Tired and frustrated with my gradually expanding waist and rising weight, after trying a range of “diets” and “cleanses” I was ready to admit defeat and just grow with the flow…. Then I saw an article on LCHF (Low Carbohydrate, High Fat) as a lifestyle change. NOT A DIET….as it requires a total change in the way you think about food, understanding the research behind a LCHF way of life and making a commitment to giving it a go. So I read a bit, thought a bit, planned a bit and gave it a go…for 2 weeks. It didn’t make any difference…. so I told my daughter and my cousin that it didn’t work. And they both told me that I needed to give it more time…and my daughter even told me that my real problem was I have a habit of giving up too soon…the cheek of her…but maybe she has a point. My dear cousin provided support, backed by her exhaustive research, and encouragement to stick with it a bit longer.
Here I am at week eight and this is the start of my journey.
Firstly – I am not a Doctor, nor am I a nutritionist. There are many things that can impact a person’s health and influence their dietary requirements….always do your own research and seek professional advice that is specific to your circumstances.
Prior to embarking on this journey I had a full medical with my GP, including blood tests and blood pressure. I have long-term hypocalcemia caused by hypoparathyroidism and I have raised blood pressure. Both medicated on prescription. I am also menopausal and use a herbal support for this with no HRT (Hormone replacement therapy).
Secondly – before you do anything – know what you are doing and why you are doing it?
For me the WHY is easy – my gradually expanding waist and rising weight were becoming distressing to me and I was distressed by my inability to get any change unless I ate less than 800 calories a day – not really a healthy way to do things.
The WHAT was the next important thing to get my head around. There are many great articles, blogs and researched presentations about this but these are the ones I started with.
Thirdly – make a decision. Is it for me? Yes or No? If your answer is yes, then you need to decide what you are trying to achieve and how you will measure your progress.
Measuring progress for me has included the use of my fitbit scales and food diary, a tape measure, ketosticks and a home blood pressure monitor. My scales measure weight and body fat % – yes, I know that a body fat% measure in this way can be unscientific however by reducing or minimising other variables this is still a good tool for tracking a trend. My scales sit on a tile floor in the bathroom on the same tile all the time. I use the scale first thing in the morning immediately after emptying my bladder, naked. Likewise, when checking my blood pressure, I remove as many variables as possible by taking a reading before I get out of bed in the morning. In this way i can see trends or patterns in the measurements. I don’t like tape measures at is very hard to take accurate, level measurements in the exact same place but they can also show a trend.
If you have got this far, and have read the information on the links above, you will understand a bit about the use of ketosticks in monitoring ketosis. If you like to measure things and have visual confirmation that you are on track, these can be good. Again there are some variables, such as dehydration, that can impact the readings. Again, you need to learn as you go. For me they were reassuring that I was doing the “right” thing before I saw any other results.
If you have other health needs to monitor, such as blood sugars, you should establish a routine for measuring these at a time when variables are minimised. There is some great information and links for diabetics to be found on this site. ketogenic-diet-resource.com/ketoacidosis
Part of my plan is a followup consultation with my GP at the 3 month pont to recheck my blood – particularly Liver Function and Cholesterol. I figure that this will be adequate time to measure any significant change.
Fourthly – make a committment, a plan and get organised.
Decide that you will commit to
- a healthier way of eating – based on your research
- monitor your progress and health
- be honest about what goes in your mouth by using a food diary
- give it time to work, before you think of quitting
Using the advice and recipes found on the internet and Facebook pages, I was able to locate beginners shopping lists and meal plans to get started. Here are a couple of recipes that I have tried and adapted to suit my tastes and preferences.
Although my ultimate goal is to lose weight I really want to feel better in my own body, whatever shape it is. For a while I got confused about what the “best” Carb:Fat:Protein percentages were until I realised that this is totally related to your particular goals for health and/or weight loss. I found this Keto calculator to be a great tool for calculating my personal Carb:Fat:Protein targets and helping me to “tweak” my food choices and portion sizes.
I was lucky that my Fitbit food diary calculates Carb:Fat:Protein percentages for me. I hear that Cronometer.com is also a great tool for recording you food and having it calculate your Carb:Fat:Protein percentages.
Many people achieve instant success with weight loss or in body shape changes – I was not one of those people for me it was the small but gradual reduction in my body fat% that kept me encouraged. Then the weight loss started…slowly but surely. It took time to grow and it will take time to shrink. It was not until week six that I was confident enough to claim that the success was attributed to LCHF lifestyle change and not just chance. So far over 2kg (4Ibs) of sticky icky gooey fat has been shed from my body – this can be visualised as 4 x 500 gram tubs of margarine – GONE!!! The three month medical review will be my time for reflection on the overall health impact of the LCHF lifestyle.
Lastly (for today) – get some support from the LCHF community via Facebook pages or FAQs on the sites mentioned. You will doubt the process, have questions and others will tell you this is wrong or even dangerous. You will need to unlearn many habits and ways of thinking as you cleanse your kitchen of temptations.
You will need to rely on the research you have done and be strong in your resolve to improve your health for the better as you change your way of eating and wait patiently for the results to come.
What I’m Eating and Drinking as I get started
My amazing cousin Michelle has been my Mentor and Guide as I have embarked on this journey and she collected this list of additional resources you may wish to look at.
Coming Next – Party Food, Take-outs and dining out