So you’ve been trying out this new Low Carb High Fat Tim Noakes Banting Paleo diet thing that everybody is raving about?
You’ve cut the bread and the pasta and the chips and the fizzy drinks, but you’re still not seeing the results you were hoping for?
Surely all this deprivation should be giving you something back right? How come it seems to be working for everyone else?
If you’ve been asking yourself these questions lately, then I want to share a few tips I wish someone had told me three years ago when I first started down the LCHF road…
– It takes time.
It probably has taken you ten years+ to put on the weight you’re hoping to lose. And that’s after diligent day-by-day snacking and over-eating 3 meals and then some, every single day. So it’s certainly going to take a lot longer than a couple of months to shed all that hard-earned fat.
If it’s any consolation, I’d barely budged 500g in 3 months. I remember whinging on the phone to my brother, moaning how the scale must be broken or something!
Hang in there. Three years in and I’ve exceeded my goal weight. Or is that receded? All I know is at first I wanted to get to 75 kg’s from 86 kg’s which I thought was a total pipe dream! I’m now at 72 kg’s with a new lease on life, boundless energy, no cravings, and in the best shape of my life. Stay strong, a little bit of will power will go a long way. Especially if it’s served with butter.
****Latest weight as of January 2015 now down 17kg’s to 70kg’s and down two dress sizes even AFTER a lazy, food-filled Christmas. For the first time in my life I can say I feel completely comfortable with my body and I’m actually happy with my current weight (please go back in time and tell the 17 year old me!). So please I urge you, don’t give up trying. Also, live a little. Learn to forgive yourself if you slip up. Tomorrow is another day. Stay focused on the bigger picture! ****
So just be patient. Stop weighing yourself. In fact, throw your scale out of a second storey window. Base your success rather on how incredible you feel, the constant energy. How your clothes are starting to fit better, and how you don’t feel and look so puffy and bloated anymore. The freedom you feel not being a slave to your cravings…
– Cut out the hidden sugars
So you’ve ditched the obvious culprits; bread, added sugar, rice, pizza, pasta, potatoes so why isn’t the weight dripping off you like a melting ice cream? Ooooh ice cream… Focus! Be strong! You can do this!
In my first 8 months into this new way of life I literally went cold turkey on the sugar front, and that was sugar in all forms.
So watch out for that fruit. Eat loads of berries (with cream duh) but avoid very sweet things like pineapples, bananas, apples, honey etc. I’m not saying don’t ever eat fruit again as long as you shall live. Just cut out fruit until you find yourself more in line with your goal weight.
If you’re worried about nutrients and all that, then eat loads of veg! Especially leafy green stuff and anything vibrant & colourful. I can assure you the veggie aisle has way more nutrient impact than that poor sad apple who’s been sitting in cold storage for the last 6 months.
Watch the dairy and the nuts too. Milk is incredibly high in lactose (milk sugar) so substitute it for cream, full fat Greek yogurt & full cream cheeses. Don’t let anything that’s labelled “Low Fat” pass your lips. (who would have believed that statement a few years ago?). If they remove the fat, they have to add sugar, otherwise it tastes like cardboard, and no one would buy it. So buy real butter, real yoghurt, real cheese. As un-humanized as possible!
Nuts are awesome, but if you’re knocking back a bag of pistachios every night, that could be your problem. And go easy on the nut flour baked goods too. Great on the weekend, not so great after every meal.
– Stop weighing yourself religiously
I know I’ve said this already, but seriously, get off the scale! Go outside for a walk instead. Yes it’s good to track your progress, but obsessing over the grams before and after a pee, stripping down starved & starkers on a daily basis is not helping you. Rather go by how your new lifestyle makes you feel. How are your clothes starting to fit you better? Aren’t you feeling more radiant & energetic? Thankfully the way I felt after the first 6 months was enough of a motivator for me, even though the scale wasn’t really shaking in its boots.
Keep a food & mood journal. Be honest, if you slip up, record it. Then record how crappy you felt afterwards. You’ll soon be saying in your head “No Mr Doughnut, it’s over. You’re not good enough for me. Besides why would I want to settle for you and your oily badass, when I can be with all these guys…”
– Eat more fat
Are you still feeling the twinge of cravings? Finding it hard to resist when eating out or entertaining? Of course it’s not healthy to obsess over every mouthful or be puritanical about it. But if the “oh OK just this once” is happening three times a week, that could be the problem. You really need to be strict, at least in the first 6 months while your body adjusts.
If you can foresee a social event or occasion that might not be very in line with your new eating habits, go prepared. Eat something light (& fatty) before you go out. You won’t be ravenous, & therefore less inclined to gorge yourself if you’ve had something substantial. So have a small omelette before meeting friends for pizza. That way ordering a calamari starter with extra garlic cream sauce and a Cesar salad won’t feel like such a challenge.
Another key point is to stop eating when you’re full and only eat when you’re actually hungry. I skip breakfast all the time! Yes, yes I hear dear old granny harping on about it being the most important meal of the day bla bla bla. But if you’re not hungry, then don’t eat. The same goes for not having to finish everything that’s on your plate. Listen to your body.
If you feel a craving coming on, don’t succumb to something stodgy. Sure a quick nibble on a biscuit at 4:45pm seems harmless enough. But the spiral it will send your blood sugar on is just not worth it. So be prepared, take fatty things with you to work and always have something on hand if you find you’re the type to snack. Think salami, cheese, nuts & seeds, have a cuppa and add a dash of cream. If you really struggle giving up things, find substitutions. If you’re a chocoholic, wean yourself onto Lindt 90%. Use xylitol in tea and coffee instead of sugar or artificial sweeteners. The reason you want to keep the fat going strong is that is stimulates your leptin (I feel full) signal in your brain much faster than carbs do. That way you’ll be less inclined to grab that muffin at the petrol station.
– Exercise smarter, not harder
If you’re going to gym religiously every day, cycling on level 3 for 2 hours then a half hour in the sauna, because, well you know, it melts fat. Please stop. Rather do high intensity stuff 2-3 times a week. Push yourself. Do sprints, incline training (run or walk very fast up a hill). Do weights. Girls don’t worry, you won’t get muscular. I wish it was that easy to put on muscle after a couple of reps with a 2kg dumbbell!
Rather do fewer, higher intensity workouts, that make you break a good sweat and gets your heart rate racing. Spend less time meandering meaninglessly on the treadmill, and you’ll have more time to spend in the kitchen making fresh, awesome food following that killer (but quick) workout.
– Adjust your expectations
Let’s face it, no diet where you loose 5 kg’s in 2 weeks is healthy or sustainable. You’re in this for the long run. Not a quick purge to get rid of some water weight to squeeze yourself into that one-size-too-small dress. Focus on how you want to feel alive, have better health. Don’t obsess over a number on a scale. Obsess on how things make you feel.
It’s important to not see it as a “diet” either. I know it seems like the latest fat-blasting wave and all your friends are doing it. But if you really want to see results, don’t look at it as just something you’ll give a try. Do your research. Once you believe in the information and want to change your life and health for the better that’s when you should start this thing. Not on Monday.
– Be a better you.
I’m not going to lie. If you’re not really a keen bean in the kitchen, then this might be a bit of a task for you. There are no 2 minute, add water & stir, grab-&-go drive-thru Mcquick fixes in this lifestyle. A lot of the food you’ll need to prepare yourself so you know exactly what’s in it. But seriously now, this is your health we’re talking about. It’s not that obligatory weekly phone call to Aunt Agatha. This is something serious. So reevaluate what’s important to you and your family? If you can’t spend that extra 30 minutes a day putting in the time to cook a nutritious real meal, but you’re totally OK with watching TV for 4 hours… We need to talk. You don’t have to go all Martha Stewart to be able to eat healthy.
– Don’t be that guy!
We all hate it when biblical extremists knock on our doors offering to save our souls from eternal hell fire. So let’s not become one of them at a dinner party or restaurant. I’m not saying use every social occasion as an excuse to eat a whole pile of crud because you’re too polite to say no thanks to noodles. But we know how draining it is to be around people with very strong opinions. So play it cool. Casually order a whole bunch of starters, and watch your friends enviously eye you up as you shlurp the cream from that mussel shell. But please whatever you do, don’t preach the low-carb gospel to your captive audience at a pizzeria. If they ask, talk about it. But please, stay cool.