Recently I posted about how I finally managed to lose three stone and keep it off after years of unsuccessful dieting. This is a little add-on post to summarise the foods that helped me stay on the straight and narrow. I hope you find it useful!
Going low carb really isn’t easy. For someone who loves carbs as much as I did, (and still do, I fall off the wagon fairly often even now) I completely understand the challenges of turning your back on chocolate, doughnuts, buttered toast, cakes, biscuits… starting to drool here. Let’s swiftly move on.
It is essential you keep your diet as varied as possible. Look at Pintrest and Google and you’ll find thousands of examples of low carb meals. Look for what you can and can’t have fruit and veg wise. This infographic really helped me. You must keep up your vitamins and minerals. Maybe top up with a supplement.
I am in the process of gathering low carb ideas together on Pintrest, you can find them on my boards. People have fantastic ideas which have really freshened up my diet and been a boon when I’ve run out of steam.
The foods I have listed here are what kept me going. My go-tos when I was in a rush, or couldn’t think of anything to cook, or I had the ingredients in the cupboard. For those days when I was heading for a carb binge and I needed something to head off the urge. (I wasn’t always succesful.)
In the first few months of my blood sugar diet I would monitor my blood sugars to see which foods caused a spike. I can only speak from my experience. I can’t guarantee these food won’t cause your blood sugars to rise.
These foods kept me satiated. The best thing about the blood sugar diet was I never had those crashes in blood sugar which had left me starving hungry looking for anything sweet to shove down my throat. The other good thing about these foods is they taste delicious and like you are treating yourself (except for the low cal shakes, they were mostly gross) but without knocking you off your diet.
Man, I ate so many eggs. I’m glad they aren’t the bad guys they used to be as I ate them at least three times a week. I’d poach them, fry them (with a bit of butter) and make omelettes. I appreciate this is not good advice if you’re not a fan of eggs! They are an excellent source of protein, nutrients and vitamins. You can cook them loads of different ways and they are inexpensive. Try to go for free-range, and look for the ones coming from chickens who have been fed Omega 3 fats.
Omelettes are a filling and really satisfying lunch and you can add a bit of cheese along with some peppers. Poached eggs are also lovely. I couldn’t do without buttered toast so would save up my carbs to have a couple of slices of seeded or granary bread with my poached or soft boiled eggs. For example, two slices of my favourite Hovis Seed Sensation loaf work out at around 37 gr of carbohydrate, so quite a big chunk of my allowance, but oh such a pleasure to eat with perfectly cooked poached eggs. A good slathering of butter, mind. Salt and pepper. Done and yum.
As an aside, I do love butter and I have read studies which indicate it is probably better for you. My feeling is that as long as you aren’t slathering it on all the time, a bit of butter is better than a lot of margarine. A friend of mine reckoned you had enough butter on your toast when ‘you can see your teeth marks in it.’ I (probably) wouldn’t go that far! It reminds me of the time when I thought having a puddle of sugary milk at the bottom of your cereal bowl after eating was a good thing. That’s what got me into trouble in the first place.
Protein Heavy Salads
I used to hate salad. Never ate it. Never. I was the one who would always leave behind the salad garnish on the side of my burger and chips. I didn’t see the point of it.
Salad is much nicer when you fill it with lots of chicken, or prawns, or eggs or goats’ cheese. It’s also a hell of a lot nicer when you can drench it in proper mayonnaise rather than low cal salad dressing. Yuk.
Mayonnaise was my gateway dressing and I can now happily enjoy vinaigrette or a simple honey and mustard sauce.
Whenever I dieted in the past I would force salad down without any dressing to avoid those ‘unnecessary extra calories’. Trouble is, without a dressing, salad is pretty horrible and it made me feel like this…
The great things about The Blood Sugar diet was you can have rich, creamy dressings and you are encouraged to add lots of good quality protein to your salad. Just cut out the croutons.
Sandwich lunches (followed by a doughnut, with a cheese and onion pastry twist on the side and an apple danish for pudding- mmmmm – Christ! No wonder I was so fat!) have now been replaced by salads and I can honestly say I have learned to enjoy them.
Same amount of calories as a sandwich but much better for you and low carb so you are not hungry within ten minutes.
Chocolate Granola with Greek Yoghurt
There were times when I really struggled with this low carb diet. REALLY struggled. Particularly after the first 8 weeks when I had got a lot of weight off. The temptation was to think oh I’ve lost it now – where’s the trifle? But, I knew although I had lost three stone, I still had another two to go. That’s proved harder to shift.
That period can be hard. After about ten weeks I felt I deserved a treat. I didn’t really want anything carby – pastry, doughnut etc, but something a bit sweet. And then I stumbled across a brilliant recipe.
It’s from a website called alldayIdreamaboutfood.com. A great name for a website. Here you will find the creator, Carolyn, has written a delicious low-carb recipes for people who still want to get bit of a sweet kick.
I fell in love with her Chocolate Hazelnut Granola. I had to go to quite a few health shops to get the ingredients and making it was a bit of a faff, but boy, it saved my life (and my diet) on a number of occasions.
It has sweetener in it, which I usually try to avoid, but if I am on the edge of a Krispy Kreme cliff, it’s better to go for the granola, trust me. I made jars and jars of the stuff. I would have it with Greek Yoghurt straight from the fridge.
Make sure you get proper Greek Yoghurt. Unsweetened. You don’t have to worry about the fat, worry about the sugar. Don’t go mad with the granola as the nuts make it high calorie; just enough to give the Yoghurt a sweet crunch which will stave off your cravings.By the way, if you can’t be bothered to follow the recipe above, the Paleo Company do a fairly good alternative.
OK OK I know. These are NOT healthy! I am not recommending you have these every day. Or even every week. These are for those crisp craving days. When you want something crunchy. Pork Scratchings are salty and crunchy with LOTS of bad-for-you fat.
When I found I had some calories left but with no more carbs allowed at all I might reach for these. I can hear the judgmental whispering from here. However, if you remember from the stats I quoted in my original post. I bought my cholesterol down. A lot.
I wouldn’t have them that often but they did keep me on the straight and narrow. Don’t judge me! I can only say what worked for me…
Cambridge shakes and drinks
When I started the diet there was a recommendation you use low calorie drinks to begin with. I was very wary of doing a solely shake/soup diet as I had done that before and lost all my hair.
I wanted to stick to the 800 calories but with normal food. However, you know, life, work, kids… Sometimes it was difficult to stick to the plan. I had some of these left over from an aborted diet a while ago. I decided to use them for lunches on the run or when I wanted to save up my calories for the evening meal and wanted a fairly low calorie lunch.
These ones were the best for me. I tried Slim Fast which were also 200 cals aprox, but my blood sugar levels rocketed after I used them. When I looked at the label I saw how high the carb content was so that explained the rise. The Cambridge ones did not put up my sugars, but that’s my personal experience. Yours may be different.
*UPDATE* I am now using Huel for those on the run days – they do a low sugar version and seem to be much more nutritious than any other meal replacement I have found. Not something to use all the time but definitely helped to keep the weight off when used every now and then. Look for the black range as that is lower in sugar
Summary of my Top Tips on how to stick to a Low-Carb Diet
- Skip breakfast. Worked for me but don’t take my word for it – you may respond differently. I preferred to save my 800 calories up and have a light lunch with a fairly big dinner.
- Weigh yourself regularly. I try to weigh myself on Wednesdays and Fridays.
- If you fall off the wagon try to still avoid the carbs. Better to binge on bacon than a doughnut. Read my post about getting back on track.
- Exercise. Yup. Sorry, you have to do it when you lose the flab. Build your muscles back up.
- Post a blog post on your site about how you managed to lose 3 stone and keep it off. Once you have done this you HAVE to stick to your diet otherwise your readers will think you are a fraud.
- If you fall off the wagon completely and find yourself neck deep in trifles, cakes, biscuits and chocolates just see it as a feast day and go back to the diet the following day. DON’T GIVE UP! Don’t think, oh well, I’ve messed it all up now may as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb and then call for a Chinese takeaway.
I wish I could write this in big flashing letters – this is what caused all those diets to fail, you fall off the wagon and give up. Doesn’t matter how many days it takes, when you emerge, blinking in the light with cake crumbs in the corner of your mouth and chocolate smears on your bra, just start again. Start fresh the next day.
You know as well as I do if you leave it too long that’s 30llbs back on, which could take 15 weeks to lose.
Let me know if you have any questions and do share the things that worked for you!