In What The Fat? Sports Performance we profile 10 different athletes. We have a world champions, Olympians and just plain old weekend warriors from 9 different sports. Here we introduce you to Helen – a weekend warrior who is winning with LCHF.
Height: 168 cm
Weight: 61 kg
Occupation: Research Scientist, Defence Technology Agency
Sport: Running, 10 km (38 min), 21 km (1.28), Marathon (3.09)
Helen is, and always has been, a pretty good runner. Priorities have changed a fair bit over the last several years with her two children Ella (5) and Tom (2). Life’s pretty busy with work, parenting and staying fit and healthy.
‘I love running, it keeps me fit and mentally on the ball. It’s some “me” time. And if I enter a few events it justifies me fitting in 4 or 5 runs a week, especially a good long run on the weekend’ says Helen.
She’s just finished a 25-kilometre road race and is training for a marathon in a month’s time.
Helen’s transition to LCHF
What is even more interesting is Helen’s transition from a high-carb eating vegetarian to an omnivorous LCHF eater.
‘A few years ago I heard about LCHF and decided to give it a go. The change was unbelievable for me. I immediately stopped feeling bloated and constantly hungry as I had done for years on the high carbs. I have great energy and mental sharpness all the time now. At work I don’t need to take snacks like I used to. I would get a bit “hangry” in meetings if they went on too long.
That hunger and the sugar lows and carb cravings are just gone. LCHF is convenient and easy. I can run without having to worry about the fuelling aspect. I can go out fasted, or after eating – there’s no real difference. And, rather than fading as I used to in a long run, I usually find I’m stronger in the second half now. All that without eating anything.’
Helen’s results are typical of the benefits for a busy working, training, fit, LCHF parent.
‘My mood is better, my recovery is awesome. I can do any sort of run and give it everything, like a decent long run or a hard tempo or interval session and I’m just not sore. My body on LCHF is different. And you know the funniest thing…I think I eat more vegetables now than when I was a vegetarian!’
Getting set up for the week on LCHF
Helen sorts her busy family with the week’s LCHF eating. Below are her routine and general principles.
‘Andy and I chat about the coming week (on the weekend) and decide what we will have each night and then shop for that along with the staples (one big shop). The big thing when you are eating exclusively real food is to get some sort of efficiency going. So, I make extra for dinner to use for our lunch the next day and for the kids’ dinner the next day (they usually eat before us on week days). I use the slow cooker a fair bit, but I leave out hot spices until after the kids have eaten so that I don’t have to cook two meals. To have LCHF convenience foods on hand, I make a batch of seed crackers, nut granola and almond bread on my day off.’