What is LCHF?
LCHF is a diet low in carbs, moderate in protein and high in healthy fats.
To understand the reasoning behind LCHF, it helps to have a basic understanding of carbs and how they work in the body.
Carby foods (e.g. most alcoholic beverages, highly processed foods, sugary sweets, ice-cream, white potatoes, white flour, white rice, white bread, etc) are high in starches (sugars) that are easily digested and converted to glucose in our bodies. Glucose is just another word for “energy”.
If the energy we consume closely matches the energy we expend, all is good! Healthy, happy human!
However, many (most?) of us lead extremely busy yet physically inactive lives. Combine that with a high carb diet and it’s very easy to consume more energy than our bodies require. And we all know what that means…
Eating too many starchy carbs often leads to excess body fat!
To maintain a healthy body weight our energy intake needs to match our energy expenditure. On top of this, an energy deficit is required if we need to lose weight. With obesity reaching epidemic proportions worldwide, it’s clear to see many of us are failing to achieve this.
Thankfully, there’s something of a revolution afoot. More and more people are discovering a low carb diet, together with moderate (not high) protein and adequate healthy fats, really does work to redress the energy imbalance.
LCHF works by limiting excess sugars and starches, eating some protein and healthy fats.
In a nutshell, those are the basics. It’s pretty simple, really. Eat a varied diet that includes lots of healthy lower carb veges (fresh leafy greens, lots of colored veges) and low-sugar fruits (mainly berries—raspberries are amazing!), all of which contain lots of health-giving nutrients and naturally occurring antioxidants.
Will LCHF work for everyone?
It’s impossible to predict exactly how well LCHF will work for very individual. But my own experience and that of many others suggests good results are highly likely.
Prior to LCHF, I can attest to following every brand spanking new version of the so-called healthy food pyramid diet. These days the same pyramid is often viewed with contempt and labelled as downright SAD (i.e. the Standard American Diet). All I know, is that despite gargantuan efforts to stick with each incantation of the SAD plan, every attempt ended in failure. Any weight lost was quickly regained. Year after year, I became more desperate and miserable—and a whole lot fatter!
Happily, thanks to LCHF, those days are long gone. Losing weight is now an attainable goal and part of a healthy lifestyle. And there’s no more pain or misery! I’m now 48 lbs/22kg lower than my highest ever weight and still going strong.
Do I need to weigh food or count macro-nutrients (carbs, fat, protein) forever?
The beauty of LCHF is the freedom it allows! You really can tailor it to your liking. With anything new, it’s always a good idea to learn as much as you can in the beginning. But the main thing is just to get started! Your reasons for going LCHF and the amount of weight you may need to lose will help you determine how strict you wish to be. I had a lot of weight to lose when I first began (around 100 lbs/50kg), so limited myself to around 20-30 nett carb grams a day.
Most people are creatures of habit and tend to eat the same foods most of the time. Once you have an idea of the counts in your regular foods you won’t need to worry too much about tracking. However, if your weight starts to go up or stalls for more than a week or two, it’s probably time for a quick refresher. Best to stay on track and nip any excesses in the bud at the outset. Learning which foods contain the least carbs and sticking with those most of the time is usually sufficient for most people.
Need more info?
Check out the LCHF Guidelines
Remember, on the LCHF journey, slow and steady wins the race
There’s no need to rush or be perfect. Just make the best choices you can, as often as you can. It’s what you do most of the time that counts!
Maintain a positive attitude
Try not to dwell on any setbacks. Expect some detours along the way (I’ve certainly had my share!).
Most of all—ENJOY!
Eat well, drink well, and lose weight.
Once you get the hang of things, LCHF really is a piece of (cheese) cake!
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