So it’s been five weeks since I’ve been eating low carb, high fat (LCHF), and in that time I’ve lost 8 lbs, for a total of 23 lbs since last May. A week of that (well 5 days) was when I was in Lanza and I was eating bread and having some booze, so not strictly LC, but I was straight back on it when I got back (including cutting out alcohol until I go back to Lanzarote). I’ve not been doing loads of exercise either. At the moment I’m working through a two session a week six-week training plan in the gym, and that’ll increase by one session a week when I start the next programme. As I’ve written about, I’ve completely binned sugar as part of this, but it’s also taken a concerted effort to maintain a lower carb intake, as it would be really easy to let it creep up with the odd carb-laden yet (pretty much) sugar-free goodie (damn you delicious croissants!). What I’m particularly happy about is I’ve managed a week of PMT and a menstrual cycle without mainlining sugar/crisps/bread/anything carbalicious (in the interests of truthfulness I did have a croissant the other night after a stressful work afternoon and to satisfy a one-off mahoosive PMT carb craving, but afterwards I felt a bit bleurgh). This is nothing short of miraculous for me, as I’ve really struggled with hormonal cravings for, well, forever. In fact I used to get PMDD which is like an evil version of PMT on steroids, and the only thing that ‘cured’ it was introducing butter into my diet. I kid you not. I used to eat Flora (yellow spreadable plastic) because it was ‘healthier’, but as soon as I switched to proper butter, it cured my PMDD. Women need more fat, and now I know why.
There’s no denying that many people think it’s a fad/dangerous etc. etc., and you know, we all need to find what works for us, so I’m not trying to sell it to anyone. I’ve read lots of different books, some journal articles, watched videos etc. Of course when you’re interested in something you tend to look for information which supports it, and may therefore be ignoring some pertinent data that completely contradicts the said belief etc., and I’m doing that to an extent. However, a lot of the information I’ve been reading tries to explain the problems with the promulgation of low-fat/high carb (the UK/US/AUS etc. food pyramids tend to all be high carb, and this is what their respective governments advocate for the masses) lifestyles. A lot of the science/research that was used in the 70s to link saturated fat and heart disease (which resulted in the call for lower fat diets) has been debunked/updated, so for me, it stacks up. I’m typing this on the hoof, so I don’t have any references to link to, but one day when I have a decent amount of time, I’ll try to write a post that details the arguments and back them up with references etc. (for my own benefit as much as anything else).
Anyway, I think some people have a funny idea of what LCHF is about, so what do I eat? In a typical day, for breakfast I’ll have scrambled eggs or a cheese & mushroom omelette, or maybe even bacon, sausage and egg if I eat at work. If I get sick of eggs (I usually need a couple of days off eggs every once in a while) I’ll have some blueberries and thick double cream on top. Or I might not eat breakfast if I’m not hungry. For lunch I usually have leftovers of dinner from the previous night, but essentially it’ll be some kind of protein (chicken, lamb, beef, fish) and lots of veggies (maybe broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, courgette, carrots, spinach, kale, chard or some other leafy green) and maybe a sauce (i.e. homemade curry sauce that includes onions, garlic, spices, coconut milk, or like today I had lamb with gravy made from the bottom of the roasting tin). Dinner is a similar type of thing – meat and veg or a homemade stew from the slow cooker, leftover roast chicken, or soup made with stock from the roast chicken. If I get hungry during the day I have salted almonds, salted macadamia nuts and/or a bit of cheese. That’s it really. My fridge is full of fresh meat/fish/veggies, cream, cheese and usually some blueberries. The only things I’m eating that have a label on them are cream, cheese, nuts & coconut milk in a tin. Nothing else comes out of a packet. Oh, the bacon and sausages do if I’ve not bought them from a meat counter, and maybe pâté if I have it but that’s it (that I can think of).
So is this a dangerous way of eating? I can’t see it. I’m not overeating the ‘fat’ bits of the diet (i.e. snaffling a kilo of cheese a day – if I eat any it’s about 25-30g, same with nuts). This is actually the food I grew up with – my Mum cooked everything herself, and occasionally we’d have a ready meal as a treat, but it was just normal food. The difference would be adding bread and cereal for breakfast. The only other difference is there was often some amazing baking available – scones or a Victoria sponge or some rick cakes. Those I still kind of miss, but I know I feel better not eating them.
The ironic thing is that I was always worried not eating sugar or crappy processed treats would make me feel like I was living a kind of half-lived life, that I’d really be missing out. I still feel that a little bit with cakes, but in truth I actually feel an immense sense of freedom. I honestly feel as though I’ve been released from a kind of food prison, I shit you not. I just eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, if I’m still hungry I have a snack, and that’s it. The other day I was busy in the evening and didn’t have time to head home to pick up dinner so ate breakfast and lunch then nothing for the rest of the evening, and I felt fine. That’s the real difference. I can handle weight sessions in the gym without needing to carb-load first (and I’m not into taking BCAAs or other supplements; I don’t see why I need them). I don’t feel heavy/bloated/lethargic after eating now. I actually understand what hunger is now, and I only eat when I’m hungry, and I stop when I’ve eaten enough (and any food leftover is stuck back in the fridge). I don’t need to have these mental arguments with myself about eating crap – I just don’t eat it. Easy. The thing is, it actually has been easy. I’m still in shock and waiting for some kind of world-ending craving mania to hit, but so far, so good.
All going well, this is what I eat now, and that’s it. It’s not about going back to something when I reach a healthy weight.
One thing is for sure I am NEVER going back to eating sugar.