Low-Carb Weight Maintenance Stats – Induction Notes

Beginning Induction Weight- ( 1/2012) 142-145

Lowest Weight ( 2/2013, approx) 123

Current Weight- 126-128

Exercise: Running about 2-3 days per week, inconsistent at times. Strength about 2 times per week, plus very active job – 8 hrs daily of speed- walking, bending, stooping, climbing, stretching. pushing a heavy cart around corners. (core work ūüôā )

So, induction was the hardest. It requires strict diligence and adherence to the plan- staying at 20 grams of carbohydrate intake per 24- hour period, and this needs to come mostly from salad and other vegetables. So, there pokes a hole in the myth that Atkin’s is all about bacon and steak. I’ll tell you that in those early days, you do eat a goodly amount of meat, eggs, and cheese, because there’s only so far salad greens will go in fueling the body. And, it’s almost free food, because you are getting almost no carb content in those items.

Somewhere around week two, you might cave-in, gorge on pizza and ice cream, and never go back.

But if you’re one of the determined few, who have decided that if you’ve committed to something, you will stick it out until you see results, by the middle of the third week, and especially if you’re new to¬†Atkins’s¬† the weight seems to just fall off. Pants are looser, your face looks thinner. True, some of it is water. Your body simply becomes more efficient and less bloated at this stage.

By now, temptation may really hit hard. You’ve been so good, you’re losing weight- how about a night off of the old diet? You could take a free day at this point, but it will either stall your weight loss, or make it just that much harder to ‘get back on the horse’, but assuming you are very strong, you could have your night, and get back on the plan, none the worse for wear. It’s just that the night off needs to be very rare. Better to keep on with the plan, slowly increasing the amount of carb content by a mere five grams of carbs; assuming you are still losing weight. My body was tough this time around! It took me three MONTHS of induction to get to the point where I had lost just seven pounds. The first time I seriously did induction, it took only ten or twelve days.

The next stage is almost as hard. You’re allowed some of the phase 1-2 bars, shakes and meals now, but there’s still a huge emphasis on eggs, cheese, meats, and salads, veggies, and just berries. All other fruit is too full of sugars- and while they are natural, they are still sugars.

At this point, at about two to three months in, a lot of people just can’t take the lack of bagels and pasta anymore. They get tired of their normal weight friends and family who are scarfing pizza and¬†bread sticks¬†and who are eating ice cream looking at them like they are crazy. “Look at me. I’m not overweight. I eat what I want. Why are you doing this?” “What, you’re not eating whole wheat bread but you eat extra bacon?? What kind of diet is this? Your heart is going to clog up and fall out!” So, you try not to roll your eyes, sigh, and try to explain the science. Their eyes glaze over as they chew the pizza crust, and smirk at you.

“Just eat less of everything, and don’t stuff yourself. You’ll be fine”. I’m sure there is a lot of truth to that. But what if sugar and carbs act like a drug to some of us? What if not overeating these kinds of foods is harder for me then giving up smoking was? What if staying away completely until I beat this ‘addiction’, both chemical and psychological, is the most effective thing for me right now? what if I told you that I eat more vegetables and fiber now than I ever did when I ate smaller portions of only what I wanted?

My previous life of ‘eat what you want, just less…maybe”

Breakfast: Leftover huge hunk of carrot cake, or huge bowl of cereal. Neither stick with you long, so I was starving way before lunch

Lunch: Big sandwich, maybe even a sub, and all that bread. Chips, diet pop- ha ha, and two big cookies, or a similar treat. Always had dessert after lunch. If not, then a one-two hour later ‘treat’, like a candy bar. Invariably. Also, if there were any other dessert type foods offered in the break room at work, I would eat that, too.

Dinner: Huge rib-eye, side salad, two crescent rolls.

Dessert- big bowl of ice cream with Hershey’s on top.

Now, no- I didn’t eat like this every day. But way too often, it was something very similar to this. Any time I would look at what I’d eaten that day, I would be disgusted with how many calories I’d racked up, and moreover, I’d be amazed at the fact that I always still felt I could eat more!

Bio chemistry, blood sugar balance, and habit:

Perhaps there is a test that could tell us that some of us are more sensitive to the effects of high glycemic foods than other people are. Perhaps there is a test already. Maybe it’s the same test used to test diabetics. How soon after subject A eats this glazed doughnut ( or icky cup of orange syrup at the doctor’s office) on an empty stomach does the blood sugar level peak? How high is that peak? How long does it last? When it comes down, how quickly and to what level does it adjust to?

I can tell you that a breakfast of coffee and doughnuts is a disaster. Maybe not for most people, but for me, yes. I suffered tremendously with low-blood sugar- hypoglycemia, any time I lived on my carrot cake or cereal breakfasts. Why? After the rise, there is always a fall. Why doesn’t that happen to everyone? I don’t know. Why do only certain people get diabetes, or Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s? Everyone is different, with a realm of expected possibilities. Parkinson’s is possible, growing a third eye, not so much.

If you find that eating a high carb diet; that is- one with a lot of refined flour product, bread, sweets, chips, french fries, battered and fried foods, sugars and syrups, and you always feel hungry, you sometimes get light headed and clammy/sweaty between meals, and you can’t seem to turn down a junky snack, you’re a junkie. You’re hooked, and your body is running on cheap, adulterated food. It’s not good for you for many reasons.

When I was a sugar junkie, I had horrible mood swings, manic highs and low lows, skin troubles, scalp issues, anger management issues, and more. Besides that, I was overweight and miserable. I couldn’t seem to figure out why I was always ready for candies, cakes, and ice cream, no matter how much I’d eaten. Turning it down was torture. If I said no to dessert, I’d scarf a quick breakfast just to feel better about eating the ice cream at ten a.m. The next morning! Does this not sound like an addiction? Insert the words “Martini” wherever I used “dessert”, “junk food” , ‘candy’ or ‘ice cream”, and you might see my point.

“But food is just food. It can’t be addiction. It’s all in your mind”. Sure, addiction is largely in the mind. This is why taking the physical chemical imbalance out of the equation is only half the battle. But, it’s very helpful and important. Drug addiction is largely¬†psychological, too, but we have to give up the drug, not just talk to our minds about it. If it helps, think of it not so much as addiction, but rather habituation. We are creatures of habit. We tend to want what we are used to . This is both a blessing and a curse, depending on what we are feeding ourselves. The physical aspect of this manifests itself, in terms of sugar and carbs, in a spike in our blood sugar levels when we eat the offending foods. We feel satisfied. It’s only a matter of time, though, before the blood sugar level crashes and we want to poke it back up to where it was. So we eat the Little Debbie snack cakes or grandma’s fudge, or a can of Pringles. We feel better, but maybe guilty, and like crap again when the crash comes, and so the cycle starts again. The body doesn’t get what it actually needs, good nutrition, and we’ve basically put sugar in our gas tanks.

I believe that people who have maintained a balanced diet over their lifetimes and who do not have a weight problem, intuitively know what their bodies need and listen to that rather than their cravings. They don’t get up in the morning and become tempted by carrot cake. They eat eggs or cereal, and they’re perfectly fine, running smoothly until lunch, which they eat in balanced fashion, probably not caring one way or another about a cookie or two, or a candy bar. I never see my husband go out of his way for a snack after lunch, nor does he usually consume cookies with it. On the other hand, he can eat a giant poppyseed muffin for breakfast and not go mad with hunger prior to lunch. I would. Why?

Insulin resistance: Here’s a great post by Suzanne Robin:http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/can-produce-much-insulin-2833.html

Hypogycemia? All About it: http://www.naturalways.com/sugar.htm

I am not a scientist, so best to get the facts here. Again, balance is an ideal. A great concept, and eventually able to be maintained. If you have had success with  balancing your diet and maintaining your weight without removing certain foods from your diet, why are you reading this post?

Yes, it can be done, but if you are way out of balance, you may need to take serious steps to get back into it.

Best Health and Wishes,

Lee

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The Addictive Personality Remains Addictive – Even Without “Drugs”.

The addictive personality may kick the alcohol, the heroin, even the need to compulsively spend- but deep inside, there may still be a dormant addict. To what? If there are no drugs, alcohol, the incessant need to gamble, masturbate to porn, overspend, scratch lottery tickets, then- what? Where is the problem?

The addictive personality is doomed to exhibit addictive tendencies toward any number of things, people, but most of all- experiences- that otherwise ‘normal, healthy’ personalities respond to quite differently. The addict may do a good job in hiding the addictive tendencies, but the underlying problem lie in the addict’s inability to consistently apply a very important understanding to every undertaking of life; which is:

The ultimate fulfillment in life comes not from feeling and doing, but rather from knowing and being.

This basic misunderstanding leads to a person jumping from one project to the next, one job to the next, partner, place, educational goals, etc. Why? The experience gives the rush. Call it ‘stimulation addiction’. Similar to an adrenalin junkie’s need to feel the physical rush of the extreme, the stimulation junkie just has a hard time in general with downtime. Unlike a person who simply likes to stay busy and get some work done, or even the restless soul who can’t seem to sit still, the addictive personality is looking for something that they can’t ever quite define, or find. Ironically, they seem to ‘find’ it all the time. But once the rush of the newness wears off, they are often left feeling down. The new job just wasn’t what they thought it would be. The new car is starting to squeak and rattle, and the studies in architecture are boring. The new relationship collapsed under the strain of not thrill-seeking, but perhaps drama-seeking and neediness on the part of the addictive personality.

A 12-step program of support might always be a necessity for the recovered substance abuser, and it makes sense for those who have long ago given up one vice, (alcoholism , for example) to become a chain-smoker, then give that up but now are binge-eating, who finally stopped that but now can be found gambling five nights a week. Maybe they are involved with more than one addiction at a time, but since they are not ‘intoxicated’, and are completely ‘functional’, they don’t see themselves as addicts, and most others would not either. Chances are the addictive personality keeps people at just enough distance to keep criticism at bay. Honesty with oneself becomes more and more elusive, and difficult.

It is only when we can learn to truly have ‘fun’ without drinking, smoking, gambling, overeating, etc…when we can be at peace without having to be ‘doing’ something, no matter how industrious it may seem…when we can just relax, and be in the moment, knowing that in that moment, we have everything we need, that we are OK, can we begin to approach living a life of peace and true happiness.

Prayer, or meditation are extremely helpful for this disorder, as are certain yoga techniques, counseling, and/or the 12-step program. It is necessary to recognize our demons in order to fight them. It is not enough to kick one demon out of our life to simply replace it on down the road with another- even if it seems ‘innocent’. ¬†Sometimes fighting means learning to let go.

In case you are still confused as to the difference between an an addictive personality and a person who just has lots of goals and hobbies, consider this:

The addictive person is never satisfied for long with the thing they obtain.

The addictive personality has a hard time maintaining long-term healthy relationships. They usually begin with a huge rush of excitement, and when that fades, the person is left disillusioned and dissatisfied.

The addictive personality has a hard time being content. They do more than simply look for opportunities to advance at work, or dare to chase a dream. Instead, they are almost compelled to seek out the excitement of the experience, and have trouble communicating the ‘why’ of it all.

The addict may have one or several ‘minor’ addictions in their lives, and may give one up to take up another at any time.

The addictive types have a hard time just ‘being’. Being in the moment is hard, relaxing and ‘doing’ nothing for very long is very difficult, even if they are exhausted.

They seem compelled to move, change jobs, up-end everything with no understandable reason.

They rarely have true peace and contentment in life, because they are attempting to live in a feeling or experience-mode that cannot be realistically maintained for the long-term.

They haven’t learned to live out BEING and KNOWING over feeling and doing, even if they understand it to be true.

Relaxation is very difficult- it’s usually full-speed ahead or exhaustion. Some may sleep more than normal, because of enjoying the dream-state, or a way to escape reality for a while.

Now, all of this could be chalked up to conjecture; maybe just a combination of what I read, think, and have experienced or seen. I am certainly no mental health expert. But, I think I am on to something.

Sound like anyone YOU know? If so, what are your thoughts?

Do You feel Lucky, Punk? Well, Do Ya?

Maybe I was feeling lucky. I decided at the last minute to have whatever I wanted at Thanksgiving. So, on Thursday, I ate very little for the early part of the day, and did exactly that. I ate turkey, cranberry sauce, a roll, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, and pie. Yes, I did. I enjoyed it all. I gained no overnight pounds, and my pants were not immediately tight. I felt no urges to eat more carb-laden food, and I am still not up in weight over Thursday. Today, we had our traditional Saturday Thanksgiving ,which is about food, family, friends, and football. I ate low-carb, but did have two bites of pie, just to taste test it. I was not out of control, and while I did eat a few spoons of whipped topping, I was fine with just meat and veggies tonight. My splurge was three beers, though. Still, overall it was a low-eating, low carb day. I suppose I had about 50 grams today, because of the beer, maybe even 60. I usually worry about anything over 35. I have been waking up every day at 126, though. I had gotten down to 123, but at that point, my face was looking haggard, and I tired of the comments from family that I was ‘withering away’, a complete untruth, I might add. 123 is by no means withering away or even ‘skinny’; not for my height . I have done this before, like on my birthday, and HAVE seen an instant weight gain, so I am not sure what happened this time. Was is purely luck? Was it the ratio of protein to carbs? On my birthday, I ate more carbohydrate than protein, and on Thanksgiving, I simply tacked it on during one meal. I am not sure what the magic combination is. Maybe calories really do play a role, so that eating low carb and keeping calories to a certain range, over a time span of several weeks or months, is the key to maintaining goal weight. I can tell you that in low-carb, I have noticed the same thing that LCC noted- you can gain very quickly but also lose it very quickly if you get back on track in the next day. It is a relief to know that I can celebrate with food, if I keep it to a once or twice-per-month at most splurge. I don’t feel that I need to plan special splurge days, though. I am happy with my low-carb, low sugar plan on the daily.
It will be a surprise if I  find that I am heavier tomorrow. I will be sure to report it, and how I got it back off, if that happens. It IS true that I am up from 123 to 126, but this is an acceptable gain for me. I am really not feeling off track.
LCC IS right. I feel like I am NOT the same person I was in terms of food. I have converted my taste buds and preferences to the low- carb lifestyle. I would tell anyone that If you are just getting started with Atkin’s or Paleo, that if you can make it with strict¬†diligence¬†past the first three months, you will find it to be much easier to stick with it. Remember that the salads and other leafy green, red, and yellow vegetables are great for you, and that it’s not all about steaks and butter. Strawberries taste really sweet when you’re not used to Snicker bars and Twinkies. (oops- speaking of the dead is not polite I guess).
So, another holiday of eating has come and gone, and I survived intact. I haven’t even made it to the gym this week, but I feel that I want to, and that I should.

For those who are struggling, here’s what I want to tell you:

When you stop living for food and the experience of pleasure and comfort it temporarily gives you, you gain a new freedom. You start enjoying living more- relationships with people become more important than the one with food. Hobbies and interests can develop when you’re not hiding behind a plate of pasta.

When you push away the comforts and false sense of well-being that food can give, you may find the issues that may have contributed to your overeating rising back to the surface. Like an addict, you may find the urges to eat it all away come surging back. The important part is to recognize the issues, and to start dealing with them. Write the letter, go to counseling, talk to a trusted confidant. Do whatever it takes to get to the root of the problem. This is the same advice one might give an addict to any substance or habit. Some people are overweight because they just ate a little too much over a long period of time. Others are overweight because they use food to stuff down fears, painful emotions, and unresolved issues. So, what’s your reason for being overweight, or trying to lose weight?

Life is a journey of growth and discovery. It is when we are challenged the most and somehow learn to overcome, that we grow in the most profound ways. Having said that, I have to learn to follow my own advice.

My challenge right now is nicotine gum. I have gone from a smoker to a chewer. While the lung damage has most certainly been halted, the addiction remains, as I am so painfully reminded whenever I run out. Would I suddenly crave sweets again like mad if I gave up the gum? If so, it simply means I have given up one addiction for another. One demon to replace another demon is not the same as overcoming the demon. So, perhaps I have chosen the lesser of two evils, but am I truly free? What are the issues that I am running from, or is it simply a physical need at this point? Am I ready to give up all my false comforts? What will it take to get me to go there?

LCC is Right- and also Not Correct- about Low-Carb Cheat Days

Low-Carb-Confidential posted a very moving quote (from himself? A famous author? I don’t know) that spoke a lot of wisdom in regard to relationships. I have been pondering it, with gratitude.

As to the eating of high-carb foods and the theory that it’s OK to splurge and then come back to low-carb, I both agree and disagree. I agree that a religious OCD mentality about dieting is not only unhealthy but also impossible to maintain long term. It can alienate those who feel insecure about their own eating habits, and confound those who eat normal diets, complete with all types of carbohydrates, who maintain their weight.

Where I disagree with ‘a little won’t hurt’, is where some addiction theory begins. As I have referenced in my previous posts, there is increasing science to support the idea that certain foods trigger unnatural eating behavior in some people. (Watch Super Size Me for another supporting theory). There are certain foods that have been especially crafted to cause us to crave them. Others just do so not so much by clever conspiracy, but rather chemical makeup.

For those of us who are unaware, or prone to addictive tendencies, food is a powerful force that goes beyond simple enjoyable nutrition, but becomes a genuine addiction, but it is rarely acknowledged as such. Changing one’s diet and exercise regimen ¬†might be the catalyst for weight loss, but if it is so easy, why does America alone spend over 33 billion dollars a year on weight loss products and services? (MSN.com)

The answer is simple. Many of us simply need to cut down on portions. Many more simply need to make a few small changes to the daily routine, and add a little regular exercise. Then there are those of us with a unhealthy relationship with food. Some might call it gluttony, idolatry, addiction, or abuse. It is when we have let our appetite for the feelings that certain foods or eating patterns bring us control our behavior. It is no more amusing, nor less dangerous, than an alcoholic’s dilemma. We already are aware of what America’s increasing love affair with food is doing to our health- both emotionally and physically.

Just as the recovered alcoholic need not usually be too careful with the dash of cooking wine in food, or the accidental ingestion of alcohol- if that could ever really happen- the sugar addict need not worry much about the hidden sugar they accidentally ingested in some food they thought sugar-free, or the one bite of cracker. But to boldly walk into the proverbial lion’s den and purposely choose those old favorite treats to eat with abandon might be for many, akin to the recovered alcoholic going to the bar for ‘just one margarita” . Some people can, perhaps go back to a life of moderation, still enjoying treats as exactly that- treats. But there may be some of us who can never ‘go back’. So, as I contemplate my birthday, I anticipate one of the following possibilities. First, I will eat what I want, not gain weight for a one-day splurge, and feel confident. I will continue to want the pizza and chocolate, and my healthy fear will be diminished. Perhaps the next splurge will be that much easier…and I begin the slide down the slippery slope. The next possibility is that I enjoy my birthday treat, laugh, love, and be merry, and go right back to low-carb the next day, none the worse for wear.

I know myself. And instead of dinking around and playing with the fat-burning furnace I worked so hard to create, I’ve decided to keep the splurge to a modest enjoyment- I will eat a few of my favorite things, but I will not focus on food for my birthday, as if it is a reward for ‘good behavior’. I am living the reward, and the nay-sayers, like some of my family, be damned. I mean that with love, of course.