One Month of Low Carb Living

LOWCARB
Take a look at the breakfast I had yesterday: eggs fried in bacon grease, topped with cheddar cheese and salsa, fresh cilantro, and crispy bacon on the side. That’s just a small sampling of what I’ve been able to eat on this low-carb, high fat diet (LCHF) – without guilt!

January 1, 2015, was my official starting date. I have kept my carb count right at 20 grams a day. Surprisingly, this has been the easiest diet I have ever done! I have not cheated one time (that may be a first, ha!). I have not been feeling hungry, and therefore haven’t been too tempted to cheat (more about that in a minute). I feel fantastic, rested, and energetic. I am sleeping well at night and waking up early before my alarm even sounds in the morning. I have not dealt with insomnia since the beginning of the New Year, and haven’t had to take melatonin at night, not even once.

I have also lost 13 pounds and I am seeing my belly fat melt away right before my eyes. To say this is exciting is an understatement!

When I started, it was really important to have easy-to-grab, low-carb snacks available, because I was already in a {bad} snacking habit at around 3:00 every day.  My routine had been that I would be “starving” by that time, but would practice self-control until around the time I began preparing dinner. Then I would lose it – and it was all downhill for the rest of the night! The potato chips, Wheat Thins, Cheez-Its, chocolate chip cookies, and other carb-filled foods would find their way out of the pantry and into my mouth. This, in addition to all the taste-testing I did while making  dinner! Dinner then involved at least two helpings. And many times I would snack on something after dinner, along with a glass or two of wine. It’s no wonder I have ballooned since moving to Washington!

Now that I am deep into this LCHF diet, I am amazed that I no longer get hungry or crave snacks at 3:00! Every meal I eat is very filling, and another thing that amazes me is that it takes very small amounts of (low-carb, high-fat) food to fill me up.

Here is something I have learned along the way…

Carbs make you hungry for more carbs!

I did not necessarily feel satisfied in the beginning; I still craved carbs – a lot. For a few days, that did take some strong self-control – to not indulge in my favorite carb-loaded snacks. But this is when the low-carb foods I had prepared ahead of time came into play. I learned to make “cheese crackers” with just plain ol’ cheese and that satisfied my longing for something crunchy and salty. I kept slices of deli turkey and sharp, white cheddar cheese in the fridge to dip in chipotle mayonnaise (yum), and I learned to make low-carb zucchini “fries” and homemade, sugar-free Ranch dip when I thought I needed French fries! All these little tricks helped me get through those first few days, and when my body finally adjusted to my new low-carb diet, I found I was no longer hungry or craving anything all day long. I had successfully gotten over the hump.

For a quick reference, here are some of the foods I have given up:

  • Sugar
  • Bread and all grains
  • Milk
  • Corn
  • Fruit juice and fruit (other than berries, occasionally)
  • Potatoes
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Beans and legumes
  • Carrots and other starchy vegetables
  • Anything breaded and fried
  • All processed, packaged “snack” foods – I do not even trust the ones labeled as “low-carb”

Lest you think I am depriving myself, here are some foods that I do eat regularly:

  • Leafy greens – spinach, Romaine, etc.
  • All non-starchy vegetables
  • Creamy dressings like blue cheese and full-fat Ranch
  • Eggs – whole eggs, with the yolk
  • Avocados
  • Butter
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Sour cream
  • Chicken (with the skin when possible)
  • Turkey
  • Fish, especially fatty fish like salmon
  • Beef
  • Bacon
  • Cheese
  • Cream cheese
  • Seeds
  • Nut butters
  • Nuts, in moderation (my favorite – macadamia nuts!)

Can you see why I’m not feeling deprived?

Since I am focusing on eating plenty of fats, I stay satiated for hours. Sometimes I only need to eat two meals a day – once in the late morning, and nothing else until supper. I no longer get 2 or 3 helpings of food at my meals, and many times I can’t even finish what is on my plate.

It is my plan to begin sharing low-carb recipes that I make and have success with. (I’ve already shared my version of low-carb Texas chili, and cauliflower “mac” and cheese.)  I thought it would be hard at first to cook low-carb, but it’s really not – I am learning as I go, and it’s rather fun! Some of my favorites so far have been low-carb pizza, buffalo chicken bites, lemon-butter chicken, and fried cauliflower “rice.” I will be sharing those recipes and others soon!

Even eating out is not that hard. Recently, Andy and I ate out at Applebees and we each ordered a steak, salad with blue cheese dressing (hold the croutons), and roasted vegetables (in place of a baked potato). We walked away satisfied and definitely not feeling deprived! In fact, I couldn’t even finish my steak, and was able to enjoy the other half the next day for lunch. Other times we have gone to hamburger night at the VFW, and simply ordered a hamburger without the bun, but with all the “fixin’s.” I was surprised to find out how delicious this is, and I honestly do not miss the bun. We also have enjoyed the seafood buffet at Red Wind Casino several times, chowing down on Alaskan king crab legs dipped in butter, various kinds of baked fish (not fried), shrimp scampi, and the fresh salad bar.

If you’re interested in learning about the how and why of a low-carb lifestyle, here are some resources that have been very helpful for me this past month:

For understanding why low-carb, high-fat eating is healthy and helps so many people lose weight:

The Diet Doctor (Andreas Eenfeldt, M.D.)

“The Food Revolution” video by Dr. Eenfeldt

Why We Get Fat – lecture by Gary Taubes

Why We Get Fat – interview with Gary Taubes

Cereal Killers – a documentary you can rent online – highly recommended

For low-carb success stories, recipes, and tips:

Livin’ La Vida Low Carb

Linda’s Low Carb Menus and Recipes

Low-Carbology

Sugarfree Like Me – this blog is no longer active, but the archives are great! Check it out!

Books:

The Ketogenic Diet by Kristen Mancinelli

Dr. Atkin’s New Diet Revolution (1992 version)

Low Carb, High Fat Food Revolution by Dr. Eenfeldt

Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes

Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It by Gary Taubes

 

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7 comments for “One Month of Low Carb Living

  1. February 22, 2015 at 9:22 AM

    Thanks so much for linking back to my blog and Zucchini Fries recipe! Congratulations on starting your journey and your excellent progress to date! :)

  2. Tanya
    February 22, 2015 at 9:14 PM

    Alison, thank you so much for stopping by! I love your zucchini fries recipe, it is awesome!!!

  3. Wilma
    June 4, 2016 at 9:18 AM

    OMG!
    I can’t believe I have found this awesome web. Tanya I have to start by saying I absolutely love you. They way you express yourself , the way you write. You are an angel . I’m so fat! 281 lbs ,5’7 and 46 years young (lol). I’ve tried so many diets and programs nothing has worked . I’ve been gluten free 6 weeks now and suffering with the chore of drinking nasty protein shake and still not even a pound I’ve lost. For some reason I feel as if I follow your advice and recipes it will definitely work. I’m so thankful I found your site. That you so much for putting it together. I’m so grateful!
    Sincerely ,
    Wilma

  4. Tanya
    June 6, 2016 at 2:06 PM

    Hi Wilma! Thank you so much for your kind comment! I love helping people and I hope you will have great success with the low-carb lifestyle! Once you get over that “hump” of missing carbs, I think you will find it to be a very easy diet to follow. I wish the best of luck to you.

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