Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lunch time rambling

Well, it seems appropriate to write a low carb post while eating lunch. I just finished a delicious lunch of deviled eggs, fresh salad greens, chicken, high fat/low carb ranch dressing and cheese. Delicious and filling.

Other than the weight loss (more on that later), the thing that has surprised me the most is my changing relationship with food. All of my life, I have always experienced hunger as a weak and tired sensation. I rarely experienced hunger as a stomach sensation. And, if I did, it came only after being tired and/or weak for a while. There are so many instances of me "bonking", a sensation normally only associated with depleting energy supplies through exercise, from just puttering around the house on the weekend. Or, worse yet, from sitting in a meeting and having to delay lunch an hour.

When I was a kid, I thought everyone felt that way. As an adult, I associated it with having a family history of adult onset diabetes (now called type 2). My blood sugar always tests fine in my fasting blood tests, so I know I don't have diabetes, but I figured I was close to having a problem.

Knowing this about myself, I always got a bit anxious about my next food source when I was three or four hours out from my last meal. I felt compelled to eat. This is no longer the way I approach eating.

There was no conscious choice on my part to make this change. It just happened. Sometimes I realize that it is 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon on the weekend and I have not had anything but a couple of handfuls of nuts since breakfast. Last night, I had a two deviled eggs and grabbed a piece of leftover cold chicken when I got home from work and did not eat anything else (normally we eat a family meal but one daughter was out at team practice and the other was riding her bike. With the weather we have been having, I hated to call her in on such a nice night). This would have been unheard of six months ago. I would have had to eat more to be satiated and to guarantee that I was not going to get hungry again.

The basic idea is that I eat when I get hungry-when my stomach feels hungry. My body is doing a good job of regulating my energy so that I no longer get those miserable feelings anymore unless I ignore the signals my stomach sends for too long. I like that a lot and it constantly reinforces my food choices in a positive way. As compared to the negative guilt associated with choosing the "wrong" foods or too much food on a calorie restrictive diet, the positive reinforcement my body provides when I eat as much as I want of low carb foods is awesome.

I mentioned earlier that I would blog a bit about the weight loss aspects. That is a great benefit to this lifestyle. It is the one benefit that attracted me to the low carb lifestyle to begin with. I mean, I read that my energy levels would fluctuate less, but in my typical way, I was in total denial that it was an issue with me. Those 2:00 p.m. yawns? I just need to get some fresh air. Those days when I thought I could put my head on my desk and take a nap? Must have not slept as well as I thought I did last. Now I don't get them. I am absolutely happy about the weight loss, but I would stick with it even without the weight loss just because I feel better.

I have, though, been losing weight. Despite the fancy new scale at home just begging to be used, I have resisted the urge to weigh myself. I only want to weigh in once a month because I don't want to be falsely optimistic or pessimistic because I had too much coffee or not enough. I figure that a pound one direction or the other is not going to be noticed on a once a month basis.

However, there are other indications that weight is falling off. My favorite is that I just feel better. I move easier. Sitting up in bed is easier. Tying my shoes is easier. Riding my bike is easier. Everything is easier. The amazing thing is that the weight I am at is still too heavy. I have been this weight before and felt like I needed to lose weight then. I have to admit that it feels better on the way down than it did on the way up. I can't imagine how nice it is going to feel when I get even lighter

The biggest indicator is my belt. I can tell by the wear marks that at my biggest I had it on the fourth hole. Now it is on the first hole. I have always had a bit of a paunch and even that is going away. Obviously, this is concurrent with my pants getting loose. Loose pants is definitely comfortable but harder than belt size to quantify.

Overall, I am very satisfied. Cutting bread, rice, potatoes, sugar and beer, with occasional lapses, is so much easier than weighing portions or following a very rigid diet plan. I have now gotten into the habit of looking at carbs on food labels, but mostly it is just to confirm what I already suspected.


  1. "Cutting bread, rice, potatoes, sugar and beer, with occasional lapses,"

    So that's it? Are you doing more exotic things or is that the fundamental issue? I'm curious.

    As to the mid-afternoon energy lull, that's spot on for all of us, isn't it? Worth looking into for myself.

  2. Nothing more exotic, but maybe a bit more explanation...

    I should say wheat products instead of bread. I cut out pasta, too. And, I can't overemphasize how much bread and pasta I ate. Nearly every meal.

    I also cut out most, but not all, processed foods. They often have a lot of sugar added.

    I don't eat Low Fat options anymore. They are packed with sugar. I eat plain yogurt with blueberries, etc rather than the low fat stuff I used to eat. It was packed with carbs.

    I eat lots of eggs, meat, fish, salad and more veggies than I used to eat. But, rather than thinking it is exotic, it is what is left to eat. I have never been a big fruit eater, but other than grapes and bananas, most of them have fewer carbs than processed foods.

    Last night we finally started into a new cookbook my wife bought and had a delicious salmon dish with homemade ginger mayonnaise on it. Exotic as compared to what we used to eat, but not anything way off the scale of normal either.

    Also, while Mark Sisson and many others talk about grass fed beef, organic this and local that, we have not gone that far yet. It is a goal, and I am sure that it is beneficial, but we just have not adopted that pure of an approach yet.

  3. Oh yeah, one more thing, we eat a lot of nuts now, too.