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Autumn Low Carb Bootcamp - The Questions Thread

(339 Posts)
BIWI Sun 08-Sep-13 14:12:33

Welcome everybody!

As there are lots of us signed up for the next Bootcamp, you will find that the chat thread moves very quickly! It can be the case, therefore, that questions get missed - hence starting this thread. If you have a specific question or issue, please post it here to make sure that it gets answered. I will do my best to check this thread as often as I can - and if others can answer your question then they will do so as well.

I thought it might be a good idea to start off with some FAQs that often get asked, just to help save a bit of time! So here goes:

How many carbs should I be eating per day to make sure that I lose weight?

There are a couple of points to make here. First, Bootcamp is designed to make low carbing as easy as possible. One of the things that I believe puts people off diets is having to weigh, measure and count everything that they are eating - and of course, this is impossible if you are eating out/on the go. If you make sure that you are following Bootcamp rules, then you should lose weight.

Second, we are different in terms of our ability to cope with carbohydrate. Some people can eat more carbs without gaining weight whereas others have to keep their carbs at quite a low level.

The initial 2 weeks of Bootcamp are designed to be sufficiently low carb for the vast majority of people to lose weight by following it. Although Bootcamp Light (for the remaining 8 weeks of Bootcamp) allows more carbs, it is still supposed to be relatively low carb.

Once you have completed Bootcamp and/or you have reached your target weight, then it's time to start to explore how many carbs you can tolerate before the weight goes back on. And the only way to do this is to experiment by re-introducing carbs. A gradual introduction, along with a vigilant eye on the scales/your waistband will soon tell you if you have overdone it!

Will I ever be able to eat carbs again?!

Absolutely you will - see the answer to the above question! However, if once you reach your target weight you revert back to eating the same level of carbs as you were before you started, then you will put all the weight back on. Carbs make you fat!

The best thing to do is to work out a WOE (way of eating) that keeps the carbs at a sufficiently low level such that you maintain your weight.

By the time you reach your target weight, you will also be ketogenically-adapted, i.e. your body has switched from carb-burning to fat-burning, so the odd night off will not do you too much harm.

How hard is it to eat out when you are low carbing?

It's easier to eat out when you are low carbing than if you are trying to count calories or eat a low fat diet. (As long as you don't find yourself in a restaurant that only serves pizza or pasta!)

The majority of restaurants will have something on their menu that is easily adapted for low carb eating. And it's always possible to ask them to substitute something high carb for something lower carb - so if something is on the menu being served with chips, or rice - ask if they will switch those for a salad, or extra veg. I have never been refused when I have asked this, and it is never an issue.

Some types of restaurants are harder to navigate - Thai is very difficult, not only because of the rice/noodles, but because many of their meals use sugar in the sauces as well as thickeners. At an Indian restaurant, poppadoms, rice, chappattis and naan breads are all (obviously!) out. Aim for a dry curry (so a tandoori or tikka dish), and have that with a side curry such as cauliflower, spinach or mushroom.

The best thing is to be prepared - if the restaurant has a website, have a look to see if they have posted their menu, so you have a chance to see what's available, what you can eat. And you could always ring them in advance to see if they can accommodate any particular needs that you have - mostly restaurants are happy to try and accommodate their customers.

Is it really possible to eat so much fat and still lose weight?

Oh yes! grin Just ask anyone else who has done Bootcamp! Fat doesn't make you fat. When you eat fat, your body does not produce an insulin spike - unlike when you eat carbs. It is the insulin production that causes your body to lay down fat.

We need fat. It is good for our brains and for our skin.

Also, very importantly, eating fat is very satiating. It is what will help to stop you getting hungry. It's actually quite difficult to eat masses of fat, whereas it's very easy to eat masses of carbs.

Here's a very good piece from a site that's well worth following, all about fat and why it's good for us/isn't going to harm us

Do I have to do any exercise on Bootcamp to lose weight?

Not if you don't want to. Exercise, as a means of losing weight, is way over-rated. You have to exercise a lot and frequently to lose a significant amount of weight. For example, I have recently taken up running. My last run saw me burn 390 calories. That's quite a lot - but that was after running for 30 minutes, and for 5km.

On my plan (and on the advice of my osteopath) I am only supposed to run three times a week. That would mean that in the course of a week I have burnt off 1,170 calories. Not that much in the grand scheme of things - but that's a lot of running!

Exercise can help you, but it's not essential.

I do a lot of regular exercise, and I'm advised by my trainer/the gym to eat plenty of carbs and/or to carb load before I run/cycle/train - what should I do if I'm low carbing?

Once you are ketogenically-adapted, you will be able to train quite happily whilst following a low carb diet. Your body will be using fat as its fuel source - and let's face it, most of us have plenty of fat readily available for that. Whereas with carbs, our bodies actually only store a limited amount in our muscles and our liver. Once these have gone, and we have emptied our glycogen stores, that's when you will find yourself 'hitting the wall' or 'bonking'. This is why serious athletes often have to carry various gels and drinks - so that they can replenish their carbs/glycogen very quickly. This won't happen if you are burning fat.

If you're in doubt, there's a very good book called "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance" by Drs Jeff S Volek and Stephen D Phinney. Here is a description of the book from the Amazon website:

"A Revolutionary Program to Extend Your Physical and Mental Performance Envelope. Our recent book 'The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living' was written for health care professionals, championing the benefits of carbohydrate restriction to manage insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type-2 diabetes. In response, our athlete friends asked "What about us?" This companion book is our answer, and it could be titled: 'The Art and Science of Avoiding the BONK'. But actually, it is much much more than that. The keto-adapted athlete benefits from superior fuel flow not only when nearing glycogen depletion, but also during training, recovery, and in response to resistance exercise as well."

BIWI Sun 08-Sep-13 22:48:39

What can I eat for breakfast?

Breakfast is often a meal that low carbers find difficult.

On the one hand, it is a fabulous opportunity to indulge yourself in bacon and eggs!

But on the other, many people find that they either don't have the time/inclination to cook breakfast, or that they rapidly get tired of eggs. And obviously, bacon is a processed meat, so something we shouldn't be eating every day.

Eggs are a fabulous low carb food. And they are so versatile, so it is worth finding ways to cook them. You don't have to cook them in the morning, of course - having a ready supply of hard-boiled eggs can be invaluable. Eat them on their own, or mash them with salt, pepper and mayonnaise. Or, instead of mayonnaise, try a bit of garlic and herb Boursin cheese.

Full fat yoghurt is another good breakfast choice - lots of protein as well as fat. Total is low in carbs, at 3.8g per 100g. Try adding vanilla extract, or vanilla powder to add an element of sweetness.

But you don't have to treat breakfast as if it were a special/different meal. As long as you are eating something, that is all that matters.

You could try a continental breakfast - ham and cheese - or you could simply serve up leftovers from the previous night's dinner.

caughtintheact Mon 09-Sep-13 08:37:25

Hi smile
Is 2.5 l of water the recommended amount for any weight up to 140lbs?

I am pretty close to my goal weight and have joined bootcamp to keep me motivated for the last few lbs...I have been doing it since the beginning of summer and progress is painfully slow, but it is happening.

Any other tips for LC close to goal? Do I need to start being more careful of portion sizes?

BIWI Mon 09-Sep-13 08:41:23

That's right, caughtintheact - 2.5 litres.

As you get nearer your target, your weight loss will naturally slow down. This is the point to consider your portion sizes - although low carbing does appear to give us a calorie advantage, it is still all too easy to eat too many calories.

But make sure you're not starting to deprive yourself, and so start to get hungry again.

Well done for nearly reaching your target though! Hopefully Bootcamp will see you reach your target. How many more lbs do you have to go?

Torrorosso Mon 09-Sep-13 08:49:51

Are smoked salmon and tofu allowed please?

BIWI Mon 09-Sep-13 08:53:02

Smoked salmon is definitely allowed! It's lovely rolled around some cream cheese, or chopped into scrambled eggs. However, it does qualify as a processed food, so go easy with it - i.e. not at every meal!

Tofu is generally OK, and pretty low carb, but check the carb count on whatever pack/brand you're using.

MonstersDontCry Mon 09-Sep-13 09:06:54

Hi smile

I've already started this morning. Im not looking to lose much/any weight. I just want to be healthier and stop eating so much crap. But I'm breastfeeding a 6 week old. Will a LC diet affect him? Sorry if that's a stupid question.

BIWI Mon 09-Sep-13 09:12:54

It's not a stupid question!

As long as you are getting your carbs from plenty of veg and salad, and you are eating enough, and regularly, then I can't see how low carbing could affect your baby. After all, it's what our hunter-gatherer ancestors did before we invented bread and pasta!

BIWI Mon 09-Sep-13 09:13:57

Oh, and if you just want to eat healthily rather than lose weight, Bootcamp is unnecessarily severe. Bootcamp Light is likely to be more suitable for you - which means that you can include some fruit (berries) and nuts/seeds in your diet.

MonstersDontCry Mon 09-Sep-13 09:18:48

Thanks BIWI, that's brilliant. smile

stinkerfromhove Mon 09-Sep-13 09:22:04

I started this low carb diet on 10 August and have followed it with no slip ups. But I have lost NOTHING! How long should I give it? I weigh178 lbs and I'm 66.

BIWI Mon 09-Sep-13 09:24:05

stinkerfromhove - how tall are you?

List out for me what you have been eating/drinking over the last few days and let's see if we can help.

PassTheTwiglets Mon 09-Sep-13 11:26:37

How do I know what counts as low enough carb? Does the 'under 3g per 100g' rule for veg apply to other foods? For example, I send a friend out for the mayo brand mentioned on the spreadsheet and she came back with aioli instead - it's listed as 1.1g of carbs per 100g, does that mean I can eat it?

doradoo Mon 09-Sep-13 11:30:40

Eggs! How many is it safe/ideal/realistic to eat a day/week?

For example - a 2egg omlette for breakfast and then more eggs at lunch - is that overkill?

janmoomoo Mon 09-Sep-13 11:56:26

Cold drinks - are there any other options than water? I have been drinking soda water which is nice. PLJ lime juice was recommended to me but it seems to have been discontinued.

PassTheTwiglets Mon 09-Sep-13 12:05:27

Oh no, the 1.1g for the aioli was for a tablespoon, not per 100g sad it's 7g per 100g - does that mean I can't have it? sad

78bunion Mon 09-Sep-13 12:08:58

The advice on eggs even by the Government has changed from eggs bad to eggs good. I don't think you need to worry about the quantities. I eat loads - at least 3 every day, sometimes 5.

BIWI Mon 09-Sep-13 12:12:58

That is a bit high, PTT - as a general rule of thumb, if anything has a label on it, then I try to stick to under 4g carbs per 100g. That said - work out how much you're likely to use and see how many carbs that comes to. A little bit here and there probably won't hurt - but if you're sloshing it all over your food, then that's obviously not great!

Eggs are, as far as I know, doradoo, fine to eat in any quantity. But careful you just don't die of boredom! Variety is key in any diet.

janmoooo - I occasionally buy PLJ lemon juice; I haven't seen the lime one for a long time, so not sure if they still make it. However, don't have it too often as it contains some carbs. I drink sparkling water all the time, and have just got used to it. You could always try adding slices of fresh lime?

PassTheTwiglets Mon 09-Sep-13 12:16:01

Thank you, BIWI! I can't get to the shops until tomorrow so will have a tiny bit today with lunch and get the proper mayo tomorrow.

Urgh, no diet drinks, this is the hardets part for me.

ofcoursethisisanamechange Mon 09-Sep-13 12:44:24

hi- whats the rule of thumb on herbal teas?

BIWI Mon 09-Sep-13 13:10:00

As far as I know, there are no carbs in herbal tea - but check the labels first to make sure!

BIWI Mon 09-Sep-13 13:13:36

A quick look at the range on Sainsbury's site would suggest that fruit and herbal teas can have a small amount of carbs - 0.3g per 100ml - so not that bad, unless you're drinking gallons a day!

holmessweetholmes Mon 09-Sep-13 13:25:06

A health question, if I may. I have mildly raised blood pressure. I am now reassured about the high fat not being a problem for bp, but am wondering about the salt. Quite a lot of the foods recommended on this WOE seem to be high in salt (and I think I read that you recommend keeping your salt levels up). Is this seen as ok because it's balanced out by the other bp-reducing benefits of low-carbing, or should I try and avoid the saltier foods?

Lifeisontheup Mon 09-Sep-13 13:40:01

Can anyone recommend a good low carb recipe book, preferably a UK one?

BIWI Mon 09-Sep-13 13:48:16

Salt is not a problem on low carbing - in the main, because we drink a lot of water, there is a risk that you can reduce your sodium levels too much.

BTW - are you on any medication for your blood pressure? If you are, you need to keep an eye on things.

Here is some info on salt and low carbing, from Dr Eades blog :

"One of the first things that happens when people go on low-carb diets is a rapid improvement in insulin sensitivity. Because the low-carb diet starts to quickly banish the insulin resistance, insulin levels fall quickly. And as insulin falls, the stimulus to the kidneys to retain fluids goes away, and the kidneys begin to rapidly release fluid. One of the common experiences at the start of low-carb dieting is the incessant running back and forth to the bathroom to urinate this excess fluid away. Which is both good news and bad news.

The good news is that it’s great to get rid of the excess fluid but it comes at a cost, which is the bad news. As the excess fluid goes, it takes with it sodium an extremely important electrolyte. When sodium levels fall below a critical threshold (which can happen within a short time), symptoms often occur, the most common being fatigue, headache, cramps and postural hypotension.

Postural hypotension happens when you stand up too quickly and feel faint. Or even pass out briefly. It’s a sign of dehydration. So if you’ve started your low-carb diet, made your multiple runs to the bathroom, and jump up off the couch to answer the phone and feel like your going to faint (or actually do pass out momentarily) and have to sit back down quickly, you’ve got postural hypotension. It’s really easy to fix – you simply need to take more sodium and drink more water. Salt your food more. Increasing sodium is just another one of the many counter-intuitive things about low-carb dieting. Just like eating more fat to lower your cholesterol. You’ve got to start thinking differently. The low-carb diet is one that absolutely requires more sodium. A lot more sodium.

If you’ve got the brutal headaches that some people get when starting on a low-carb diet, add sodium. And drink extra water.

Even if you don’t have pitting edema, postural hypotension or headaches, you still need more sodium if you are starting out on or following a low-carb diet. It’s critically important that you get extra sodium. I can’t make this case too strongly."

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