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Autumn Low Carb Bootcamp - The Preparation Thread

(295 Posts)
BIWI Tue 03-Sep-13 18:15:36

So it looks like a whole host of us have signed up grin

Some of you will be new to low carbing, others may have done it before but might need a bit of a reminder.

Certainly it is always good to start planning beforehand, so we can all get off to the best possible start.

Here goes:

For the whole of Bootcamp these are foods that you should not eat:


Beyond this there are only ten rules of Bootcamp. The idea behind this is to make it easy to follow - so no counting carbs and no weighing of anything. That said, it never does any harm for you to know how many carbs are in an average portion of anything, so you might want to weigh some of your portions to start with - but Bootcamp isn't about obsessive weighing and counting - it is supposed to be about normal and enjoyable eating.

The ten rules of Bootcamp are:

1. 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!)

2. Avoid processed food
Focus on pure, natural protein as the basis for your meals ? meat/fish/eggs. Things like sausages, bacon, pre-prepared burgers, Pepperami etc should be avoided as much as possible. You can have them, but just not every day. Avoid foods marketed as low carb, e.g. Atkins Daybreak bars. These products contain all manner of artificial ingredients, and often contain sugar. You should always check the carb counts of these foods if you are including them, as some of them can be surprisingly high (e.g. Tesco Chargrilled Burgers - per burger, fried, have 5.4g carbs)

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. Make sure that you focus on eating those vegetables that are 3g carbs 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 drink tea/coffee with milk or cream, try to 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. Total Full Fat is the best

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 carblife . 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 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
Whilst these are really good to snack on later, when we move into Bootcamp Light - it can be too easy to start snacking on these, and before you know it, all your carbs have gone on nuts. Seriously - in Bootcamp - don't do it to yourself!

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.

Allowed Veg

Look at the tabs on the bottom of the Spreadsheet of Wonderfulness for these

The general rule of thumb is to focus on choosing veg that is 3g carbs per 100g; others, like onions, are allowed (because they are such a versatile veg), but are quite carby if you use too much.


It's up to you how often you weigh - although Monday morning is our usual weigh-in day.

You can enter your weight in pounds or kilos on the spreadsheet. There is a useful converter on there as well. Or, if you prefer, you can index your weight. Your starting weight will be 100, and for every pound you lose, drop by one point.

Some people like to weigh daily, as they feel that it helps to keep them on track. This is fine, but remember that your weight naturally fluctuates on a day-by-day basis and can be affected by all kinds of things, especially your menstrual cycle. If you can't cope with seeing the scales show no change, or a slight increase, then don't do it to yourself! Far better to weigh just once a week.

The other thing to realise is that you can lose inches whilst the scales may show no change. I have no idea why! So it's a good idea to take your measurements before you start.

Or, find an item of clothing that is too tight right now, and keep trying that on every week. Our clothes are the most accurate way of monitoring weight loss.

Keep a food diary

It's really useful to do this. Keep an honest, accurate record of everything that you're eating and drinking, and annotate this with your weight. This way you will be able to look back and see what helped or hindered your progress. Mark on it if/when you have taken any exercise as well.

Be aware of carb flu

Some people find that the first few days of low carbing can be quite tough - you may feel headachey, tired and irritable - as if you are going down with the flu. Not everyone gets this, but a lot of people do. Things you can do to help:

- try cutting down on your carbs over the next few days, before you eliminate all the key suspects; a gradual cutting down may help you (especially if you are a real carboholic!)

- once we start Bootcamp, make sure that you are drinking plenty of water and eating plenty of fat

- keep your electrolyte levels up. The key things you need to ensure you are eating are sodium, potassium and magnesium. Good sources of these foods are salmon, avocado and spinach. And make sure you're eating plenty of salt. Along with fat, this is something else that seems counter-intuitive! Try making a hot drink out of an Oxo cube, or Marmite/Bovril.

- don't struggle on - if you have a headache, take some paracetamol (but avoid ibuprofen as this can impact on weight loss)

Do some reading about low carbing

There are loads of great resources on the Spreadsheet - links to websites, blogs and videos. Reading/watching these will help you to understand the science behind low carbing. This is important as you will soon find people questioning what you're eating/why you're eating so much fat, etc. You need to feel confident yourself that it's the right thing to do, but you also need to be able to answer those who will try and scoff at your diet.

Plan, plan, plan

This is not a WOE that is easy without forward planning. Especially if your day involves you needing to eat when you are out and about. Know where you can buy food from if you're on the go (Marks & Spender Simply Food is usually a good bet), or make sure that you have something to eat with you.

You will certainly, until you get into the swing of cooking low carb meals, need to think ahead about what you're going to cook, and to make sure that you have plenty of low carb foods in the house.

The recipe thread has some great and easy low carb things to cook . Feel free to add your own recipes - with carb counts if at all possible!

Hopefully all this will help. No doubt I've forgotten something grin but if you have any questions, just ask.

I will set up a different thread each week, and I will also set up a separate question thread. From experience, the chat thread moves pretty quickly, so a separate question thread is a good place if there's something you really need to know.

There are lots of us who will be on Bootcamp who have been low carbing for a while now, so if you are in any doubt about anything, please ask.

Good luck everyone.

suzan40 Mon 18-Nov-13 13:57:08

so hello everyone. sounds good how do i start?/

captainmummy Tue 10-Sep-13 08:23:37

well done encyclo- the bloating is probably from wheat, I get that too if I eat wheat -and now you are not, it will reduce. Plus of course your fat stores/water are going too!

encyclogirl Mon 09-Sep-13 22:15:51

Day one done.

Already feel less bloated, is that in my mind?

prettybird Mon 09-Sep-13 21:41:41

Re "binding" effects blush, people often complain about "going" less on this WoE. As long as you drink plenty of water, this usually resolves itself - part of it bring that you actually need to go less frequently as your body is using what you eat more efficiently.

prettybird Mon 09-Sep-13 21:38:07

Purple - hope you enjoyed your chicken smile. I tend to fry my pork steaks in butter as I like the flavour butter gives them, but I'll grill or roast pork belly slices/pieces.

Purple2012 Mon 09-Sep-13 20:23:33

Of course! I must get into the habit of buying full fat stuff.

MrsHerculePoirot Mon 09-Sep-13 20:12:35

Yes if you wanted - full fat of course!

Purple2012 Mon 09-Sep-13 19:54:02

Could I take philadelphia to dip the cucumber in?

Purple2012 Mon 09-Sep-13 19:40:04

Ok, thanks. I will do that. I used to take cucumber sticks when i was calorie counting so am used to that.

MrsHerculePoirot Mon 09-Sep-13 19:35:20

Purple if I was you, I would ditch the cheese sticks at lunch and replace with cucumber, celery sticks or some salad. For tea whatever meat you are having like you say I'd add in some vegetables eg one of broccoli, green beans, cabbage, asparagus... (smothered in butter you understand!). That is me though...

Purple2012 Mon 09-Sep-13 19:31:54

Thanks captainmummy. I will bear that in mind. Probably will counteract the binding effect of all the eggs!!! Do you think that days menu looks ok? Will i be eating enough?

captainmummy Mon 09-Sep-13 19:29:58

Carefull with flaxseed purple - I find too much goes right through me (TMI...) grin

Purple2012 Mon 09-Sep-13 19:03:32

Just made flaxseed muffins. 3.1g carbs each. They are ok. Bit of a strange texture. I haven't been eating enough and struggle to eat much for tea as I feel a lot fuller now I am eating more fat and protein. So what do you think of this as a typical days menu
Bfast - greek yoghurt with a few nuts and flaxseed muffin
Lunch - half a chicken and cheese frittata and a couple of sticks of cheese.
Tea- chicken salad, cream cheese chicken or whatever meals I can come up with in my books. If I have salasd I will have mayo/dressing.

So does that look ok?

MrsHerculePoirot Mon 09-Sep-13 18:27:27

Give it a go and see - you never know! If you don't like it you can try something else instead oba different cut a different time! Keep asking us though and we'll try to help as best we can!!!

Purple2012 Mon 09-Sep-13 18:19:57

Thanks mrsherculepoirot it is a struggle. 25 years is a long time to not eat meat. I don't eat fish. I never liked it. With meat it was never the taste just the thought of what it was. I will grill the pork chops tomorrow and have it with salad and mayo. Bit nervous about eating pork!

MrsHerculePoirot Mon 09-Sep-13 18:07:28

purple your are doing really well and going in the right direction - it must be hard starting to eat meat when you are not used to it. Do you eat fish? Prawns etc? I am just thinking you could have your frittata for breakfast some day and maybe have prawn and avocado salad or salmon salad for lunch? Re the pork we tend to grill it and then eat with plentybf mayo, DH has also fried then added a cream and mushroom sauce, that was nice too. Btw bitter spread on cucumber is nice too!!!

Purple2012 Mon 09-Sep-13 17:59:41

Just fried chicken in butter. Now its in a cream and cream cheese sauce. Will have it with salad. I hope that it tastes ok!

Also have some flax muffins in the oven. Hoping they will be ok for breakfast.

Also bought some pork loin chops for tomorrow. Its a big deal for me to even consider eating pork. What's thebest wway to cook them? I won't be able to eat the fat on it though - that's a step too far.

prettybird Mon 09-Sep-13 17:31:08

Coconut oil is easy to find in the supermarket at least my big Sainsubry's : £6.50 for 500ml extra virgin olive coconut oil in amongst all the oils or £2.55 for 500ml HTC Pure Coconut Oil (which I've checked and is produced healthily and is non-hydrogenated) found in the Ethnic/World Aisle. It's a jar rather than a bottle and the oil is solid at normal temperatures (but above about 23C is liquid so it was liquid for most of the summer )

It's £2.49 in my local Asian shop (also HTC Pure)

I'm told it is also good for topical application on skin and hair - but haven't tried it yet myself! grin

Purple2012 Mon 09-Sep-13 16:48:34

Sorry prettybird . I didn't mean to be so defensive!
Where do you get coconut oil biwi? Is it easy to find in supermarkets?

Going to get some cream on way home to add to cream cheese sauce. Hopefully I will like that. Will do a bit of salad with it.

HavantGuard Mon 09-Sep-13 15:55:47

Thank you. I feel better now grin

captainmummy Mon 09-Sep-13 15:52:33

havant - I sometimes do that blush - or get coconut oil and drop a teaspoon in my rooibos black tea - or sliced cold cold butter on cheese or radishes

HavantGuard Mon 09-Sep-13 15:47:15

Thank you! It's for the Nigel Slater pork belly recipe.

Also, is it ok to eat butter on its own? I know it sounds manky but I've never eaten the fat off meat and I've been taking a tablespoon of olive oil or a teaspoon of butter once a day to supplement my fat intake. Am I dieting or just odd?

BIWI Mon 09-Sep-13 15:38:52

That would be fine, Havant

HavantGuard Mon 09-Sep-13 14:43:33

BIWI Guru, how is Tamari sauce on the carb front? The first google result brings up 9g for 100g, but as you'd be using 2 tablespoons at most (30ml) it's probably around 3g for four servings. Is that ok?

BIWI Mon 09-Sep-13 14:25:27


It's alright. It was a very long OP!

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