Firstly, welcome to my website. This page is here for you to find out a little more about me without having to read all of my diary entries, it sums me and the website up in a nutshell.
I’m 35 years old, I live in Sheffield, married with one child, a cat and a dog. At the moment I’m a full-time student (studying nutrition) as well as doing a range of work to top up my maintenance loan. I’m in my second year at university and after my degree I’m looking into going into teaching, either Food Technology or Biology. In my spare time I enjoy gaming, listening to alternative music and spending time with the family, that could involve board games, going to the cinema or out exploring the world – we have the beautiful Pennines just on our doorstep.
Right at this moment, it’s not great. I’m overweight, prediabetic, unable to climb the stairs without getting out of breath and feel generally unhealthy – how ridiculous is that for a nutrition student?
It’s not all my fault, most of it is, but my hormones play a big part in it and have since childhood, specifically when puberty kicked in. Until then I was a pretty healthy child, I played sports, spent every moment I could playing outside with my friends and the local kids but my diet wasn’t perfect – what child of the 80s/90s did have a perfect diet? Lots of processed meat, low-fat everything and school dinners that consisted of pink stuff in a bowl with some kind of cream blob and a chocolate button on top.
That said, as soon as puberty came along I suddenly gained weight. I wasn’t eating any different to my younger sister, who stayed slender, in fact I remember trying my hardest to eat healthier. My parents both worked and as a pre-teen (probably around 12) I started having to cook dinners for both my sister and I. I remember arguments with my sister because I wanted sweetcorn with our (processed, never seen a rib) grilled rib steaks and smiley faces rather than beans or pasta. Pasta was heavily featured in our diet because my sister played football and it was her favourite meal so every Monday, after practice, it would be the family recipe tomato macaroni cheese (cheese melted in tomato soup then added to macaroni).
I was bullied at the end of primary school and the start of high school due to my weight. I was still active. I enjoyed PE for the most part (annual bleep tests could bugger off) and I regularly played badminton at lunchtime. During the summer months, I’d walk home from school rather than catching the bus (a 2-mile walk). However, I was still very overweight. It wasn’t until my dad met his (now ex) wife that something was done about it.
When we moved in with my soon-to-be step mum, she put me on a diet, a very specific diet. We both did the cabbage soup diet for two weeks to kick start my weight loss and boy did it work. I went from being a size 16 jeans at 14 years old to a size 10 in what feels like no time at all. This was my first experience of a low carb diet with it removing rice, pasta, and bread from my diet, instead, eating only specific foods on specific days.
I was healthy again, the bullying stopped and boys were interested in me – finally. However, this wasn’t the quick fix I had assumed it was. It’s only looking back now that I realised the reason I’d put on all that weight in childhood was due to the condition PCOS, something that I wasn’t diagnosed with until I was in my 30s. The PCOS brings along the increased risk of Insulin Resistance, meaning my body can’t use insulin properly and this results in glucose not being absorbed into the cells properly, instead being converted to fat. How do I know I had this? Well, despite the fact I’d lost weight I had darkened skin patches under my arms, on the back of my neck and my elbows – a common sign of insulin resistance called acanthosis nigricans. I remember at 15/16 not knowing what it was and scrubbing my skin red raw thinking it was just dirt.
I managed to remain at a healthy weight until I finished school and by then I was on the contraceptive pill due to being in a relationship. The pill masked all my other signs of PCOS such as irregular periods, excess hair and I didn’t gain too much weight on it – which is a surprise.
My Gallbladder & Appendix
I was a healthy size 12/14 for most of my late teens up until I turned 20. A week after my 20th birthday I had to have my gallbladder removed due to gallstones but this came with complications. During the surgery, I contracted an MRSA infection and had to have my stitches opened to drain the infection away but they couldn’t restitch me up. Instead, I spent two weeks in hospital having my wound checked daily and had to wait until I was healed enough to be allowed home – I got let home on Christmas eve. I had to have a district nurse attend to my wound daily for the first few months, packing it with silver to stop reinfection and redressed. I couldn’t do anything, I was threatened with being readmitted to the hospital if I even tried to do the ironing. This went on for five months and I obviously gained weight as I was immobile.
After five months I was able to go back to work (in a busy cinema) but on limited duties…until four months later when my appendix decided it wasn’t too happy. That came out less than a year after my gallbladder surgery and obviously the hospital was on the ball with my previous failure of an operation. That was another couple of months of limited mobility and the weight just crept up. During all this fun I was with a guy, who not long after left me, this motivated me into losing some of the weight I’d gained in preparation for dating again.
Then the husband came along with the expected “being comfortable” period of my life – during this period I’ve abused my body, my health and my metabolism so much so it never knows whether it’s coming or going.
PCOS & Me
As I said further up, I wasn’t diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) until I was 30. I first suspected it when I was trying to get pregnant and it was taking longer than we’d hoped. I had symptoms such as irregular periods, the aforementioned skin darkening, trouble losing weight, ovary pain and excess hair growth. I had a scan of my ovaries that confirmed no cysts so it was only the syndrome but my hormone levels we’re quite what they needed to be for a diagnosis – despite all my symptoms. It wasn’t until we’d been trying for a second child that the doctors finally gave me the diagnosis of PCOS and I realised that this is what I’d been suffering with since childhood and my biggest reason for failing when it came to maintaining my weight.
After five years of trying for a second child we decided to stop and I went back on to contraception but one for those who are overweight. This completely messed me up. The weight piled on, I was moody, depressed and had no interest in being touched by anyone. After a long conversation, the husband decided to have a vasectomy so I could stop flooding my body with hormones that were harming me and since then it’s been a mission of nothing but research into how to manage my condition.
The Diets I’ve Done
Over the years I’ve tried everything. High carb/low fat, Egg and Grapefruit, the Army Diet, Cambridge Diet, Exante Diet, Kee Diet, Juice Plus, Weight Watchers, 5:2, Joe Wicks, Veganism…hell, I even gave the cabbage soup diet another whirl as well as creating my own meal replacement diet using Frijj milkshakes. I’ve counted points, I’ve counted calories, I’ve run on a 200 deficit and I’ve run on only 600 calories. I’ve had numerous gym memberships and no matter what I’ve done I’ve lost a couple of stone before plateauing and gaining again. All this yo-yoing has to lead me to be the heaviest I’ve ever been which is almost 3 stone heavier than I was when I got married 10 years ago and heavier than I was during pregnancy.
I’ve listened to those on social media who have screamed “just eat less and move more”, “you need to work at a calorie deficit” and “weight loss isn’t hard, just stop being a greedy pig” and nothing has worked. It left me feeling a failure, depressed and even more anxious. Over the years I’ve developed a bad relationship with food because of all this failed advice and jumping from one restrictive way of eating to another. I’ve become an emotional eater who will use food to replace or fill any void such as boredom or loneliness (the husband used to be a night shift worker so I was alone all night and all day while he slept), I’ve used it as a reward to celebrate everything, including losing weight.
Keto & Low Carb
I discovered the ketogenic diet in 2017 when it started to gain traction. Being a child brought up at the peak of the low-fat guidelines for eating, the thought of consuming so much fat was a hard one to get around. However, I gave it a good go and actually lost two stone on it in two months, I felt amazing! Unfortunately, I then went on holiday for a week where it was harder to do and during this time my husband had a really bad gallstone attack, assumed it was due to us being keto and decided that he wanted to give veganism another try. We did that and it was then that I realised how much of an impact keto had had on my overall health, not just my weight.
Going back to eating a high carbohydrate diet not only stalled my weight loss but brought on weight gain, depression and increased my PCOS symptoms. I tried to ignore all this because “vegan is the best diet for your health”. The day I decided that I needed to reintroduce animal products into my diet was a hard one. I’d watched all the documentaries and the guilt was overwhelming BUT it wasn’t fair on me to be living like this. Why should I spend my life in pain, depressed and suffering? I know it sounds selfish but it is what it is.
Keto came back into my life in 2019 and this is when I started looking more closely at the science behind it rather than just following it because it’s a good diet to lose weight on.
University & My Nutrition Degree
I started my degree in nutrition in 2018, I was a wannabe vegan at the time but fluctuating in and out. Desperate to be a vegan nutritionist because I believed the future was vegan. It didn’t last long Following a low carb/keto diet is hard on a nutrition degree because you’re taught that fat is bad, carbohydrates are good and the advice you’re to give the general public is counting your calories, eat wholewheat/slow-release carbs and consumer five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. There are lecturers who will rant about the harmful effects of keto all while touting that butter is better for you than margarine (yes, this happened to me in the first year) but when the national diet and nutrition survey publishes results that state most of the public are following the guidelines while still being overweight you do have to question why we’re being taught a one size fits all model.
My own personal experience has resulted in me reading reports and literature that goes against everything I’m being taught, leading me down a path completely different from the one I started on.
2020 & Beyond
I wanted to start a website where I can talk about not only my personal journey but low carb and keto in general; somewhere separate from my day job and studies. I had a break of the Christmas period because I felt that a keto Christmas wasn’t doable but this short break has gone on for three months now resulting in my inflamed knee and ankle returning (to be honest I hadn’t noticed it had gone), my PCOS symptoms worsening such as the hair on my chin, huge painful spots on my face, my period being very late and the worst brain fog.
Three days in and the pain is gone, the spots are disappearing, my brain fog has lifted (resulting in me sitting here writing this) and I’m full of life again. I’ll be following keto as closely as I can until I’m feeling happier and healthier, then I plan to follow a more low carb lifestyle if my body will allow me. This is why this is My Low Carb Life rather than My Keto Life, I’m future-proofing this site as well as opening it up to more than just the keto community. You can expect to see regular rubbish being typed up in my diary as well as a whole host of low carb keto recipes, low carb keto tips and other advice for those following a low carb keto life.
Get In Contact
If you’d like to keep up to date with all the new posts including recipes, tips and advice then pop in your email and hit the subscribe button.