a restaurant, like I was out for my birthday on Tuesday, it was a beautiful steak restaurant, fantastic, and they brought complimentary bread. So not only is it bread, but also, you’re not allowed to waste things, you know.. I mean that’s nonsense, so I had complimentary bread. I didn’t want to be ungrateful that they brought this beautiful bread. And then when I have my steak, so there was like a planned thing. I’m going to have some chips. If fact, I didn’t really have many, they were, I just had like a couple, the next day I walked, that doesn’t send me over the edge. But they also brought complimentary petit four with my coffee and I knew that if I’d had one of those, that would have been it. So no, for me it’s definitely the substance.
Right. Yes. That’s interesting. And, and as you started on that, perhaps you could share, I like to ask, guest’s what a typical day of Keto or low carb looks like for you?
Well, it’s, it’s actually changed quite a lot over the last 22 months and you know, so I’ve noticed like three different phases I would say. My eating has got more and more simple. I mean, that’s the extraordinary thing, which I think is also a good sign because it shows a level of, to say indifference it would be wrong because I still love eating and I love my food, but I’m not as involved, you know, I’m not as quite as obsessed and involved, it’s not like my identity isn’t built around, what am I going to eat today in quite the same way. So when I first started I was definitely low carb. I mean, I don’t know if I was keto, I wasn’t tracking, but I was very much like along the Atkins style. So I would be eating, you know, bacon and eggs for breakfast I have a big salad maybe for lunch or some kind of stir fry with some meat, and then and plenty of fats, plenty of vegetables, you know, lots of mayonnaise, all of this kind of thing.
And then I would cook in the, you know, for dinner I’d be cooking things like proper dishes, which had like starch substitutes in. So I would have the cauliflower rice, the, zucchini noodles, all that kind of thing. And I would even, and I would have things like, you know, I might make fat bombs or this kind of thing, although I am a bit lazy about things like that. I enjoy cooking when I’m in the mood, but otherwise I can’t be bothered. And then what actually also changed then, there’s so much, there’s so much information out there these days on social media and on websites around all the kind of general health benefits around keto and low carb, which I find very fascinating, very motivating. And I think I got more interested in what I would call food quality. So what then started to happen that I was still doing a very similar diet, but I was much more aware of things like seed oils and vegetable oils. So I wouldn’t want to eat those.
So I became more involved in the kind of environmental argument around food. So I was thinking about seasonal veg and food miles and all that kind of thing. So what happened was that my eating probably became more simple, still a more whole food just inadvertently really. And then for about the last three or four months, I have become, it’s like I’ve crossed the line and have become almost carnivorous. I think I’ve been reading a lot about the impact of like zero carbs, they call it or carnivory on autoimmune conditions. So, I don’t know if your listeners will be aware of the work that’s being done by a group called PaleoMedicina in Hungary, which is, they call it Paleo ketogenetic diet. So that’s been interesting. I have I been able to gird my loins, you know, to do it. I don’t know. No, I haven’t and I don’t know if I want to do it, but I’ve ended up with things being really, really simple.
So, I have eggs for breakfast or brunch cause I usually do two meals a day. yeah eggs for brunch or even that might be lunch, eggs with maybe some bacon or occasionally when I’m being extravagant I might even have steak. Um, and then in the evening it’s been pan fried fish or meat and maybe a few veg, but maybe not. And I’ve cut down a lot on the complexity of my food. And what I’m aware is that even if I haven’t gone the whole hog and gone, ha, pun intended and gone carnivorous, I definitely that the lower carb I go, the less I’m bothered by food cravings and the better I feel.
Yes. I think I would agree with that. And yes, the more I drilled down and the stricter I am, my cravings definitely diminish for the sweet things, the more of the things and I don’t know how much of a sweet tooth, well, I know how, do know how much of a sweet tooth you have, but I don’t know how much you satisfy that with making some of the Keto treats and things. I find, you know, and I do like those things and I do make them, again, I’m similar to you. I think we all go through these different phases of the different things we make and I used to make a lot and I make them far less frequently now. I tend to make them you know, when someone comes around for dinner or something and they’re, you know, they’re expecting a pudding, so I will make something, whatever, you know, a keto cheesecake or something, but those are definitely the things, even though they’re, you know, they’re perfectly keto, they’re compliant foods, they trigger those old, addictive tendencies. And I find it, well basically impossible to moderate them. So I tend to just make the smallest possible portion. Really, that’s enough for me and my guests, there might be some leftovers, but even so, even when I carry on eating those, there’s this, there’s only so much I can eat. I don’t make a great big one because I know I would just be back into it, back into it until it had all gone.
Yeah, I made some a while ago. It’s actually, my husband doesn’t follow it, but there was a period where he was, he, he said he would do it for two weeks before we went on holiday one year. And so I tried to make, to look after him and because he has, he does like his carbs. I tried to make some things like Granola, so grain free Granola, it’s sugar free obviously. And I also made some waffles and they were, they were lovely. They were, they had, I didn’t even put any sweetener in them that’s remembering, but they were made from coconut flour and egg, you know, and they were lovely and I ate them compulsively. Yeah, they were absolutely perfectly keto, and there was something around the, I think there’s a tactile element actually. It’s like, you know, the pure, the texture and the mouth feel, if you like, of eating something that was a waffle triggered that desire in me.
And it’s, I’m always wary of saying, talking about this business because it sounds like in order to do low carb or keto successfully, you’ve got to give up all of these things. And for some people it’s fine and some people love all the cooking and you know, it’s like, oh great, do it, do it, do your cheesecakes and everything. But for me it’s been, it’s evolved. It’s not a force. I don’t go, oh, I must now stop eating these Keto treats. I’m not as interested. And the, the biggest thing for me has been this freedom. Freedom from my own food desire, shall we say now, you know, don’t get me wrong. I love it. I said, can you saying I love my food, I love it. I enjoy what I eat, but I’m not as caught up in it in the same way.
It’s like, it’s like all the unnecessary extraneous issues around food fall away. And it is this sense of freedom that is really remarkable. And I could never have imagined that I would be like this. And sometimes I’m a bit sad, you know, it’s like, ah, that was a big part of my life, you know, but would I give it up? No, I mean it’s the difference is great. I feel, I feel pure. I don’t know. I don’t mean in a moral sense. It’s like I’ve sloughed off all of this stuff that wasn’t helping me, this baggage around food and substituted it with obsession around Keto. But yeah, it’s weird. So the kind of reducing things has been more that I don’t want to do this stuff anymore rather than I feel I oughtn’t to.
Which is great, I mean, you know, if you’re not trying to force yourself into it, it’s just something that’s going to come naturally, isn’t it? Like you said, it’s just been a natural progression.
Yeah, it is, It’s evolved. And I forget that, and sometimes when people talk to me, cause I have a Facebook page and sometimes people ask me questions and I have to be really careful because if I told them what I eat/ate, they would be to be honest, I think people might be horrified. It’s like, oh no, have I got to eat like that and I go and like, no, no, eat like that if you want to eat like it, but if you don’t eat, you know, just do it your way, which is one of my mantras. But yeah, it’s very liberating. There’s no doubt about it.
Yes, I think that’s interesting too, to actually tell a bit of the history. Like you say, it can sometimes seem quite stark telling people, you know what you’ve eaten. I did an interview. There was some students asked for some people to do interviews on the forum the other day, for a course they’re doing, and I think their project was around low carb, and I said, I tell you what, I’m going to, I’m going to give you more of an average day because you know, yesterday for dinner all I had, you know, I cooked up some chicken thighs and I planned to have some vegetables and all the rest of it with it, and after I’d cook the chicken I thought, you what, I can’t be bothered.
I’m just going to eat two chicken thighs with some mayonnaise and it just sort of, I mean, you know, to you, that sounds fine and to me that sounds fine and two most of the listeners, that doesn’t sound abnormal at all. But I could kind of see the look of horror on her face because it does seem a bit stark. So I think that’s very interesting when you just mentioned that progression and just to explain to people, well actually this is where I started and these are some of the phases I went through and I did use to cook, all the things, and I had that phase where I ketofied things and coked the sort of carb equivalents, and now this is how I eat and perhaps, you know, when you ask me next year, it’ll be something different. The whole point is that it evolves and everybody’s different and you know, you don’t have to do what I’m doing.
Yeah, and I think the trouble with evolution is that you forget what it was like at the beginning or the dangers and when you talk to people. Um, but one of the things is that this way of eating has allowed me to trust my own appetites. And that is also one of these phenomenal things. And I know particularly for women, I mean it may well be for men as well but, for women, that is a completely alien concept and I am so aware that often like women I talked to, they asked me for rules, who were interested in my day, what should I eat, what can I eat, what can’t I eat and they want rules. And I keep saying, you need to do it your way.
So the only thing is you cut carbs low enough. And for me also that means reduce, I mean the sugar thing is a separate issue for me and that’s an addiction issue and that also affects how I do things. But all you need to do is cut carbs low enough and your natural human mechanisms of appetite and satiety will reassert themselves. And no, of course you don’t know that until you try it. And instead it’s how many carbs, how many this? Can I eat this? Can I eat that? Do I have to eat eggs? Do I have to eat meat? And I get really, I’m kind of sad about it actually, I think it was since, when did it get so difficult for us to feed ourselves?
Yes. It doesn’t have to be difficult.
But until you’ve experienced this is it’s, and I had a really interesting experiment. I called it an experiment, like mega cheat. I went away on holiday in September and we were traveling around Europe on the train. And I just thought, I’m just gonna eat whatever the hell I want. So I thought rather than having that mental battle, you know, will, I won’t, I just sort of say in advance, eat what I want. And you know, Eastern Europe cake, you know, I wasn’t going to not eat cake and in eastern Europe and it was like a really interesting, so I didn’t eat sweets. I thought I’m not going to, I know what that does to me, so I’m not going to eat chocolate and like bars of chocolate or anything, but I would have a cake with chocolate if I wanted. So various things were very interesting. Number one, how easily carbs got their claws back into me.
So I did three weeks on holiday and it took me another four weeks to get off back off it. So I did nearly, you know, best part of two months. I got back to certain extent, but sugar was, it was very difficult. So that was one thing. The other thing was how unsatisfying it was, the food. And when you talk about satiety, people go, oh yeah, yeah, yeah, being full, it’s not being full. There’s such a difference between feeling full in your stomach because of the bulk that you’ve got in your stomach and feeling sated and that I knew that low carb food did that for me, but it wasn’t until I went back to eating what was typical for me, typical way of eating before I carb fuelled, it wasn’t, I didn’t binge, it wasn’t like off the scales crazy. But I had, I ended up having carbs for breakfast, carbs for lunch and carbs for evening meal and I was hungry the whole damn time as in unsatisfied. And then I was actually craving a nice, you know, some pure meat by the end of it. Like, just give me some nice fatty meats, and maybe some eggs.
Yes you talked about that purity thing and it is that you eat because I’m somebody that yeah, things go wrong from time to time and you do get to a point and I mean, I do go completely out of control in a way that’s, it’s not good, but it gets me to a point where, yeah, I just feel like I absolutely feel the need and desire to get back to keto because it just, everything about it just I’m craving that I need to feel good, and you know, that sort of purity that you mentioned before because it just, like you say, it sloughs away all that horribleness.
Yeah. But the danger is when we talk about it to people, obviously your listeners, most of it, I suppose most of them, they’re already committed to this way of eating, it sounds difficult and holier than thou and strict. Yep.
You have to be really careful what words you use don’t you.
And the purity is, I suppose. No, I tell you what it is, I’ll tell you the right word. It’s clean.
But even that, even that the connotations, yes, yes. It’s very tricky.
Speaking as an addict, I feel clean when I eat these foods, I feel clean, but yeah, none of this is kind of, Oh, you ought to do this, be a good person, all of that kind of thing. It’s just becomes easier and easier. But as I say, I cheat. I, you know when I say I cheat, I fall off the wagon. So I’m very bad in restaurants because, well, I don’t like making a fuss, I don’t want to be a fussy eater. So when in restaurants, I’ll often have the burger and I’ll say I don’t want the bun. So I keep the bread off the plate. But then if I said though, I don’t want the bun and I don’t want the chips and I don’t want the, I just feel like one of these like dreadful fussy eaters, so I say to myself, and I still do this all the time, I won’t have the bone and then I won’t have any of the chips because I always eat the chips so I should just know myself, you know. And then I don’t like waste, like I said to you, well if they put them on the plate, I’ve going to have to eat them, but generally at home if I keep off sugar so that is like as in proper sugar. I can control things reasonably well. So it tends to be more in social occasions or occasions when I’m out of the house so I can be strict. Must admit I had half an apple last night, which is obviously very bad, but I had it with cheese and my husband got the other half. But I don’t think, I think having half an apple isn’t going to, you know, I cannot be the sort of person that having half an apple means I’m a bad person.
No, exactly and I think that’s where it’s important is to come, you know, keep moral judgment completely out of it. And it’s also, it’s the whole, you know, know thyself and the different things that are problematic and not problematic for you. You know, if you can have half an apple on a piece of cheese because it’s something that you really fancy from time to time and it’s not going to negatively impact you, then that’s not a problem, is it? And it also highlights the fact that, you know, just how adaptable all this is and how many faces Keto has and you know, they’re all perfectly acceptable, and yes, it’s fascinating. And that’s the biggest take away from me about this podcast is, is talking to, you know, different people each week and seeing just how so many different ways of doing it all work. They all work perfectly well, and it’s, it’s all about, you know, isn’t it, just finding the one that’s right for you.
Yeah, the one that’s sustainable for you over the long term.
Yes. Well, it’s been fascinating talking to you and I think we have a lot of things in common, especially when it comes to food addiction. You’ve dropped a few tips as we’ve gone along, but, what is your top tip to wrap up with?
Well, I have dropped my tips in, cause my, so my big tip was the do it your way, but I’ve said that. So make it, make it work for you, make it your lifestyle. The other tip, which I see, I struck me this morning when I hopped on the scales and its focus on process, not results. Now obviously the results are important, but I came up with this a long while ago through other dieting history. But what I realized was that if I went very much by the scales, if I got on the scales, having cheated, and I got away with it, it reinforced the cheating behaviour.
Mm. Good point.
So don’t get me wrong, I get on the scales. I still have, you know, I would love to lose another half stone or so to be at my proper target, but I keep an eye on my weight. But what I focus on and what I would recommend people try to focus on is following your eating, and if I say plan, I mean I don’t want to get into all of that controlling thing, but you know your eating style. So, compliance or adherence is really the only measure of success. So if I have followed my eating style, I’ve not fallen off the wagon with carbs, even if I haven’t lost weight that day I have succeeded because it’s only over time cause it’s a massive behaviour change. So what you need to do for success is enforce that behaviour change, so it becomes second nature, the new normal. You don’t even have to think about it.
Yes. That’s good. I like that. And it sounds like, it certainly sounds like it’s something you live by and, and have done very well with.
Well most of the time
Well that’s always the caveat, isn’t it? Most of the time.
Yeah, I do really, really, and that’s the thing I said about cheating, I do not want to set myself up as somebody who’s doing this perfectly at all, and I still manage it.
I don’t think there are many people who are really, you know, and I think, it’s interesting hearing about those imperfections and how we deal with them, how we resolve them, how we learn from them and move forward. That’s really educating and helpful to other people. So yeah, there’s good in the flaws.
Well, thank you very much. It’s been a great pleasure talking to you today, Rosie.
Well, thank you so much for the opportunity. You’re doing great work.
Oh, thank you very much.
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