I’m not on a diet…

Vicki Gumbley shares Sue’s secret…

Anyone who has seen Sue Ibrahim, Elan Medical Skin Clinic’s medical director recently will know that she has lost more than 5 stone.

She looks fantastic and it’s not just the weight loss. Sue, who is 60, says she feels fantastic too, she’s got more energy and feels much healthier. How has she achieved this? Keto.

Having struggled with my weight since I was in my mid-teens, I am always desperate to hear how other people have shed lots of weight.

Name a diet and I have tried it. I’ve done Cambridge, Slimming World, Weight Watchers, Slim Fast, soup diets, fasting for days on end, eaten raw food only, juiced and was even vegetarian for a few years – but I actually got bigger because of all the cheese I was eating. I could lend you a book or ten about eating mindfully and spiritual eating and I have been on courses to transform my eating habits for life.

Most of the time I cook healthy (ish!) food from scratch for me and my family, none of whom overeat or have a problem with their weight. I do yoga most mornings and love walking.

For brief moments I have hallelujahed at making it to a healthy weight. But for almost 35 of my 48 years my BMI has been in the overweight bracket – or worse. Well, I tell myself, I am big boned and most of the England rugby team are classed as obese, so I’m ok, right?

I saw Sue’s transformation at a time when my weight had slipped into the obese category. I was inspired (and more than a little jealous, I have to admit) by her success, so I grilled her about how she’d done it, what she’d been eating, which diet she was using. I wanted what she was feeling.

The D word

Emphatically, Sue told me she was not on a diet. She does not like the word. She has experience of what it feels like to ‘be on a diet’ and she said the low carb lifestyle is different.

Anyone who is familiar with Sue, knows she has an analytical mind. She needs facts. She loves scientific studies and her background in the medical world means she understands the data. At Elan Medical Clinic she never launches a new service or product before fully investigating the clinically proven studies first. She applied this logic to changing her lifestyle. Before starting on keto with Diet Doctor, the organisation came under her careful gaze.

Despite its claim of being “the world’s most visited keto and low-carb site, and the world’s #1 rated nutrition site”, I had never heard of it. I must stress that this blog is not an advert for Diet Doctor –and subsequent posts are not all favourable. Sue was also very keen to point out to me that she wasn’t trying to promote anything either.

Desperate to get a grip on my escalating weight and feelings of being out of control with food, I kept on asking her questions. She pointed me to dietdoctor.com and told me they offered a free two-week keto challenge or a month’s free membership if I was interested. There’s also a free app that includes hundreds of recipes, she explained.

A bit of background on Diet Doctor…

If you visit their About us page, it says:

“Regaining health in an unhealthy world requires thinking and acting differently. It requires putting your trust not in industry ads or dogma, but in science and nature. In the surprising power of your own body to return to health, given the right environment and evidence-based lifestyle changes.

Our mission is to find the most trustworthy science and practical knowledge about health, make it inspiring and simple to use, and accessible and free for everyone.”

Sounds good. But then most marketing does. And I have become very cynical in my old age. I blame the internet – if you find something good, there’s always a host of vocal opposition to it. Who can you actually trust in today’s world?

I decided I would put it to the test for two weeks

I browsed through the meal planners and downloaded the shopping lists. Cutting out sugar made sense, after all we all know how addictive and damaging that substance is, but I scoffed at the instruction not to buy anything low fat or fat free. How on earth was eating full fat going to work?

There’s a lot of reading material on the Diet Doctor website. And I mean a lot. There’s also a whole section that includes videos and interviews with scientists and advocates. It makes a compelling case for keto and does not shy away from the criticism.

Is this the key to losing weight? I don’t know

If, like me, you have spent a lifetime trying out different diets in a desperate bid to find the key to long term weight loss success, you may be interested in reading about my ongoing journey with keto.

Not all plain sailing

I’m not promising you will lose 5 stone like Sue. I certainly haven’t shed anywhere near that. I’ve lost far more weight far quicker on other diets but it has always gone back on – and more with it. I still emotionally eat occasionally and the psychological attachment I have to food still rears its ugly head when I am feeling low.

So, what’s the best bit? Keto recipes taste delicious. For the first time in years, the food I’m eating does not make me miserable. It doesn’t make me feel guilty. I don’t feel like I’m denying myself or gazing longingly at other people’s plates. I’m not hungry all the time and I don’t have cravings. I haven’t fallen off the wagon once in 3 months – not even on weigh day!

If you’re interested, the blog to follow next month will provide a warts and all account of my trials and tribulations on keto.