Hi everyone, I've been reading along for a few weeks, and finally have a reason to speak up. I will try to keep this brief.
I've been going Paleo for two weeks now, and the past 3 - 4 days, I've had a really horrid case of (what I now realize was) low carb flu.
Basically, it went down like this:
Hunger pangs more severe and cravings more vioent than anything I'd ever experienced during my two pregnancies. I don't know if the term "So hungry I could puke" makes any sense, but that's where I was. Sometimes only an hour after eating a huge, paleo meal.
Sudden belly bloat and painful stomach cramps. I also felt pretty washed-out and weak. I would use the term "thin-blooded".
Mentally, I was in a bad way. Weight loss had been fabulous during week 1 (4.5 pounds), but stopped completely during week 2. Considering the hunger, I thought I must have been doing something wrong, and was doomed to put all the weight back on. Also, I'm trying to lower my cholesterol, so I was seriously second-guessing all those eggs and red meat.
Anxiety... depression? Something. Yesterday, the thought of having to go to the produce stand, then spend another hour or so sorting, washing, chopping and storing all that newly purchased food was enough to really freak me out. Like, I COULD NOT bear the thought of it. I was some weird combination of resentful and overwhelmed.
So, taking the overall physical and mental issues into consideration, and never having heard of this dreaded "flu", I got pretty convinced that I was actually becoming very ill on Paleo.
So what did I, in my fragile mental state decide to do? Carb out! hangs head
Now today, I'm reading all these accounts (thank you for those, BTW) of people experiencing similar things - the difference being that THEY stuck it out while I faceplanted into some nachos.
So I guess my overall question is this: How terribly did I just screw this up? From what I've read, people seem to feel awesome once they push past the "flu", and I assume that my carb-fest just reset the clock. So am I in for it again? Are there ways to get through the "flu" while still caring for two young kids, and not losing your mind?
I honestly am committed to making this lifestyle change, I just had no idea that feeling so terribly sick for a few days was a GOOD sign and not a really, really bad one.
Info about me: 31, female, stay-at-home mom of two. Have done low carb plans like Atkins in the past (2003) with success, but am now looking to take off the last 15 or so pounds of baby weight. Also, struggle a bit with high blood pressure, and got a cholesterol count of 220 in December. Family history of heart disease.
asked byJessie_3 (10)
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on April 01, 2012
at 04:48 PM
i wouldn't focus on going low-carb right now. you only just started eating paleo! get used to it first! ease into the lower-carb version (if that's what you truly want) SLOWLY, and until thhen get your carbs from paleo carbs - some fruit, lots of veggies, and even potatoes, sweet potatoes, squashes. you can even do plain rice (read about the perfect health diet). transitioning from a high-carb lifestyle eating grains to a lower-carb lifestyle will be much easier in steps. i've been paleo for over 2 years and love my tubers and veggies...low-carb simply didn't work for me.
on April 01, 2012
at 04:01 PM
I don't think your carb-fest reset the clock and I don't think you screwed it up terribly. But I do think your experience reinforces what J Stanton said a while back:
Here???s where I say something that might be controversial: I think going cold-turkey VLC (very low carb) or zero-carb makes the transition much harder, particularly for people who are already physically active.
Beta-oxidation (fat-burning) occurs nearly continually, and produces much of our energy at rest once insulin has cleared any sugar spike out of our system. However, our body does have some requirement for glucose, which it satisfies in the short-term primarily by having the liver make it???a process called gluconeogenesis.
If we eat zero carbs, or very few, over a period of time, our body enters a state called ketosis, in which some of our tissues that used to require glucose shift over to burning ketone bodies, which are alternative products of fat metabolism. And while it is true that our brains and hearts actually run more efficiently on ketones, it takes several weeks for our bodies to fully adapt. Meanwhile, we lack energy for high-effort activities, because our muscles are depleted of glycogen, which is made from glucose.
So you might not have the ???low-carb flu??????you might be stuck in an unnecessary multi-week rut of keto-adaptation. ...
In summary, it???s a lot easier and quicker to burn fat via beta-oxidation than it is to adapt to ketosis???so unless ketosis is your goal, you might be making your transition to a healthy diet much harder by keeping your carb intake too low.
I think that even if ketosis is your goal (me, I'm a moderate carb gal), there's something to be said for reducing carbs in phases rather than going VLC from the start. It's the "dip your toes in the pool vs jump in the deep end" choice. The latter is quicker, but sometimes, the former is less painful!