Saturday, 30 April 2011

Daily carb count: 38 g

We had home-cooked Indian food with chicken and tomatoes, onions, spinach and cauliflower for dinner. Didn't have any naan but still quite a lot of carbs because of all the vegetables. And earlier today someone surprised me with a latte from Starbucks. Very sweet (the surprise, not the coffee ;)) but all the milk added up to 15 g carbs. Including breakfast that's a daily total of 38 g carb - twice as much as I should eat.

But hey - I didn't have any wine :) And today's kcal count is 1200 so I don't feel too bad. Tomorrow is a new day with less carbs!

Enjoy your Saturday evening, folks!

Losing water weight on LCHF

Many people lose a lot of weight during their first week of LCHF. Motivating, sure. But why?

On a ketonic diet (low carb, high fat), just like any other diet, the body will initially lose water weight. You can't burn fat in the beginning as it takes time for the body to shift to the new source of energy. What happens is that the body starts using it glycogen reserves. How much glycogen one has is highly individual but usually is around 0.5-1.5 kg. In addition, for each molecule of glycogen you lose, you'll lose 4 molecules of water. Or put differently, for each gram of glycogen, there is 1.7 gram of water.

If you lose your 1 kg glycogen reserves in the first week, you will lose another 1.7 kg of water, adding up to a total of 2.7 kg. This is what the big weight loss in the first week is about.

There is nothing wrong with losing this water. It will make you feel less bloated and your measures decrease. But, if you start eating carbons again, your body go back to producing glycogen and binding water. Cheating could therefore have an extremely deterrent effect. Depending on how many carbons you eat, quick weight gains are very likely. Luckily, as soon as the body runs out of glycogen you will be back to your pre-cheat weight (unless you had so many extra calories you actually gained weight off course).

Week 9 Challenges

Weekly challenges will make sure I stay on track and keep motivated.

Week 9 challenges:.
- Exercise at least 3 times: Time to put on those running shoes again
- No alcohol: No, not even a glass of wine. This is almost too easy to be a challenge.
- Plan meals in advance: Easy with the tool I found
- Don't eat snacks in between: Hm, let's test that self discipline...

Friday, 29 April 2011

Learning from mistakes

So after 6 weeks on LCHF I had two weeks off. This time it will all be different, right? Einstein said insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expecting different results, so obviously I have to change something. But what?

Well, what caused the break in the first place?
- No results, most definitely - yeah, this is a lifestyle and bla bla, but I WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT TOO. Glad we made that clear ;)
- Lack of variation - too many eggs, too little inspiration.
- Eating food I don't like just because it's LCHF - not a good idea!

--> Frustration --> 0 motivation --> What the heck? --> Carb cravings

Ok, first point is easy to deal with. I have to get stricter. Second one is easy as well, I just have to give some effort to cooking and looking for more food inspiration.

The third one is trickier as it requires own thinking... ;) As a beginner, I read everything I could find about LCHF and followed every advise. I don't like bacon, but since it's LCHF, I ate it and thought I would get used to it. I even used cream in my coffee and finally put butter in it even though it was repelling just because that's what I've heard. It sounds ridiculous.

This time it really will be different. I might still be a beginner but compared to two months ago I know a lot more. I am slowly starting to filter the LCHF-information and I feel like I can make informed decisions about how to eat low carb in a way that won't make me lose inspiration. And for me, it is ok to eat low carb food like vegetables, lean meat, and cottage cheese even though they are not "fat enough" according to other LCHF gurus.

Royal Wedding Fever

Completely off topic - but how often does a royal wedding happen close to where you live? I don't approve with monarchy at all, it's terribly outdated to say the least. But, weddings are always fascinating and royal weddings are like a fairytale.

Am I excited? Yes, about Kate's dress and hair. Will I watch it? No, I will be in a meeting, scheduled by - me. How was I suppose to know that a royal wedding qualifies for a bank holiday? Oh well, I wouldn't have watched it anyway. Short summary and a few pictures work fine for me. But I will wear my otherwise extremely touristy Union Jack shoulder bag :)

Last year's royal wedding was beautiful!

UPDATE: Kate looks gorgeous. What a beautiful gown

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Low carb vegetables

And again: here is a summary of all vegetables with less than 2.5 g carbs / 100 g


Asparagus
Basil fresh
Broccoli
Brussels sprout
Cauliflower
Celery, stem
Chinese cabbage
Chive
Cucumber
Dill, fresh
Garden cress
Iceberg lettuce
Leek
Lettuce
Nettle
Parsley
Pumpkin
Radish
Spinach
Sprout, alfalfa
Squash/zucchini
Sweet pepper green
Swiss chard

Enjoy!

LCHF: Vegetables

I talk a lot about vegetables. I think many people on the LCHF diet avoid them for no good. A rule of thumb when eating LCHF is to avoid all food containing more than 5 g carbs / 100 g. If you are on a max 20 g carbs per day, as many on LCHF, GI, Atkins or other low carb diets are, that translates to 1 kg broccoli or 300 g of carrots. Quite a big difference, right. By choosing low carb vegetables like broccoli, you can eat 100-200 g and still manage your daily restriction of 20 g easily. It's about choosing wisely! Of course, you can eat carrots, too, but they contain a relatively high amount of carbs, so you'd want to keep it to small amounts.

Below is a table I made for you with most common vegetables and carbs per 100 g.
Green: veggies with less than 2.5 g carbs - you can eat in larger portions.
Yellow:  between 2.5 g and 5 g carbs - OK, but eat in moderation.
Red: more than 5 g carbs - be careful. It's quite easy to eat 100 g or more when eating vegetables so keep it to small amounts.

Don't forget to use your common sense. Even though garlic contains 16 g carbs, most people only eat a few grams per serving, so using garlic is perfectly fine (and tasty).

Again: all values are per 100 g. Source: fineli.fi.


Cottage cheese for breakfast

What if you want something else than eggs for breakfast? Before LCHF I had bread, oatmeal or muesli for breakfast, never eggs. It's easy to get bored with eggs so I will try to keep my egg intake rather low... Good breakfasts can be based on cottage cheese, avocado or high fat yogurt (low fat yogurt contains lots of carbs), sausage or ham with cheese.

Today I had an egg-free breakfast: 50 g salami, 80 g cottage cheese, 1 tbsp creme fraiche, 2 tbsp of desiccated coconut, 1 tbsp of psyllium seeds. Kcal: 390 and 3 g carbs. Quite a lot of kcal for breakfast but I will have a late lunch so I need more energy in the morning.

I mixed the coconut and psyllium seeds with the cheese and added some creme fraiche to raise the fat content. It is kind of like muesli. Other things to add are sunflower seeds, flaked almond, line seeds or low carb nuts like Brazil nuts. Or - now that summer is approaching - some fresh berries. Use your imagination! All of this food contains carbs and most are high in energy so eat in moderation.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Sausages en masse

I used to hate sausages. They can be stuffed with just about anything and, I assume, usually the worst meat you can find. If filled with meat at all. Even good sausages have fillers and the meat content is sometimes lower than 50%. But since I tried high quality German sausages made by the local butcher I realised sausages can be really tasty! And good for LCHF as well! I never saw a good German sausage with more than 1 g carbs / 100 g. At home most sausages have more than 5 g carbs. One of the most common sausages has 12 g carbs / 100 g. Haven't looked here in the UK, but the Richmond sausages contain 16 g carbs / 100 g ! Sorry folks, that is no longer sausage!

Anyway, we just had a package full of local made sausages like Landjäger, Salami, Rote Wurst, and Weisswurst delivered from Germany. 2 kg of sausages, no kidding!

Great tool for diet planning

Yesterday I discovered a recently launched tool for planning food intake - Kostplaneraren (diet planner). It is by far the best I ever tried. I tried quite a few free online diet tools, and I know a few ones available for charge. I even tried to program my own in Excel (I am an Excel freak, there is nothing you can't do in Excel! ;)).
The site is still a bit buggy, I think the beta-version was just launched yesterday. Hopefully the remaining bugs will be fixed soon because I really like this site. It is easy to use and has a great overview of kcal, fat, protein and carbs for both individual meals and summary of daily and weekly food intake. I like the drag and drop function in the calender and the possibility to choose what measures to use when registering food items.

Unfortunately, Kostplaneraren is not available in English but for all of my compatriots out there: www.kostplaneraren.se. I've started to use this to keep a record of what I am eating and plan meals in advance.

Take II: Serious stuff about low carb

No, eating more carbs does not work for me. It is too confusing, I do not know what is "good" to eat anymore. Veggies? Dark bread? Low fat dairy products? Fruit? I feel like I am stuck in the middle! And I was doing a lot better while eating low carb. So back to LCHF it is! My LCHF ;)

This time I plan to stick to LCHF! I am learning from old mistakes and correcting bad habits. I found a great tool for keeping record on what I eat, more about that later...

Btw, I am also back on this blog. Count on frequent updates from now on!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Serious stuff about low carb

Reporting my food intake was boring and I am too ashamed to post all the carbs I have been eating the last days so no more food journal.

I have been thinking a lot about LCHF lately. I am not loosing as much weight as I would want to and the diet is so boring and monotone. I wasn't sure whether I should write about this on the blog, but this is a blog about my experience with LCHF so I guess it should cover both the good and bad times.

I tried to vary the diet a bit by baking a "bread" based on psyllium seeds but the seeds gave me stomach aches :( I am now experimenting with adding some carbs back into the diet. Until now I had a daily 20 g carb limit and now I eat 50-100 g. That allows me to eat more vegetables and even some carb-based meals like muesli or oat meal. I am also watching the calories more carefully. I generally like the low carb way of eating, it is just that it is so darn boring to exclude all of them. Eating up to 100 g still counts as a low carb diet so I think this could work for me :)

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Day 2 - Breakfast

50 g smoked ham, 100 g cottage cheese, 20 g brie, 1 egg, 1 tsp sour cream, 50 g white cabbage.
1 cup of coffee with a sip of full fat milk.

Total: 411 kcal, 6 g carbs

Friday, 15 April 2011

Day 1 - Summary

Snack 2: Ham and cottage cheese. 240 kcal, 3 carbs

Dinner: Beef braising steak (250 g) with beans and carrots served with a sauce based on creme fraiche.

Total: 650 kcal, 10 carbs. 

Day 1 Total: 
1600 kcal, 20 carbs

All in all, the day was ok although 1600 kcal sounds like a lot. My carb limit is at 20 g so I am happy with that especially since most of the carbs stem from vegetables.

My BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is  1450 kcal (supposedly) and when I add the PAL for today's activities (1h running + walking, doing groceries, household work, etc.) I should end up with a caloric need of 2350. That leaves me with a deficit of 750 kcal (2350 - 1600) which I think is quite good! I've heard you lose 0.5 kg / week if you have a daily kcal deficit of 500 kcal.

There is still some room for improvement, though. No more carrots and I have to be more careful with calories in meat, especially since I am not running every day. I will also try to spread the calorie intake throughout the day rather than having a big meal in the evening.

LCHF shopping cart

I did my weekly groceries today and here is what I bought.

Meat: chicken breast, lean minced beef, lean pork (LCHF is not restricted to lean meat but that is what I prefer) and ham, salami and chorizo for snacks ;

Dairy products: butter (not margarine), creme fraiche, full fat milk, cottage cheese, cheddar, brie, babybel for snacks;

Vegetables: iceberg lettuce, cucumber, beans, asparagus, spinach, mushrooms;

and off course: eggs!

There are some essential LCHF groceries missing like tuna (line fished, that is), bacon (not my favorite), full fat cream, fish (salmon and mackerel are great sources of fat).


My boyfriend likes his carbs so I had to buy some sugary stuff too ;)

Day 1 - Lunch

Salami and cheese

Diet coke

Total: 410 kcal, 2 carbs

Day 1 - Breakfast

60 g white cabbage
1 tbsp creme fraiche 15% fat
1 tbsp mayonnaise 1.5g kh / 100g
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 hard-boiled egg
salt and pepper

Black coffee

Total: 245 kcal, 5 carbs

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Temptations

Since I started eating low carb, I am tempted by very different types of food compared to before. Now I want to eat müsli and fruit salad and drink juice or coffee with milk. Funny enough, chocolate, ice cream or other sweets are not as tempting? The mind works in mysterious ways.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Out to lunch?

Since I have been on the road a lot lately, I've been eating out quite a lot. Eating at a restaurant is quite easy. Just order some meat/fish/poultry with some (non flour) sauce and ask for vegetables instead of potatoes or rice or whatever is being served. Or go for a salad and skip the bread.

Having lunch on the go is more difficult. I used to love the meal deals available here in the UK, but unfortunately they are not very healthy and certainly not low-carb. Ok, the snacks will always be filled with the fast sugar you want to avoid but I think salad is generally a good lunch option. Most meal deal salads I've seen at places like Co-operative or Boots contain pasta, couscous or some other carb-based food. M&S have some low-carb options like prawns or olive salads but the portions are too small to make you full and relatively expensive. Today I discovered Pret a Mangers low-carb salads. This is by far the best lunch alternative I have found so far. Unfortunately, there is no Pret a Manger where I live, but lucky you if you live or work close to one!

I am back

What a week! First friends came to visit, then we spent some time in London and now I just returned after a few days back home. I wasn't able to exercise much while we had guests but in London we did some serious sightseeing, which will have to count as exercise ;) I managed to run a couple times while visiting my parents and it was even better than I had imagined. I am definitely gaining back some running power now :)

Monday, 11 April 2011

Friday, 8 April 2011

Back on track

I sneaked out for a run this morning while my friends were still sleeping and it was absolutely lovely. The sky was clear blue, the birds were singing and I felt great :) I am definitely seeing some improvements now, so it took my body about 5 weeks to adjust to the low carb diet.

I did the same "long" run as the last two times at almost the exact same tempo but with a much lower pulse. Morning runs will be my new favorite, I think. What a great way to start your day! :) Although, my next run will be difficult to beat. I am going to my parents for a couple of days so I will be running in the woods where I used to run when I was still living back home. Best thing - their dog is dying to join me :) Can't wait!

Bild från http://dogblog.ruffwear.net

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Guest friendly LCHF

I am currently having friends staying over for a couple of days and of course I want to be a good host. None of them eat LCHF so cooking for all of us is a bit of a struggle, being a LCHF-newbie and everything. But I think it is going fairly well. Usually we eat the same meat and vegetables, then I add some carbs to their meals like pasta or rice and add some sauce or cheese to my food. Tonight we are having lasagne. I prepared one regular lasagne and one without carbs. I wanted to use zucchini instead of lasagne plates but my local store was out of zucchini so I went for cabbage instead (?). We'll see how that goes, will keep you posted :)

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Low carb alcohol

Oh, another day of drinking wine. There used to be months without me having even a sip of alcohol and now there just seems to be so many things worth celebrating. I am very happy right now, so I am certainly not complaining. I do not know how alcohol affects ketosis but I have heard that the body consumes the alcohol first, so alcohol is unlikely to turn into fat. Any energy intake surplus will be stored, however. I believe that neither sugar nor alcohol should be consumed no matter what diet. Yet, if you are like me and want to enjoy la dolce vita once in a while, go for moderate amounts of dry red or white wine (3 carbs / 125 ml). The sweeter the wine, the more carbs it is likely to contain. Check out this site for more info.

Out and about

Today I will be travelling most day so no time for running or cooking. I still think eating out is a challenge with LCHF because you never know what is in your food. Usually I go for a salad with lean meat and add cheese or dressing but many salad sauces often contain sugar or other carbs so be cautious.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Keep your head in the game

The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper was interviewed by LA Times. Here is his advice on how to stay motivated.

Q: I usually last a week or two tops on a diet. What can I do to keep motivated?

A: You have got to keep your head in the game. What I mean by that is, having a workout friend or reading fitness related books and magazines. Anything that keeps your mind on this new lifestyle is a great motivator, but ultimately it is you that has to really want it and want to change.


I too read forums and other LCHF / low carb blogs to stay motivated. Low Carb Magazine is a great site for low carb recipes but I am still looking good links.

Regarding the power of will I could not agree more. On tough days (they will come) I try to focus on what made me start this diet in the first place. I always try to keep the final goal in mind whenever I feel like giving up. If you are tempted to make a bad decision, think about your goal, how badly you want it, what you are prepared to sacrifice to get there and what the consequences of giving in to the temptations are. Then make the decision. Sometimes the temptation will be worth it but mostly it wont :)

To keep focused it is also helpful to set smaller targets along the way. Keep up the spirit by treating yourself (not with food) once you achieve your targets. When I get to 65 kg I am going to the hairdresser. When my old pair of jeans are too big I am going shopping. And once I have reached my goal weight I am signing up for surfing classes.

A typical day on LCHF

This is what I am eating today:

Breakfast: Omelet based on 2 eggs, cream, and bacon. Black coffee.
Lunch: Can of tuna mixed with spinach and mayonnaise.
Dinner: Oven-roasted chicken breast with a creamy mushroom sauce, served with broccoli.

Drinks: Lots of water (this diet makes you thirsty)

Total: 1230 kcal, 10 g carbs

Exercise: Running at medium intensity

Sunday, 3 April 2011

LCHF explained

Indian challenge


We decided to eat out yesterday evening and since India won the Cricket World Cup, Taj Mahal around the corner was the obvious choice. I absolutely love Indian food, but avoided it since I started LCHF because I thought it would make my goodbye to naan-bread so much harder ;( Anyway, I decided to go for lamb saag and cauliflower bhaji side dish. The saag contained only spinach, lamb, onions and spices. No yoghurt, potatoes, tomatoes or other vegetables. The same goes for the bhaji, which is cauliflower and onion in a curry sauce. It was delicious! And I was not even tempted to eat from my partner's garlic naan :)

After dinner we went to the best cocktail bar in town and here a much bigger challenge kicked in. The bar has so many creative cocktails and I felt so boring to order wine. I definitely need to learn more about low-carb cocktails ;)

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Today's running

New record! I managed to run for 50 minutes today! I chose to run the longer path and when I hit the usual wall after 25 minutes I was half-way through and there was no turning back. I had to continue. Every minute was a struggle, but now I feel great. Again, I had actually planned a day's rest today, but the weather is just so lovely...! :)

Cheating?

Everyone that has ever been on a diet surely thought about cheating. I do not like the idea of cheating or treating yourself with food whilst on a diet. Cheating whom? For what? And how can something you know is bad for you be a treat?

Sometimes things happen that make it difficult to keep to a strict diet. Since I started LCHF, I went to business dinner meetings without LCHF-friendly food, celebrated a 6-year anniversary, christening, birthdays and stayed at friends for a weekend. I could not always stick to my diet, and in weak moments I had bananas, sugar cakes, milk chocolate and even toast bread. But guess what? I still lost weight! I am not fooling myself to think eating chocolate and cake is good for me but if you have good habits of eating and exercising, eating moderate amounts of "prohibited food" won't hurt the weight loss.

Habits, balance, and how we eat every day matter for weight loss, not the occasional exceptions.

Rise and shine

Weekend mornings are brunch mornings in our household. I will have eggs and bacon and drink french press coffee (best coffee!) with a sip of cream.

Running take II

I had planned to rest from running today but the sun was shining so brightly that I could not resist to put on my running shoes. It felt better today compared to yesterday. I still have a long way to go, but I will (try to) be patient. Funny enough, I have never been more motivated to run than now. Must be the perceived resistance - I am always up for a challenge! :)

Picture from nhs.uk

Friday, 1 April 2011

Cheers

After a week of classes, work, running, and LCHF food it is time for some quality time on the couch with my loved one and a glass of dry white wine, my favourite. Have a nice evening, folks!

LCHF food shopping

What things are ok to buy if you want to eat LCHF?

Avoid:
1. Products that contain more than 5g carbs / 100g.
2. Pasta, rice, potatoes, bread, sugar, pasty.
3. Root vegetables
4. Low-fat products
5. Fruit (contains lots of fruit sugar)

Buy this instead: 
1. White and red meat, fish, eggs.
2. Real butter - margarine is artificial and bad for you.
3. Cream, mayonnaise, fat cheese
4. Turkish yogurt 10% fat or more
5. Vegetables grown over ground: spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, avocado, bell pepper, beans, mushrooms, rocket salad, etc. Avoid corn and carrot.
6. Snacks like raspberries, olives or nuts are ok in moderation

Visit the Diet Doctor for more information