Tuesday, October 23, 2012
My energy level is a lot better today than yesterday so I assume that I was mostly lacking sleep. My weight was at 129.6 so about the same. I know my scales are not super-accurate anyhow so half a pound up or down is likely not meaningful.
Eating the low-carb pie yesterday was really worth it. I ate every bite slowly and made sure I actually tasted it, knowing that it would be a little tempting to eat more than one piece otherwise. It still had enough carbs between the plums, the Xylitol and the crust that it's not something I'd have every day, but occasionally. Eating desserts is something I would not want to give up for life and I don't think I have to. It's similar to caffeine, I can reduce the carb-level by 90% and be ok (notice I did not say the sugar level, that needs to be reduced by at least 98% for me). Caffeine is probably ok for me in the amounts that are in decaf, green tea and cocoa if consumed in moderation (one of those daily). Carbs from desserts need to fit in the overall carb plan which will evolve as I go. Some fruit, a coconut milk popsicle (with or without Xylitol), homemade low-carb ice cream, even an occasional small piece of milk chocolate or almonds covered with milk chocolate should fit. The key is to eat them slowly and thoroughly enjoy them.
I'm sitting in the coffee shop/restaurant part of our local co-op this morning. It's a stimulating environment with lots of health conscious people around and generally very healthy food. But while the gluten-free message has reached the board of directors with lots of gluten-free books on sale and more and more gluten-free menu items available, the low-carb message has not spread, yet.
There were no low-carb options in the hot case and I did not feel like salad bar (overall excellent) for breakfast. So I got myself a plain yogurt (10 g of carbs) and some walnuts (4 g of carbs) to contain the damage and save a few carbs for veggies today.
I also had one cup of coffee (80% decaf) with half-and half.
I've talked with one of the butchers who has started eating low-carb and looked into the benefits of this eating style. My next step is to talk about diabetes and insulin management to some people and how to help manage it without drugs (except for type 1 diabetes).
Like most alternative groceries there are whole grains everywhere and the value of eating whole grains and beans is assumed by most. We buy organic oats and rye in bulk here and I sometimes mention that they are used as duck food, not for people and even for the ducks they are only about 20-50% of their diet (more in the winter).
Of course there are many vegetarians and vegans who shop here so there is always a great choice of vegetables, seeds and nuts for sale and organic produce in season can be a good deal.
One stress-producer this morning was that my computer seemed to have a virus. After running a virus scan everything was fine, but there was another little temptation to eat stuff I didn't need.
Back to my plan of fine-tuning:
Yesterday's lack of sleep confirmed to me that I need to make sure I get enough sleep (for me that is 8-9 hours) before I have the energy to exercise more and to curb any interest in high-carb foods. I simply have a long-term pattern of treating tiredness with carbs, espcially now that I've cut out most caffeine. When I feel tired and low-energy my brain automatically looks for sugar/carbs as a fix because it works, temporarily.
This pattern probably got started 15 years ago after my daughter was born. She was a baby who never got cranky but stayed up til midnight and hardly ever took naps.
Borderline hypothyroidism is mostl likely a factor, too. I need to try to include a little more virgin coconutoil in my diet again and take some selenium (low in my area) and some Iodine since my diet is low in seafood. Once I have enough sleep I should have enough energy to increase my exercise to include about an hour of exercise every day except for one rest day. I will continue a mix of cardio (swimming, running, hiking) with strength training, horseback riding and ice skating this fall and winter. One hour of low-to moderate intensity exercise burns about an additional 400-500 calories/hour, but also increases muscle, so the result should be a reduction of almost 1 pound of body fat per week just from that.
To make all of this into a daily checklist will look like this:
1. how much did I sleep last night:
1. how many carbs did I consume:
3. how much and what type of exercise did I do today:
4. what supplements did I take today:
5. what was my stress level today:
6. did I get enough salt (2-3 grams/day) and enough water (80-100oz.):
Monitoring these things should help me to find out what I need to do.
Monday, October 22, 2012
Here is a link to an interview that Jimmy Moore did with Dr. Colin Champ. In addition to talking about several potential benefits of a low-carb or ketogenic diet on cancer the talk also mentions people on a 0 carb diet who have no measurable blood ketones that may be hormone related (pituitary or adrenal gland problems)
Monday, October 22, 2012
I am writing this in response to a comment on one of my previous blogs and in response to a discussion on the binge eating team.
I'm sure that emotional eating is one of the reasons that is almost always involved for binge eating and/or bulimia. The question in my mind is whether emotional eating is the cause of eating disorders or if in many, though not all cases, emotional eating is triggered by foods that are addictive to many people like wheat and sugar and emotional eating becomes part of the package along the way. We don't always continue a behavior for the same reason we started it.
High-carb foods lead to extreme ups and downs in blood sugar levels and insulin levels as well as insulin-resistance (of the cells) and along with that cause almost continuous food cravings in many people. At the same time the increased insulin levels will lead to more calories getting stored in fat cells, making this energy unavailable for brain and muscle function. Many diabetic people report severe mood swings as a result of very low blood-sugar levels. Once the body has stored enough fat (rather than using the calories in the muscles) the person will usually go on a diet, meaning trying to reduce calories, exercise more etc. in an effort to control calories in - calories out. But the body is already deprived of energy for muscles and brain because the high insulin levels make sure that more additional calories get put in storage (fat cells).
After a shorter or longer period of time the body wins against our will power and the diet (calorie restriction) fails. I know I repeated this cycle many times over my life.
Every time the diet fails and weight loss stops or weight is regained, this leads to discouragement if not depression at a time when the body is craving calories.
At a time we finally start eating a lot because of real hunger we find out that we feel much better, at least until blood sugar levels drop again an hour or two later or the next day, thereby starting to condition ourselves to self-medicate depression and other negative feelings with food. Because the good feelings don't last very long the next dose of food, often but not always carbs, follows soon after. After repeating this cycle several times the brain is starting to learn and after repeating this dozens of times these behavior patterns are hard-wired and as resistant to change as brushing our teeth in the morning. If insulin levels stay high because of high and frequent carb consumption the viscious spiral continues until the person is severely obese and has full-blown metabolic syndrome.
At this point just switching to a low-carb lifestyle is frequently not enough to fix the problem. The emotional eating has become an automatic behavior that does not need a major cause any more. Many small triggers, ranging from thinking about food, to seeing food to all kinds of emotional minor variations can trigger the binge, even in the absence of hunger.
Still, I see reducing carb levels as the only way to take the first step to long-lasting freedom from binging, maybe in a supervised setting or with a support system in place in some cases.
Many people find that removing the physiological trigger for overeating, high insulin levels and other abnormal hormone levels that come with it, are enough to make improvements with emotional eating issues on their own over time with only online and/or family support. The low-carb, paleo and primal forums on the internet and on spark teams are full of these success stories.
Other binge eaters may need a more structured environment that is not possible at home to succeed.
Based on my own experience, whatever it takes it is worth the fight for our health and for our quality of life and that of our families.
There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Comments and discussion welcome, as always
Monday, October 22, 2012
It was a long day, too many things to finish before the weather gets freezing and wet for a while. We harvested plums and I enjoyed two of them. I walked the dogs and we made enough progress on the duck barn to provide shelter, although it's far from done.
I was so busy that I did not pay too much attention to food, but I noticed that I was hungry even after bacon and eggs with veggies for a late brunch. I decided to wait a couple of hours and still felt like my body needed some fruit and yogurt so that's what I had for a late lunch. In between I snacked on some brie and a few nuts.
Dinner was late, around 8:30 pm, because it took that long to get the kitchen clean enough to cook. My husband and daughter had gluten-free brown rice pasta with tomato sauce and I had kelp noodles with tomato sauce. I'm getting used to them and did not feel deprived. I looked at the brown rice pasta package and a 2 oz. serving has 43 grams of carbs. I used to eat about 3 servings on average which is more carbs in one meal than I eat in one day now. The kelp pasta only has about 1 gram of carbs.
I had some more homemade chocolate ice for dessert and a few pieces of dark chocolate.
I really did not have time to add it up today but with the tomato sauce, plums and yogurt and Xylitol sweetened ice cream I suspect my carbs were closer to 50 grams today, if not a little over. Exercise was again minimal so it will be interesting to see how my body responds. Being very busy really can make it difficult for me to eat very low-carb.
On the good side: I managed to only have a half cup of coffee today and then had tea tonight but otherwise no caffeine. The gradual approach is working.
Time for bed, tomorrow is my day off so I will sleep in and then finally get some swimming in. I'm looking forward to it.
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