What can I eat?
On the primal LCHF weight loss diet, and in the maintenance stage beyond, your food choices will be based on proteins such as meat, chicken, duck, fish, shellfish, eggs, some cheeses (preferably pastured/ grass-fed sourced) and fats such as coconut milk, grass-fed butter, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, raw nuts aswell as plenty of fresh green low-carb vegetables and salad. See our low carb food list here for the best LCHF primal foods to purchase before beginning the Lean Into Midlife plan.
Beyond staying with in a calorie range, you won’t have to strictly count calories, or overly restrict portions as long as you are eating from a food list of healthy, non-processed, fat burning foods and eating according to your hunger cues. To work out approximately how many calories you should be eating use this calculator. While eating LCHF will allow you more leeway than eating a typical low calorie low fat diet , obviously the laws of physics do apply and if you over-eat you will gain weight. If you determine that you should be eating around 1900 calories per day to maintain your weight and you eat around 2600, you will gain weight.
We’ve summarized some of my best weight loss tips below. Our free 8 day LCHF email weight loss course will provide you with a shopping list, easy meal tips and guidance for your first week on the plan. Click here to sign up and each day, for 8 days, you will automatically receive an email packed with easy to follow tips to kick start your weight loss. Just follow the tips each day and you’ll be on your way to fast and easy weight loss.
Let’s get started!
TIP 2: Eat plenty of fat, a moderate amount of protein and a small amount of carbs
- To begin, don’t restrict your calories by too much. Just focus on eliminating carbs from your diet. Aim to get most of your calories from fat (about 60-80%), about 20% from protein and the remaining 5-10% from carbs. These percentages are your macro nutrient ratios.
- To figure out approximately how many calories you should be eating to maintain or lose weight, use this calculator here. Calories don’t matter as much on a LCHF diet however there is a general range you should stay within. Experiment and see for yourself.
- Aim to reduce your carbs to within 20-80g per day. Most people eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) are eating well over 150g of carbs per day. Your main source of carbs on the LCHF Nation plan will be plenty of fresh green vegetables and some fruits.
- People vary in their sensitivity to carbs. If you’re someone who puts on weight easily, you will need to eat fewer carbs to lose weight than someone who does not gain weight so easily. As a small, light to moderately active woman, to lose weight Elena needed to keep her carbs at less than 30g net carbs per day. If you’re taller, more active and less insulin resistant, you may be able to eat 50g or 75g of carbs (or if you’re male and very active maybe even a 100g per day). Experiment and see. Generally though, the more carbs you eat the less likely you will experience the decreased hunger and blood sugar stabilization and loss of cravings benefits that are possible on a low carb high fat diet.
- We strongly recommend you eliminate wheat and grains as they are highly addictive and high glycemic foods that trigger insulin surges and, in many people, result in bodily inflammation and difficulty losing weight. Many people are allergic or senstitive to wheat products and do not realize it, until they eliminate them from their diet. Most people will lose up to 5 lbs in one week from eliminating wheat alone.
- Count net carbs only. If a product states that it has fiber in it you can subtract the fiber carbs from the total carbs as they are not digested. If a product that states it has has 5 g carbs per serve with 2 of them being fiber will only contain 3 net carbs per serve.
- Tracking your food on FitDay will make counting carb grams and sticking to the recommended macro-nutrient ratios easy.
- Experiencing a headache, feeling irritable and tired are normal symptoms you may encounter in the first few days of eating LCHF as your body switches from burning sugar to burning fat.
- To make life easier for you we have also calculated the number of calories, and the amounts of carbs, fiber, fat and protein in every recipe we have shared on LCHF nation.
Eat plenty of healthy fats
- We cannot emphasize enough that while lowering your carbs is fundamental on this diet, eating plenty of healthy fats is also very important. You will slow your weight loss down and experience hunger if you do not consume enough fat. People are often confused when they read about high protein diets and think that protein is all they should be eating. In reality, a high protein diet is usually a moderate protein diet that is high in fat.
- Repeat after us “Fat is good for me”, “Eating fat does not raise blood pressure or cholesterol levels or triglycerides”. It is refined carbs that raise cholesterol and triglycerides – not fats.
- Its very easier than you think to get plenty of fat as fat in your diet as fat is so calorically dense. A diet comprised of 60-70% fat is easy to achieve. A large salad like my salad recipe here is a good example of a meal that is comprised of over 75% fat although you’d never know it from looking at all those greens.
- Avoid all trans fats and high omega 6 vegetable oils which are pro-inflammatory such as soybean oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, cottonseed oil and grapeseed oil. Read food product labels carefully to see what kind of oils they contain. See our best low carb foods resource list for the healthiest oils and fats.
Eat an adequate, moderate amount of protein
When it comes to protein aim to consume around 50-100g /day. Your needs will vary according to your gender, height, and activity level. Here are the current US guidelines for daily protein:
- Babies need about 10 grams a day.
- School-age kids need 19-34 grams a day.
- Teenage boys need up to 52 grams a day.
- Teenage girls need 46 grams a day.
- Adult men need about 56 grams a day.
- Adult women need about 46 grams a day (71 grams, if pregnant or breastfeeding).
- Remember that the above values are the minimum amounts. Your needs may differ.
- When eating LCHF you should always keep in mind that protein eaten to excess, just like carbs, will be converted to fat via gluconeogenesis. As a guideline, protein should comprise no higher than 30% of your total calorie intake.
TIP 6: Take your vitamins and get enough sleep!
These are two things that you can do that will speed along your weight loss.
- Your body needs a certain amount of essential vitamins and minerals to function properly and this is especially important when you’re cutting back on food, and losing weight. In addition to taking a high quality multi-vitamin, we also recommend vitamin D3, potassium and magnesium citrate. There is evidence to show that taking in adequate levels of vitamins and minerals could decrease food cravings, thereby promoting weight loss.
- Get enough sound sleep. It’s well known that chronic stress and sleep deprivation may increase your levels of stress hormones such as cortisol in your body. This rise in cortisol can cause increased insulin levels, fluid retention, and sugar cravings and result in weight gain.
- To ensure an optimal night’s sleep, make sure that your bedroom has blinds that totally block out the light, and keep your bedroom to a temperature conducive to a comfortable night’s sleep.
- Numerous studies suggest that blue light emitted by computer and television screens in the evening suppresses melatonin and disrupts the brain’s natural sleep-wake cycles. Studies have linked melatonin suppression in the evening to various health problems, including metabolic syndrome, obesity and cancer.
- Have a small before bed snack if you need to. A feeling of hunger is not conducive to getting to sleep.
- Hot flashes and night sweats and other hormonal disruptions can make getting quality sleep very difficult for most women in midlife. If you are a woman, see your gynecologist to balance your hormones if hot flashes and night sweats prevent you from sleeping.