Jane & Nige – Our journey so far
Well, where to begin?? Nige and I both felt very flattered when we were asked to write a piece about our journey so far as it’s just us doing our thing and plodding along. However, we’ve been so inspired by so many people in the Keto Fitness Club group over this past year that we thought if our story can help just one person, then putting it down on paper has got to be worthwhile.
I’ve had weight problems all my life, from a little girl and, consequently, have “been on a diet” virtually all of my life. I honestly believe that in my lifetime I have lost in the region of 35 stone and have put every single one of them back on & more!! I remember, as a little girl, my Mum taking me to a slimming club (in the early 1970’s) and I was only allowed to have 1,000 calories per day!! Can you imagine that? I wasn’t even a teenager, and I was being told to virtually starve myself. My Mum only took me along because I begged her to as I was so unhappy being the fat little girl in the class. I always failed miserably, obviously. But one thing that has always struck me is that people around me always seemed to eat a lot more than I did, yet I was fat, and they were slim. It was horrible and didn’t seem fair at all.
Nige, on the other hand, has always been incredibly fit. He has played sports all his life and played cricket, rugby and squash to a very high standard. He played sport regularly, trained regularly and exercised for fitness regularly. He really didn’t have to pay much attention to what he ate – it wasn’t an issue. Nige’s health and weight problems started in later life – around his early 40s. On one GP visit, he was told his cholesterol was too high and he was put on statins. I firmly believe that this was the start on a slippery slope for Nige, as prior to being put on statins he enjoyed excellent health. Not long after, he went for a knee operation (wear & tear from all his sport) and when he was there the ECG showed he had atrial fibrillation, so the operation was cancelled. He was put on blood thinning medication – which he still takes to this day as they were never able to right the irregular beat, even after three attempts of stopping & restarting his heart. Within a few short years, Nige’s blood pressure raised, he was put on blood pressure medication. His weight ballooned as he was no longer playing sport to the degree that he used to. He developed gout and the list goes on. We now know (after reading some of the wonderful books that are available to us*) that all of these are related - metabolic syndrome - and happened as a result of Nige being insulin resistant. We definitely didn’t know any of this at the time. In fact, to this day, he has never been diagnosed as being insulin resistant (I don’t think we are in this country) and Nige was never told that he could be diabetic, nor was he tested for it.
So, for quite a few years, we both got on with our busy lives and became more and more overweight.
At one time, in the early 90s, we read about The Atkins Diet. Back in those days, there was no internet, so we were unable to do any research on this ourselves, but we both loved to eat meat, we both wanted to lose weight, so we gave it a go!! The weight dropped off both of us and we both felt fantastic. The trouble is – the media and our own GPs absolutely slated the diet, telling us it was dangerous and, basically, that it would end up killing us. Oh, how I wish I’d ignored this but, like I said, we had no internet so had no other form of reference back then. So, we stopped, and the weight piled back on!!
I joined Weight Watchers and Slimming World (many, many times), lost loads of weight, put even more back on!! The same story that I’ve heard from so many members. My most recent success was losing five stone in Slimming World ten years ago. Then I carried on going, while I was actually putting at least half of it back on!! What was I doing wrong? Obviously, I blamed myself – it had to be because I was just rubbish at “sticking to a diet”. I eventually stopped going.
About five years ago, I started researching low carb high fat (LCHF) and came across the Real Meal Revolution, Professor Tim Noakes, Diet Doctor and a whole host of others on YouTube and the internet. Once again, we started eating this way and we lost weight and felt great. Although, the lack of personal support got a bit much and our food started getting very “samey” and a bit too rich for us (too much fat & cream). Looking for recipes was difficult because of different measures and ingredients which we hadn’t really heard of – or were simply different to here in the UK. So once again we stopped and, over the past few years, we both continued to put on weight, and we got to the highest weight we’d ever been. Nige had also been tested for diabetes and he was told he was pre-diabetic. He’d chosen not to go on medication and told the GP that he wanted to try to reverse it with diet. Neither of us can remember what his HbA1c level was at this time (we think it was around 68).
We knew LCHF was the way to go but needed support to get our heads around it properly but the type of support we needed wasn’t out there, so we never really stuck to it and this, of course, did neither of us any good.
In the summer of 2021, both Nige and I decided that ‘enough is enough’. Nige’s cousin had told us about a place about 40 miles away that was selling low carb bread. That was a bit too far to travel regularly just for bread, so I decided to look on-line to see if I could find anywhere that would deliver. That was the day that changed our life forever – as that was the day, I found Keto Fitness Club. I found the Keto Fitness Club YouTube channel and the hundreds of cooking sessions showing us how to make simple, every day low carb meals. Mark & Ella made the cooking look easy. I looked on their website, looked on the Facebook page and immediately ordered the whole bundle of cookbooks, some bread and the Ketoroma tomato & brown sauce. That was 27th August 2021 – and on that same day, I decided to join and become a member. At only £9.99 per month, it seemed like a bargain.
There were Zoom sessions on various subjects nearly every evening; there were exercise classes and regular cookery sessions. I loved it and I attended as many Zoom sessions as I could. I tentatively joined the exercise sessions initially. Being so overweight and not the best mobility (brought on purely by doing very little and not, thankfully, because of any illness), I felt a bit hesitant at first about joining in the exercises – but I needn’t have worried as I was welcomed in and the focus wasn’t on me, we were all just doing what we could to the best of our ability.
Nige, being the shy type, has never joined in any Zoom sessions. He’s happy for me to get on with it and steer him in the right direction. He’s done a few (not many) of the recorded exercise sessions and he’s been on a few walks with me. However, he is loving the food and is losing weight plus his health has improved.
I remember the first time he used the AccuCheck blood monitor, which was about October last year and his reading was 13!! It really gave him and me a massive shock and I really do wonder what his readings would have been in the summer before we started this way of life. His readings are still higher than they should be, but I’d say on average they are 6.5 to 7.5. He keeps a daily log of everything he eats and now consciously avoids anything which he has found makes his blood sugar spike. For instance, just a few weeks ago on our holiday in Torquay, we had a fish & chip supper as a “treat”. Neither of us ate very much of it at all – but the next day, Nige’s blood sugar reading was 10.9!! He won’t be doing that again in a hurry and, to be honest, neither will I as the thought of it was much better than the actual eating of it.
His last HbA1c reading (about 3 months ago) was 53. Again, still far too high, but it is coming down. He’s due to have another test within the next few weeks.
Since joining the group, Nige has lost 3 ½ stone. He looks and feels so much better than he did, although he knows he’s still got a way to go. He is still on his medication, for blood pressure and gout but will speak to his GP about reducing this when he goes back soon. He will always be on his blood thinning medication because of his AF.
Even though I’ve been overweight for most of my life, I consider myself very fortunate to be in good health. My reason for following this lifestyle was to lose weight and also to be the healthiest I can possibly be going into my old age. I’m 62 years of age and I could see that because I was overweight and because I didn’t move very much, I was getting to the point that I couldn’t do some things - for example, getting up and down off the floor, going up and down stairs, climbing a step ladder, even turning to see oncoming traffic at a junction when driving the car, walking very far (especially uphill) all things which we generally take for granted were becoming more and more difficult.
In January of this year (2022), the Keto Fitness Club phase challenges were set up, I embraced them, and I’ve made myself be accountable for my exercise (movement) and eating every day since. I’m certain that I’ve bored some people to death with my daily posts about what exercise I’ve done and what I’ve eaten – but it has honestly helped me to stay on track. Plus, I’ve had some people come to me to thank me for my posts as they say it has helped them – and so if that’s the case then it’s not such a bad thing.
I also signed up to the “Walk 1000 miles in 2022” challenge. I honestly didn’t know at the beginning of the year if I could do it. In fact, it scared me, but so far, I’ve walked 790 miles (measured walks with “boots on”) so I’m hopeful that I will manage the 1000 miles by the end of the year. I’ve actually completed 1335 miles in total so far (which my watch tallies up for me), so I’ve very happy with that
Since joining Keto Fitness Club in September 2021, I’ve lost 4 stone & 10 pounds. I’d actually reached 5 stone & 2 pounds, but I put 6 pounds on when I went on holiday three weeks ago and I haven’t been on the scale since as I don’t want this to be all about my weight. I want it to be about how I feel, and I feel really well. Although, being creatures of habit, I’m sure Nige and I will both weigh ourselves at the end of Phase 3, just for our records.
I have to say that my mobility has improved tremendously, and I put this down to attending the low impact exercise sessions with Mark; the dance and Pilates sessions with Lisa; and my walking. The sessions are absolutely brilliant and cater for everyone. If your mobility is poor, then they just adapt it for you, and you can do as much or as little as you want. For me, that was absolutely fantastic.
My challenge for Phase 4 of 2022, is to live my life and I’m not going to be posting every day on the Keto Fitness Club member’s site. As mad as it sounds, this is going to be a massive challenge for me. This way of life is now my way of life. I don’t want it to be a weight-loss challenge or anything like that I want to just live my life and get on with it. I will definitely still be putting the odd post on here and there; I will join in with the Zoom sessions, the fitness sessions and the Pilates sessions and as many of the cookery sessions as I’m able to. I will still be reading everyone else’s posts every day and commenting on them. But for Phase 4, I really do want to challenge myself to be accountable to myself and to just get on with it. We will occasionally weigh ourselves as time goes on to make sure that we’re not putting on weight.
I have to say - having failed with LCHF in the past, I’m pretty sure both Nige and I would have failed again had it not been for finding Keto Fitness Club. One thing I remember Mark saying when I first joined the group was “give it 12 months”. He was absolutely right. The support, advice, friendships, exercise sessions, cooking sessions and the Zoom sessions provided by this incredible group are amazing and, for Nige and I (even though he doesn’t join in) has been life changing.
Thank you everyone for everything you do, all the members & the Keto Fitness Club team alike, & especially Mark & Ella for all you do and for bringing these wonderful people together and providing this platform for us all to share – we’re loving our journey so far.
* Some of the books we have read:
The Obesity Code – Dr Jason Fung
Lies My Doctor Told Me – Dr Ken Berry
Why We Get Sick – Benjamin Bikman PhD
Good Calories, Bad Calories – Gary Taubes
Life in the Fasting Lane – Dr Jason Fung, Eve Mayer, Megan Ramos