Thursday, January 30, 2014

this too shall pass

Even when "cheating" -- as I did a bit over Christmas and on our trip to N'Orleans -- I still keep a technically low-carb diet going.  I didn't record my intake in FitDay, but i'm experienced enough to know that I was usually under 50g carb, and ALWAYS under 100.  I'm finally getting back into good function on VLC, but it hasn't happened overnight.

At every step of getting back into ketosis, one makes one's body MAKE ADJUSTMENTS.  All one's tissues that CAN have to get used to running on fats/ketones again.  Oh, it's a LOT easier than it was the first time, but there are still days when one isn't functioning as well as when ketosis was our usual state.

Lots of little annoyances happen -- changed sleep-pattern, changed bathroom habits, changed energy levels....  If one isn't expecting them, these things may convince the ambivalent among us that low-carb is not right for them.  Without passing judgement, I have to say that I think they're expecting too much, too quickly.

Especially in the winter, when most people seem inclined to make their diets more austere!  Wooo has described in detail, and in terms of which i'm no master, that our bodies are designed to conserve energy and fat mass when day-length becomes shorter and temperatures drop.  Winter is the time of year when one should be careful of one's diet, YES -- but to expect it to reduce on a regimen that isn't STARVATION (which carries with it many nasty side-effects) is just unrealistic.

But all the little adjustments our bodies make -- encouraging different microbiota to thrive and cutting back on others, for instance -- are changes for the good that we need to have patience with, and persevere with the diet we know is best for us in the long run.  In the last few weeks, I've had to readjust through bloat and fog, weariness and untimely energy, to get back to where I was before my husband retired last spring!  (We're getting to where we don't have to eat exactly the same things at exactly the same times -- necessary when you have two very different phenotypes going on....) 

Even when you've BEEN chugging along nicely in ketosis, the body is SO good at slipping back into glucose-fueled mode, that a little dietary carelessness can be like drawing the wrong card in Monopoly -- "go to jail.  go directly to jail.  do not pass Go.  do not collect $200."  You have to make that transition to ketone-burning again.  I've done this more than once, though, and the payoff in the end feels so good, it's worth it.

Just remember the tricks that help you make the transition.  Don't wait till you're sleepless at 2 am to take your melatonin -- take it an hour before you want to sleep.  Don't try to get too much exercise while in transition because it's stressful -- wait till your energy improves.  Get your early-day blue light.  Put a spoonful of tallow (specifically, TALLOW -- I don't find other saturated fats do the same thing) in a cup of bouillon to make bathroom visits shorter.  Have patience with yourself over brain-fog.

You'll get over it if you are willing to take the time.  The benefits are worth it.


  1. Interesting you mentioned sleep pattern near the beginning of your post, because I don't think we give as much notice to good sleep patterns as we should. We all watch and monitor what we eat, we all talk about exercise .... but when does sleep get mentioned .... not that often.

    Then of course comes the question how much sleep do we need? Some say eight hours, whilst others happily get away with six. During our late teenage years and early twenties maybe it was getting to bed in the early morning and laying in 'til midday. For couples with young children - sleep patterns ? What are sleep patterns? The older you get maybe it does get easier. All I know is I do my best to include a fairly regular sleep pattern along with exercise and of course eating low carb, high fat, moderate protein.

    With regard to winter eating ... it's more warm low carb soups and delicious casseroles than salads - but summer it's the other way round. Haven't looked at 'Wooo's post yet I'll have to do that later.

    Take Care

    All the best Jan

    1. Wooo has spoken a lot this winter about how normal human physiology parallels hibernation. she suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder, so uses light and diet to make her feel better -- highly instructive!

      sleep is IMMENSELY important. have you ever observed that if you feel you're coming down with a cold, you can often go to bed early and sleep it away? i'm so glad that science is over-riding the horrible cultural tendency to glorify going without sleep! true, some people CAN function well on little of it, but they do damage themselves more than they realize. I, for one, have concluded that I do best on between 8 and 9 hours.

    2. I noticed people can't compensate poor sleep even with good diet. Actually, often poor sleep makes following good diet almost impossible.
      I usually feel so bad immediately after eating outside LCarbing, and next day I am on the fat fast, that I have never run into problem to get adjusted back .

    3. if it's one "bad" meal, a short fast does the trick for me too. but extended highER-carb -- including more LC vegetables, snacks and desserts, as I've had since my husband has been at home more -- has made me more prone to disbiosis.

      I've been more "fragile" since that bacterial infection last summer, as well -- my histamine/tyramine sensitivity and CFS/ME symptoms this last year have been worse than ever before. this adjustment period has been quite a bit longer.

    4. In my experience it's impossible to have a good diet with bad sleep. When I am sleep-deprived I just eat/snack the whole day and can't seem to turn off the "hunger" signal. :(

    5. Almond, it is the same for me, even when I don't feel hungry, food seems to be much appealing when I under-sleep, and snacking is what should be avoided regardless of the type of food if I don't want to regain weigh, especially after 6 pm.

  2. Tess,
    I reached the agreement with my husband that we eat only two times a day, and I avoid having LC snacks at home because I am way less likely to grab a normal cookie than a LC one , in my eyes a sugar-wheat creation is just garbage, but I recently made cookies which consisted mostly of shredded coconut in order to try a recipie I created, and it tasted much better, and eating it did me nothing good.

    Tess, we, women, have an unfortunate tendency to feel ourselves under obligation to pamper family member with different pleasant treats , often at the expense of own benefits, otherwise we feel guilty. Please, stop doing that. I guess, you can consider your resent experience as a life-reminder about what is better for you, and ultimately for your husband. He doesn't need LC snacks, no one actually does. In order for the home environment not turn into too austere one, plan something special once a week, like buying expensive deli item, roasting duck or a lamb leg, even butt roast in order to get it easy on your budget, and keep it simple the rest of the week. Save LC deserts for special occasions, it would be more special that way.There is nothing worse than making something delicious and then feeling like you mistreating yourself with every bite.

    1. :-) your concern is very sweet, Galina! i appreciate you commenting here!

      Fortunately, i'm pretty good about resisting the nuts we keep around for snacks, and sometimes i will have them for lunch -- a small serving of macadamias is a good meal-on-the-run! Then, i've learned to make just one serving each of LCHF dessert, for dinners when we have a particularly lean meat. :-) J has even gotten better at eating his eggs by himself, when i'm not in the mood for breakfast (he burns fuel more easily than i and also does more physical work, raising his caloric requirements). We're evolving!