I love it when our Revolutionaries share their wisdom and insight into what works for them. The truth is that we are all individual and through a process of trial and error need to find what works for us.
Here is Melody’s story:
My 7 Top Tips for following a LCHF lifestyle
by Melody Kerchhoff
I have been following an LCHF lifestyle since 11 September 2012 and what I was doing back then in the beginning is a lot different to what I’m doing now, more than two years down the line.
When I started I was a carb-a-holic of note and would think nothing of eating things like a whole large pizza, two big slabs of chocolate in one sitting, a massive bowl of popcorn while watching a DVD, fish and chips, bread, ice-cream, liqueurs, a whole bottle of sweet champagne on my own, mugs of hot chocolate, desserts, etc. When I think about it now, I can hardly believe what I used to eat.
When I decided to switch to LCHF eating back in 2012 after a health scare, I did not go completely cold turkey. My strategy was to cut out all grains and all junk, but to eat as much as I liked of the good stuff. So when I felt the need for something nice, I allowed myself to eat sweet things like honey or dates or fruit. I also used to make myself sweet treats using dates, nut butters, etc. Over time the cravings lessened and eventually the need for the treats fell away. However, I was still allowing myself red wine and 70% chocolate and I was probably sticking to an LCHF lifestyle about 80% of the time.
As time went on, I found myself eating cleaner and cleaner and I finally decided to give up sugar completely on 11 Aug 2014 when I joined The Sugar Free Revolution. I gave up all alcohol, all fruit (except berries), dates and honey and all dairy except for cheese and butter and I stuck to it for the full 8 weeks of the programme. I am still honouring this commitment to myself except that I do have milk occasionally now when I have a cappuccino.
My 7 biggest tips for following this lifestyle would be:
- Success or failure is decided when you are shopping .. if you don’t buy it, you can’t eat it.
- Only buy things that have one or two ingredients .. if you have to buy things in packets, boxes or jars, read the labels.
- Planning is key .. fail to plan and you plan to fail.
- If you’re doing this for weight-loss, throw away your scale! NOW! I mean it.
- Educate yourself and don’t follow anyone’s advice blindly. There is a ton of information out there. Find what works for your unique situation.
- Do some exercise .. as much as you want, but do some.
- Get your head in the right place.
1. I realise not everyone can follow my first tip as many people need to have high-carb items at home for husbands and children. You need to figure out a way to stay away from the things you choose not to eat. My partner does have wine and fruit and various other sweet treats as he is not addicted to sugar and in fact needs to gain weight, but he was very good about supporting me in the beginning and these days it doesn’t worry me if there is fruit or fruit juice in the house or even bread as I no longer want to eat those foods. I’ll even cook rice and make mashed potato or home-made bread for him and it doesn’t bother me. When we go out to eat and he has dessert, I am very happy with my cappuccino. What a miracle!
2. I only shop around the perimeter of the shop and hardly ever venture into the aisles. I buy mainly meat, vegetables, eggs, cheese and butter. The only items I buy in the aisles are tea, spices, olive oil and sometimes pure tomato puree. If I feel like pigging out, I’ll buy myself a round of camembert and eat the whole thing. I tend to buy coconut oil, nuts, nut flours, nut butters and other exotic ingredients at health shops and markets. Following an LCHF lifestyle is a journey and I have been moving towards more and more organic produce as my food choices have improved. 2015 may be the year that I move completely towards grain-fed meat. There might even come a time when I’ll be doing all my shopping at farmers’ markets and health shops .. who knows? Everything I buy is full fat and I steer clear of any soya, all grains, legumes and vegetable oils and of course, any form of sugar.
3. You need to know what you’re going to eat and when .. especially in the beginning. I work from home, so it’s a little easier, but if you’re going out to work, you need to take a packed lunch. Don’t rely on your local cafeteria. I find that if I cook a few large meals over the weekend, I can freeze portions for lunches and suppers during the week. Don’t get yourself into a situation where you’re too tired to cook proper food or you don’t have the time, as you’ll end up eating junk. Also plan what you’re going to eat when you’re going to a dinner party or a restaurant. If you are unsure about whether there will be anything you can eat, take your own snacks with you or just don’t go.
4. If your goal is weight-loss and you’re weighing yourself regularly, you are going to be disappointed .. so just don’t do it. If you’re anything like me, it is a lose-lose-lose situation. If I weigh myself and I have not lost weight, it’s a disaster. If I have stayed the same, it’s a disaster. And if I have lost weight, it is never enough. So I just stopped playing that game and I am much happier judging my success by the feel of my clothes. I do snap pictures of myself in my undies every now and then, so that I have some record of how far I have come. I recommend you do the same, as you sometimes need reminding when you feel like you’re getting nowhere. These days my focus is on health not weight. My weight is coming down slowly and if it takes another couple of years, that’s fine by me.
5. Some books I’ve read that I can highly recommend are: “Why we get fat and what to do about it” by Gary Taubes, the chapter on Nutrition in “Challenging Beliefs” by Tim Noakes, “I Quit Sugar” by Sarah Wilson and “Grain Brain” by David Perlmutter. My next read will be “Wheat Belly” by William Davis. You’ll also find plenty of good information on the authors’ web sites, facebook pages and blogs. Keep reading as new studies are revealing information all the time. There are many other books and sources of excellent information, I just haven’t read all the books so can’t personally recommend them .. yet!
6. I am not a big exerciser, but I do try to walk regularly around my neighbourhood and on the mountain. My plan is to start working out with weights at home this year and I also want to do some yoga. We’ll see how that goes. You need to do what works for you. I want this lifestyle to be sustainable for me, and going to gym 5 times a week is not something I can sustain nor is marathon running. There was a time where I was jogging daily, but it’s not something that I want to do at this age and stage of my life. Bear in mind that you can’t out train a bad diet. What you eat is paramount.
7. You need to be in the right state of mind. What works for me is meditation in the mornings and writing a daily list of things for which I’m grateful. You’ll be amazed at how an attitude of gratitude can change your outlook on life. You’ll need to figure out what you need to do as far as self-improvement goes and it will probably be revealed to you as you embark and continue on this journey. I can highly recommend joining a group of like-minded people who are on a similar path, like the Sugar Free Online Programme run by Karen Thomson.