So you've got some excess weight to lose and you jump wholeheartedly into the LCHF (Low Carb, High Fat) lifestyle. You diligently track your macros, making sure you're within the 70-20-10, or so, percentages. The first week or two you notice a downward trend in the numbers on the scale, then BOOM! Nothing. Nothing for weeks after that.
You don't understand because you've been following all the advice you've received on forums and in Facebook groups telling you to “up your fat” a bit (or a lot), you're drinking Bulletproof Coffee (sometimes several cups a day) and eating fat bombs, backing off on your protein intake, and still no loss, or worse, you've gained weight. Others look at you askew and wonder whether you're secretly eating Ho-Ho's and just not fessing up, but you know how steadfast you've been on LCHF. Sound familiar? Well, you're not alone. I see it so much on the forums and groups I frequent, so many people seeking advice for lengthy stalls, and the upping the fat thing? It's not working.
My own daughter was having this issue. I gave her the same advice at first that I saw so many others give, “Increase your fat. Drink more BPC! Eat some Fat Bombs!” She gained instead of losing. I then happened upon a comment on one of Dr. Peter Attia's posts. The commenter asked a series of questions, one of which was, “Could I be in ketosis where I only burn dietary fat for the production of B-OHB and nothing from stored fat? i.e for some reason the body has no access to stored fat and it uses only dietary fat as its energy source???”
Peter's response was this: “If in ketosis, but still consuming more energy than expending, unlikely to oxidize fat.”
That was the moment the light bulb appeared over my head, just like in the cartoons. Okay, perhaps not literally, but it really made sense. As your body switches over to burning fat for energy instead of glucose there is naturally going to be an initial weight loss. If you have a lot of excess body fat and you are adding copious amounts of fat in your diet, and are for the most part sedentary, even if you have achieved ketosis you are only going to use the energy from the food you are consuming instead of the stored energy in your body. This is not the CICO (Calories In, Calories Out) equation, but rather a “too much fuel in, not using stored fuel” situation. In this case the fuel we are talking about is simply fat. It's not really about too many calories because most people I see in this situation are eating far fewer calories than they did before converting to the LCHF lifestyle.
What is the solution here, then? Am I suggesting a low carb, low fat diet? On the contrary, no one should ever do a high protein, low fat, low carb diet as it's a recipe for horrible health issues and ultimately certain death if taken to that extreme. There are three methods that I hypothesize will work to get weight loss going again on LCHF:
1. Become An Avid Endurance Athlete. Peter Attia himself, as fit as he has become eating low carb, is an endurance athlete. He has used a high fat, low carb, ketogenic diet as a means to endure the rigors of long distance bicycling without having to resort to “carb loading” before, or glucose intake during, his rides. And that is who “keto-adaptation” truly benefits; those who need to make it through their challenging physical activities without hitting the “wall” that comes when glycogen reserves are depleted. Under these circumstances, “fat loading” would be beneficial, as these individuals no longer have much in the way of fat reserves in their bodies to use as fuel, so Bulletproof coffee and Fat Bombs would be the thing to utilize for them. Let's face it, though, this suggestion is tongue-in-cheek as most of us are just not into triathlons or biking for 8 to 12 hours a day. But, if you like those sports, keto is the way to go!
2. Utilize Intermittent Fasting (IF). IF allows the body to use stored body fat during the hours one fasts. This also can allow for a person to pretty much gorge on as much fat and low carb foods as they'd like during the window of time they allow themselves to eat. This “gorging” is self-limiting, though, as fat is very satiating and one finds themselves ultimately not being able to eat as much as they think they will in that window of eating time.
3. Quit Adding All That Additional Fat. Yes, eat fatty foods. Enjoy that Rib Eye steak. Just don't add the butter on top. Back off of the Bulletproof Coffee for a while, or at least limit them to a couple times a week instead of daily, or having multiple cups of BPC every day. Dump the fat bombs for a bit and eat real food, low carb meals. Don't worry so much about your “macro ratios,” and just eat what you know you're allowed to have on a low carb diet, and only eat until you are satisfied. Keep your carb intake at 20 grams or less a day, and you should break that stall in no time.
Or, perhaps the more appropriate title would be, "Why haven't I shivered all winter long, even though this is possibly the coldest winter I've ever experienced in my life?" But that's too long.
I had noticed that while others around me were visibly shivering on several shiver-worthy occasions, I haven't so much as had one moment of teeth-chattering body shakes. I mean, yes, I can feel it's been very cold outside, what with our "Polar Vortex" conditions, and arctic-like wind chills, but no reaction from my body to try an emergency warm up by shivering. It's almost as if my body is running so efficiently that it automatically turns up the heat when I most need it to. And that is sort of what is happening.
Evidently when one is in ketosis for an extended period of time (or is keto-adapted) the brown adipose in the body increases, as do the mitochondria housed within the brown adipose, which in turn causes thermogenesis. I guess keto-adaptation was timed perfectly for me with this frigid weather. Score!
Here are some interesting links about shivering (the first courtesy of Bill Lagakos of Calories Proper) and about brown adipose increasing due to a ketogenic diet:
Regardless of the fact my inner furnace is working superbly right now, I still loathe winter, and it may not be until spring that I take any progress shots, though progress is definitely being made. I am also spending a lot of my free time helping my eldest daughter ready her newest project: a low carb website complete with a community forum, recipe database and social networking function. The website is set to launch within the next two weeks, possibly sooner. If you'd like to help with the success of this endeavor to create a great spot on the Internet for all of us who hold low carbing near and dear to us as a lifestyle, a donation of any size would be most helpful and appreciated. Thanks in advance!
Here in America where the economy is sucking for air and the job market is incredibly stagnant, what was once the Middle Class are now the working poor or those left jobless and in utter poverty. We are all pretty much in the same boat here, and stretching a dollar is a necessity so we can afford to pay our bills and eat.
I am fortunate to have a job, though things are always tight money-wise. One way I save money is shopping at Aldi. They describe themselves as "a discount grocery chain that operates over 1,200 stores in 32 states," although they are based in Germany and have stores in the UK, Denmark, France, the Benelux countries, the Iberian peninsula, Poland, Hungary, Switzerland, Australia, Austria, Slovenia and, of course, Germany. The Aldi Company also owns Trader Joe's. I have found that Aldi is my go-to store, not only because of the values I can find there, but because they carry some much better products than what I can find at my local big chain grocery, and so many things that fit in very well with my family's LCHF lifestyle!
I had to go there after work today to pick up some items to make the best Keto pizza known to man (see this post), and found other bargains along the way. Here, let me share you some of the items I purchased:
1. Pork Rinds, 99¢ per bag - My son and I love these for a snack on occasion, to dip or to eat just as they are. I love how they have highlighted "Og TOTAL CARBS" in a red banner on the front of the package!
2. Shredded Mozzarella, 4 cup bag, $3.29 - I usually shred my own, but lack of time this evening necessitates me buying the pre-shredded. Yes, I know it is coated with non-clumping agents. I'll deal with it tonight for the time-saving factor.
3. Pepperoni, 7 oz. bag, $1.99 - Mmm. For the pizza, with enough left over for a lunch for me tomorrow.
4. Heavy Whipping Cream, 1 pint, $1.99 - This is the only cream I can find in my area which does not contain skim milk, which I guess the other stores use to save money on their end, passing on no savings to the consumer and jacking up the carbs in the cream. It does contain Carrageenan, but so does every other cream in stores around here. I really need my own cow.
5. Grass Fed Ground Beef (!!!), 1 pound, $4.49 - My Aldi doesn't always have this, but when they do I pick up a pound or two.
6. Spicy Brown Mustard, 12 oz., 99¢ - I love mustard. I also picked up a bottle of Dijon, same size and price.
7. Dry Roasted Macadamia Nuts with Sea Salt, 6.5 oz., $4.99 - This is dirt cheap for these wonderful, fatty nuts. And Sea Salt? Bonus!
8. Tomato Paste, 6 oz., 39¢ - Again, for the pizza. I mix herbs and spices in with it for the pizza sauce. Oh! I also got large jars of seasonings (Basil and Oregano) today as well (not pictured) for 99¢ each!
9. Sausage, 1 pound, $2.49 - Pizza topping, with enough left over to freeze for the next time I make pizza. All natural, no fillers or preservatives.
10. Pitted Whole Black Olives, 6 oz., 99¢ - Pizza topping once again, and also enough to freeze for the next pizza.
11. Mini Food Chopper, $7.99 - My food processor recently died after serving a long and productive life. This little baby won't replace that (and I can't afford to replace the food processor yet), but it will help me on some minor prep tasks for all kinds of things. Tonight it will chop the black olives, and perhaps some onion.
So, there you have it...living the good life the LCHF way, on the cheap. I have not been compensated in any way from Aldi for my endorsement of their store or products, by the way. I just wanted to share that this way of life doesn't have to break the bank. Shopping at a discount grocery store allows me to have my pizza and eat it, too, and have some money to spare.
Last, but certainly not least, my gorgeous eldest daughter, who lost 80 pounds in 9 months on low carb, has started her own LCHF blog! Do me a favor and please visit and say hello!
I have a friend, J., whom I've known since first grade. She has had some issues with her digestive system and has been inquiring about which low carb plan might be best for her to try, but has mentioned that there is so much confusing and conflicting information about them all that she needed some guidance in the right direction.
I thought it might be helpful information for others, and instead of privately messaging I figured why not share it for everyone to reference? I also thought that instead of just making a blog post that I'd make a page for it here. Up in the navigational tabs you'll find one that says, "Diet Choices Primer." Let me know if I missed any important points or information, and if you have any additional questions about any of the eating lifestyles.
I actually created this recipe before I went Keto, but the macronutrient profile decidedly puts them into ketogenic diet territory. I made them again this morning and thought I would share. They are pretty yummy, and very filling. I like to make these cinnamon-y, but feel free to omit the cinnamon and sweetener from the recipe as it will not change the texture a bit. Keto Pancakes
1 -8 oz. brick Cream Cheese, full fat, softened
1/2 t vanilla
2 T coconut flour
1 t Splenda, or other sweetener proportionally measured to equal 1 t sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1 t baking soda
2 to 3 T coconut oil for cooking (or other oil of your choosing)
Cream the softened cream cheese with a hand blender. Add eggs, one at a time, until each is incorporated into the cream cheese. Add vanilla, then add dry ingredients, mixing until well blended. Ladle onto griddle or pan when your oil is heated, set on medium-low to medium temperature, by 1/8 C or so each pancake, spreading the batter out a bit after pouring. Flip when the edges look cooked. When done serve with your choice of toppings (I used sugar free pancake syrup on the ones in the photo. I also topped them with butter for more fatty goodness!). Makes approximately 18 smallish pancakes.
I added the coconut oil (2 T) into the counts here as these pancakes absorb the oil you cook them in. Serves three people, six pancakes each.
After reading a tirade
some comments on my Facebook regarding the sweetener I used in this
cheesecake, I feel the need to preface this post by telling you I
occasionally use artificial sweeteners with no guilt and no
perceivable adverse effects (no headaches, no weight gain, no second
head growing from my shoulder). I have lost weight while occasionally
eating something sweetened with Sucralose (Splenda). It doesn't
affect my blood glucose at all (especially compared to sugar),
and that's a great thing to me when I want something sweet, or I am
baking for myself and my family for a special occasion. I personally
despise the aftertaste of Stevia, and I have gastrointestinal issues
if I ingest Erythritol, honey effects me like table sugar, but for ME Sucralose is benign.
If you are sensitive to artificial sweeteners, or if you have issues
with Sucralose, don't use it! And you find another sweetener works
better for you (even sugar), use it! If you find even the thought of
sugar or sweeteners or photos of sweet treats spike your blood sugar
and make you gain ten pounds, turn back! If you feel the need to
lecture me and everyone else on the use of sweeteners I suggest you
do it on your own Facebook or start your own blog. Making blanket
statements about *anything* is not wise, nor is it intellectually
honest, regardless of where or whom you heard it from that sweeteners
are the devil. As with anything about low carb eating, YMMV (Your Mileage
May Vary). But for those of you who, like myself, can tolerate some
sugar substitutes and low carb sweet treats every now and then, have
I got something special for you...
The one piece I hid so I could have it for lunch at work yesterday. Yum!
I LOVE cheesecake! I had a recipe I had
been using for a while, but after making it the last few times I
decided I could probably find a better low carb recipe, or I could
convert a good cheesecake recipe to low carb myself. After scouring
the Internets and coming up empty on what I thought would be a good
low carb recipe for cheesecake, I stumbled upon a full sugar version
that sounded wonderful: Perfect
Cheesecake on Simply Recipes.
I used this recipe to make a
cheesecake for the holidays, substituting bulk Sucralose for the
sugar and my own almond flour crust for the graham cracker crust. It
got rave reviews from family and friends. It IS a perfect cheesecake,
so creamy, rich and delicious! Its high fat content fits in nicely
with my low carb, ketogenic way of living, too!
If you've ever been intimidated by the
prospect of making your own cheesecake from scratch, fear not. As long as you follow the directions it's
really pretty easy, and no more time consuming than anything else
from scratch. You can do it! I know you can! And the payoff is
My pointers after having made this are
1. After reading a comment in the
recipe post someone mentioned using a crock pot liner instead of
foil to keep the water out of the springform pan. I happened to have
some, so I tried it and it worked like a charm!
2. I made the sour cream icing from
the recipe (with Sucralose instead of powdered sugar) and didn't
like it. I ended up scraping it off the piece(s) I had, as did all
but one other person who had some. I intend to leave it off entirely
the next time I make this.
3. I didn't have a pan big enough to
do a water bath, so I picked up an aluminum roast pan at the
grocery. That also worked great!
4. I do have a Kitchenaid stand
mixer, but opted not to drag it out of the pantry and used a hand
mixer instead. It worked just fine.
My crust recipe is as follows:
1 ½ C blanched almond flour
4 T butter, melted
4 t Sucralose (or other preferred
1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
2. Combine almond flour and sweetener.
3. Mix in melted butter and press into bottom of springform pan.
4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
Proceed with the recipe for the cheesecake batter from the linked site, substituting the sweetener of your choice for sugar.