Hi, I’m Will, age 46, and my wife Bonnie is 52. We are average, sedentary people who want to spread the word about healthy, low fat starch-based eating without doing tons of exercise like some of the other high-carbers out there. This means lots of potatoes, such as mashed potatoes, shepherd’s pie, baked fries, gravy, chili, tacos, nachos, pizza and other yummy foods. We love salads and fruit as well. These are all low fat, no oil recipes but rest assured they’re soooo good!
We were big meat eaters in the past, living in Alberta, Canada which is cattle country. Over 10 years ago we went vegetarian mostly due to animal welfare, but would still eat fast food on occasion that had turkey/chicken or a sub. I’d feel bad of course but it was hard to kick the addiction. For many years we’ve been basically vegetarian but looking back we ate a lot of cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, oil, sour cream, etc. My absolute heaviest was over 220 lbs as a meat eater, but even in the last couple years it crept up to around 214 lbs on a vegetarian diet. After going low fat no oil vegan I lost 35 lbs and am now building some muscle!
After watching Forks over Knives, Engine 2 diet and reading books such as Food for Life, The Starch Solution, Pleasure Trap, The China Study and others we finally decided to throw out all the junk food and go 100% starch based. We think this is key as moderation doesn’t seem to work. Whenever we ate something fattening we would start thinking about it a lot and end up eating it again within a few days. I like to think of myself as an addict, moderation doesn’t seem to work for cigarette smokers and alcoholics! This food is just too addictive!
Our families have histories of heart disease. Lots of heart attacks and related issues so as you get older you start to worry about those sorts of things.
When I started eating a starch-based diet back on June 30, 2013 I decided to enter my weight into a spreadsheet. I’m glad I did because now I can show you what happened in my case which can hopefully help you.
I didn’t weigh myself every day but when I did I tried to record it in a Google spreadsheet. So I’m suggesting that you weigh yourself once a week on the same day, in the morning after you go to the bathroom without any clothes on or just your underwear. The graph below covers a year of time that I was losing weight.
As you can see there are some small ups and downs as well as a bump in October. I was consistent in my eating the entire time. The ups and downs hopefully show you that weight can fluctuate but over time the weight goes down. So don’t get discouraged by weighing yourself every day and freaking out if the scale goes up sometimes. The ups and downs can wreak havoc with your mental state! So a graph can give you peace of mind that the overall trend is downward.
My weight started to go down right away but it can sometimes take a week or two to see results. That is because the carbohydrates you eat are stored as glycogen in the organs and muscles and this carries water weight along with it. Between the water and glycogen this could be upwards of 6 pounds of weight. So you could lose fat but the scale won’t budge or it even goes up at first. Please be patient!
In late October I bought a chin up and dip tower and started doing some bodyweight training. It seems that when you start weight training your muscles fill up with water. So you see an increase in scale weight at that point in the above graph.
You can also use visual cues to see progress such as clothes getting looser, looking at yourself with no clothes on, taking pictures, measuring body fat with calipers or a body fat monitor.
The scale is not the best or most accurate way of measuring progress but it’s a good relative measure – that is it can work to show the relative change in your weight. If you are doing weight training the scale will be even more confusing as you will have muscle gains. Your weight could stay the same but your body could transition from having more fat to more muscle.
You might lose fat faster or slower than I did. That’s perfectly fine. There are ways to accelerate the progress such as avoiding nuts, flour (pizza, bread, wraps), and dried fruit (dates, raisins), refined sugars (sugar, maple syrup) and even less starches and more non-starchy vegetables. In my case I wanted my weight loss to be sustainable so I included pizza, a little nut butter and the odd dessert in my meals. I was afraid that if I restricted these foods and then I started adding these foods back in my weight would go back up again. But it’s something you might want to consider if you want to accelerate the fat loss.
I also tracked upper body fat starting in October so I don’t know what the initial fat percentage was. But it was higher than 19% based on the fact that I had lost weight between June and October, prior to purchasing the body fat monitor. The device only measures upper body fat but you can also get scales that measure the full body fat. This is not the most accurate method but it’s quick and gives you a basic idea of your body fat percentage. Things like muscle can throw off the measurements.
So the body fat measurements gave me an additional indication that I was losing fat over time even when the weight loss didn’t change for a while.
Once I got to a lean body mass I stopped weighing myself regularly and measuring body fat, mostly because it had stabilized and also because I am doing some body weight training. I mostly focus on visual cues and how my pants fit to judge if I am gaining weight. I’m currently fitting nicely into 32 inch waist jeans with a bit of extra room. I don’t even think I wore that size in high school! So far it’s been totally stable, all without counting calories or watching portions and this is after a few years being low fat no oil starch-based!
Blood Test Results
Prior to starting a starch-based diet I had my blood tested for cholesterol and triglycerides on 2 separate occasions. The first time on October 29, 2010, the triglycerides were so high the lab couldn’t calculate the LDL (bad cholesterol)! The total cholesterol was 219 mg/dL.
At the time I thought the results must be wrong so later I had them tested again. The second test was done on August 24, 2011 (prior to going starch-based) and the values are shown in the picture below.
The triglycerides were lower and LDL was able to be read. But the total cholesterol was 205.7 mg/dL.
10 months after going starch-based I decided to get a blood test again. I thought I would wait to try and make sure I cleared out my system and gave the diet a chance to work its magic. Here are the results from the starch-based diet.
Incredibly my total cholesterol was 112 mg/dL! Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn has reported that people with a total cholesterol of less than 150 mg/dL never have a heart attack. Good news!
I wasn’t able to test everything but other things like glucose and Vitamin B12 were in normal ranges as well. Many people on a starch-based diet are able to scale down or eliminate medications like statins and blood pressure pills with doctor supervision.
We now live in New Brunswick, Canada (on the east coast above Maine).