Tag Archives: Low Carbohydrate

The Need For Hypervigilance

6 Jun

In yesterdays post ‘Missing Sugar‘ I received two comments from Cheryl and Chris that suggested I should not be starting my day off with a carby breakfast. I still think that by today’s standards some plain greek yogurt and berries is not terribly high in carbs. BUT I do know that evidence shows that if you eat carbs for breakfast then you will burn carbs throughout the day, and this may lead to greater cravings for carbs later. I took their point and so today I did not start my day with a high carb breakfast. In addition, as opposed to what I said last night, I will not leave my carbs in the range of 100-150g, but rather will keep them under 100g as I orginally intended. I think this was a case of cognitive dissonance. I had eaten over 100 g so tried to justify it.

So I guess the big question on everybody’s mind is did I get hungry later than usual after the low carb breakfast? The answer is yes. The hunger pangs didn’t kick in until about 4 or 5pm. I was feeling fantastic. I had kept my carbs well below 100g, I had managed to curb my hunger for two hours, and I had lost another kilogram. Oh I lost another kilogram!! Anyway, I started to feel that my eating was under control and I couldn’t quite believe it. Maybe this time eh?

You might notice I am using past tense………as if something sinister happened later. Well lets just say when I found myself standing in the kitchen hacking off bits of fat from the steak I cooked for tomorrows lunch I realised that something was wrong. Just so you know I did NOT actually put any of the food into my mouth. As I stood there I suddenly came too, and realised that this was addictive behaviour. I quickly went for a walk and when I came back the cravings had subsided enough for me to put the steak in the fridge and leave it there.

This was like a warning sign for me. I cannot let this false sense of security let me be anything but hypervigilant. I cannot let my guard down for one second otherwise it will be like coming too at a murder scene and not knowing what happened. But rather than a dead body it will be empty ice cream containers everywhere. What I did find interesting about the ‘steak incident’ was I really tuned in on the fat. I saw the big succulent juicy pieces of fat and and just lost it. Maybe my body was just trying to get as much calories as it could. Or maybe not. If I have anymore fat cravings I will let you know. The major difference, however, is I only crave fat when I physcially see it whereas carbs are always on my mind.

This evening my hunger levels have been stronger than yesterday but weaker than the day before. I can’t explain it but their is a feeling in my gut that just wants something sweet. That other foods just seems so mundane. I feel so bored with food and so empty. The thought of meat now is putting me off eating. I just want something sweet. Which seems ironic considering that just over an hour ago I was standing in the kitchen with a knife tearing into an innocent steak. I had lowered my carbs today so maybe my addiction for sugar is kicking in a bit more?  Thoughts anyone?

Today was a good day though. My calories were at 3000, and for the first time since I started my carbs were under 100g, and I lost another kilo. All my nutrients except calcium and potassium were well over the RDA. But if you look at it over a week it seems as though I am getting enough nutrients each day.


Late Breakfast/Early Lunch: Pork, Spinach, Tomatoes, Olive oil

Afternoon Snack: Almonds

Dinner: Steak, Asparagus, Olive Oil + Cod Liver Oil

Late Evening Snack: Berries


Fat: 68% (sat 13%, poly 9%, mono 43%)

Carbohydrates: 10% (77g)

Protein: 23%


Success Story – Breaking Sugar Addiction

6 Jun

I just received an excellent comment from someone who just found my blog, but has broken her obsessive eating behaviours. It was such a well thought out comment I didn’t want it to go unnoticed hidden away in the comments section. So I decided to pay the respect that it clearly deserves and post it. Denise thank you for your comment (and I hope you don’t mind me doing this since I never asked).

I found your previous blog yesterday and am touched by your struggle. I was tempted to comment then but decided that since we had just met, I should get to know you better, so I’ve done some reading and when you popped up in my RSS reader today and I read your post, I thought perhaps now I can offer something constructive.

I have been where you are and have come out the other side. Here is my story: the first time I did Atkins (late 1990′s) I lost a lot of weight and felt great. Then I was brainwashed by the low-fat, healthy-whole-grain-and-fruit South Beach-style propaganda and over several years gained it all back except 1 lb. In January 2009, in complete desperation, I started Atkins Induction. I also, at that time, stopped eating everything that tasted sweet. The “Induction Flu” only lasted a couple of days, and then I felt fantastic. Except for some digestive issues, the cause of which I couldn’t exactly pin down. My personal trainer, who has celiac disease, suggested that perhaps gluten might be an issue, and after resisting that idea for a while, I decided to stop eating grains for 2 weeks (telling myself I can do anything for 2 weeks, then when it didn’t work, I could go back to my beloved Ezekial bread and Miller Lite). In 3 days I felt like a fog had lifted, one I had no idea was even there. Dammit!

It has been a year and a half since I gave up sweets (yes, that means sugar, fruit, artificial sweeteners, anything that tastes sweet), and a year since I stopped eating grain.

Do I miss them? No, actually. I don’t have any cravings and can happily pass up all the things I used to be addicted to. Here is why: I feel good. I want to continue to feel good. And I know that any time I want to feel like crap I can get back on the sugar-starch-cravings roller coaster, and I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to go through withdrawal again. Ever. And I’ve already proven to myself that’s what happens when I eat even just a small amount of sugar or starch. I’m sure you can figure out how I know this.

My digestive issues have resolved and I’ve lost 40 lbs. in the last year and a half, and am still losing slowly (very slowly) and figure I have about 40 lbs. to go to be at what I’m thinking would be a good goal weight.

The most interesting thing I’ve discovered is that in giving up sugar and starch, the “emotional eating” went with it. Speaking strictly for myself, I have concluded that it was not emotional eating, it was addiction, a very physical addiction to sugar and starch. Because it went away when I quit eating them. Here’s what also went away: being obsessed with food and thinking about the next thing I was going to eat even while I was eating; lusting after food; the horrible, shaky, lightheaded feeling that I was starving and absolutely, positively MUST eat something, anything, right this very minute or I am going to DIE; being unable to stop eating although I was uncomfortably full, even “stuffed”. All that is gone along with the sugar and starch. I am not saying it will work this way for anyone else, but what do you have to lose?

The longer I go on this path the better I feel. I absolutely do not need carbohydrates in my diet, although I do love my vegetables (non-starchy, of course), usually cooked using Paula Deen’s method: a pound of veggies (especially nice for French-cut green beans or any kind of greens), a half a pound of bacon, and a stick of butter. Add enough chicken broth so they don’t burn, and cook them until they’re as done as you like them.

I apologize for the length of this comment, but I wanted to share what has worked for me and perhaps, give you a bit of hope.

Great story of hope. Thank you.

Paul McGlothin – How To Be Happy On A Low Calorie Diet

5 Jun

This post presents a talk by Paul McGlothin best selling author of ‘The CR Way’. Im sure many people know about the positive benefits of calorie restriction on increased life span from yeast to humans. Although at a first glance this doesn’t seem to be so appropriate in breaking food addiction it offers some powerful insights, and so I posted it. In the video he talks about how to undertake a calorie restricted diet, and avoid many of those negative feelings that drive people back to the crapboard. This is especially relevant to me because I am essentially on a calorie restricted diet, and therefore a lot of his advice was useful. In the answers and questions time, at the end of the video, he explains that anyone on a low calorie diet is doing CR to some degree. The video is about 30 mins long, but if you want the best part watch from minute 9:00 to 15:00. The below picture is from the New York Times showing two monkeys – one eating CR and one on a normal diet.

If you can’t be bothered watching the video at all I have summarised the main points.

1. Increase serotonin: High levels of serotonin leads to reduced anxiety, obsession, depression and increases satiety as well as feelings of happiness. You can help to increase serotonin levels by eating foods that help to aid in its production (post coming soon). He says that we should consume olive oil and vegetable broth each day. I know that Mediterranean diets have been shown to increase the serotonin levels of people who eat them resulting in less depression. Of course carbohydrates also increase serotonin levels, like candy, but only for a few hours and then you get the come down (dum dum dummmmmm).

2. Increase EPA intake: This Omega 3 Fatty Acid  has also been shown by researchers to increase happiness (again post coming soon). This is easily done by popping fish oil.

3. Lower glucose for higher brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF): BDNF acts on certain neurons of the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system, helping to support the survival of existing neurons, and encourage the growth and differentiation of new neurons and synapses. Rats that have persistently low BDNF were found to eventually have atrophy of the hippocampus. Obviously, a low carbohydrate diet is the most efficient way to reduce glucose in the bloodstream.

4. Savour the flavour: Basically eat slowly so you get satisfied with the food you do eat, and this will help to reduce the cravings you have. Aside from feeling mentally satisfied you will also know when you are physiologically full prior to eating five cheesecakes, a pie and four bags of crisps.

5. Increase endorphins through exercise or sex: Don’t think I need to go into this too much do I? Endorphins make you feel happy and the above exercises will increase them. Lets leave it at that.

6. Meditate to reduce stress: Epinephrine (Adrenalin) increases in people who restrict calories. This helps to reduce glucose but generally is not a good thing. Meditation can help to reduce this hormone.

What I can’t stand is the anti-meat sentiment of CR proponents. Sometimes it seems like a vegan movement. I think this is where the paleo diet and CR differ significantly. You can be on a calorie restricted diet on paleo, be getting the most amount of nutrients you can possibly get, and still be eating meat! In fact it is BECAUSE you eat meat that you get the whole suite of nutrients that you need. Also, as intermittent fasting proponents know scientific evidence is starting to show that animals that do this gain the same positive anti-ageing bonuses as animals on CR – even though they are eating a normal calorie diet. It seems the success of these approaches is tied somehow to the fed/hunger state rather than calorie intake.

Here is the video, enjoy!