BY SARAH MYS
In my first article, I elaborated on my motivation to try out the diet from Professor David Ludwig’s book, “Always Hungry”.
My main reason was to get closer to the truth about healthy eating, but I also wanted to get rid of some extra kilos. Moreover, the idea of no longer having the urge to snack constantly appealed to me. As I went through the book, I got increasingly curious if this diet could really work. So on the first Monday of March, I embarked on Dr. Ludwig’s eating plan.
Before getting started, the book recommends taking a week to prepare oneself and to start cooking. I skipped this step, but I did measure and weigh myself, and completed my huge shopping list.
I have to admit – the first week was a lot of work. It got better after a few days when I could eat the leftovers from dinner for lunch, but there was still a lot of cooking because I had to cook separate meals for my family. Many of the dishes from the eating plan were tasty, but they were very different from the European food I am used to eating, breakfast especially. The first few days, it was “Huevos Rancheros” for breakfast – two eggs served with spicy tomato sauce. A typical Belgian breakfast is bread and Nutella. I have tried healthier options before, but they have been sweet, like oats or chia pudding with fruit.
Dr. Ludwig’s eating plan involves a lot of eating. You should have 5 meals a day and they are huge, so you really don’t feel like snacking in between. For example, as the first stage meals should contain 50% of fat, I was eating raspberries with crème fraîche for dessert! My kids had fun seeing me eat things that I never ate before. My tummy was actually hurting at night after the second day! For the first time, I am on a diet that involves neither hunger nor counting calories.
Dr. Ludwig advises not to weigh yourself daily, but I couldn’t resist. I saw my weight drop by 100g per day, and then went up again. And how did I feel? I was a bit anxious about how to manage this diet while travelling, but apart from that, I felt very good and energetic. I combined the diet with exercise at the gym 3 times a week, even though Dr. Ludwig recommended only going for a walk. It was manageable – I sweated more and I found myself tiring quicker so I had to stop my workouts earlier than usual.
After 2 weeks, it was time to switch to Level 2 of the diet – which meant less fat and more carbs. A few new products were introduced – quinoa, sweet potato, whole rice and steel cut oats. Tropical fruits like mango and banana and dried fruit were allowed as well. Dr Ludwig only planned the first week’s menu for Level 2, you are on your own from the second week onwards. Honestly, I’m still on Level 2, but I cook using my own recipes. I try to adjust them, incorporating what I learned the past weeks. This is the level where weight loss should start.
I find that I am doing better at gym, and my energy level is still stable. I probably would have lost more weight if I had a really different diet before, and if I had stuck more to Dr. Ludwig’s plan, but it was also a relief to go back to my own recipes.
My impression is that my way of eating hasn’t changed that much compared to what it was previously. I just have more guidelines. Moreover, I feel that I indulge myself more than I did before – I enjoy my daily cappuccino, and I eat tasty dressings with my vegetables. On lunch and dinner dates I eat everything except bread and potatoes. Occasionally, I allow myself a “cheat” meal. I have reached a point where this eating plan feels “natural” to me. I know it sounds cliché, but that’s how I feel about it.
As of end May, it has been more than 10 weeks since I started Dr. Ludwig’s diet. I have combined it with gym 3 times a week. The outcome? I lost about 2.5 kilos, 6 cm off my waist, 3 cm off my hips, and 8 cm off my left thigh. None on my arms though – that’s probably because of all the weightlifting I did! I feel very good, optimistic (although I’m mostly an optimist) and energized. I really feel the difference after “cheating” on a meal. If you don’t stick to the plan 100%, the urge to snack doesn’t disappear completely – it’s just less. I no longer crave sugar as much. An apple with almond butter or a piece of black chocolate seems sweet enough.
My verdict so far: Dr. Ludwig’s eating plan is definitely not a crash diet, but a healthy way to achieve a healthy body and mind. I will keep at it because I’m curious to see how the impact will be in the long term.
Write to you soon!