I changed my eating habits to low carb 4 years ago and then adopted LCHF not long afterwards. For me it was an uphill battle, mostly mentally, because my new eating habits were just so against what I was taught. Also, habits are hard to break and forming new ones, just do not happen overnight!
The results I saw in my health, is what kept me going, even though I had doubts. Today, nearly 4 years later, I have conquered LCHF, but let me tell you this….it remains a journey.
I want to share something with you today:
I am a real foody and sweet things have always been my downfall. This includes fruit, especially summer fruit! Walking down the aisles of the supermarkets or the farmers market, smelling the melon, the mango and stone fruit, just makes my knees wobble! I loved it and I still do. Now that I am a little wiser, I know that eating fruit in season is OK. I also know that eating too much of it is not supportive of my LCHF lifestyle, however…this is the part of my journey I find the hardest.
Over the last 3 summers I have noticed an interesting pattern in my weight and I wanted to share, because it may just shed light for some of you ;)
My weight is fairly stable for about 9 months of the year (End of March until end December), but over summer, I see an increase of 2-3kg easily. Why is that? Does anybody else experience ‘unexplained weight gain’ over summer? (Yes, I know Christmas and New Year is partly to blame, but if it was only Christmas and New Year, we would be back to our pre-Christmas weight by the middle of January!
Let me explain:
I usually pick berries when they are in season and then freeze them for the winter months, which is when I am using them very sparingly (in fear that I will run out and have to buy frozen ones from the supermarket!). In summer however, when the berries are plenty and cheap and just so wonderfully tasty, I won’t think twice in eating a whole punnet of berries in one go, or if I am good, one day! Smoothies are filled with berries of all kinds, rather than just the ¼ cup I would usually add in the winter. It is almost as if I lose all my ‘sugar inhibitions’…as if it doesn’t count, because berries are lower in carbohydrates than other fruit!
Interestingly I find that because I eat more fruit, I tend to eat more quantities of other food too, because I feel hungrier... That is the work of fructose right there for you. Not only does the fruit (fructose) make me hungrier and drive me to snack more, I find that I am less focused on what I eat…mindless eating.
The weight that I put on over summer is not only because of the sheer quantity of fruit, but a combination of more fruit, bigger quantities of food, and snacking – which often involves yet more fruit or perhaps bigger quantities of dark chocolate…the list goes on. It’s like senseless eating that is so hard to control! I just don’t have that same issue in winter at all.
Fructose, just like sugar, sure has a powerful effect.
I am not saying that all this is totally wrong though. Our ancestors used to enjoy the summer fruits too, something Dr. Gary Fettke has so wonderfully labelled as ‘scheduled obesity’. I quote Dr. Fettke: “In times of plenty when fruit was seasonally available (late summer), we could eat as much fruit (fructose) as we could find; it would keep us hungry, keep us eating and then conveniently metabolise into fat for the leaner winter months. This scheduled obesity has helped us to survive for millions of years”.
I find the whole concept really fascinating as it has such a profound effect on me.
Something else I find interesting is how this whole process affects my mindset. It works like this: I eat more fruit, feel more hungry, end up snacking even more and then I tell myself that I need to eat some cheese or something fatty to fill me up and make me stop eating more fruit! Right there, I am consuming calories in excess! Calories my body does not need, explaining the weight gain.
In theory, having healthy fat is the right thing to do – better having cheese, nuts or a piece of avocado, than chocolate or processed carbohydrates, because chances that you will stop munching when you are full, rather than keep adding more 'fuel to that fire’!
This is how easy it is to overeat and how our mindset can be detrimental, especially if you are on a weight loss journey.
When you understand the effects of food on your body, it is easier to avoid the obstacles.
I am grateful that I am able to enjoy the summer fruit in season, but even more so, that I am able to avoid it when it is not in season (but still available in the supermarkets).
If you are on a weight loss journey remember, yes fruit is healthy, but so are vegetables. Vegetables provide the same vitamins and minerals as fruit, but are mostly very low in carbohydrates and fructose (non-starchy vegetables), thus will not have that ‘hunger effect’. If you feel that you are not mentally strong enough to withstand sugar (perhaps you are still new to this journey or know your weaknesses well), it is better to limit fruit (even if in season), until you have well and truly overcome that barrier and can enjoy it when in season only...
Nutrition Consultant, Nutrition for Life
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Address: 40 Ann Street, East Launceston TAS 7250