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The Low Carb Life - Week 1

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!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HOUNDLOVER1 4/22/2013 2:02AM

    Great you made a good start! I found that in addition to magnesium I also need to add a lot more salt to my diet on low-carb.
Be aware that most people only see the full benefit of low-carb eating after about 4-6 weeks because that is how long it takes your body to completely switch to fat burning mode. Most people need to stay under 50 grams of carbs/day in order to avoid any carb cravings and it is best to leave sugar and even fake sugars out completely.
I found that I lost a number of additonal pounds on low-carb but, even more important, my body fat went down but my muscle mass went up.
Best wishes for your continued success

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SHINING_ON 4/21/2013 11:51PM

    I'll be really interested to hear how it goes for you! I didn't lose any more weight on low carb versus the reduced carb I usually eat. :( In other words, I lose weight super slowly on both, LOL. So, I decided to avoid it to prevent the nasty sluggish, depressed feelings. I hope it works for you! But if it doesn't, don't get discouraged... you're making progress no matter what, even if it isn't in pounds.

HAVE A GREAT WEEK 2!!!

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RYDERB 4/21/2013 7:46PM

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AUNTWILLIE 4/21/2013 4:12PM

    It sounds to me like you're exactly on track and well aware of what you're doing and what to expect. Good for you!

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SPARK-PPL-GIRL 4/21/2013 3:08PM

    Wow you're story is so completely unique to me. I've been using the Body Media arm band for 7 of my 15 pound of weight loss. I would have used it since I started but I didn't have the money for it. Without the arm band I lost about 7 pounds but I had one week where I gained 2 pounds and another where I stayed the same. Since I've gotten the armband I've wore it every day and it's so accurate. I've lost 1-2 pounds per week consistently just from more calories out than in. That's even with keeping my cal, carbs, and fat in the upper range of my limits! So I'm baffled as to what went wrong with you as I'm sure you were, but I'm glad you found this new low carb thing and I'm glad it's working out for you :-)

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EXOTEC 4/21/2013 2:42PM

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Congrats on your success! I'm so glad you're feeling good in your new lifestyle.
I *do* track food - obsessively! LOL I just don't count the calories, except when resetting my macro ranges (which isn't often). The Nutrition Tracker here has probably been my best tool.

As for the supplements, the K-Mg-Ca combo is a good one. You will learn, with some research, that we need supplementation in our diets...possibly more than those on "typical" plans. I have all my meds and supplements logged in my Tracker, if you have the stamina to wade through it all! it might offer you a starting point to research. Most of them I've adopted from various low-carb and paleo sites.

Great job in your recent successes! Keep us in your info loop!
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