In a bid to shift a little bodyfat, I have decided to follow a low carb plan as recommended by a friend of mine. The plan is “The Real Meal Revolutution” by
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not one of those trainers who is all about “keto this and keto that- carbs are evil and you are a monster if you eat them”. Carbs to me, are life. If I could eat them all day every day with no ill effect I would. HOWEVER. Whether it be through carbs, or whatever else, I have gained bodyfat through over eating through Christmas and New Year and now is the time to nip that in the bud and slim down again.
Everything works-until it doesn’t.
I firmly believe that, anything that encourages you to safely, healthily and successfully stay in a calorie deficit in order to lose fat-is the way to go. Whether it’s low carb, high carb, slimming world, weight watchers, whatever. Before Christmas I successfully lost bodyfat using my Fitbit app and logging my calories in VS calories out and was able to eat anything I wanted as long as it was within my deficit window depending on how much exercise I had done etc. So, days where I exercised more I could eat more or afford to have a treat such as a panini or some chocolate and days when I hadn’t, I didn’t.
That method isn’t working for me now. My mind isn’t in it. So when my friend mentioned this low carb banting diet book and how she had lost 7lb using it I quizzed her about it, and in the end bought it.
My description of this low carb plan
In a nutshell, my understanding of this low carb plan is eat plenty of vegetables and meat with healthy fats and full fat dairy. You will find yourself cooking in butter, using cheese and full fat Greek yoghurt and by the way, the recipes are DELICIOUS because of this. The book I purchased is very much a recipe book for me, worth having for some real treats even if you’re not dieting! Higher sugar items can’t be consumed in large quantities such as mangoes, carrots, parsnips etc. It isn’t suitable for everyone so you must look into it or speak with your GP first if you have any medical conditions that you think may not be suitable for this plan. Because it’s low carb, there is no sugar, rice, pasta, bread, beans, nuts, potatoes-which at first I was horrified at the idea of, but I have survived so far! Happily at that.
Of course there were some concerns I had when starting this plan:
What about the fat and my cholesterol and heart health?
This was my first concern due to my profession and interest in the heart. What I discovered was pretty interesting though. My diet pre low carb was less heart healthy than this diet, without me even realising. Take my breakfast for example. I usually have brown bread toasted, olive spread, two eggs and avocado. All I changed for this plan was the bread which I replaced with one slice of Serrano Ham.
So I’m eating my breakfast thinking “this can’t be good, I’ve replaced bread with red meat and a salty version at that! But guess what? I compared the two slices of bread to my one slice of ham and it is actually BETTER having the ham! The 2 bread slices had THE SAME SALT CONTENT and TWICE THE FAT CONTENT. Not to mention being higher in calories. Did the ham replacement fill me up as much as the bread? Yes. Am I able to remain fuller for longer? YES. Huge win!
Another thought I had was about my cholesterol while preparing beef mince and bacon lasagne with a cream and cheese topping (de-lic-ious). I don’t worry about my cholesterol when I’m snacking on a share bag of doritos and a large bar of dairy milk with my partner though do I? and guess what, there’s more saturated fat in milk chocolate than there is in a lean beef mince gram for gram! (18g per 100g for chocolate VS 4.7g per 100g for the mince!!!!)
This feels like MADNESS using butter, cream, yoghurt, buttermilk, red meat etc. But compared to some of the stuff I eat and don’t even consider the health implications, it’s SO much better for me! Now the challenge would be to eat this low carb diet but without the butter, cream and red meat. That would be the ultimate heart healthy way! However the fats keep you feeling full. We need saturated fat in our diet anyway so I just make sure I don’t go too crazy (which the plan does remind you to do anyway)
What about my energy levels?
We use carbohydrates for energy, any that we don’t use will then be stored as fat. When we drop our carb intake low enough, we start to use fat for energy (this is why I’m on this plan). My energy levels have been WIPED this week I will admit. I have been a little hazey, I’ve napped a couple of afternoons this week but my overall performance teaching my classes, training and being physically capable-no change. So it’s very much mind over matter.
What about cravings?
This has HANDS DOWN been the hardest part for me. All I have thought about is food. All I’ve wanted is a doughnut. I did a food shop and walked past the bakery aisle and could of bitten in to every single thing on the shelf. I have very much gone through some sort of withdrawral from carbs, be it physically or just in my mind, I’ve struggled. Badly. BUT I DID IT. It’s the weirdest thing though because I haven’t been hungry when I’ve craved carb foods. My stomach has been full and my appetite satiated.
I did however promise myself that if I stayed strong until the weekend, if I still fancied it I could go and buy a guilt-free slab of cake with a coffee from a café near where I live in Frinton-on-Sea. Oh it felt so good to eat. The nausea that followed was worth it haha. Now it’s off my mind and I’m straight back on it so just needed to get that out of my system to move on.
I have made myself a low carb chocolate flavoured treat for when I’m feeling desperate though. It uses cashew nut butter which is a higher carb nut so I only have a teaspoonful. I microwave it for 20 secs and mix about 2 tbsp. warm milk in it. Then I sprinkle unsweetened cocoa powder in to my desired taste. It’s very dark and luxurious and tastes and feels like the centre of a molten chocolate bomb cake type desert. I love it!
Won’t I just eat loads of dairy and nuts and gain weight?
Well so far I’m 3lb down and my measurements have reduced by 1cm each on my bust, waist and belly button. I don’t want to eat loads of dairy and nuts because I’m full from my meals and don’t want to snack.
How’s the I.B.S?
As a sufferer of irritable bowel syndrome I was concerned about the high amount of meat and dairy that needs to be consumed thinking that was my issue. Since doing this low carb plan I have had NO ILL EFFECTS. Not even from the eggs which have caused me digestive issues for years. So this is pretty amazing to me!! It may be due to the fact I’m not consuming wheat and gluten, it may be because I’m not consuming large quantities of different foods, it may be because I’m not grazing all day and snacking on bread and houmous? I don’t know. But I like it!!
Are there ANY side effects?
Apart from feeling a little tired (my partner has been absolutely fine and in fact says he’s full of energy more so than when he eats carbs) and craving cake, I’ve been fine. Oh, thirsty! It can make you a little thirsty. Carbs contain water so by reducing the amount I have therefore reduced my water intake. Easily rectified though!
Aren’t the low carb meals boring?
NO. NO. NO. They are heavenly! I made cottage pie and instead of potato on the top I made cauliflower mash which does NOT. I repeat NOT. taste like cauliflower when you eat it! Pure and simple you cook a cauliflower head, cool it, blend it with 30g of butter, 2 egg yolks and a pinch of nutmeg and voila! I made lasagne and used aubergine slices instead of pasta which worked just as well (I’m not a pasta fan anyway mind you but my partner is and he loved this alternative). I also made a thai green chicken curry with cauliflower rice (pulse a whole cauliflower in a blender until it’s of couscous consistency, spread over an oven tray and bake until crumbly-I also added a little coconut milk to the finished product-yum!!). Not to mention the curried butter chicken and the crispy parmesan chicken wings with halloumi fries! Some of the meals are really quite special.
If you like a cooked breakfast, this is great for you! Eggs, bacon and avocado. Serrano Ham and Mushroom Omelette. Sausages, egg, tomatoes and avocado. Roasted nuts on Greek Yoghurt with fresh fruit. Very nice!
So, so far so good. I shall see how week two treats me and hopefully will see some visible fat loss in the weeks to come-wish me luck!!