BIWI and any other low carb experts! A few questions from a novice low-carber.

(38 Posts)
SoMuchToBits Wed 04-May-16 15:22:13

Hi, I have recently been doing a lot of reading on the low carb threads, and have decided to follow this WOE. I want to lose about 2 stone (starting from 10st 10).

I started just over a week ago, and think I'm getting on ok, but have a few questions. Also, could you have a look at a couple of days of my food diary, and tell me if you think I'm roughly on track? Thank you!

Questions:-

1) Apart from 'carb flu' (fortunately I only had a mild headache for the first couple of days, nothing else), should I expect any side effects?
2) Apart from weight loss, what other health benefits can I expect?
3) Roughly what sort of weight loss can I expect? I lost 2lb in the first week - would this be about right?
4) I understand that I need to eat quite a lot of fat to keep me from feeling hungry, but am a bit concerned about cholesterol/clogged arteries. Will this become a problem if I eat LCHF long term?
5) Thinking ahead a bit, but when it comes to maintenance, what should I add back in to my diet? I was thinking along the lines of yes to whole fruit, nuts, higher carb veg (such as carrots and onions) and some legumes. I'm hoping to avoid adding anything sugary back in, so no cakes, biscuits, puddings, sweets. Also hoping to avoid refined starchy carbs (white bread, rice etc), but not sure about whole grains yet.

Menus:-

Yesterday
Breakfast - omelette made with 2 eggs, small handful grated cheddar, 2 mushrooms, 1 small tomato, cooked in butter.
Lunch - salad of handful of prawns, 1 rasher bacon, 1 avocado, mixed salad leaves, cucumber, small amount red pepper, mushrooms and mayonnaise.
Dinner - 2 chicken thighs (skin on) baked with garlic, chilli, basil, tomatoes ad olive oil, served with leeks sautéed in butter.
Snack - couple of slices of cold roast beef (with yummy fat on!)
Drinks - 2 litres water, 4 cups tea with dash of milk.

Today
Breakfast - omelette made with 2 eggs, rasher of bacon, 2 mushrooms, small tomato, cooked in butter.
Lunch - salad of cold chicken (which had been baked in butter), avocado, cucumber, mushrooms, spinach leaves, red pepper, mayonnaise.
Dinner - Gratinee of eggs (cook courgettes, garlic and shallots in butter, add small quantity of tinned tomatoes, break 2 eggs in, cover with handful of cheddar and grill) served with broccoli.
Drinks, 2 litres water, 4 cups tea with dash of milk.
Snacks, not sure yet!

I do realise that milk isn't really encouraged, but I'm totally addicted to tea, and hate it black. I have cut down my tea consumption though (I'm usually an 8 cups a day girl! blush).

If you could have a look at that and tell me what you think, I'd be very grateful - thank you!

stilllovingmysleep Wed 04-May-16 21:16:44

Somuchtobits your menu looks lovely to me smile

In terms of your questions, others who know more will help I'm sure. Just to say: in terms of other benefits, a massive change for me is that I've stopped being sleepy / lethargic at work (used to hit me like a ton of bricks in afternoon). Other big change is no carb cravings and reduced hunger overall.

In terms of fat: personally I try not to eat excessive animal fat. First because I just don't like it that much. Second because I simply haven't been 100% convinced of the benefits of that much animal fats. I go more for things like olive oil / coconut oil etc. But that's just me smile

I also wouldn't terribly worry about 4 splashes of milk with tea as long as you keep it at that and don't increase your tea / milk. I've managed however to develop a taste for black filter coffee in recent months which has surprised me.

SoMuchToBits Thu 05-May-16 14:02:39

Thanks - I hate coffee, so not likely to replace my tea with that I'm afraid! grin

Also, I've just thought of something else I wanted to ask. I've heard about 'being fat-adapted' being mentioned. What exactly does that mean, and how will I know if/when I'm fat-adapted? Sorry if I'm being a bit thick!

stilllovingmysleep Thu 05-May-16 18:58:42

I have no idea what fat adapted is, first time I've heard of it!

SoMuchToBits Thu 05-May-16 19:08:03

I think it's something that's supposed to happen when you've been low carbing for a couple of weeks or so, and means you don't get so hungry and need snacks. Or something confused. Hopefully BIWI will be along soon and make everything clear! smile

stilllovingmysleep Thu 05-May-16 19:29:54

Regardless of how its called, I certainly have found lc a fantastic way to not be hungry, have more energy and not have cravings

stilllovingmysleep Thu 05-May-16 19:30:20

Now I know the name too grin

Gcalgske Thu 05-May-16 23:46:16

1) Apart from 'carb flu' (fortunately I only had a mild headache for the first couple of days, nothing else), should I expect any side effects?

Some people get cramps. Low carb makes the body expel minerals / electrolytes so you might want to supplement potassium and magnesium to avoid. This also helps with carb flu. Some folks also get a bit bunged up BUT your menu looks to have lots of veg so wouldn't worry too much. If in doubt drink lots of water and try a probiotic or a bit of flax or psyllium.

2) Apart from weight loss, what other health benefits can I expect?

According to the low carb community it can cure everything but you'll have to see what happens for you. Personally low carb/high fat WOE cured my PCOS and gave me my dd and also helps with my anxiety.

3) Roughly what sort of weight loss can I expect? I lost 2lb in the first week - would this be about right?

First loss is largely water weight so some people lose a lot. 2lbs a week seems good to me. Again it's totally personal and depends on a lot of factors: exercise, water etc etc.

4) I understand that I need to eat quite a lot of fat to keep me from feeling hungry, but am a bit concerned about cholesterol/clogged arteries. Will this become a problem if I eat LCHF long term?

No. Dietary advice in the U.K. is sadly stuck in this very old fashioned view. I'd suggest googling Dr Aseem Malhotra. He's a cardiologist and has some very interesting opinions on fats and our consumption. There is tonnes of other info out there but I just find him very accessible and sussinct.
www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/oct/22/butter-cheese-saturated-fat-heart-specialist

5) Thinking ahead a bit, but when it comes to maintenance, what should I add back in to my diet? I was thinking along the lines of yes to whole fruit, nuts, higher carb veg (such as carrots and onions) and some legumes. I'm hoping to avoid adding anything sugary back in, so no cakes, biscuits, puddings, sweets. Also hoping to avoid refined starchy carbs (white bread, rice etc), but not sure about whole grains yet.

Depends on your tolerance to carbs. I would suggest following the Atkins reintroduction protocol (https://www.atkins.com/how-it-works/library/articles/reach-your-goal-by-climbing-the-carb-ladder) which is useful as it has step by step what you should add in. I do not like Atkins current plans and recommend avoiding their pre packaged food like the plague but some of the advice is good, particularly the DANDR 2002.

Your menu looks fine but is lots of food. You should start to notice your appetite go down a bit once you are in the swing of things. I normally just have two meals a day and rarely snack.

Milk is a no no. If you must must must then try to measure it, see how much a splash is. When I did that I got a fright I was having about 50ml a mug (so 4 mugs a day was half my total carbs!)

You might want to try almond milk (u/s alpro or blue diamond are my favourites) or a splash of cream or lacto free milk (has had a lot of the lactose removed so lower in carbs)

Hope that helps

Gcalgske Thu 05-May-16 23:47:41

This is a good explanation of fat adaptation www.tuitnutrition.com/2016/01/dont-be-a-ketard1.html

SoMuchToBits Fri 06-May-16 08:08:58

Thank you, Gcalgske, that's helpful.

With 1), I don't seem to be particularly constipated, but yes, I love veg and am drinking plenty of water, which helps.

2) I have been suffering a bit from anxiety and depression (am currently having some CBT sessions for that), so that's really encouraging. I've actually found that even in the last week or two, my mood seems a bit more 'even', and I've been getting less upset about things, so I'm hoping that's a benefit from the low carbing! I've no idea about PCOS (how do you know if you have it?), but am 54, so fertility isn't an issue for me.

3) 2lb a week would be amazing! I've never lost weight at that rate when I have tried previous diets, so would be very happy with that! Wrt exercise, I do a fair amount of walking (I don't drive), but nothing else regular. I'm hoping to introduce a bit of exercise, but wanted to get into the swing of the new WOE and lose a bit of weight first.

4) That's very reassuring. We seem to have had it drummed into us for so long that a high fat diet is bad for us, that it seems strange not to feel guilty about eating butter etc (although I have always been a fan of butter rather than marge/low fat spreads, just because they taste horrible!)

5) Ok, will have a look at that before I get to the maintenance stage.

Am I really eating a lot of food (for main meals I mean, I am expecting the snacking to decrease)? Is two meals a day normal? I thought we were encouraged to eat 3 a day. Or is it that I'm eating too much at each meal? I don't feel overstuffed after my meals, nor do I still feel hungry.

Also, I've noticed that my snacks are always consumed during the afternoons. I do have a long gap between lunch and dinner (often 7 hours or so) due to the constraints of my day's activities. Am I likely to stop getting peckish between lunch and dinner, once I'm fat adapted?

I will investigate almond milk or lactose free milk I think (don't think I could cope with cream in tea!). Do they taste pretty much the same in tea as regular milk?

Thanks for the link about fat adaptation - will give that a read. smile

stilllovingmysleep Fri 06-May-16 08:32:15

Almond milk is great but make sure you choose the unsweetened version

BIWI Fri 06-May-16 13:52:39

What Gcalgske said!

But I'll give you my three pennyworth as well:

1) Apart from 'carb flu' (fortunately I only had a mild headache for the first couple of days, nothing else), should I expect any side effects?

Not everyone suffers from carb flu. Sounds like you're one of the lucky ones! No other side effects other than sometimes people experience a bit of constipation. But if you make sure you're getting plenty of fibre from vegetables and salad, as well as enough fat and plenty of water, you should be fine.

2) Apart from weight loss, what other health benefits can I expect?

Lots of Bootcampers report all kinds of other benefits! For me, it has sorted out my IBS and also never suffer from thrush these days. At one stage in my life I was getting this every month, for a period of two years!

In terms of the stuff I've read, a high carb diet is associated with tooth decay, obesity, diabetes, cancer and also Alzheimer's. Some are now calling Alzheimer's Type 3 diabetes. If you're interested, there are some really good books about the benefits - Gary Taube's book "the Diet Delusion" is a really good one (although it's a very weighty tome!)

3) Roughly what sort of weight loss can I expect? I lost 2lb in the first week - would this be about right?

You can expect to lose around 1-2lbs a week, but as you get nearer to your target, your weight loss will slow down. If you plot your weight on a graph, from start to finish, you'll be able to see the downward progression - even if the rate slows down.

4) I understand that I need to eat quite a lot of fat to keep me from feeling hungry, but am a bit concerned about cholesterol/clogged arteries. Will this become a problem if I eat LCHF long term?

A lot of what we're told about cholesterol these days is disputed - there's a really interesting book called "The Great Cholesterol Con", by Dr Malcolm Kendrick. Zoe Harcombe also writes some interesting stuff too. her blog is here It's actually better for women to have higher cholesterol.

However, actually you should find that LCHF (low carb high fat) eating sees a better balancing of your cholesterol levels.

It's also worth understanding that the evidence linking fat to coronary heart disease is very weak - despite what we've been told over the last 30 or so years. Again, read Gary Taubes on this, or "Escape the Diet Trap" by Dr John Briffa. Or Zoe Harcombe ...

5) Thinking ahead a bit, but when it comes to maintenance, what should I add back in to my diet? I was thinking along the lines of yes to whole fruit, nuts, higher carb veg (such as carrots and onions) and some legumes. I'm hoping to avoid adding anything sugary back in, so no cakes, biscuits, puddings, sweets. Also hoping to avoid refined starchy carbs (white bread, rice etc), but not sure about whole grains yet

Agree with GCalgske - it's a really good idea to follow the Atkins principle. Everyone has different levels of tolerance for carbs, so you need to work out what's going to work for you. Take it slowly, and introduce things gradually. I'd start by adding some carbier veg and/or some fruit. Then consider pulses/legumes.

Hope this helps! Look forward to 'seeing' you on Bootcamp!

SoMuchToBits Fri 06-May-16 18:09:36

Thank you BIWI!

Do you think I'm eating a bit too much food over all, or is this about right to start with?

Btw, I am really enjoying the low carb food. I've always been a big fan of 'real food', and even before trying low carbing, I was making most meals from scratch. The main differences are that I am now missing out the carby bits (potatoes, pasta, rice etc) from my main meals, eating salads for lunch instead of sandwiches, eating omelettes for breakfast (previously I had porridge or eggs on toast), and eating low carb snacks if I need them instead of my home made biscuits! Oh, and I've stopped drinking shedloads of wine most evenings blush...

QuiteLikely5 Fri 06-May-16 18:27:12

Op don't worry too much about your intake at the moment as I do think that will reduce naturally and even if it didn't you are eating so much better by cutting out the white stuff!

Also would you consider using full fat cream in your tea? This is what I started to use instead of milk.

The benefit to me was no more bloating or the pregnant look, my PMT improved greatly and my hormonal acne disappeared (although it has started to reappear because I've been cheating blush )

Good luck!

Gcalgske Fri 06-May-16 21:25:18

grin biwi glad BC is coming back. I get lonely.

somuch it seems like lots of food to me but then I've been eating this way for ages so my appetite is very reduced. Don't worry about it, trust the process. In the beginning of BC yes you eat three meals and eat until you are full, happy and satisfied. Once you are fully fat adapted (after a few weeks or months) a lot of people drop one.

SoMuchToBits Fri 06-May-16 21:36:17

QuiteLikely, I've just tried a cup of tea with cream. It was... errr... interesting! Puts a whole new meaning to the phrase 'cream tea'! grin Does it matter if the cream is double/single/whatever?

Gcalgske, I can't imagine yet not wanting 3 meals a day. Not just for hunger reasons, but because I love food (so long as it's real fresh stuff). I look forward to all my meals in the day for the taste. I can't imagine not wanting one of them, but maybe that will happen after a few weeks.

If you were eating my meals, but wanting to reduce the amount of food, then what (apart from the snack) would you cut out?

Gcalgske Fri 06-May-16 22:05:56

I love food too! Before I had kids hubby and I used to globetrott eating at michlain starred places and I own every kitchen gadget under the sun. I used to love nothing more than a day in the kitchen fiddling with the sous vide or making jam.

I was always planning my next meal and thinking about what I was going to cook.

I'm not less of a foodie, I still love food but my tastes have changed as I no longer crave carbs and I'm not always hungry.

I love the challenge of cooking really tasty low carb food. Look forward to seeing what you come up with. It's great to bounce ideas off one another and hear about what others are cooking.

I think your menu is fine to start out. Just eat until you are full, and when you are hungry and don't be surprised if you notice a drop in appetite.

I keep my protein moderate so I probably wouldn't have 2 chicken thighs, probably just one and add more butter or olive oil so that fat is biggest part of the meal.

Some people keep losing fine eating more, it's a very personal balance and you'll find your way.

SoMuchToBits Fri 06-May-16 22:20:18

It will be interesting to see how I get on with low carb menu planning over the long term. One good thing is that I have always menu planned for my evening meals, so am used to making a list every week and buying accordingly.

I do also need to make dinners that my ds (aged 15) will eat. Fortunately, he eats most things, So this evening we had salmon in garlic and cream sauce (1 fillet salmon each with fresh parsley, cooked in butter with a crushed clove of garlic, then cream poured in until bubbling) with buttered leeks, but I also cooked some potatoes for ds.

He likes eggs for breakfast, but usually has them with toast, but this morning he took a leaf out of my low carb book and had a mushroom omelette! grin

I am envy at your Michelin starred eating btw! grin Where did you go that was good?

Gcalgske Fri 06-May-16 22:53:02

The fat duck, the Ledbury and the square are my UK favourites. Alinea in Chicago and PerSe in New York are so so good. Planning a trip for our ten year anniversary (in three years shock need time to save up since I gave up work after having our DD) probably Copenhagen or Germany.

BIWI Sat 07-May-16 08:15:45

Oh! We're off to Copenhagen for a long weekend at the end of May! Will report back.

BIWI Sat 07-May-16 08:20:19

SoMuch - your food looks OK to me, but a couple of comments:

- it looks as if you're planning snacks; at the beginning of low carbing this is fine, but you will find, once you get into it after a week or so, that your appetite decreases, so you really won't be hungry between meals. Snacking is often a habit that we get into, or we think we need something between meals, when really we don't. So look to drop these before you cut down your meals

- the quantities look fine from what you've written, and at this stage, certainly you don't need to worry about calories. But again, think about your quantities and habits. I realised only recently that if I make a fry-up, I routinely give myself two eggs, two rashers of bacon and two sausages. Whereas actually I'd be quite satisfied with one of each!

But the key rule of thumb is that if you're hungry, then eat something. This isn't about deprivation. (Just make sure that what you're eating is low carb, obviously!)

Gcalgske Sat 07-May-16 09:59:36

Ooooo! Biwi I'm so jealous!

SoMuchToBits Sat 07-May-16 10:34:12

I'd love to go to The Fat Duck! But realistically, probably won't ever be able to afford it. Never mind, I'll concentrate on making my own lovely food. smile

I think so far, with the snacking, I haven't particularly planned it in, but have had some snacks available 'just in case'. The times I have eaten them have been usually between lunch and dinner, on days when there has been a long gap (7-8 hours) between those meals. E.g. having lunch at 12 (as have had to go out for the afternoon at 12.30) then dinner at 7.30 (had to wait until ds had finished his activities). Between breakfast and lunch, and after dinner I haven't been hungry (and have been able to sit there watching ds eating the remains of his Easter eggs in the evening without wanting any!)

Although having said that, I do think that occasionally I eat snacks not because I'm hungry, but because I'm a bit bored and like food! That's something I maybe need to look at...

Gcalgske Sat 07-May-16 13:50:41

Biwi hubby was in Copenhagen a while back with work and went to a restaurant called Geist which was v good and one called 'fish bar'. Fish bar was excellent and he said he his first thought was that I would've able to stay on my WOE really easily there.

I'm off out for dinner tonight to a low carb restaurant. grin as its my birthday. They use xylitol I'm their puddings so I'm going to indulge cake

Gcalgske Sat 07-May-16 13:51:12

*in not I'm

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