This month marks 3 years since I started out on LCHF. It’s been a life-changing journey, one that has got better and better all the time! For a “before and after” picture of me, see here.
To mark this significant milestone in my life, I have listed below ALL the benefits I can think of that LCHF has brought me, both the quantifiable and the not-so-quantifiable. Wherever possible, I have also stated the scientific reason for the observation. There have been absolutely NO cons to LCHF living, only pro’s. Hopefully this will encourage others to take the plunge as well!!
First, and most obvious. When I started out I was 107kg (235lb) at 1.92m (6’4″). At the end of the weight loss phase I was down to 89kg (195lb), making a total weight loss of 18kg (40lb). My current weight is 93kg (204lb) due to light resistance training. Critically, my waist measurement has been falling all the time (see below), confirming that the weight gain is due to muscle and NOT fat.
My waist at start of LCHF was 107-110cm (42″-43″). Waist now: 89cm (35″). When I hit 95cm, my waist stopped falling for some reason and remained at this level until this summer when I dropped clarified butter from my diet, making my diet now COMPLETELY dairy-free. I have replaced the clarified butter with plenty of olive oil, both in frying and anywhere/ everywhere else where possible, in particular home-made mayonnaise. This has led to a 5cm drop in waistline since July this year. Nothing else has changed: exercise routine remains the same, sporadic at best due to other demands on my time.
These have disappeared completely due to minimal swings in blood sugar levels. Being in ketosis means that your blood sugar levels remain largely steady all day, whether you have eaten or not. As a result you are also much more relaxed about things in general!
Improved Cognition/ Brain Function:
The human brain can run on both carbohydrates & ketones but prefers, and even runs better, on ketones, see Phinney & Volek. Before LCHF, I had real issues with concentration and so called “foggy brain”, an inability to think clearly. That has now all gone and i can work/ concentrate effectively for long periods without feeling tired.
I knew nothing about this prior to LCHF so this is no placebo effect. After about 8-10 months of LCHF I noticed an improvement in eyesight. I was slightly myopic, especially in low light, for which I wore glasses. One day I glanced out of the window and noticed I could make out individual leaves in the trees, without glasses! Here’s the theory: Apparently, the human lens is very sensitive to blood glucose and will distort (swell) when exposed to high blood sugar levels, thereby also affecting vision. Further, there is some evidence that Omega 3 fatty acids protect/ improve adult human eyesight. Other people on other LCHF blogs have also reported similar experiences.
I used to suffer from dry skin, especially around elbows, heels, etc. That has now ALL gone due to cells storing fat for fuel. In fact, it’s one of the first changes I noticed, within the first 3-4 months of starting LCHF.
The quality of my sleep has improved; when I sleep, I sleep well. Further, I have noticed that I can quite easily get by on less sleep if I really have to, at least in the short term. I assume this is once again due to the brain running on ketones rather than glucose. Even if my sleep is disturbed, I usually wake up completely refreshed in the morning.
Colds & Flu’s:
Symptoms for these are far milder than before LCHF. I never get a fever and any symptoms don’t last long either. I am certainly never bed-ridden and can function virtually normally throughout. I attribute this to a state of low inflammation.
Full of Energy!
I feel at least 25 years younger, able to do anything/ everything I want to! Unfortunately I can’t find a meter to measure this feeling, it’s just a beautiful “side effect” to being on LCHF :))