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.