Sunday, April 21, 2013
After months of stalling in weight loss and trying several mini-experiments to get things started again, I've finally decided to try eating low carb. I've kept my calorie intake carefully measured and constant, and changed the proportions of carbs/proteins/fats in about 3 different ways to see if that would work, but nothing has. I've increased my calorie intake to about 1900 to see if I was under eating, and I've reduced my calorie intake to as low as 1200 calories per day, but still, no change. I've maintained a calorie deficit of 500-1500 calories daily, with very rare exceptions, and have only had 2 or 3 days since January where my calorie intake has exceeded my calorie expenditure (as measured by my Body Media armband). I even spent several weeks not eating any refined sugar, but instead quinoa, gluten free oatmeal, fruits and vegetables for carbs, and STILL didn't lose. So now, I'm trying this.
Basically, I'm eating a higher fat/higher to moderate protein/ low carb diet, and I'm trying my best to make sure that the majority of my fat intake is unsaturated or Omega 3 (or both). I'm not sure that I'm exactly following any specific plan, but if I had to put a name to it, I'd say I'm kind of doing a cross between Atkins and the Zone.
Assuming that this works for me and I actually lose, the plan is this: For these first few weeks, the only carbs I'm eating are non-starchy vegetables and chia seeds (which are basically fiber with a little fat and protein), and then I'll slowly add back in some high fiber fruits and try to maintain that for as long as I can, slowly adding in other things and increasing my carb count as I approach my weight loss goal. An added benefit of this is that it should help me re-set my sweet tooth (which is oftentimes insatiable). A lot of low carb plans tell you that you don't have to track your food and to simply eat until you're full, but for the sake of ensuring that the macronutrient ratio IS, in fact, what is allowing me to lose weight, I'm going to continue to track. That way I will be able to tell if I simply eat fewer calories when I eat this way (and then test, if necessary, if that's not the actual culprit in my weight loss).
So, I'm now on day 5 of this plan, and I've lost 5 pounds. I know that the vast majority of this is water weight, as the glycogen stores in my muscles are depleted and the excess fluid needed to keep those are flushed out, but it's still nice to be at the lowest I've been since I started this in January - especially after stalling in the same 4 pound range for about 3 months.
I've been a little bit tired and sluggish, which is to be expected, but I already feel much better today. I've also had a little bit of muscle soreness, so after talking to my doctor, I've begun taking a potassium and magnesium/calcium supplement in addition to my regular multi-vitamin, which has completely eliminated the soreness! Most of this is pretty consistent with what Atkins world sometimes calls "Induction Flu," and is a side-effect of my body converting to efficiently running off of its own fat stores. Yesterday (day 4) was probably the worst day of side effects for me so far, but today, I feel completely normal - or if anything - feel like I have more energy than usual.
So, for now, I'm cautiously optimistic. I'm losing, which is a big change for me, but I'll believe it more if the weight loss is sustained over another week. I do feel less craving for carbs, which is exciting, and was even able to pass up chocolate pomegranate seeds and wine at my parents house last night! I'm still able to workout at the gym, but I'm going to probably keep the intensity a little lower than normal for the next couple of weeks, just to be on the safe side! Overall, I'm not feeling especially deprived of food choices, and I'm actually saving a little money on food, so from that angle, I still have plenty of motivation!
In short, I'm excited to see what the next 5 days bring, and to see if this finally might be the thing my body needed!