Before I was diagnosed with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) I would put on weight at an alarming rate. Some weeks the scales would creep up by 1kg/2.2lbs every week. It was disheartening and depressing, especially because I ate a healthy paleo-style diet (limited carbs and grains, minimal dairy, limited alcohol, lots of fresh vegetables, fruit and good quality protein). When I received my SIBO diagnosis in early 2015, I felt certain that I would lose significant amounts of weight once I followed Dr. Nirala Jacobi's SIBO Bi-Phasic Diet. I certainly felt significantly better because I was treating my SIBO, but despite losing centimetres around my waist, I did not see much of a change on the scales after 6 months on the diet.
Since successfully treating SIBO I have not gained weight like I used to, but I haven't been able to lose it either. This has prompted many discussions with my Naturopath, Natalie Cruttenden and I, as we try to get to the bottom of what is preventing my body from releasing the fat it has in storage.
I became interested in the concept of intermittent fasting after watching a documentary on this subject by Dr. Michael Mosley. In it, he explored the health benefits of reducing your calorific intake to 500 calories two days a week. I have been following this way of eating for several months, and have found it surprisingly easy.
The first day was the hardest, as I broke away from my routine of eating three meals a day. However, since then, I have actually looked forward to my fasting days, because I feel so good on them. I have more energy, have greater mental clarity and enjoy not spending time thinking or making food. I only eat one meal on those days, a light dinner. However, I still have not seen much of a shift in my weight.
Dr. Mosley has since released a subsequent book called The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet, in which he talks about the effect of elevated blood sugar on our bodies which can lead to insulin resistance and ultimately Type 2 diabetes. I have known for some time that food which converts easily into glucose once it hits my bloodstream, such as grains, sugars and carbohydrates, have a strong impact on me. I can feel them raise my blood sugar. There have been times when a serve of carbohydrates such as rice, will have the same impact on me as if I had eaten a chocolate bar.
Given my inability to lose weight and my susceptibility to blood sugar spikes, I suspect my body is somewhat insulin resistant. The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet book resonated with me, so I have decided to try it out. Over the next eight weeks, I will eat 800 calories per day, selecting foods from a Mediterranean style diet, which is not too dissimilar to a SIBO diet.
I haven't counted calories in years, so it is going to take some getting used to as I measure and weigh all of my food. For years, I went backwards and forward to Weight Watchers, so it feels like I am returning to a stricter version of that. The theory is that quickly reducing the excess fat you are carrying will not only motivate you to keep going but will also have a positive impact on your blood glucose levels and help prevent Type 2 diabetes from occurring. Whilst I am not immediately at risk of developing diabetes, I am eager to improve my health by reducing the excess body fat I am carrying.
Over these next eight weeks, I will blog and vlog my way through the journey, sharing my highs and lows with you. Whilst I am not advocating for anyone else to do this type of diet, I am interested to see if it can have a positive impact on my health like it seems to have done for others.
I am also using this time to focus on some other areas of my life which need addressing. I am a notorious night owl, and often stay up late working into the night. I have set myself a target of achieving 7.5 hours' sleep each night and to get into bed before midnight. I know I feel better after a good night's sleep, so I am keen to use this time to refocus my attention on this.
I have also let my movement slip slightly. I don't always hit 10,000 steps per day so I am keen to move more. I spend a lot of time in front of the computer, so it is important that I get up and move. And finally, I haven't been practising yoga nearly as much as I would like to. I adore yoga, yet my busy lifestyle has got in the way of going to classes. I was recently listening to the Slow Home Podcast by Brooke and Ben McAlary where they talked about undertaking a 30-day yoga challenge and were following YouTube videos by Yoga with Adriene. I've decided to incorporate short yoga sessions into my daily routine to rebuild my practice, strength and flexibility.
I look forward to sharing this journey with you over the next eight weeks. If you have any questions, please pop them in the comments below.