How to lose weight fast, the healthy way (how I lost 20 lbs by eating more carbs and less fat)
written by Nina Shantel, RealDietHelp.com, published January 25, 2022
I want to share with you how I lost 20 pounds by eating more carbohydrates, that’s right MORE! You heard me right, I lost bodyfat by upping my carb intake. Carbs are NOT the cause of weight gain, fat is. I now eat a low-fat, high-carb diet and am extremely lean. What’s so fantastic about how I’m eating now is that I’m never hungry (unless it’s time to eat), I eat large portions. I don’t count calories and the food is delicious and satisfying.
My current high carb diet is a healthy diet, but I did not always eat healthy. What many people call “healthy” is actually unhealthy.
It’s important to know exactly what a person was eating prior to losing weight to get a good understanding of why they gained weight and what they were eating.
Below I will cover what I ate when I was younger which set me up for disease, what I ate as an adult which caused weight gain and high cholesterol, which diets I tried which caused me to get sicker (and didn’t result in weight loss) and what my current diet is and what types of exercise I do. (You can watch the YouTube video I made on this subject instead of reading this post, which has more details. Click the play button below to watch the video).
What I ate as a child:
When I was a child, I did not eat a typical diet because I was diagnosed with a rare allergy to the protein in dairy so I couldn’t consume milk, cream, cheese, butter, or any item from cow’s milk without having my throat close, and swell. I would end up throwing up if my food was cross contaminated with dairy.
I didn’t eat macaroni and cheese, but I ate spaghetti with salt, which I loved. Mom used margarine or Crisco (in desserts) instead of butter. I would eat pastrami on rye bread, boiled hot dogs with spaghetti, figs, PB&J sandwiches, Campbell’s Chicken Noodles Soup, Campbell’s Chunky Beef Stew, baked Cornish game hen with carrots simmered in margarine, sugar and cinnamon, with a side of potatoes. I would eat fruit, baloney sandwiches, beef burgers, French Fries, homemade soups, chicken with salad and green beans, steak and broccoli, or leg of lamb with potatoes.
For a snack I would eat Raspberry turnovers (phyllo dough with raspberry and sugar filling), Matzoh (a cracker) with grape jam, granola bars, Stella Doro cookies, or halvah (rarely).
As you can see, I ate processed food and junk food, but a lot of meals were made from scratch, and my mom made sure I ate fruit and vegetables every day.
Soda and candy were not permitted in the house, but I drank soda when we went out to eat and I ate candy whenever my friends had it at their house.
When I was a child, my parents did not allow me to play video games, so I went outside and rode my bike. I was an active kid, unlike a lot of children today who watch a lot of TV (I didn’t watch much TV).
I was a skinny child even though I ate animal products, and processed food. I attribute being underweight as a child because I didn’t eat a lot of calories, exercised every day and ate fruits and vegetables.
What I ate as a teenager:
As a teen, my diet got worse as I spent more time outside the home. I would eat more fast food, which was always burgers, French fries and root beer. At home I would make fried eggs with pepperoni, bagels with pepperoni, French bread with margarine and pepperoni (I liked the taste of pepperoni). I went to the store with my babysitting money and bought peperoni sticks and candy.
I started making my own meals, so I fried almost everything. I ate fried steak and eggs, deep fried shrimp, Top Ramen with Jimmy Dean sausage. Not everything I made was fattening. I often made oatmeal with water and sprinkled a little bit of brown sugar on top for breakfast.
Luckily, I still ate my mom’s food which was better for my health than my homemade meals, because there were always vegetables in her meals, and she encouraged me to eat fruit as a snack, but animal protein was included at lunch and dinner.
As a teen, I was very active. I played tennis and was on a softball team (although I wasn’t any good). I also rollerbladed at the beach, took aerobics classes at the gym, and rode a stationary bike at the gym.
I would meet my friends at the mall and would walk around for hours, or we would go boogie boarding in the ocean, and dancing at clubs or parties. I would run (more like a jog) around the neighborhood before school, which felt freeing. I liked being outside in the crisp air before anyone else was up, trying not to make a sound so the neighborhood dogs wouldn’t bark.
I didn’t start gaining weight until high school, which I attribute to the fried foods, processed foods, fatty meats and candy I was eating.
What I ate as an adult:
As an adult, I ate lots of fruit, and made sure to eat grains and vegetables with lunch and dinner.
I ate corn on the cob, stir-fried ground turkey cooked in olive oil, beef meatloaf with potatoes, baked chicken wings, chicken drumsticks with hot sauce, pork chops with apple sauce, Shake and Bake chicken, pork chops stuffed with bread stuffing, bacon and eggs every Sunday with O’Brian hash browns, French Toast with maple syrup, salmon with quinoa or salad, dairy-free ice cream, ham with hash browns, pork ribs with sweet and spicy BBQ served with double French fries, grilled chicken, fish or steak with stir-fried veggies and rice; French Bread with margarine, potato chips, tortilla chips, pretzels, shrimp with noodles, grilled zucchini, watermelon, chicken with mangos, 3-bean salad, pasta salad with celery, beef stew, onions and olives; or teriyaki chicken with rice and pickled cucumbers.
I drank soy milk, ate bagel dogs, taquitos from Costco, chicken burritos from Trader Joes, Cha Su Bao, fried egg rolls from Costco, Chinese Lo Mein, and Chinese fried rice with BBQ pork, beef, chicken and shrimp.
I drank margaritas (when out with friends), and water. I drank soda, Ginger Ale or Root Beer, only when we went out to eat dinner, which was no more than once a week. I ate bread or pasta at lunch or dinner.
My sweet tooth stayed with me as an adult, so I indulged in dairy-free candies like: Red Vines, Twizzlers, Hot Tamales, Boston Baked Beans, Jelly Bellies, Jellybeans, Jordon Almonds, Skittles, Swedish Fish, Orange Slices, Mike & Ike, Starburst, Gummy Bears and Juju Fruits.
As an adult, after age 18, I exercised every weekend, plus one or more days a week. I didn’t have the time to exercise daily, like I did in my youth because I was going to college and/or working, but I went on a bike ride, or went hiking, or went for long walks on the beach every weekend. Sometimes I went for a 30-minute jog in the mornings before work.
My weight kept creeping up, which I attribute to less exercise, more processed food, more fat in my diet, more calories, more meat, and more candy.
My poor eating habits caught up to me even though I was only 8-10 pounds overweight. When I was in my 30’s I was diagnosed with high cholesterol and type 1.5 diabetes. My pancreatic cells were not producing enough insulin. The nurse said the insufficient insulin production was probably triggered by getting infected with the chicken pox virus when I was 30. Type-1 and Type-1.5 diabetes is typically triggered by dairy leaking outside the gut and an invasion by a virus. When someone has an overactive immune system like I do, our bodies go into overdrive and attack our own cells by mistake.
What I ate after I was diagnosed with high cholesterol and diabetes:
After I was diagnosed as a diabetic with high cholesterol, that prompted me to change my eating habits. I stopped eating bread, beef, fatty animal foods, crackers, pasta, sugary foods and candy. I ate turkey burgers instead of beef burgers. I limited my carbs to ½ cup, or I would eat animal protein with a low-carb plant food like pork chops with salad, steak and broccoli, or chicken and asparagus, which left me hungry and lethargic.
The only time I allowed myself to eat candy was when my blood sugar was dangerously low. I limited carbs, stopped eating gluten and wheat, ate more animal proteins, and ate lots of nuts, yet my weight kept going up. I was able to get my cholesterol and blood sugar down, but the bodyfat wouldn’t budge.
I hired a personal fitness trainer and lifted weights three times a week, and then upped it to five times a week. I lost a few pounds, looked more toned and leaner, but still couldn’t get those “last five pounds” off, even after adding cardio.
The diets I tried that did not work:
To lose weight, I tried low-carb diets like Paleo/Whole 30/Ketogenic, which are high in animal fat and low in carbs. These diets made my energy plummet, made me cranky, and I still felt hungry even though I was eating a lot of fat, a lot of protein, and excess calories.
I tried a raw vegan diet, but all the nuts, oil, agave, coconut, and coconut oil make my blood sugar worse, hurt my stomach, and my weight kept going up.
After watching The Game Changers, I adopted a vegan diet with more carbs from beans, pasta, fruit, potatoes, and grains, but I was eating tortilla chips, processed vegan junk food, and too many nuts, seeds and tofu. I lost a few pounds and loved the food, but my blood sugars were all over the place and I was still overweight.
What I eat now-how I lost 20 pounds:
I read that a whole-food, low-fat, low-protein vegan diet that excludes oils and limits nuts, seeds, avocado and all fats, results in better blood sugar control, optimal cholesterol levels and quick fat loss, so I tried it.
I plugged my foods into an app called Cronometer to make sure I was eating no more than 10% from fat, no more than 10% from plant proteins, and the remaining 80% from carbohydrates.
People following a low-fat plant-based vegan diet have the option of eating pasta, bread, wheat and corn tortillas, oatmeal and a little bit of sugar or maple syrup, but I found that eating these processed foods makes my blood sugar higher, resulting in poor blood sugar control.
The carbohydrates I eat come from fruit, beans, peas, lentils, potatoes, carrots, squash, onions, yams, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables.
The brunt of the protein comes from quinoa (a grain), oat groats (a grain), beans, legumes, edamame (a bean) and tofu.
I also eat lots of greens from broccoli, kale, arugula, baby greens, spinach, celery, lettuce, bok choy and cucumber in a salad topped with fruit or beans, or in a soup or stew.
I use lettuce cups instead of tortillas for my tacos.
I make zucchini noodles instead of spaghetti.
I love the food and I’m never hungry, in fact, I’m usually full after a meal because I eat really large portions. If you limit fat and processed food, you can eat lots of carbohydrates, even potatoes, because whole food carbohydrates don’t have many calories and the human body is more efficient at burning carbs than protein and fat.
I have lots of energy with this new diet, which makes sense because our bodies prefer to use carbohydrates as fuel.
My blood sugar control, even with many more carbs, has improved and reduced my need for exogenous insulin. People think carbs cause high blood sugar, but it’s the excess fat that blocks sugar from entering the cells, which cause high blood to stay in limbo in the blood stream.
I was losing a pound a week, by eating more food and without hunger pains or counting calories. I lost 13 extra pounds of bodyfat on a low-fat, whole-food, vegan diet. The other 7 pounds I lost before I started this diet, was from adding cardio and weightlifting and limiting processed foods and sugars. All-in-all, I lost 20 pounds by moving more and eating a low-fat plant-based vegan diet, as nature intended, which is a lot of weight because I’m tiny, at only 5-feet.
The exercise I do now is I lift weights three times a week and do low-impact cardio daily.
The key to following this new way of eating is finding lots of recipes. Look for the terms: LFPB, 80/10/10, or “oil-free whole-food plant-based vegan” when you are searching for recipes or cookbooks online.
Finding healthy low-fat, plant-based cookbooks is fairly easy, but it’s finding recipes you like, which may take awhile, but you can find yummy recipes that meet this criteria in this blog site and in my cookbook/diet book.
I included my favorite low-fat, whole-food vegan recipes in my book, The High-Five Diet, just published in 2021. I also share my story of how I transitioned to this way of eating and include all the tips and mindset tools to immerse yourself in this wonderful lifestyle. If you’re interested, my book is available on Amazon. I’ve included the direct link below so you can order your copy today.
Let me know if you have any questions.