Friday, 30 May 2014

Good news and progress!

Some good news today! First of all: The Economist has published an article about how wrong scientists have judged fat, and that insulin (and thereby sugar) is the real bad guy. In a Swedish Facebook group about LCHF someone described our fat of fear by writing that "getting fat by eating fat makes as much sense as if you'd get sweet by eating sugar, or green by eating greens."

Then it was time for Purple Pant Check no 3 today! Last time I checked my purple pants was three weeks ago. Check this out:

Purple pants today
Purple pants three weeks ago

This time, the pants got up almost all the way, my bum fits as it should which I think explains the much more flattering shape of it today, and I didn't have to struggle as much to hold the zipper gap :)
At next check, they will go up all the way to the crotch and I will be able to get the zipper up a little bit!!

Now I can't wait to get on the scale tomorrow :)
Challenge today: party and going out tonight without cheating on the diet. I almost managed yesterday with the exception of some BBQ sauce on the pizza topping that I had (without the pizza bottom).

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Sweating away

Started the day with an upper back session followed by some sprints today. On empty stomach since I'm not too hungry when I wake up anymore. And yes, it works perfectly fine. Estimated my calories to about 1250 yesterday, but I still managed to raise some weights at the gym today!

Morning visits to the gym are the best way I know to start the day. That's where I kinda do what I do best. I feel invincible! I feel confident! I feel strong!!! And honestly, it feels even better here in Australia since it's quite uncommon to see women lift heavy free weights. So when I am there on the floor where usually only the hardcore guys set their feet, I can notice some curious looks and I know that people are impressed :)

What's more - it slightly feels like I have seen the light and the girls on the crosstrainers or the fit balls, are living a lie. I wish everyone could begin to understand that torture will not give you the results you want. Eating real food and do more efficient training with heavy weights (no machines) and maybe some sprinting is what will get you there! And that is not torture. Well, not to me anyway. You will not be bulky, but you will finally get the results that you dream of!

Pictures of what Sofia feels like at different stages after sprinting. Dinner. And the tool that hopefully will fix my grip during deadlifts :)

Monday, 26 May 2014

The success of mrs Housemate!

My wonderful friend and housemate has gotten fantastic results for her first week of this so called "extreme" diet! Her sleep is still perfect and the previous headaches are still absent. This is the first time she has managed to stick to a diet for this long even though it's just been a week. And the scale told her today that she has lost... *drums*... 3,3 kg! That is wonderful and she was so happy this morning and I am so proud of her! :)

Since I keep on following the LCHF lifestyle in Sweden, I get a lot of inspiration from there. One thing that I wanted to try was pork crackles with butter. So I did. And it tasted amazing! Was it good and healthy though? ... Nah, not if you intend on being strict as I do. Many ingredients and most of them suspicious things such as hydrolysed soy proteins and lots of numbers that I suppose have an invisible E in front of them. No sugar in the ingredients, but I guess there are some since the packing says "low in sugar" instead of "no sugar". The carb content was less than 1% though so I decided to go for it. Won't buy this anytime soon again though.

I am starting to get slightly nervous about one thing. Today I've only had a bulletproof coffee for breakfast and then nothing at all until about 5:30 pm when I had the pork crackles and butter. And now its 8 pm and I don't think I'll be hungry again before I go to bed. Problem is - I made a great steak yesterday that I intended to have as main food source this week together with fried asparagus, but I am not hungry enough to eat it! I also have heaps of organic eggs, tuna and homemade mayonnaise. It's not a lot, but I don't feel like eating anything anymore. It's probably a good sign - my body has finally learned to only eat when it has to. I just don't want to miss out on tasty and good food that I've made an effort to prepare.

Pat on the shoulder to mrs Housemate for great success and to me for not having bigger problems but rather enjoying life ;)

Saturday, 24 May 2014

No carb challenge - what happened?

I believe it is time for an evaluation of the no carb week! Report for mrs Housemate will come too, but after she's checked her weight (tomorrow).

Well well well. The adapting phase is over now, I believe. It has been a struggle the past week, but I pushed through and, considering my terrible breath, I think I've finally entered ketosis. :)

So what are the effects except bad breath and pimples (common side effects)? I am feeling absolutely fantastic! Seriously, I've felt somewhat depressed for quite some time while I've gained weight (not depressed because of weight gain... but perhaps they have a common cause). But now, after one week of extremely strict low carb high fat diet, my old energetic eyes that I've always been quite proud of, are actually back! I feel optimistic and I am getting my confidence back. This is definitely the best effect from the experiment!

Some things that I have described previously are still facts. Good results at the gym even if it's been hours since my last meal. Perfect hunger signals! It takes about 7 hours until I get hungry again after a meal, but I actually feel the hunger rather than just noticing that I have sugar cravings and that I am in a bad mood. There is no overeating either. I am satisfied with the portions I give myself and then I don't think about food until 7 hours later.

And what everyone obviously wants to know - has anything happened to my weight? Well yes it has! Not a lot, but it is going in the right direction. Minus 0.6 kg as of today. :D

This started as a one week challenge. But that was only the start. Now, since it took a week for me to get adapted, I want to keep this experiment going. The plan is to later slowly start adding things to the diet in order to see what it is that my body wants and what it doesn't want.

Fat and more fat. Some asparagus for a change instead of the same old broccoli today and the happy eyes :)

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Living la vida low carb in Australia

In Scandinavia the low carb hight fat, or LCHF, lifestyle is huge. It is now established after many years of public debates, skepticism and denial. Suddenly you can see low carb products everywhere! The low fat products are constantly on sale because no one wants to buy it anymore. The real butter and full fat cream are often out of stock instead. Even the authorities are starting to change their recommendations!

But I don't live in Scandinavia anymore. I live down under, in Australia now. And even though this lifestyle is spreading to other countries (especially America), no one really knows about it here in Australia. Suddenly, I am once again back to reading all ingredients extremely carefully in the grocery store since pretty much everything has added sugar, low meat content or is low fat. Once again, people look at my food with huge doubt. When I asked for help to find thickened, full fat, cream at Coles the other day, I had to be a bit persistent and the woman helping me laughed when I declared that I always buy the products with most fat in them.

In Sweden, many restaurants are used to people who eat this diet and provide alternatives. There are even low carb choices at some fast food restaurants and at IKEA. Here in Melbourne, I have simply given up the idea of finding good alternatives when I am in the city. Best choice is to find a grocery store and buy some nuts or Baby Bells.

Here's what I have learned this far: the stricter I eat, the easier it is. Good food is usually very expensive here. Sausages with a good content for example. I've solved this by preparing as much as possible myself. This includes spice mixes and sauces such as salsa. If I eat very strictly, as I do in my challenge now, then I don't have to look for food when I am away from home. Even though I feel hungry, it is still manageable. I will not get tired or in a bad mood or even start fantasizing about crap food. I can persist until I get home.

This blog is a way for me to report my experiences while I learn how to adapt in a country that still has to be convinced about the LCHF way of living. It is a way to memorize what works and what doesn't. And if someone finds it and gets some inspiration or help, then that is just a wonderful bonus. :)

Some Australian resources that seem really good:
A blog about LCHF in Australia with recipes that seem really nice

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

What is this magic???

I think it might be called ketosis! But I should not be there yet. So I suppose it is just a seriously kickass diet! Great results on the third day for both my wonderful housemate and me!!!!

So what happened? Well, I felt terrible all day, in a bad mood and sooo tired. But - I had brought my gym gear to uni just to be able to do a chest session immediately when I was done there. So I forced my ass there and, tadaaa, my energy magically came back to life, the weights were raised in all sets and I even managed to end it with 15 mins of sprinting afterwords! This happened after only having two meals today with the last one 4-5 hours earlier. Fuckin' kickass!!!

And you know what else is fuckin' kickass? My housemate is obviously also suffering from an adapting body. Probably a lot more than I am since she is all new to the concept. Despite this, she woke up without a headache today for the first time in three weeks!!! And she's really pushing herself with this new way of eating. She is truly amazing!! Go miss Housemate!! :D

Breakfast in the bottom (yep, that's right), post-workout snack in the top and a happy Sofia filled with endorphins to the left:)

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Something amazing just happened...

Since I am on a no carb challenge at the moment, I'm starting to notice some things happening. Things such as feeling completely exhausted in the afternoon/evening and being easily annoyed. That is, my body is trying to adapt to the new extremely strict diet. I also noticed that it took me about 7 hours to get hungry again after I had breakfast yesterday, and there was no need for a snack in the evening.

But now there was something amazing happening during brekkie. I managed to not finish my plate!!! Felt stuffed when I had one piece of the meat left and actually threw it away after I had to force down another bite. I seriously can't remember last time that I didn't finish my plate. It's something rooted very deeply from when I was little, and also from living many years on a tight budget. Suddenly it happened.

This means that I actually can feel when my body is satisfied while on this diet! Go Sofy!!!


And oh, look up the hashtag #skaldemanslchf on Instagram! It's all Swedish but anyone can see what's in the pictures anyway. Love seeing proof of other people eating as crazily as I do :)

Challenges and beginnings

So I live in Australia now. And here in Australia - people don't do low carb yet. The miracle hasn't really managed to travel to this part of the world yet. But despite this - I have managed to convince my first Australian. Here's the story:

There is a house in Melbourne where three people live. A boy and a girl who are married, and Sofia who's an international student from Sweden. The married couple have looked at Sofia's food with huge doubt without saying anything. All that fat. And seriously, why can't she have a potato every once in a while?! But the thing is, the female part of the couple is very overweight. I don't know how much, but I would guess around 140-150 kg. The boy is doing a lot of anaerobic exercising, have terrible food habits (same as his wife), seems fine and healthy enough, but has gained 12 kg since he met the girl despite the cardio. He believes in low fat diets and anaerobic exercising to loose fat.

The boy and the girl have tried to get a baby for some time, but without success. The doctor says that they might increase the chances if the girl looses some weight. They start dieting every week but give up after a couple of days.

One day, Sofia comes home and sees that something is wrong with the girl. She's not her usual happy self. Apparently, there was a visit to the doctor with more bad news. Sofia start talking about how the low carb high fat diet from Sweden has helped a lot of people loose a lot of weight when everything has failed previously. She also describe health benefits and research for studies about low carb diets and fertility (good info about that in this interview by the DietDoctor).

Anyway, I can't bother writing like that anymore. My housemate and I have now started a challenge for one week to begin with (will most likely be extended). I am cutting the carbs to a maximum of 5 grams per day (aiming towards 0), and she is starting on LCHF. This is so exciting!!! I get to follow someone who has potential to gain huge health benefits in several ways from following the LCHF diet, in Australia where people still frown at fat and believes in processed low fat food. I love that her goal is not primarily to loose weight, but to get pregnant, which also makes it even more interesting to follow. She is more motivated now than I have ever seen her before which really makes me believe that she can do it! And - her husband is completely against the whole thing and refuse to listen to my reasoning. I will love to shove his doubts in his face when she stands there with a healthy and, hopefully, pregnant wife!

What I believe my beautiful, wonderful and fantastic housemate will gain is:
  • A child
  • A healthy weight
  • More energy
  • Good sleep
  • Stable mood
  • Lower blood sugar
  • No more headaches
  • No cravings
To contrast that, this is what it is like now (a summary):
  • PCOS (no trace of a child)
  • Heavily overweight
  • No energy - naps every afternoon/early evening
  • Bad sleep - nightmares and waking up several times
  • Mood swings
  • Risk of getting diabetes according to doctor
  • Migraines and constant headache
  • Sugar addiction

I will follow this closely and support her as much as I possibly can. It feels as if I am almost as involved in and motivated by her lifestyle now as I am in my own, and it will be great to see what happens now and if she can stick to it! Second day today :)

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Purple pant check and the diet thing

I think a lot about how I eat, what I eat, how and what I should eat and how/what I want to eat. Strict low carb diets are ideal, no doubt about that at all. That sort of diet has made up the basis for my food habits for about 4-5 years now. That's how I lost 20 kg once!

There are a lot of variations between different low carb diets though and I have probably tried most of them. GI diet, paleo, LCHF, primal, strict, liberal, ketogenic, dairies or no dairies, fruits or no fruits. The stricter the better is what I believe in. Unfortunately, it is not very easy to stick to if you have an interest for food and cooking as I have. It is good for my body but not for the mental well being. I feel like I am missing out on life when I am on a strict diet and I can't see myself doing it for the rest of my life.

I think that I am starting to realize what kind of diet works for me, in the long run. While I enjoy trying new diets and see how they affect my body, and probably will continue doing so, I am now focusing on a diet that provides me with a good health, does not disturb miss Sugarmonster, that is enjoyable and that supports my hunger hormones. The last part is probably the most important one. I need a diet that does not trigger binges. A strict low carb diet that consist of only meat, green vegetables, fats and eggs does not work for me. I do believe that it is the best diet you can possibly be on, but it is too strict for me to be able to follow without huge binges every now and then.

When I listen to the hardcore people who are talking about peas and red capsicums as being "forbidden food" I also kinda get annoyed. That is not how I want to live! Some food is forbidden, sure thing. But my diet will consist of natural, unprocessed food. That is the most important criteria! Then there are different degrees of "goodness":

  1. Meat and eggs: As good as I can afford - hormone free, free range, organic, locally produced etc.
  2. Natural fats (butter, coconut oil, olive oil)
  3. Green vegetables
  4. Other vegetables, berries
  5. Nuts and seeds - shared position with dairies (mainly cheese)
  6. Fruits, roots, peas and beans, dark chocolate (>85%)
That's about all the food that I want to include in my regular diet. On an everyday basis it is only the first 3 or 4 categories that are consumed. Plus hard cheese (no lactose there). On the weekends I usually become more liberal and include some products from the other categories as well. Forbidden food has added sugar (I can allow myself natural sweeteners such as ripe bananas or honey sometimes), trans fats, lots stuff in the ingredient lists that I don't know what it is (e-numbers, preservatives etc.), palm oil and gluten. Artificial sweeteners are avoided but preferred to sugar (e.g. I bought sugarfree Strepsils for my throat yesterday).

This kind of diet allows me to experiment and give myself treats. It is considered healthy by most people. It is low carb. My stomach is working properly. I have energy. Miss Sugarmonster is usually absent. It helps keeping me aware of my hunger hormones (I feel hunger and I am capable of having normal sized portions). My blood sugar is stable. I do not binge!

This is the focus I have right now. I've never had that focus on my food habits before. It has always been about following strict rules made up by someone else about what I should eat and when. Now it is about my own functioning and learning how to get a healthy relationship with food. What works for me regardless of what other people say.

And - here's an update of how my beautiful purple pants fit a couple of days ago! :)

Still looks absolutely terrible but, I can get them over my bum anyway. And that's after only three weeks!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

New found love: HIIT

I have already described my overwhelming love for sir Gym. The main thing that makes me so attracted to sir Gym is the weight lifting. Heavy free weights. I've always kinda hated doing cardio though. But - about a week ago a realized that I was not as tired as I should be after a session of my new program (4-split instead of 3-split which makes the sessions a lot quicker) so I decided to try sprinting. Intervals has always been my thing since my endurance is pretty shitty and I don't know how to motivate myself to keep running when I feel like I am about to die, but it has always been longer intervals with the goal of being able to run for as long as possible without resting.

Now I've been quite inspired of the Primal Blueprint lately and by listening to their podcast I was curious to try really high intensity sprints after my workout. So I did. And then I did it after every upper body workout session this week. And I must say that wow, sir Gym - why didn't you show me this side of yourself earlier??? So what I've been doing is just 15 min sessions of 45 sec - 1 min of running at the top speed of what I have previously been capable of, followed by 1 min walking.

Why I love it you ask? Because it is over quickly so it is easier for me to push myself into both starting and continuing for the remaining time; because it releases all the happy hormones that I love from cardio exercise without being as torturous; because it is not as tough as aerobic exercise so I can do it after my strength programs which I have never managed before (I suppose - not really surprisingly - that anaerobic exercise is my thing), because I notice results after only one week of doing this!

Mark Sisson wrote an excellent post about this a while back, describing the benefits you get from sprinting. I am really looking forward to keep up these intervals and see how it will affect me in the longer run. What I can notice after only a week is: more energy and feeling a lot better mentally, starting to actually recognize my hunger signals which I haven't felt for a long time, increased speed (I suppose it is the same as when you start lifting - rapid progress in the beginning) and better focus. I mostly feel more stable mentally. I don't know if I can put all credit for that into the sprints of course, since my food intake has been really good the past week as well, I have managed to stick to my exercise routine and I have had a humane amount of things to do at uni (meaning: no stress). Although I definitely believe that the new addition of short HIIT sessions have strongly contributed to my new well being that has been absent for quite some time.

A pretty exhausted Sofia just off the treadmill. Sweaty and very satisfied with herself! And the eyes were a lot more energetic after some recovery ;)

Friday, 2 May 2014


Breakfast is holy to me. I've tried a compressed eating window a la 8h eating and 16h fasting, and can definitely recommend it. I do it every once in a while for some time, but I really do love my breakfast and always go back to it sooner or later. It is more than just food for me. It is me-time because I usually get up earlier than my housemates. It is relaxation. It is a beautifully slow start of the day where I have an opportunity to sort all my thoughts and wake up properly.

I truly love early mornings but I am not a morning person. And I try to get up extra early just because of that reason, however contradictory it might sound. Then I might allow myself to be a zombie for some time without having to stress. I allow myself to have a cup of coffee while just staring into the wall for half an hour if I feel the need for it.

Loved the look of my breakfast today so I just had to put a picture of it here. Homemade crackers (sesame seeds, linseed, sunflower seeds, egg and spices only - yummy dose of good fibres!) with a lot of butter, salami, a big chunk of cheese and a small twig from the basil plant in the kitchen window. And of course multivitamineral, omega-3 and the compulsory cup of black coffee :)

Entering into the light

In the beginning there was darkness. But after a certain period of time, filled with mood swings, struggles, mental fist fights with miss Sugarmonster and maybe a slip or ten, after forcing yourself to stay on track - you will see the light at the end of the tunnel. And suddenly you are there. Still far away from your goal, but you have reached the light. The light where it is no longer a constant struggle to keep on trying but rather just goes automatically. The light where you notice that you actually don't really feel like trying the cake at work because miss Sugermonster has given up. The light where you actually long for kicking some ass at the gym because you know how great it will make you feel afterwords. Suddenly you are not trying to convince yourself anymore - you are just doing it and you start feeling that you can actually manage this, for real!

It is worth going through the torturous phase to get to the light. And really - it does not take that long. I have a three day rule. That is how long it takes to get past the worst of the cravings. The diet is easier after about a week. After two weeks you'll probably be in the flow, you've gotten the hang of what you can eat for your different meals, the sugar addiction is on hold, it is not a huge mission to get to the gym anymore and you're probably starting to see your first results.

I read somewhere that it takes three months for a new habit to get established. Might be true. Probably is. But it will not be a constant fight trough all that time. The fight is only in the beginning. I believe that you will find your health salvation within a month. Just give it a try. A real wholehearted try. You can do it!