Losing weight has been on my to-do list for some time. I’ve been carrying “baby weight” for a few years now. And the “I’m breastfeeding, feed me everything” weight. Oh, and the “hell yes, I want fries with that” weight. Not to mention the “pass the wine” weight.
I’ve tried different diets, of course. The all-your-food-delivered diets were okay, but didn’t keep me interested. My green juice faze didn’t last long because it was neither satisfying or delicious. Sticking to six small, healthy meals a day works great for some people, less so for people who do shift work, like me.
I don’t want to make excuses here. I’ve just struggled to find something that was a good fit for me (and I don’t just mean my pants!). Then I started looking into LCHF- Low Carb, Healthy Fat.
What is LCHF?
I know quite a few people following this way of eating and even though I’m still figuring it all out, I’m down 7kg. LCHF is all about eating plenty of meat, vegetables and full-fat dairy. You’re basically filling up on fat rather than carbs, using “good” oils like olive, coconut and macadamia. You put butter on pretty much everything. Even in your coffee. Yes, really. I balked at that, to be honest, but coffee, blitzed with butter and coconut oil is an LCHF staple (known as Bulletproof Coffee) and I can confirm that it’s frothy, tasty goodness.
I found lots of resources online with recipes, support groups and information on starting out with LCHF. These lists on the Real Meal Revolution website have been a simple way for me to work out what to eat while getting used to a low-carb lifestyle.
Sticking with It
My friends who’ve raved about it assured me it was easy to stick to, because you get to eat so many yummy things. They’re right, to an extent. Who wouldn’t be happy to not just have permission, but an imperative to put butter on everything? That said, I have had plenty of struggles because, if I’m honest, I had a major carb addiction before I started. I spent a week or two battling cravings for a hunk of sourdough and a bowl of fettuccine. Maybe even a little longer lusting after a side of fries. Slowly but surely, though, the cravings have (mostly) tapered off.
I might have missed the bread and pasta and spuds at first, but I made up for it with cheese. Cream cheese, haloumi, mozzarella, oh my! And I rediscovered eggs, nuts, salads and crispy veggies on the side. These days I don’t each a lot of processed food and I drink much more water than I used to. I’ve noticed, too, that my meal portions are smaller. I fill up quickly and I’m not hungry for quite a while.This, from all I’ve read, is how a low-carb, healthy fat diet should work.
So, how does it all work?
Being a sceptical sort, it took some convincing for me to believe that a diet of bacon and double Brie was going to take inches off my waist. So I did what I always do and read the research. I’ve read lots of information about the benefits of a low-carb lifestyle, from weight loss to assisting in diabetes control. Studies show that low-carb eating plans can help to achieve weight loss and improved health outcomes. Similar outcomes can be achieved by different ways of eating; counting calories, reducing fat intake and so on. I decided to try LCHF because of one key factor: sustainability.
US-based professor of clinical epidemiology, Brad Johnston, Ph.D. said that “The take-home message is that people should choose a diet they can best adhere to.” For me, LCHF is not difficult to maintain. I prefer savoury foods, so giving up sugary treats wasn’t difficult. Still being able to enjoy the foods I like has made the adjustment much simpler and easier. I don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach; I needed to find a way of eating that I could adhere to with minimal difficulty to help shed kilos and improve my health.
Things to Keep in Mind
- If you plan on giving LCHF a go, it’s worth having a chat to your doctor if you have any health concerns. As I said, there’s no way of eating that will suit absolutely everyone. Make sure it’s right for you, especially if you have any existing medical issues.
- It’s low-carb, not no-carb. I try to stick to around 50g of carbs a day. I can have a sandwich every now and then and I don’t feel bad about it or obsess over it.
- Make sure you get enough fibre in your diet by upping your veggie and water intake. If you need help in that department, psyllium husk (something I use in my LCHF pizza dough recipe) stirred into water can help keep things regular.
- Be warned: some LCHF support groups on Facebook are pretty full on. They go beyond healthy eating, making all kinds of claims about food and being harsh and judgmental to people who are less strict. Like any kind of diet or lifestyle choice, LCHF has attracted its share of people who may have deeper-seated issues with food. I saw a well-known LCHF food blogger torn to shreds for sharing the fact that she occasionally eats a potato. Like any group online, proceed with caution.