I think it has been 2 full years since I decided to go LCHF in my diet and cut out carbs from it and little over a year since I had my last cheat day that included some kind of refined carbs in form of white sugar or white flour. To be completely honest with you, at first it was all about weight loss. At the time, I was 20 something kilograms over my ideal weight and was generally feeling way too bad for a person of my age. Not to mention the outside look part of the story. I desperately needed something that will change that for the better and finally get me going, so I tried with LCHF.
I remember the first time my cousin mentioned that diet to me, it was couple of years back when she was trying it and the results were amazing. Obviously, I could see that she lost a lot of weight but she told me that she also felt better, had more energy, slept better and her digestion was as good as it can be. Even though I believed her, the thought of cutting out bread, sweets, juices, pastas, rice and other carbs from my diet was unthinkable no matter how desperate I was to lose weight. Instead, I continued eating everything and just failing miserably at controlling input of the food. By the time the alarm sounded in my head I had 91 kilograms on my 170 cm of height. I wasn’t just overweight, I was actually heading straight towards obesity. At 27 years of age life was just passing me by while I stuffed my face with candies and other shitty food. Desperate for a change I decided to give LCHF a go and never looked back from there. So here is the list of things that happened since.
- I lost over 20 kilograms of weight
The results of weight loss were more than just amazing. I became one of those hardly believable success stories that you hear about. I cut out carbs from my diet in early august and by the end of the month I already lost 8 kilograms of weight. At the times, I was still getting familiar with the diet so there were a lot of mistakes, like eating bananas for breakfast almost every single morning or occasional beer but still the results were obvious even in such a short time. That gave me the energy to continue on my way and just push on no matter how hard it was and it was really hard. It was so hard that for the first 6 or 7 months I would still have cheat days every two weeks or so where I would stuff myself with the carbs just to fight of the cravings. But, still that didn’t hurt me in my weight loss goal and by the beginning of May last year, after 9 months of diet, the number on the scale was 67 kilograms which was my ideal weight per BMI and my goal when I started the diet. People that haven’t seen me for a longer time could barely recognize me. It was a success beyond my wildest dreams and I was finally at my ideal weight.
- My family started thinking I was anorexic and everyone else thought I just got sick
Apart from my parents, brother and sister that I live with most of my other family in that period last saw me while I was still 15 or 16 kilograms over so when they next saw me at 67 kilograms some of them (actually most of them) went a little crazy and started talking about anorexia pretty loudly whenever I was around as if they were trying to warn me without directly saying to me: ‘Dude, we think you have a problem.’ The worst thing about it is that my parents, under the influence of some of them, started thinking the same. Needless to say, I just ignored them until they came to me and said: ‘Dude, we think you might be anorexic. You have to go back to your old diet!’ Everyone else that wasn’t member of my family would ask me ‘did you get sick or something’ when they saw me. I don’t even remember if anyone told me ‘hey man, you really did great and you should be proud of yourself!’ No sir, it was either anorexic or sick.
There’s one thing you have to understand, in the place where I live male ‘specimens’ that are 1,70 m of height and 67 kilograms of weight are something that is frowned upon. Very much. The height is not such a big issue but the ‘lack of meat’ on the bones is. When I was about 10-11 kilograms over, which is still considerably a lot, most of the people told me that I should just stop there because that was just about perfect for me anything less than that ‘would just be too much.’ It took me a really long time to convince everyone that everything was ok with me. For my family, the turning point was when they saw my lunch that consisted of 6 eggs sunny side up, pretty big piece of homemade goat cheese and big bowl of salad. At that point, they finally realized that no anorexic person could eat that much food in just one meal and everyone else just got used to me being small and thin 😊.
- My energy levels went through the roof
I’m not going to go into technical parts of what happens when you cut out carbs from your diet and increase fat intake so your body has to adjust to the new energy source but I am going to tell you that my body did adjust and it resulted in energy blast that felt like drugs sometimes. Before LCHF I was quite lazy and my free time from work usually consisted of sitting or lying with a book in my hands, computer on my lap or tv in front of me. The only physical activity I had was occasional stroll with my dogs through the forests surrounding my village. With the new diet and energy blast lying around and doing nothing was no longer an option, I had to burn the extra energy I got and I sure as hell wasn’t going to do it in my bed. Which leads me to my next point…
- I became more active. A lot more active
Before LCHF I would often say that I love those cold and rainy days because you get to stay in bed and do nothing without any guilt that would usually accompany staying in bed and doing nothing during sunny days. With new diet and new energy, I just wanted to go out and do stuff and at the beginning I didn’t adjust properly because after years and years of physical inactivity I started doing too much too soon which resulted in some injuries, luckily none were too serious. Once I got over those injures and after some adjustments staying in bed was the worst thing in the world. At first, I started doing 8-10 kilometer walks every single morning before breakfast. After that wasn’t enough anymore I bought myself a bicycle but there was one big problem. Both of those activities were outdoor and last year in Croatia was quite wet and rainy which meant that I was forced to stay inside a lot of times against my will (funny how fate plays with us…) so I made countermove and first bought stationary bike to which I added a set of dumbbell weights and a pull-up bar later so I had something to do when the weather went bad. Now I have to force myself to take rest days so I wouldn’t get injured again.
- Not only did I become more active but my whole lifestyle became healthier
It was just about weight loss at the beginning. I was still smoking, drinking alcohol and I would occasionally eat foods that are on the ‘forbidden list’ but as my kilograms went down it started being more than just weight. First, I decided to cut out cigarettes because even though I had more energy they were still making me feel pretty bad and they no longer had any place in my life. Quitting smoking is quite the task that requires will power and dedication and to do things right I implemented some new elements to my lifestyle:
- Waking up with the sun was a must, along with drinking of warm lemon water immediately after getting out of bed
- Morning meditation together with morning yoga became something that I couldn’t start my day without,
- Before breakfast it was some kind of exercise, be it walk, bike ride or something else,
- Mindfulness had to become integral part of my life because I had to control my thoughts so I wouldn’t have any urges to grab a pack of cigarettes and just smoke them all,
- Alcohol and coffee had to go because it was something that I associated with smoking,
- Food cravings that happen when you’re quitting were fought off with fresh veggies so during that time I started eating at least 2 or 3 servings of fresh vegetables every day,
- Staying hydrated all the time was and still is essential…
After 9 months of diet I went into full health mode so I even cut out occasional cheat days where refined carbs and sugars were allowed and replaced them with cheat days where I treat myself with healthy desserts using low carb or paleo flours, natural sweeteners and rest of the time I only eat food that is as natural as possible.
- I started eating (and loving) food that I hated before
Kale stew was one of the worst lunches my mother could make. I hated the smell of it, I hated the way it looked, I hated the way it tasted. Now whenever we have it for lunch I eat at least two or three servings in just one sitting and that’s just one of the examples. Healthy can really taste good and that really is the truth, you just have to know how to make…
- I started cooking a lot more often and became really good at it (at least, that’s what others say)
The changes I made in my lifestyle were my decision alone and that meant that it was my job to make sure I stick to it. There was no way I could force my other family members (I mostly mean my mother) to prepare food that was in line with my dietary needs. I had to do that myself and that meant that most of the days I had to prepare my own lunch. First meals were quite simple and easy (and often repeated) but as the time went by the repertoire slowly widened and with the discovery of Pinterest it just exploded into full chef mode where almost every day I would experiment with new combinations of foods and new groceries. The best thing about it is that it unleashed my creativity so now I’m coming up with new ideas and new recipes (and often use my family as guinea pigs) and that leads me to another point.
- I cleared my mind so I became happier and more creative
Obviously, healthy lifestyle with a lot of exercise and special focus on mindfulness is going to result in a much happier person whose brain works better. It’s not just about being happier or being more creative, it’s about being a better person overall and just continuing to improve every single day. Before I wanted to be better than everyone else, now I just want to better than myself.
- I finally started to get to know myself (and I’m no longer afraid of being myself)
A lot of times it felt like I was aimlessly wandering through life without any true purpose or without even knowing who I was, all the changes that I made to my life really helped me in getting to know who I am and where my place in this world is. Now for the first time in my life I feel like I’m really living my life instead just watching it pass by. The best thing about it is that the pressure of being what society wants me to be is slowly disappearing even if it meant that some people will not like me because of it, or think that I’m weird or even crazy and that’s ok because it’s not about how others see me but how I see myself (and I have to say that I’m pretty happy about it, most of the time… 😊 ).
- I look (and feel) much younger than before
No matter what my real age was people always thought that I looked older. Much of that can be attributed to the fact that I started growing facial hair when I was just 16 and my style often included me not shaving for long periods of times. But it wasn’t just the facial hair, my skin looked older and by the time I hit my 26th birthday I actually started testing some skin products because I thought they will help me. Obviously, none of them help but eating healthy (especially eating food without added sugars) did. Now, some people find it hard to believe that I’ll be celebrating my 30th birthday next year. I guess that means that beauty really does come from within or something like that.
I never thought that one simple decision will lead me to such a radical change in my life but I’m happy that it did because now for the first time in my life I feel awake.