No, feel free to substitute meals if you don’t like something in the menu. All we ask is that you use LCHF recipes, preferably from our website so that you know they’re appropriate, and that you stick to no desserts or starchy vegetables in the first 4 weeks of the program.
Absolutely! If you don’t mind eating the same thing, feel free to have it as many times as you like each week.
There are a few things to consider when figuring out how much you need to eat. Many of our appetite cues are based on the time of day or location. These are conditioned responses and not true hunger cues. We need to you to start figuring out if you’re eating because you’re hungry or because of where you are or the time of day. Fasting, which we start in week 4, helps re-set conditioned responses and this means you can start trusting hunger signals as being real and not just psychological.
We also encourage you to start listening to your body and following your natural appetite cues. We find that by eating slowly, drinking water while you’re eating, engaging mindful eating principles and switching to a smaller plate; you will naturally start to eat the correct volume of food for your needs.
It is a trial and error process of course but initially start with a smaller portion and only have some more if you’re still hungry 10-15 minutes after finishing your meal (this gives your hormones adequate time to quick in and tell you, you’re full). You will find that with the addition of fat to your food that you fill up faster and stay full for longer.
However, most importantly, calculate your daily protein requirements and at the start, weigh your protein at each meal to make sure you are eating enough. Inadequate protein is a significant factor when it comes to weight loss stalls, rebound weight gain and hunger between meals.
Just remember that meat, eggs, dairy are all high in fat so we get lots from whole foods. If you follow the meal plan, you’ll be fine. However, you can mix the meals up if you want to also.
The point is to eat enough protein with every meal and keep your veg to low carb. Then add enough fat to keep you full. Make sure you watch my video on protein to assist you in calculating your requirements.
Try to relax and trust the process. Listen to your body and eat to your hunger, eat slowly, stay hydrated and don’t be afraid of adding fat to your foods
The easiest way to eat more fat is to eat foods that are already high in fat such as:
- fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna etc.)
- fattier cuts of meat (pork belly, chops, chicken thigh, bacon etc.)
- coconut oil, cream and milk
- sour cream
- cheese (I love adding feta to everything)
- olive, macadamia or avocado oil
I make sure I eat a good source of fat and protein together (i.e. eggs, meat or fish) and sometimes I will add a creamy sauce to my dinner (i.e. mushroom sauce or veggie bake). I would avoid adding fat for the sake of adding fat however as excess anything will contribute to weight gain.
As a general guide, you should be eating around 1.2 -3.3 grams of protein /per kg of body weight/ per day if you are trying to lose weight. The maximal amount for muscle growth appears to be around 2.2 grams of grams of protein /per kg of body weight/ per day. My general recommendation is to start with around 2.0 grams of protein /per kg of body weight/ per day and then play around with this number.
As an example, if you weigh 60kgs, you should be looking to eat around 120g of protein each day. This total amount is then divided per meal. Therefore, if you were to eat twice, you would eat 60g of protein at each meal and if you ate three times, you would eat 40g of protein at each meal. Watch my video on protein to see my full explanation.
Also, please note that this is protein / per kg of body weight/ day NOT the weight of the food.
100g of cooked steak ~25g of protein
100g cooked chicken breast ~ 30g of protein
100g cooked fish ~ 22-27g of protein (depending on the fish)
How much carbohydrate to eat is and always will be a bone of contention with me. My biggest issue with very low carb is long term adherence as I don’t see the point of doing this for 8 weeks then giving up because it’s too hard. There has to be a balance between what is achievable long term and what gives us the results we’re happy with.
Low carb can be broken up into the following categories:
Very low carb <50g per day
Low carb 50-100g per day
Moderate low carb 100-150g per day
I eat anywhere between 30-100g of carbs per day depending on my inclusion of potato/sweet potato.
We recommend eating less than 50g of carbs per day (which should put you into ketosis) for the first 4 weeks of the program in order to ensure that you’re fat adapted. After this, you can absolutely include some higher carb meals here and there (in fact it is a useful weight loss strategy) and the fat adaption will remain. Ultimately low carb is anywhere under 150g – it’ll be up to the individual to figure out what is sustainable long term.
I need to start of by saying that ratios are NOTHING more than a general guideline to help you obtain a ratio that works FOR YOU. If you feel good, are losing weight and healthy – you have found your individual ratios (and they may look nothing like the ones below). My ratios look very different on a day to day basis as the way I eat depends on how busy I am and how much training I’m doing.
So with this in mind, it’s not necessary to track your macros, if you stick to the general rule of: eat enough protein with every meal, keep your veg to low carb and then add enough fat to keep you full. However, if you would like to, the general ratio should be approximately:
- Fat >50%
- Carbs <20%
- Protein 15-30%
Please remember – ratios and volume are individual and you will need to figure out what works for you and what is also sustainable. If you are unsure and need more assistance, please contact us and we will organise a one-on-one Skype appointment with Naomi or one of our nutritionists
A low carb product is ideally less than 5g/100g.
Some people go really well on low carb whilst doing lots of training but not everyone can do this. It’s completely individual. Professor Tim Noakes recommends up to 150g of carbohydrate/day for athletes doing high volumes of training, significant weight training or even just for anyone not feeling great on the lower end of the carb scale.
I find that for serious weight training, the inclusion of some starchy veggies helps get the most out of a session. Think along the lines of potato bake, sweet potato mash or my current favourite – broccoli and potato mash.
It depends on your insulin sensitivity and whether or not you have problems controlling your blood glucose levels. I often hear that starchy veg may slow weight loss but this has not been my experience nor has it been substantiated in any kind of research.
If you have normal insulin levels (between 3 and 5 mlU/ml) and do not have blood glucose issues, then you can definitely incorporate these foods back into your diet after the initial 4-week fat adaption period.
Absolutely! It would be a sad life to never eat anything sugary ever again but it is an absolute no-no during our 8-week program. We do this to help you break the sugar habit and to help with adaption process that your taste buds will go through. After 8 weeks of no sugar (and limited sweet foods) you will find many sugary foods, you used to eat, too sweet for you. This will help you eat less and less frequently in the future.
Soda water and naturally flavoured mineral water are both fine to have instead of soft drink (always check the label though with the naturally flavoured mineral water).
A small amount of stevia, xylitol or erythritol is fine.
With any takeaway food, go for options that are low in sugar and carbohydrate. The key things to watch for a sauces and hidden sugar. The obvious stuff to avoid is bread and wraps etc. but people don’t realise how much sugar is in condiments and dressings.
Thai or Indian (without rice or bread) curries are often good choices. Naked burgers, bbq chicken or roast meat with veggies and loaded potatoes are also fine. A salad with chicken or meat, either with no dressing or a creamy dressing, would also work. You can also reduce your portion size and only drink water with the meal.
The main point is to try and make better choices but not make eating out impossible.
Please refer to the substitutions section of our Recipe eBook.
When shopping, the best thing to do is read the labels to work out which brand to buy. I have a video in the Education section which teaches you how to do this. However, here are some of the products that I know and love:
- Norco “Non-Homogenised Milk”
- Pitted kalamata olives from Coles deli
- The Pure Produce Company “Persian Fetta”
- Pauls Cream
- La Casa del Formaggio “Fresh Mozarella”
- Coles “Sour Cream”
- Devondale “Our Creamy Colby”
- Coles “Australian Butter”
- Philadelphia “Original Block” cream cheese
- Aldi double dollop cream
"CARB FLU", FAT ADAPTION AND KETOSIS
This is likely to be because of what is known as the “carb flu”. This is covered in Week 1 of the program, as well as tips for how to relieve the symptoms. But take heart, the “carb flu” usually only lasts a couple of days to a week or two.
Salt tablets! Insulin holds salt in at the kidneys so as our carbohydrate intake drops, so too does the need for insulin. This means as insulin goes down, our body starts dumping sodium and due to osmotic forces, water goes with it. This is why we become incredibly thirsty and urinate so much. Taking up to 5g per day (during this period) can alleviate much of the “carb flu” feelings. If you have hypertension, this may not be suitable for you and you may need to discuss this with your doctor first.
If the “carb flu” persists it’s likely your carbohydrate intake is too high. The likely culprits are:
- starchy veggies
- inadequate electrolytes
You may need to re-think some of your meals and try swapping dairy for coconut–based products and eliminating nuts from your diet.
You should also be thinking about electrolytes such as salt, potassium and magnesium. With salt, you can either put more salt on your food or take a salt tablet. Another essential electrolyte that can be difficult to obtain on a low carb diet is potassium. Low potassium is linked to insulin resistance and high blood pressure. I would recommend most people consider taking potassium. In addition to sodium and potassium, magnesium is another crucial electrolyte that many people are likely to be deficient in.
Fat adaption is also covered in Week 1 of the program but briefly, it is a permanent metabolic change whereby our body begins to use fat preferentially as an energy source instead of carbohydrate i.e. we become fat burners rather than sugar burners.
They are different things but if you’re in ketosis then it’s the best way to be sure of getting fat adapted.
Ultimately, fat adaption is when your body undergoes a permanent metabolic shift from burning glucose as it’s preferential fuel to burning fat. Low carbs are important in getting fat adapted. The adaption process requires low carb with the high fat as the alternate fuel source.
Ketosis is where your body is using it’s own fat stores as it’s fuel and you start to accumulate ketones in your blood. Being in ketosis means your insulin levels are very low due to a low intake of dietary carbohydrate.
Not in my own personal experience. I became fat adapted without assessing ketones at all and I also ate potato, which would have kept me out of ketosis (at least intermittently). However, to be sure, I recommend sticking to a ketogenic diet for the first 4 weeks to ensure you become fat adapted and don’t get stuck in the “grey zone”. The grey zone is when you continue to get the “carb flu” long after it should have stopped as you did not fully fat adapt.
You can measure ketosis via a blood analyser (most accurate) or urine strips (least accurate). Indirectly you can tell by the following:
- intense thirst (only present in the first few weeks of getting fat adapted)
- excessive urination (only present in the first few weeks of getting fat adapted)
- bad breath
- fruity breath
- lack of hunger
- steady blood glucose even when fasting
Please note that you may not experience any of the above or you could experience all of them. The most accurate way to assess ketosis is via a blood analyser.
We recommend starting with 1-2 of our high intensity sessions and building into 3-4. Our sessions are only 15-30 minutes duration and can be done from your home, or the park or anywhere you like!
High intensity training has been scientifically shown to improve cardiovascular fitness quickly and efficiently. With cardiovascular disease being the number one killer globally, it makes sense to focus on cardiovascular fitness. High intensity training also improves metabolic risk factors (increases HDL, lowers triglycerides, lowers blood pressure and improves insulin sensitivity) more effectively than lower intensity training. High intensity training will also ensure that you will increase lean tissue (namely muscle) which makes you a better fat burner!
Of course! We do encourage you to add in a couple of our high intensity sessions however as the intensity is the key to you changing your body. Only when the intensity is correct, will you see fitness improvements and the building of lean tissue. If the intensity is too low, you won’t get these changes. However low intensity exercise has lots of health benefits to and compliment our HIIT programs perfectly.
Absolutely! All our programs are designed to be done anywhere – at home, in the park or at the gym. New programs are available every fortnight and require minimal equipment.
It’s definitely a good idea to eat after training and to fast before. Fasting beforehand boosts growth hormone which converts to insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) which has anabolic (muscle building) abilities. Eating afterward training gives the body all the fuel it needs to re-build from training.
Particularly focus on protein post training as it’s necessary to build and repair our muscles. Leucine, a branched chain amino acid, is particularly useful for muscle growth and repair and is found in high quantities in animal meat and animal products. If you can’t stomach food post training, whey protein is very high in leucine and can be added to a smoothie.
Watch my YouTube video for instructions:
We learn about intermittent fasting (IF) in week 3 and then we begin to incorporate it into our menus from week 4. We ask that you don’t start fasting before then (unless you have been following the LCHF diet for at least a month before the program started) because it is important that you become fat adapted first.
This is covered in Week 3 of the program. However, there is no real recommendation on fasting outside of including it. I do 16:8 most days as it suits me and then I try for a 24 hour fast each week too.
If you’re going to do some training, try and break your fast after you’ve finished training. Fasting beforehand boosts growth hormone which converts to insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) which has anabolic (muscle building) abilities. Eating afterwards gives the body all the fuel it needs to re-build from training. However, the most up to date research on nutrient timing (when to eat food) is that you have a window of 3-4 hours either side of training where your body will optimally utilise the food you’ve eaten. So for the best results from your training, make sure you are not eating any later than 3-4 hours either pre or post training.
NOTE – when it comes to cardio, you can continue to fast as long as you like.
If you’re not training, break the fast whenever you like. I try to finish my fast around lunch time.
Absolutely! In fact, when attempting a fast, coffee or tea can help you get through the difficult points. Caffeine can act as an appetite suppressant which can help with fasting. People are more likely to adhere to fasting if allowed to have coffee and/or tea. Remember, you can have a dash of milk or cream with your coffee or tea when fasting but don’t have anything with a lot of milk eg no flat whites or chai lattes.
Yes it can. After I’ve been more flexible with my diet, I like to fast as it helps me reset and refocus. However, fasting should not be used to offset a chronically poor diet and can result in disordered eating habits and nutrient deficiencies. So make sure you’re mostly using fasting for the health benefits and not simply to let you get away with eating junk food all the time.
If you are eating a balanced and nutritious diet, then you probably don’t require many, if any additional supplements. However, supplements are necessary in specific circumstances such as if someone:
– is pregnant
– is undertaking a high volume of exercise
– is undertaking strenuous exercise
– has a medical condition
– is unable to meet nutrient demand
– has food aversions
Please note this list is not exhaustive and if you are unsure about whether or not you should consider supplementation, please consider discussing this with your doctor or a nutritionist/dietitian.
These are some of the supplements that may or may not be of use for you:
– Acetyl l-carnitine and co-enzyme Q10 (metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, diabetes)
– Chromium (blood glucose control)
– Potassium (high blood pressure or insulin resistance)
– Magnesium (anxiety, nervous system health, muscle cramps)
– Glutamine (gut health)
– Probiotics (gut health)
– Protein powder (if you are not meeting your protein requirements)
Green tea supplements have also been shown to increase lipolysis (fat burning) BUT this would be useful for a few extra stubborn kilos rather than significant weight loss. I personally didn’t find any benefit from this supplement. The active ingredient is epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). For weight loss, effective doses of EGCG are probably at least 270 mg a day divided into two or three doses. Some studies used higher or lower doses. For certain health conditions, you may need more. For everyday general health, you may need less.
Protein powder is a good choice if you are not meeting your daily requirements. When choosing a protein powder, choose one that doesn’t have any additives or artificial colours or flavours. Whey protein is recommended by the AIS and is high in leucine; a branched chain amino acid that is important in preserving muscle tissue and building new muscle tissue. However if you would like dairy free, a pea and rice blend is also suitable.
We know that some people like to shop and plan well in advance, so we make our meal plans and recipes available at the start of the program. All other information is made available on the Friday before each week starts.
Absolutely! Feel free to download, print or bookmark any information you like. Just remember that after the program finishes, you won’t have access to the week’s website page, but you will still have access to the YouTube videos, as long as you bookmark them.
If using an Apple device, you can save exercise programs, menus etc into iBooks, to go back to later (rather than taking screen shots or having to access the website each time). You just need to tap the top of the screen and hit “Open in iBooks” or, if that doesn’t come up, tap the rectangle with the upwards arrow at the bottom of the page and then scroll across until you see “save as pdf”.
We understand that sometimes life can get in the way. If you feel like you can’t commit 100% to the month’s program that you’ve signed up to, we are happy to move you into a later program, as long as you request the move in the first half of the program ie before Week 5. The first move is free and a second move will attract a $20 processing charge. After this, the cost to restart is 50% of the full price of the program.
While our program has been designed to teach you everything you need in order to continue your healthy lifestyle once the program is complete, we have no objections if you would like to do it again! If you would like to repeat the program, we are pleased to offer you a 50% discount on any subsequent programs. Head on over to our re-enrol page to sign up.