April Leaving Lockdown Low Carb Bootcamp - starts on Monday

(205 Posts)
BIWI Tue 06-Apr-21 16:13:25

This one has been timed to finish just as the final lockdown restrictions are removed, so hopefully we can all emerge like butterflies from our chrysalis.

A few days left before we start on Monday, so time to start thinking and planning for the next 10 weeks.

Some/many of you may have done Bootcamp before, but it's still worth reminding yourself about low carbing and the rules.

Firstly - how do you do low carb?

There are lots of different ways and plans! Each will have different levels of carbohydrate per day that is recommended. Keto and the first stage of Atkins (induction) are the strictest, with a maximum of 20g carbs per day.

On Bootcamp we don't count carbs. There are ten rules which you need to follow, which should ensure that you see good weight loss, without needing to weigh or count your food.

Specifically on Bootcamp this is what we do:

First, you don't eat any:

- bread (of any kind)
- pasta (brown or white)
- rice (ditto, brown or white)
- potatoes, sweet potatoes, sweetcorn
- flour/anything made with flour - so no cake, biscuits, pastry, pastries, thickened sauces, crumble toppings, batter)
- sugar (which includes honey, agave syrup, molasses)
- fruit juice
- full sugar squash/cordial
- full sugar fizzy drinks
- sweets and chocolate (with the exception of the very occasional piece of dark chocolate, which should be at least 70% cocoa)
- pulses/legumes (including peas)
- artificial sweeteners
- balsamic vinegar (all other vinegars are fine - this one is sweetened, which rules it out)

For the first two weeks of Bootcamp (which last for 10 weeks), you also don't eat any fruit, nuts or seeds, and don't drink any alcohol. After the first two weeks, you can introduce some fruit - mainly berries - and some nuts/seeds, but in strict moderation. And you may have the occasional drink of alcohol.

What can I eat, you may ask?!

- any meat or fish (taking care to avoid processed products as much as possible, e.g. ham, bacon, sausages, crab sticks, etc)
- most shellfish
- eggs, as many as you want
- plenty of good fats (this is a high fat diet), so butter, olive oil, coconut oil, lard
- cheese, full fat yoghurt and cream (although in moderation)
- plenty of veg and salads - this is where your carbs should mainly come from

The ten Bootcamp rules are:

1. Eat three proper meals a day
If you're new to low carbing, you must eat breakfast. It doesn’t have to be a lot, and it doesn’t have to be absolutely first thing, but you must have something. For the rest of the day, if you’re eating enough food and you are in ketosis then you shouldn’t be hungry between meals. But if you are hungry, eat something. (Hard boiled eggs make a great snack).
After the first two weeks of Bootcamp we will relax this, but these two weeks are critical in terms of helping you switch easily to a low carb way of eating - and if you start to feel hungry, it makes things much harder! Eating this way will ensure that your blood sugar levels are kept stable, which will mean that you are much less likely to experience hunger.
A typical high carbohydrate diet can mean that snacking is a routine part of your day. Once your blood sugar levels are stable, by eating low carb, you should find that you no longer want to snack. But the rule of thumb here is ‘if you are hungry, eat!’. (Just make sure you are only choosing low carb snacks, of course!)

If you're an old hand at low carbing, you may decide to skip breakfast (or another meal if that works best for you). This leads us to intermittent fasting, which can be hugely significant in terms of weight loss as well as delivering lots of other health benefits.

2. Avoid processed foods
Focus on pure, natural protein as the basis for your meals - meat/fish/eggs. Things like sausages, ham, bacon, pre-prepared burgers etc should be avoided as much as possible. You can have them, but just not every day. Avoid foods marketed as low carb, eg. Atkins Daybreak bars.

3. Eat lots of fat
Eating fat will not make you fat. Honestly! But it will keep your appetite satisfied, and it sustains your body’s energy requirements perfectly. Fat does not provoke an insulin spike, unlike carbs which do (a lot) and protein (a little). Fry in butter, add butter to vegetables, eat salad with a home-made vinaigrette dressing (not made with balsamic vinegar though, as this is too sweet), add mayonnaise where you can (just check the carb count on your mayo first). Eat fattier cuts of meat – e.g. pork belly, roast chicken with the skin on and/or eat the fat off your lamb chops. Absolutely no low fat/light foods of any kind!

4. Make sure you are eating vegetables and salads with your food
This is where your carbs should come from, and this is non-negotiable. But choose only those vegetables that are on the allowed list (which is on the spreadsheet that I link to in the OP of each chat thread). Make sure that you focus on eating those vegetables that are 3g carb per 100g or less, and this will ensure that your carb counts are kept low. You don’t have to weigh/count carbs – this is one of the great joys of this WOE (way of eating), but if you’re new to low carbing it can be helpful to weigh your portions of veg in the early days, just so that you know how many carbs are in the sort of portions that you like to eat.

5. Be careful about dairy (apart from butter, which is unlimited)
Dairy can impede weight loss for some people. If you are drinking tea/coffee with milk or cream, restrict yourself to max 2 cups per day. There are a lot of carbs in milk, so if you are having several cups of tea/coffee per day, you will quickly rack up your daily carb count (e.g. 1 medium latte contains more than 12g carbs!) You may eat cheese but again, don't overdo it. Full fat yoghurt is the best way to include dairy in your diet - but beware, it does contain carbs.

6. You must drink a minimum of 2 litres of water per day
The more weight you have to lose, the more water you should drink. This is from www.low-carbdiet.co.uk/. Water is essential to weight loss for those who eat low-carb. The minimum consumed in a day should be:
Your Weight--------Litres

High levels of ketones in the blood stream can lead to a reduction in ketone production, therefore being well hydrated could aid in keeping the levels low and ketone production ongoing. Consuming enough water can have many other positive side effects: aids your kidneys with the processing of protein, reduces the retention of water, helps with preventing constipation, and reduces the levels of ketones released by your breath, which in-turn will reduce breath odour. However, drinking a lot of water can mean that you also need to keep an eye on your electrolyte balance. You need to make sure that you are consuming sufficient sodium and potassium. On a low carb diet we can eat more salt, so make sure that you are cooking with salt and adding salt to food, if you like it. Good, low carb, sources of potassium are spinach (raw), avocado, mushrooms, courgettes and asparagus, as well as salmon and yoghurt.

7. No alcohol
Alcohol is the easiest source of fuel for the body to burn, so it will always use this first before it starts to burn any fat - which is why you need to restrict it, especially in the first two weeks of Bootcamp, when we are encouraging the body to stop using carbs for its source of fuel and turn to fat-burning instead. If you really can't do this - at least try and restrict it to the weekend. Vodka with soda is the best thing to drink. Or Champagne, red wine or dry white wine.

8. No fruit
Really. Seriously. Honestly. None at all. Zilch. Nada. After the first two weeks of Bootcamp you will be able to introduce certain fruits, but at this stage fruit is simply too carby. We are also trying to break the addiction to sweet things, so cutting fruit out is part of this process. If you are getting all your carbs from vegetables and salad, you will be getting all the nutrients and fibre that you need.

9. No nuts/seeds
They make a great snack, but it’s also very easy to eat large quantities of them very quickly, so you can consume way too many carbs this way

10. No sugar or artificial sweeteners
Sugar is an obvious ‘no no’, but artificial sweeteners are also an issue. One of the aims of this way of eating is to eat pure and natural foods, so including sweeteners is not recommended. Some people find that artificial sweeteners can impede their weight loss, and there is some suggestion that your body can respond to sweeteners as if they were sugar, by releasing more insulin - and therefore laying down fat. Given that the aim of Bootcamp is to help us lose our sweet tooth and addiction to sweet things, then it is a good idea to avoid sweeteners altogether in this first two weeks.

OP’s posts: |
BIWI Tue 06-Apr-21 16:14:55

So having dealt with the rules, what else do we need to think about?

The key to success is planning and preparation.

First thing is to get rid of anything in your cupboards/fridge/freezer that might tempt you. (As far as you can, given other members of your household!)

Next, plan what you're going to eat next week, and make sure you have all the ingredients that you need. If you need any inspiration, go and browse the recipes on the Low Carb Bootcamp topic.

If you don't know anything/much about low carbing make sure you read up about it. It's really important that you understand the science behind it and how it works. When I start the first chat thread next week, I'll post the spreadsheet, and you'll see on there (on one of the tabs) a whole load of resources - videos, articles, websites etc - which are invaluable.

One of the truly amazing things about a low carb diet is that it will bring many health benefits beyond just weight loss - and you can read about those there.

Another great resource is The Diet Doctor website. Lots of simple advice and some great recipes.

There's also this thread, of FAQs which will be helpful.

OP’s posts: |
PineappleSunglasses Tue 06-Apr-21 17:07:16

Thanks for this @biwi, I'm really looking forward to starting again!

FusionChefGeoff Tue 06-Apr-21 17:09:08

Oooh exciting to be first to join you on this one @BIWI and I'm looking forward to being around others in the first 2 weeks instead of doing it on my own when everyone else had switched to light!

Just made my first batch of cheese muffins.

Oh MY God. They will have to live in the freezer to avoid mindless greed.

Amazing picnic with my friend including fried asparagus spears with Mayo to dip and a big crunchy Greek style salad with taps meat and cheese.

Prawn Mayo & avo salad tonight and feeling great about the next BC

FusionChefGeoff Tue 06-Apr-21 17:10:05

Ha ha @PineappleSunglasses beat me too it!

PineappleSunglasses Tue 06-Apr-21 17:15:28

@fusionchefgeoff you definitely win for a more interesting message though haha!

I've resisted trying the muffins just yet and I'm quite glad for the reduced temptation going into strict BC again next week!

Lovely to hear about your picnic, seems a life time a way for me as I've been watching it snow sporadically all day

FusionChefGeoff Tue 06-Apr-21 17:18:58

It was effing freezing but I love my mate too much and had been without her for too long to cancel so we shivered our way through it and I've now got a fire going to make up for it!


Chunkymonkey123 Tue 06-Apr-21 18:05:11

Great thank you! I did the fast 800 last year but found the low calorie count really hard. Looking forward to doing it this way!

Bestbees Tue 06-Apr-21 19:21:09

Thank you @BIWI grin just marking my place really.

Howdidthathappen1 Tue 06-Apr-21 20:29:11

I'm counting last bc as my practice run where I made all my mistakes- this time I'm gonna kill itgrin

FusionChefGeoff Tue 06-Apr-21 21:42:33

@Howdidthathappen1 that's a good idea!! I only joined for last few weeks so this is my first proper run at it and I'm ready to get stuck in straight away instead of the gigantic learning curve the first time.

BIWI Tue 06-Apr-21 22:24:47


OP’s posts: |
venusandmars Tue 06-Apr-21 22:48:32

I did really well last bootcamp and I'm hoping to have further success this time round. My prep for the next one includes getting a couple of water bottles. I know that my water drinking tailed off in the last few weeks.

I also had fish and chips tonight. We had a power cut so it was going to be take-away of some description. I ate less than half of it, and realised how little I was enjoying it. Now I've got the taste in my mouth and can't get it to go. Hopefully the memory of that will keep me on the straight and narrow for the next 10 weeks.

ListenLinda Wed 07-Apr-21 01:52:23

Checking in! I can’t wait to get started again. I need it to get my mindset right I now realise.

MrsOmelette Wed 07-Apr-21 06:41:34

Didn’t realise next bootcamp was so soon, d’oh! Very pleased. My main focus is going to be fluids and I aim to have no sweetener/chocolate at all for the entire bootcamp, we’ll see how that goes. 😆
Just had a bowl of air-fried chestnut mushrooms to give them a go - very nice. I really need to get growing mushrooms, we eat tonnes.

oscarandelliesdad Wed 07-Apr-21 07:06:03

I would love to try my hand at growing mushrooms too @mrsomelette. Excited to be here again after a busy last term, I'm looking forward to being more present in life (and this thread) over the next ten weeks. Slipped a bit over Easter with a chocolate egg on Sunday. Have to say, it tasted pretty synthetic and gross (a Cadbury number but in their smallest size) and I felt really rough the day after.... Starving and grumpy with massive sugar cravings back. Lesson learned!
I also want to be more mindful of water intake... That had slipped, just because it is so hard to get someone passing to sit with your class for an emergency loo run, particularly so in covid times grin

Onelittlepiglet Wed 07-Apr-21 08:21:20

Looking forward to starting again! Have been relaxed this last week or so but not have not gone mad. Also going to stop drinking alcohol again for a few weeks as I felt so much better in jan/feb when I gave up completely.

MrsOmelette Wed 07-Apr-21 08:31:38

@oscarandelliesdad I’ve been pondering some windowsill kits, from Sutton’s I think. Would rather have an old log in the garden though, I think.

Bestbees Wed 07-Apr-21 08:59:13

@oscarandelliesdad I saw a video of someone growing mushrooms in a laundry basket, might be worth a try?

I had a bout of upset tummy last night. Not sure what triggered it, but meant I ate breakfast this morning which is unusual for me, but felt bit weak.

Having my parents over for a lunch in the garden next week. Have a turkey joint in freezer (husband picked it up yesterday from waitrose reduced from £35 to £8!). Any ideas for more spring like sides? Thinking either roasted veg with pesto and salad, or Greek salad? Any inspiration welcome!

Motivateinmotion Wed 07-Apr-21 09:17:20

Place marking. I dropped off the end of last boot camp as I wasn’t seeing any results having been in denial about carb creep with endless handfuls of nuts and unlimited dairy. I’m ready to go again with a better understanding of what my limits are. Thanks @BIWI

Motivateinmotion Wed 07-Apr-21 10:43:37

Place marking. I dropped off the end of last boot camp as I wasn’t seeing any results having been in denial about carb creep with endless handfuls of nuts and unlimited dairy. I’m ready to go again with a better understanding of what my limits are. Thanks @BIWI

JimmyJabs Wed 07-Apr-21 10:51:30

I've just cleared my cupboard of rice and pulses, and I have a dairy question! I can't drink coffee or tea black, so I was wondering what's the best kind of milk to use - full fat dairy, or is there any kind of plant milk that's lower carb?

blackbettybramblejam Wed 07-Apr-21 11:01:39

So excited for this boot camp. I did it for about a year and did really well. I’ve not got 2 stone to loose having gone back on the carbs last year.
I’m going to start this week so I don’t have to go through keto flu when I’m back at work next week.

cheeseisthebest Wed 07-Apr-21 11:19:01

Regained a few pounds but happy when I think where I was at the beginning of the last bootcamp compared to where I am now.
Feel much more aware of making mindful choices this time and prioritising myself.
Still working at home which does make planning food and eating on plan a lot easier.
Challenges to myself are less time on phone (it's so hard!) and generally be more active, I've become incredibly lazy.

Cream is good alternative to milk in coffee. I tend to have one cup of tea when I get up with a drop of milk, then one creamy coffee mid morning and water the rest of the day. I'm definitely a creature of habit and that works for me. Used to have two sugars in coffee but now have none. smile

BIWI Wed 07-Apr-21 12:04:34


I've just cleared my cupboard of rice and pulses, and I have a dairy question! I can't drink coffee or tea black, so I was wondering what's the best kind of milk to use - full fat dairy, or is there any kind of plant milk that's lower carb?

Milk is pretty carby and if you're drinking several cups of tea/coffee with milk in, the carbs quickly add up. And the idea with Bootcamp is that your carbs should come mainly from veg and salad.

From a carb perspective, unsweetened almond milk is the best - but beware! Check the labels first, as they very wildly according to which brand you buy.

The other thing to note is that often dairy alternatives are very low in fat, which is not great for us, as we're aiming to have a high fat diet.

Here are some carb and fat counts - all per 100ml.


Full fat - 4.7g carbs/3.7g fat
Semi skimmed - 4.8g carbs/1.8g fat
Skimmed - 5g carbs/less than 0.5g fat
Jersey full cream - 4.7g carbs/5g fat

So you can see that full fat milk is marginally better from a carb point of view, but a better option from the fat point of view

I've looked at values for just almond and oat 'milks' - there are lots of other types now, so if you're interested in any of those, please check them out before using.


Alpro unsweetened - 0g carbs/1.1g fat
Plenish - 0.4g carbs/3.1g fat
Rude Health - 10.5g carbs/1.49g fat I'm guessing this must be sweetened
Almond Breeze - 0.2g carbs/1.1g fat
Innocent - less than 0.5g carbs/2.8g fat

From a carb perspective, Alpro unsweetened is the best option - however it's a much more processed product than brands like Plenish or Innocent.

Here are the ingredients of Alpro:

Water, Almond (2.3%), Calcium (Tri-Calcium Phosphate), Sea Salt, Stabilisers (Locust Bean Gum, Gellan Gum), Emulsifier (Lecithins (Sunflower)), Vitamins (B2, B12, E, D2)

Here are the ingredients of Plenish:

Filtered Water, Almonds 6%, Sea Salt

and Innocent:

Spring Water, Almonds (4.5%), Seaweed Lithothamnium Calcareum* and Sea Salt, *We use Seaweed as our natural source of Calcium (don't worry, you can't taste it)


Oat 'milk' generally is more carby than cows' milk, so definitely not recommended!

Oatly - 6.7g carbs/1.5g fat
Rude Health - 6.1g carbs/1.6g fat
Plenish - 7.8g carbs/0.6g fat
Alpro unsweetened - 5.6g carbs/1.5g fat

OP’s posts: |

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