“I didn’t do what I always did, so I got something else!”

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Viveca felt great on LCHF, but the expected weight loss never happened. One day she had a thought and made a few small changes to her diet. This is her story:

The email

What you’re about to read is not a success story about becoming free of disease with an LCHF diet, instead I’m over 50 years old with the same problem that I’ve realized many other people have. Not losing weight, in spite of LCHF.

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

That’s what my cousin told me this summer (a word of wisdom which Henry Ford coined a long time ago, although he probably didn’t talk about weight). We sat down and discussed how hard it is to lose the last few stubborn pounds after the age of 50 (I’m 54 years old now). A few weeks later Monique (Lifezone) wrote the same text on her blog, but in Swedish. It made me realize that I MUST figure out what I’m doing wrong!

I started eating LCHF in 2010. Not because of any health problems but because I wanted to lose a couple of pounds and eat real food. Just like many others I got that AHA moment. My body felt at peace. My sweet cravings subsided and I no longer had to be hungry. However, I rapidly gained 4 kilos (9 lbs), but still thought that it was worth every gram. I read about all the “happy” low carbers who drastically lost a significant amount of weight, but that did not apply to me. I could accept that I had gained 4 kilos (9 lbs), but I was still slightly annoyed that it didn’t work.

I’ve taken two courses with Monique (Lifezone). One on LCHF and one on ketogenic LCHF. Everything I ate was low carb. I have tons of cookbooks with LCHF food. Skaldeman’s books. I read blogs and sites like Diet Doctor, Lifezone, 56kilo [Swedish], Kostvägen [Swedish], LCHFingenjören [Swedish], Martina Johansson [Swedish] and many, many more. So I know what’s LCHF and what’s not. Of course I’ve also read about what can cause a weight-loss stall, but it has not been so important, because I felt so great.

So what happened after the summer of 2016? I have no scale at home, but I realized that I’ve gained way more than four kilos (9 lbs). I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror and I definitely did not wear a bikini in public.

NOOO, it was about time to take a look at what I’m always doing:

06.30 – When I woke up I drank a cup of tea with cream.
09.30 – Breakfast at work. One egg with a little butter or a little mayonnaise. A cup of tea with cream.
12.00 – Lunch at work. Always low carb.
14.30 – Snack at work if I have enough time. A cup of tea with cream.
18.00 – Dinner at home. Always low carb.
21.00 – Evening snack. Low carb. Some cheese, ham, salami or nuts. Sometimes a piece of dark chocolate. A cup of tea with cream or half a glass of red wine.

This was what my weekdays looked like. On the weekends, I had a little bit extra of everything, even though it counted as LCHF.

Hmmm, what should I change? When I looked at it on paper I quickly realized that I’m eating even if I’m not hungry. A little bit too much cream, maybe? It’s one of these things that can cause a weight-loss stall, I’ve read. Snacking at night? I hate going to bed hungry. My cousin had started eating carrots in the evening instead of a sandwich. I hate carrots. It is not part of LCHF, it causes sugar cravings, so I had to figure something else out.

OKAY, said and done. I’m going to deal with this.
1. Time to only eat when I’m hungry.
2. The cream in my tea needs to go. Cream and dairy products only when cooking.
But I love cream in my tea. I also like butter in my tea, but thought it was too much to take out a hand blender every time. I invested in a few small electrical whisks and a few tall thermos flasks so that I could whisk in the cup without spilling.
3. The evening snack will be cucumber and tomatoes.

Since the 8th of August my eating schedule during weekdays look like this instead:

09.30 – Breakfast at work. One egg and a cup of tea with butter (with about 45-50 g of butter).
12.00 – Lunch at work. Low car (I’m not always very hungry at this time, but it is a social thing to eat together with your co-workers).
18.00 – Home after work. IF I’m hungry I eat a couple of boiled eggs with mayonnaise, otherwise I don’t eat anything until the evening.
21.00 – Curling up on my couch. Cucumber and/or tomatoes together with a big cup of tea with butter. This time is sacred. I really enjoy relaxing with my cup of tea and vegetables. Different tea flavors for variation.

On Friday nights and throughout the whole Saturday, I eat whatever I want. It’s low-carb, but then cheese, nuts, chocolate and alcoholic beverages are allowed.

What has then happened since I analyzed my eating after the summer? I don’t own a scale, which I already have mentioned, so I didn’t know about my weight until my annual check up at work a week ago. Yes, I’ve lost 5 kg (11 lbs). My waist circumference has decreased by 10 cm (4 inches) and my behind by 5 cm (2 inches). Oopsie!

I didn’t do what I always did, so I got something else!

Thanks for your enthusiasm and a very great site. My greatest favorite right now is the recipes,

Viveca

Comments

Congratulations to your success, Viveca, and a thank you for sharing!

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20 Comments

  1. Patty
    Hi Viveca, I'm so glad you were able to figure out what works best for you! Great description. For me it was fasting that helped.
  2. Hans
    This (like the Kevin Hall study) is another example that shows its not about "insulin insulin insulin".

    Keto or LCHF helps to eat less but in the end you also have to actually eat less.
    I love this story because with keto I lost a lot of weight and got to normal weight, but when Im not carefull and eat e.g. out of stress and not out of hunger I just as easily regain weight, even with strict carb restriction.

    Reply: #7
  3. gingerbread
    This was a very good description of the problem and the resolution. Self examination is really difficult for me; i have looked at certain 'areas' that could be a problem on my LCHF eating lifestyle, but not 'all areas', like my holy grail of coffee with cream and truvia. Imagine my surprise, when i entered truvia into fitness pal and found an additional 3 carbs per packet (plus the stimulation of insulin that brings). I have two packs of those each day. Then there is the cream. I really like the cream in my two large cups of coffee each day. But finally accepting that at 54 years old and a woman, just like the writer, the cream in my coffee may not be worth the pleasure. I have read about butter coffee, but honestly never tried it. I tried it with coconut oil before, and though it wasn't bad, it didn't grab me.

    I didn't have an electric whisk for my butter in my coffee this morning, so i took a small beater from my electric mixer and hand whisked it. I also put my 1/4 tsp of pure vanilla extract into fitness pal. One tsp has 1/2 carb; not much i know, but this is a cumulative effect that i need to at least be aware.

    Observations so far this morning: The butter in the coffee is killing my desire for a second cup of coffee with butter in it; i may have the second cup just black, with no truvia (i didn't realize the fact about truvia until after i drank the first cup and entered it into fitness pal, lol). Small tweaks do make a difference, and being willing to record everything that passes the lips is a great lesson. When you have the knowledge, you can make decisions on the knowledge and then accept the risk if you like.

    Another realization: I could not remember why i was drinking red wines, very dry. I started on wheat belly some 4-6 years ago, trying to get healthy and to stop gaining weight. At some point i forgot that white wines that are slightly sweet, like moscato, have much more sugar. I started buying them and drinking. Then getting bigger bottles. Until last week, when I forced myself to enter the info into Fitness pal. (my thinking was delusional like most people: its just a glass of wine and can't be that bad; of course having never looked at the numbers lately in fitness pal, and because those numbers aren't listed on the bottle, i could be blissfully ignorant and go with it!)

    Of course i wouldn't have just one glass of 5 ounces of wine; i would have like 2-3. Each 5 ounces glass of pink moscato from sutter farms is 13 CARBS. So alcohol, which stops weight loss and ketosis, plus 26-39 CARBS on top of what I had already had for the day, usually under 30, plus the insulin effects of the WHIPPING CREAM, and TRUVIA, had me yo-yo-ing something AWFUL on weight. I have to be honest and serious with myself, so these have to change.

    If i want a drink, then for right now the choice is Grey Goose, zero carbs, with seltzer water, zero carbs. I will change my 'evening snack' eventually too, to get that more under control as like the writer, i don't like to go to bed hungry(sometimes, cheese, coldcuts, nuts, pickles) . However, being honest here, i love popcorn as if it is a drug, like crack, and it had slipped back into my 'vices'. Mentally i refused to record it in fitness pal. Even though I know how bad it is. So that is now gone too. January is an excellent time to explore our slippery slopes. I don't wish to live and die by fitness pal, but for me, perhaps at the start of each month, i need to track every single item that crosses my lips for a week, to keep me from lying to myself. Just my thoughts on me, hope it helps someone that is like me.

  4. Shannon Thiss
    This post just goes to show you that calorie restriction is cr ucial for low carb to work. I dont know what lunch is but the rest adds up to approx 800 to 1000 calories. That is not a whole lot. Some wwhereon this site it says to not worry about calories or counting them. I think that it is a mistake to ignore them.
    Reply: #8
  5. gbl
    Where is the nutritional analysis on this? According to Dr. AE: 1 gram protein per kg of healthy (goal?) weight is his suggestion for women. Why is this post-menopausal woman being congratulated for this diet that sounds like it came off some quack site. That strikes me as irresponsible.
  6. gbl
    #Eating when she's not hungry.
    #Gorging on weekends.
    #What is the fat component of this example of her daily eating?
  7. Victor
    I'm not sure we can decide anything based on the description and lack of details. She says "always low carb" without giving details. Details might help, such as how many grams of carbs vs protein vs fat. Or even how many total calories she ate. The details she gave, when she gave details, sounds good, but not convincing that it is not about insulin. Protein causes insulin release too, but we don't know if she had LCHF or LCHP. And the lack of specificity of her foods: cheese, nuts, cream, dark chocolate, alcoholic beverages. All of these foods have carbs, some more than others. And some can be low fat too.
    Reply: #9
  8. Victor
    You can't assume anything about her calories or carb counts from her original description. Saying that her lunch or dinner is "low carb" without details is meaningless.
  9. Hans
    yes there is a lack of information,
    but with the info given what she knows about lchf and with what she wrote I dont see any indication that she ate too much of protein. If she ate 2 additonal large steaks a day, thats probably something she would realize and write down.
    But eating when not hungry, means you r full and yet consume more and more calories...this means LCHF was doing what its supposed to for her, but she ate anyway.
  10. Richard
    Congratulations! Apart from all the changes you've metioned you have also extended your overnight fast by 3 hours by not having cream at 6:30. I sure that has contributed as well. Well done!
  11. Hazel
    Hi Viveca, I'm very happy for you.
    Every week you're successful on low carb fuels more success. The basic rule, don't eat unless hungry is one key. You'll discover your own truths.
    A year ago I began to fast most of the day and eat only one meal in the evening. That works amazingly well for me. It's not for everyone but it's another key to success with low carb for many.
    Celebrate your success every day that you wake up being happy with how you look and feel.
    That's the greatest gift of low carb.
    Best wishes!
  12. 1 comment removed
  13. Joanne
    I was just watching a video on here about not counting calories, lchf, and fasting. The thing I have always always found is that if I don't eat enough calories I will not lose weight. There is a lack of info in her story, it comes off like she isn't eating enough, calorie restriction will work in the short term, but its not sustainable. Fasting I think is a more effective way to lose when stuck at a plateau.

    I will say though the success for her is the eating only when hungry! That is key for many people. And it goes to show that we all have to experiment to see what really works for us as individuals!

  14. Roderick Smith
    Well done Viveca for sticking in there and working it out for yourself. I too have now reached a difficult time but thankfully in past year have lost approx 25 kilo until last few months when have started to put on weight! I am trying to understand what I am doing wrong and reluctantly have to admit what I put in is more than what I put out! I am over 62yrs old and apart from walking do no exercise. My mind tells me what I am eating is good for me but my body says it is too much. I have found eating eggs only works well but like you love the cream in tea/coffee, I suppose I need to either reduce everything or try going with out! Your post has encouraged me to get on with it again. Always good to know we are not alone. Take care.
  15. Fleure
    You have done well to work out how to help yourself. I hope you continue to do well.
  16. Maike
    Hello!
    In LCHF it is necessary to count calories for fat as for proteins. Without this the weight will be stabilized and will not decrease, even doing ultra lowcarb.
  17. Suzy
    So she just went on a typical strict low calorie diet?
  18. 1 comment removed
  19. Olga
    Very timely post, thanks. I as well start suspecting that there "insuline-the-enemy" is a too simplistic approach. Calories matter somehow, maybe not all the same way...
    My story - starting with 62-63 kilos, moving to LCHF brought me additional 2.
    I feel great. I look great too, the fat apparently took a sexier shape :)))
    But it is not gone and moreover, adds on.

    My hypothesis is that general advices of LCHF (eat as much as you can, add butter and don't be afraid of cream) are totally true - to embark on this regime. People with no serious weight to lose, will soon find themselves putting on weight. Therefore, once the body is not asking for carbs, it is important to reduce portions and introduce fasting.

    I am using the ongoing two-week LCHF challenge to cultivate the new habits:
    - coffee and tea w/o cream
    - three meals per day no snack
    - skipping breakfast (aka Int.Fasting)

    Hope it will work!

  20. CLAUDIA
    Your story very motivational for me. I love my cream in my coffee every morning and lots of nuts or cheese for evening snacks. Even macadamias stall weight loss. I was kidding myself, too. Cutting back/eliminating dairy and nuts, skipping my1-2 glasses of Chardonnay and 1-2 days of fasting have produced 7# weight loss over about 2-1/2 weeks and enough inches lost to go down a full size. 60+ Woman here who vows to get back at LCHF, thankful for your example. So, V, what are your favorite flavor teas for the butter treatment?
  21. Barbs
    I too had to tweak (as an older woman 60+) and find what worked for me. Fasting is my holy grail as per Dr Jason Fung and his book The Obesity Code. Even eating one meal a day, even a very small one is just maintenance for me but then again I do like a glass or 3 of red wine. So if I want to maintain my weight I just have one low carb meal a day and that's fine as I am not even hungry these days since I became fat adapted. To actually lose weight needs me to fast for 36 to 48 hours at least, sometimes longer and it's not hard at all, wasn't that a revelation. I fast for the other health benefits too and it can't hurt your body by not pumping out insulin and having a rest from constantly eating and drinking all day long.

    p.s. Thanks for the tip Viveca I didn't know that about Truvia, I usually have pure Stevia but if I run out I have Truvia as a back up in my pantry but have just binned it!! I am in a big Facebook group and it was recommended to buy a blood glucose monitor even if you're not diabetic and test yourself before and after eating different things to see what works and doesn't work for you personally. There is no one size diet that fits all but low carb and fasting have been my saviour after many many years of yo yo dieting.

  22. Brad
    First off, well done for the self study. I believe that not enough of us do that, we are all different. In my own experience it is interesting to se that the body does a bunch of realignment and it picks and point and maintains itself. So, with me there was lots of weight loss, muscle growth, illness disappearing. then one day it all stopped. I was in a holding pattern for almost 8 weeks. Very frustrating...

    Then out of the blue one day the game was on again...my body was changing and becoming healthier. One thought that I had was with a lot of change wether we can see it or not the body goes into protection mode. Its not sure if we are sick or not but it just holds and then when it realizes that this is sustainable it releases the holding pattern.

    My 2 cents on the subject - have stalled on weight loss 6 times but it always restarts with time. As for weight gain, I have sustained around a 18 % muscle increase, and we all know muscle is heavier than fat. With me though I am very over weight is was about the health and I was very sick.

    Sometimes a small tweak changes everything and in time you can go back. I to love my cream, could drink it all the time. Removed it for two weeks, then slowly added it back with no ill effects.

    Regardless of any of the issues on LCHF still remains the best choice that I have every made.

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