It was a beautiful warm and sunny day when Naomi Elizabeth Coburn entered the world…… Kidding. Sorry. I’ll be serious.
During high school, I was one of the kids that loved playing sport. I was reasonably good at most but never really excelled at anything. I was a swimmer all during high school and would make it to state level championships most years but I never really had the determination and grit to push myself into the next level. To be honest, I’m too social. I like a chat and swimming is one of the only sports where it is really really difficult to chat to those around you (maybe my parents were trying to tell me something). Don’t get me wrong, I did try. I’d gasp for air after each set and blab as quickly as possible with my friends until my coach would yell at me to shut up. Not that I did, I’d then try and hide down the other end of the pool for a chat. My coach wasn’t dumb, he was onto me pretty quickly. Anyway, I digress. My teenage years were filled with netball and swimming so it was with great surprise, after finishing up swimming at the start of grade 12 to focus on my exams, that I noticed some changes in my body. All my friends had been through the highs (boobs) and lows (bums) of going through puberty years before and I had escaped most of the lows because of all my sport. Nearly 4 hours of swimming squad a day will whip you into shape it would seem. When it all stopped, I distinctly remembering noticing a ‘bump’ below my belly button and wondering what the heck that was. It wasn’t long until I forgot all about that bump because there were bigger bumps to be concerned about. I quickly gained weight as I continued eating as I normally did and wasn’t doing the 4 hours of squad training a day anymore. The changes all came as a bit of a shock really (ok, well a lot of a shock). This was the start of my illustrious dieting career. Serously though, it actually makes me really sad when I think about it. I was so self-conscious and I hated the way I looked. I felt really ugly and when I couldn’t lose the weight, I felt stupid too. To help you understand where I was at I’ll give you my ‘stats’ (it helps contextualise my situation a bit better). I am the impressive height of 165cm (it may only be 164 but whateves….). I am short. Short short. I’m ‘front and centre of every school photo’ short (except for one year when I had heels on my school shoes and I was front and outer centre, woop woop!!!). If I carry extra weight, you see it IMMEDIATELY. There is nowhere on my body to hide it. At 18 years of age, when I had started studying exercise science and working in a gym (not great places to be chubby), I weighed almost 70kg and in terms of dress size I was a 12-14. Some of you may not think that is much (and it may not be) but for my height it was too much. I was uncomfortable and I felt awful and if I kept going the way I was going, I was going to end up more and more overweight. To lose the weight, I tried shakes, supplements, salads – most things. I couldn’t stick to any of it. It was awful. I remember losing 1kg and thinking how hard it had been to do, that I was never going to be able to lose 15. I was completely demoralised. The next few years I pretty much kept the same weight and it wasn’t until after having my first son (Andrew) that I was able to lose weight. Breastfeeding is honestly and truly God’s gift to hormonal women. I was able to get my weight down under 60kg and I was elated. My weight then fluctuated around the 58kg mark after this until I had my twins. During the pregnancy I put on over 20kg and almost hit 80kg. After having the twins, a fair bit of weight came off but I plateaued at about 65kg. After having had Andrew (my first), I had a breast reduction which unfortunately affected my milk supply. I was unable to feed the twins by myself and had to complimentary feed from word go. This meant I didn’t get the same weight loss with the twins as with Andrew (plus I think being the second pregnancy – and a twin pregnancy made a difference). When I was pregnant with the girls, I did a lot of reading on multiples (as you do when you’re told your pregnancy is high risk). One thing I kept noting was the high fat message. I found it to be incredibly perplexing. I couldn’t understand why, when fat was so bad, I should be eating so much of it during this crucial time in my life and my babies life. Of course I complied but I was perplexed. This inadvertently opened Pandora’s Box for me. So when my weight loss plateaued after having the twins, I started thinking about what I’d been reading during my pregnancy on fat. As far as I was concerned (thanks to my formal education) fat was going to kill me, kill my family and dance on my grave. But I was very curious….. and we all know what curiosity did. So I did what any normal person would do if they wanted nutritional information – I “Googled” it. Far out. Life. Changing. Moment. I really wish I’d taken a photo of my face as I was reading as I think you’d all get a kick out of it. Talk about setting my wheels spinning. I think I read and read and read (and then some more). I read during the night (when I was up with the twins) and then I read whenever I wasn’t asleep (which was most of the day – apparently my twins thought sleeping was for pussies). I got to the point where I was getting information overload. I was also getting so much conflicting information that I started to freak out. I started feeling like any food I ate was going to kill me and it put me into a food paralysis. Not cool (but I do blame chronic sleep deprivation and hormones for their role in making me cray cray). After gathering my wits (somewhat) I decided to do some research. I searched for peer reviewed articles from reputable journals and it was all there in black white! Fat was/is good for you!! To be specific medium chain fatty acids (mostly found in saturated fats) are not only great for your health but they’re amazing for your waist line. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t just jump onto the bandwagon straight away. I did more research and sat on it for a few weeks before making the best decision of my life and trying it out. I decided to put myself through a 12 week challenge (that I put together) and see what happened on a low carb high fat (LCHF) diet. Well, best thing I ever did. I lost weight (without even really trying) and I kept my lean tissue (i.e. muscle). I ultimately hit 56kg and dropped 5% body fat which meant I had a total body fat percentage of 16. I hadn’t been this size since my high school swimming days and I’d never thought it was possible. I then fell pregnant with my 4th child, Felix. I went up to nearly 80kg again (my father in law pointed out that I looked bigger than with the twins, bless him) and had to lose it all over again. Once I got my sugar addiction under control (during pregnancy and breastfeeding I crave sugar – which is why I believe sugar cravings are not only nutritional deficiencies but hormonal imbalances) I cut out the sugar and grain but added a new concept in – intermittent fasting. Absolutely sensational!! Short periods of food restriction (I never exceed 24 hours) a couple of times a week. The thrilling news too – it’s 100% backed by research. Oooh lordy I was in science heaven!! My weight is currently back down to 56kg and my body fat percentage is approximately 20. I maintain this very easily and I have done so without exercise. I write about the lack of exercise in my “Seasons” post so I don’t want to be repetitive but I do need to make this point. I am NOT advocating to not exercise. I wanted to exercise but my life was making it very difficult. My point is also that weight loss is driven by diet and not exercise. Exercise is very important for so many reasons and I’m thankful that my season of ‘lack of exercise’ is coming to an end. But more on that later.
If you have persisted in reading this (thank you) you may be thinking that because my weight loss was relatively small compared to what you have to lose that I can’t help you. I’d say this: LCHF works for nearly everyone and I know I can help you too whether you have 10kg to lose or 100kg to lose. I didn’t think that I’d ever achieve what I did, yet here I am. Overall I’ve lost 55kg in pregnancy weight and after having 4 children I’m the same size I was during high school (I’m 32 years old btw). I’d also say that I feel great (apart from the sleep deprivation) and never feel any sort of deprivation in the food I eat. I absolutely love the food I make (it doesn’t feel like any sort of diet) and my family does too. My long term health is absolutely reaping the benefits of LCHF which I will cover in more detail later. I’d really like to point out though, as much as I’ve harped on about weight loss it’s not really my ultimate focus. I tend to focus on it purely because I have to. When people come to me, it’s because they’re overweight and need help. If you’re overweight or obese, you must lose weight but when you do something for all the health benefits (and not just weight loss), you’re more likely to adhere to it. I want to see people reclaim their health and their bodies – the weight loss people will experience is a natural by-product of the LCHF lifestyle.
Finally, I really want you to know that you’re not an idiot or stupid or lazy for not being able to lose weight. You’ve been duped by a system that cares more about a profit margin than it does your health. When I finally worked out what was going on and then found it actually worked, I could’ve cried. I could’ve cried for all those years of dieting and feeling stupid. Then I got a little mad and then I thought, screw the system, the message needs to get out. So here I am.