…Yup, that's my thought for today*: My life is one…big…long…adjustment period. And on top of that, I'm totally the kind of person who gets off on phrases that can be understood several ways depending on spelling and punctuation tweaks. Oh frabjous d[el]ay.
And right about the time I finally get the hang of it (upside-down-A[X]), something will kill me, I'm sure. (Or I'll just never get the hang of it. Oo! Immortality by refusal to adjust! ;)
So, until this very (two) afternoon(s ago), I hadn't looked into what adjusting to a low-carb diet would be like at all. But I'm glad I did, because hoooo boy is it not insignificant.
Some numbers: My old before-it-started-sucking DailyBurn goal was 200g of carbs daily, and I consistently went over that — sometimes way over it. Monday I cheated a little because of hockey — I was a bit worried about doing an intense 90-minute workout with next to no carbs in me, so I had a piece of flatbread before and some fruit + half a beer after (yes — I didn't want to finish my post-hockey beer! Weeeeeeird.). I estimate ~100, maybe 150g on Monday. Tuesday, much less; I didn't cheat at all, and of course I'm getting some carbs from vegetables, the cream in my coffee and honey in my tea, and stuff like that; but overall there's no way it was more than 100g. And Wednesday was about the same — no real cheating, but probably 50-75g cumulative from dairy, vegetables, etc.
Yesterday and today (and today) I hacked together a protein-shake for breakfast, and now that I don't have to *cook* first thing in the morning, I'm loving getting the high-protein meal first thing. (Coconut milk + protein powder + spoonful of cocoa = OH YES PLS.) Yesterday I swam at 8am, so I had my shake at 6 so as not to throw it up through my snorkel, heh. I felt great during the workout, and afterwards I was hungry, but a small handful of almonds fixed it nicely. Today I have no huge exercise planned, but the shake will definitely get me through to lunch easy. Sometimes my stomach is gurgly after it, like, "WAUGH that's a lot of food first thing in the morning, hey!", but it hasn't made me sick or uncomfortable, so sticking with that for now.
Lunches tend to make me really full now — to get a reasonable amount of calories in, I have to eat about two CANS of food — 1/2 can of beans, 1/2 can of vegetables, and then so far I've been needing a whole 'nother serving or two of vegetables on top of that — which, man, that's WAY healthier than I've ever eaten before, so WOOT. And it isn't unpleasant, really — I'm eating plenty, after all.
I've experienced quite a bit of psychological hunger, but since I'm so physically full from all of the vegetables and protien-heavy meals, it's been a lot of thinking, "I wish I had a…oh. Actually no, if I ate anything right now I'd be sick." Sugar-cravings are frequent, but tea sweetened with a little honey or agave syrup, or celery with peanut butter, takes care of them — and I've been letting myself have a few squares of dark chocolate in the evenings, when I would normally be grabbing cookies or the equivalent. (Cookies and a beer or two = 50g or more of carbs. Glass of red wine and 1/4 bar of dark chocolate = less than 10g.)
I weigh the same now as I did three days ago, so no immediate rapid weight-loss, which is good: I'm still 57kg average over a day; usually waking up at 56-ish and nearing or hitting 58 at some point. (On workout days, it's not unusual to weigh 1-2kg more or less over the course of a day. Weirded me out at first when I got a scale, but I'm told it's quite normal.) I don't look any different either, which again, is good. Visible change in three days would scare the crap out of me! In 2.5 more weeks, I'd like to be feeling better — with more consistent energy-levels and less symptoms of sugar overload — and maybe have a tiny bit less body-fat to show for it; I'd call that a HUGE success.
(Also, my plan to internalize the metric system more fully is going almost too well — I find my weight easier to track in kg than lbs, now. For your reference, 56kg = about 125 lbs. I've decided that I can safely lose up to 10lbs on this diet, but if I get below 52kg I need to make some adjustments pronto.)
And let's be clear: I am doing this "diet" as a lifestyle change, not a fast way to lose a few. I was looking for the lifestyle change away from my bread-and-sugar-centric diet, for one thing; and for another, all my reading tells me that carb-restrictive diets are a bad idea in the short-term: Put simply, if you train your body to burn protein and fat, then if you start giving it a lot of carbs again, it will store them, resulting in weight gain. I've talked to plenty of people who lost a lot of weight by cutting carbs, but then gained it all back and then some by reverting to their old dietary habits. That kind of rapid up-and-down isn't healthy I think, but nor is it my plan: I'd rather make smaller changes and keep them for good; and to the degree that I'm making a more extreme change now, it's for the purpose of jump-starting the habit, and pushing through the discomfort of restricting carbs.
Oh yeah, discomfort.
I talked to a medical professional I know, and read some more, and both things confirmed that it's normal to feel some serious adjustment to cutting one's carb intake. It's not unhealthy by itself (for most people — contraindicated for anyone with kidney trouble), but doing it means that you're changing your systems over from "here burn this easily-available energy that I will constantly feed you" over to "there is very little easily-burnable energy, so fire up the glucogenesis engines and get working on all this healthy fat and protein I'm giving you instead". It's sort of like re-jiggering a fire to burn logs instead of newspaper, and it's normal to feel some fatigue, weakness, or other weirdness while things shift over. Humans are designed to burn protein and fat — we have enough systems in place to do it that we can, in fact, exist entirely without carbs if we need to — but humans like me who've had a steady daily supply, and often oversupply, of bread and sugar for basically all their lives need time for the internal systems to reconfigure.
I'm definitely experiencing that: Mostly, fatigue. I'm riding it out with extra naps and just sticking to things and hoping it passes soon. My workouts aren't impacted, but my motivation is; probably some of it is the psychological hunger making me want to hide until it's time to eat again. Also, in the interest of full disclosure, there's some emotional shit going on here too, and I have no way of telling how much of it is physiological; and how much is the holidays or various tricky bits of Life; but I do know that it's making me that much more willing to take as many naps as I can. (I am still making darn sure to take the three naps a day I promised — and bet! — that I would take, no matter what; and wow am I glad for them; they're keeping my sleep regular even as it's trying to tear itself to shambles.) My stomach is also noisier than usual, but all the eliminative stuff is, while not exactly the same, still well within the bounds of normal-and-not-miserable, so I'm sticking with it. Holy good lord am I looking forward to Sunday, though! I plan to get up early, walk to the donut shop, pick up a beer on the way home, and then flagrantly embarrass myself at brunch, using the afternoon nap to rejuvenate enough to walk to the place with the amazing scones. Then we'll see what I can fit in there in the evening… ;)
Anyway, let's call this the update for now and post it, before something else distracts me and I don't get around to it until tomorrow again!
*EDIT: Today=yesterday; I've been trying to write this update since Tuesday morning, but woah has It** been busy.
**As an illustration, Today now = two days ago. SO THIS IS DAY FOUR of Slow Carbness, if all the fractured language***here is making it hard to keep track. ;)
***I've also been writing again — yay! — so fractured language is back…not only back, but pleasantly associated with the cracking of creme brule in some weird sugar-deprived place in my brain; I've been obsessively reading Jabberwocky and Regex Poetry…heavens save us…or just let us in already so we can leave the nice normal neighbors alone, yeah?