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Mandy LaGreca
11-06-2008, 05:27 PM
I have a question:

Why is it that when I switch from a higher carb diet (50% carbs or more) to a lower carb diet (35% or less) do I feel sluggish, tired and cranky? I notice my blood sugar drops more frequently, I am thirsty and want something sweet like fruit badly. Is this withdrawal? Should I abstain a few days, bite the bullet and hope the symptoms go away?

Are there other ways to deal with this, b/c I know it will work for fat loss if I can just suck it up

Kevin Perry
11-06-2008, 05:38 PM
What foods are your 35% ratio consisting of? And when did you start the diet? Also what foods are making up the other ratio's and what percentage are those? Are you getting enough calories?

If your eating very clean and just started yesterday for example then there will be some withdrawl and cravings for a few days. Have you checked out some stuff on MOD's site?

joe waguespack
11-06-2008, 05:48 PM
When I recently tried the Anabolic Diet there was a two week period of <30 g of carbs as an induction period. The sluggish feeling will subside after a few days for some and it may take a little longer for others. There was a day where I felt a definite "crash" and then was fine the next day. If you are going the low carb route make sure you are keeping your fat intake at 60% of your calories, especially when you first start and keep your calories at around 18x bodyweight for a week or two. It will make the transition easier. After that then start dropping your cals by about 500 and stick with that until fat loss stalls. it may work great for you, I know it does for many. The low carb thing did not work for me at all as far as fat loss goes. At first I think due to the bump in calories jacking up the metabolism a bit and the loss of water and glycogen it seems like leaning out and weight loss is fast, but after that it didn't do much for me , even with dropping my cals pretty low. Good luck though.

Gittit Shwartz
11-06-2008, 05:59 PM
Mandy,

The hunger and lethargy will subside. It can take up to 2 weeks for your body to adapt to using fat as fuel rather than carbs, so hang in there!

35% carbs is not that low though. Personally I find I only feel good when I keep them really low - around 30-40g a day (not counting fiber) or about 10%, and get 55-60% of calories from fat. Different people will have different results, but if you were ever overweight or have poor insulin management, you'll likely do better with lower carbs. At 35% you'll be stuck in the middle ground, neither here nor there, like a never-ending induction phase - tired, cranky, brain fog and cravings. That's my experience, anyhow.

MOD's blog is the place to look for the 101.

G

Gittit Shwartz
11-06-2008, 06:02 PM
MORE FAT will help you get through this phase.

Also, I find caffeine gives me weird blood sugar swings and I adapt faster if I cut it out. YMMV though.

Craig Brown
11-06-2008, 07:41 PM
I just want to back up Gittit's post. Go way lower, and no slack for a couple of weeks. You will level off.

Craig

Steven Low
11-06-2008, 09:31 PM
If you're on a lower carb diet for a month or two and you're still feeling sluggish you MIGHT be ones of the people who can tolerate higher carbs better. BUT this is generally an exception.

It takes anywhere from about 2-4 weeks to adapt to a diet with fairly different macronutrient ratios.

Mandy LaGreca
11-07-2008, 06:30 PM
If you're on a lower carb diet for a month or two and you're still feeling sluggish you MIGHT be ones of the people who can tolerate higher carbs better. BUT this is generally an exception.

It takes anywhere from about 2-4 weeks to adapt to a diet with fairly different macronutrient ratios.

Here is the deal: I go on a reduced carb diet, and by reduced I mean a diet of unlimited veggies, a few fruits (two), 2 tbsp essential oils, 8oz lean protein, 2 eggs and a whey protein shake a day. Oh and I would have a little bit of starchy carbs (Ezekiel bread or rutabaga) with my post workout meal. Seems like adequate carbs to me,right? Perhaps its due to the fact that I am usually overloaded on carbs, so perhaps its just a withdrawal phase I am going through.

But I tend to feel sluggish, my workouts suffer and I get moody and craving skyrocket. But I do lose fat on this type of plan, I just cant stick to it long term.

Maybe I need to get my head checked

Steven Low
11-07-2008, 09:16 PM
Probably need to add in a bit more fat. That doesn't sound like much food AT ALL... unless you're like 70 lbs.

The problem with most things is sticking with it. If you can't do the big jump then you can transition slowly. First, cut the bread for example. Then after a week or two cut something else and add in something.

Gittit Shwartz
11-08-2008, 12:23 AM
Maybe I need to get my head checked


NO NO NO.
As a recovering binge eater and chronic dieter, I can tell you I made very little progress as long as I was blaming myself for every step out of line.

Like Steve said, get through the transition period, eat more fat (don't try to outsmart your diet by cutting fat to lower calories), and I'll add - do everything you can to improve insulin sensitivity. You won't believe how much it helps control the urge to binge.

Here's what I did recently:

- Carbs at up to 30g daily for 2 weeks
- Limit caffeine intake during that time, and watch what it does to you after.
- PWO only, I would allow myself 1/3 cup of berries since they have a very low glycemic impact, but they would still have to fit into the daily 30g limit.
- Chromium picolinate - 1 capsule upon waking, and 20 minutes before each meal when I remembered to.
- Fenugreek - I took a lot of this, not sure if it helped, but many people recommend it so it can't hurt.
- Cinnamon - put a ton of it on everything. Put it in your PWO shake if you do those. I even boiled cinnamon sticks and sipped on the water throughout the day... made me a bit nauseous though :)
- Don't limit your calories too much for the period of the transition.

Again, I've done the "unlimited veggies and few fruits" thing. Didn't work for me. It's a little sad to think you even have to limit your VEGGIE intake, but I really do better this way.

I hope this helps! It's made a big difference for me.
Gittit

Mandy LaGreca
11-08-2008, 08:52 AM
NO NO NO.
As a recovering binge eater and chronic dieter, I can tell you I made very little progress as long as I was blaming myself for every step out of line.

Like Steve said, get through the transition period, eat more fat (don't try to outsmart your diet by cutting fat to lower calories), and I'll add - do everything you can to improve insulin sensitivity. You won't believe how much it helps control the urge to binge.

Here's what I did recently:

- Carbs at up to 30g daily for 2 weeks
- Limit caffeine intake during that time, and watch what it does to you after.
- PWO only, I would allow myself 1/3 cup of berries since they have a very low glycemic impact, but they would still have to fit into the daily 30g limit.
- Chromium picolinate - 1 capsule upon waking, and 20 minutes before each meal when I remembered to.
- Fenugreek - I took a lot of this, not sure if it helped, but many people recommend it so it can't hurt.
- Cinnamon - put a ton of it on everything. Put it in your PWO shake if you do those. I even boiled cinnamon sticks and sipped on the water throughout the day... made me a bit nauseous though :)
- Don't limit your calories too much for the period of the transition.

Again, I've done the "unlimited veggies and few fruits" thing. Didn't work for me. It's a little sad to think you even have to limit your VEGGIE intake, but I really do better this way.

I hope this helps! It's made a big difference for me.
Gittit

Thankyou for that. I really do appreciate the feedback. Same background as you. Binge eating still continues, but alot less.

I like your suggestions, but Ive already done that. It doesnt work for me, I need carbs, or I go crazy. Ive done Atkins type of dieting and it wasnt something I could stick to long term. I would end up binge eating and then gaining twice as much weight.

I am trying to find the balance between an eating style that will help me shed some extra fat and get the physique that I want, without creating the feelings that lead me to want to binge eat. These feeling would be anywhere from mood swings, depression, blood sugar swings, hunger and just plain feeling like crap. I need fruit in my diet, and more than 1/2c of berries.

Ive been "dieting" since I was 12 years old. I am 30 years old now. I know my body. But what works from a fat loss perspective doesnt necessarily work with my head. (re: the comment on getting my head checked).

I think I am probably at my setpoint weight, which I suspect, is why I have reached this point of struggle. Losing the 25 pounds post pardum was so easy. Esp with my post pardum hormones assiting me. I find my weight is creeping up again and its due to binge eating.

Sometimes I feel maybe I need to give up this endeavor and find a new dream. BUt then I put on those jeans and see my ass in the mirror and I am back on the path to slimness again. This totally sucks.

Steven Low
11-08-2008, 09:57 AM
Which is why you need to cut out the carbs little by little...

Mandy LaGreca
11-08-2008, 10:07 AM
Which is why you need to cut out the carbs little by little...

Maybe you got a point there.

Craig Loizides
11-08-2008, 02:17 PM
The reason for the tough transition to lower carbs is that your body is inefficient at using fat for energy. You've eaten high carbs for years and every time your body starts running low you get hungry and eat more carbs. Plus, you may have elevated insulin levels which can make it harder to access your fat stores.

The sample diet you provided looks like it is low carb, low fat, and low calorie. Any low carb diet MUST be high in fat. Otherwise it's a high protein diet which is unhealthy and unmaintainable in the long term. Aim for something like 60% fat, 30% protein, and 10% carbs. You don't need to stay that low in carbs forever, but it will help in becoming fat adapted. If you want you can slowly lower the carbs and replace them with added fats. And you might want to increase the calories during the transition to make it easier.

I was able to do very well on high carb / food pyramid type eating, but I felt like I had to eat 6 times a day and food was controlling my life. The transition was definitely worth it. It probably took me about 3 months of varying levels of carb restriction and starting over before I finally became fat adapted.

Mandy LaGreca
11-08-2008, 07:08 PM
The reason for the tough transition to lower carbs is that your body is inefficient at using fat for energy. You've eaten high carbs for years and every time your body starts running low you get hungry and eat more carbs. Plus, you may have elevated insulin levels which can make it harder to access your fat stores.

The sample diet you provided looks like it is low carb, low fat, and low calorie. Any low carb diet MUST be high in fat. Otherwise it's a high protein diet which is unhealthy and unmaintainable in the long term. Aim for something like 60% fat, 30% protein, and 10% carbs. You don't need to stay that low in carbs forever, but it will help in becoming fat adapted. If you want you can slowly lower the carbs and replace them with added fats. And you might want to increase the calories during the transition to make it easier.

I was able to do very well on high carb / food pyramid type eating, but I felt like I had to eat 6 times a day and food was controlling my life. The transition was definitely worth it. It probably took me about 3 months of varying levels of carb restriction and starting over before I finally became fat adapted.

Wow, 10% carbs. As much as I want to lean up, Im just not sure I can do something like that. I mean, what would I eat all day? Chicken and oil? Can you give me a sample day of what you eat?

I think for me right now, its a matter of controlling my binge eating. Most of it is psychological. Fridays and Saturdays have always been a trigger for me.

Evenings are tough for me too. I get depressed and then I reach of something sweet. A trainer in my gym mentioned a whey protein shake before bedtime to help manage cravings.

George Mounce
11-08-2008, 07:35 PM
Wow, 10% carbs. As much as I want to lean up, Im just not sure I can do something like that. I mean, what would I eat all day? Chicken and oil? Can you give me a sample day of what you eat?

I think for me right now, its a matter of controlling my binge eating. Most of it is psychological. Fridays and Saturdays have always been a trigger for me.

Evenings are tough for me too. I get depressed and then I reach of something sweet. A trainer in my gym mentioned a whey protein shake before bedtime to help manage cravings.

I prefer a lot of nuts and seeds myself. You know there are plenty of foods out there that aren't carbs. Not just chicken and oil. :p

Your psychological requirement for carbs is by no means a physiological one. Once you learn to separate an emotional event from the carb eating process (one of the very big triggers that hurts the obese) you can see its quite easy to live with a much, much lower carb intake.

Jane Michel
11-09-2008, 12:57 AM
Hi Mandy, not sure if this will help: my stress-carb-sugar-cravings went down a lot after I stopped drinking coffee and stopped CrossFit/jogging and did 3x a week bodyweight exercises and heavy lifting and maybe just 1x a week HIIT.

I liked this article by John Berardi: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/members/showthread.php?t=13396 (WFS)

Mandy LaGreca
11-09-2008, 05:36 AM
I
Your psychological requirement for carbs is by no means a physiological one. Once you learn to separate an emotional event from the carb eating process (one of the very big triggers that hurts the obese) you can see its quite easy to live with a much, much lower carb intake.

Youre right. I need to start to focus on other activities that dont revolve around food. This is due to my family background, as food was always the topic of conversation and all activities revolved around food. It doesnt help that my father is staying with us for 3 weeks and all he does it eat and cook and talk about eating.

I think IF is partially the solution for me. If I dont eat anything, i dont have to worry about what I am eating. However, this means that I need to fast almost everyday, not just 2-3 days a week. Since my cravings are usually high at night, if I can save my calories for the evening, and incorporate that whey protein shake before bedtime, it may help me tremendously.

Thanks for the article Alicia! that was true of me, even thogh I dont have much stress since I quit my job to stay home with my baby, she does wake up at night often and that has been contributing to my higher cortisol levels. When I am awoken, the first thing I want to do it eat something sweet.

I like the exercise protocol, esp since I love yoga and walking. Since I am a fitness instructor, I think the solution for me is to teach my classes and perhaps add a day or two of total body weights. No additional cardio, as running and those type of activities do tend to stress me out. I But during my non-teaching days, activities should be just walking and yoga and playing with my baby. Basically things that keep my heart rate lower.

Finally, I need to cut the binge habit on the weekends. Its just something Ive been doing for years, and I do it out of sheer habit. Binge on Saturday, starve on Sunday.


So to summarize for myself, I will implement this plan:
1.) IF 5 days a week (14-16 hour fasts), but will change depending on my needs
2.) Workout days are 4 days a week. I will combine weights and cardio on the same day to allow for 3 days of week of complete rest for my parasympathetic nervous system
3.) Eats are clean and Paleo-like
4.) Sugar consumption needs to be very low, and I need to wean slowly. I am talking about even fruits, as it triggers my responses to binge as well
5.) Whey protein shake before bedtime when cravings are high
6.) Treat weekends like any normal weekday. Eats should be the same, and it should not be an invitation to binge eat (this is a tough one for me)

Mike ODonnell
11-09-2008, 08:23 AM
I would say enjoy more fruits and avoid sugars, breads, etc for your carb sources. If you feel lethargic it may be a sign of hypogylcemia due to insulin resistance. Of course improving insulin sensitivity is going to be key. That and avoiding sugar. Here's a post I did on Zen Habits recently about sugar, if anything it may help you in your food choices.
http://zenhabits.net/2008/10/beat-the-sugar-habit-3-steps-to-cut-sweets-mostly-out-of-your-life/