Friday, April 30, 2010

What I Have Learned So Far and Where I Will Go Now

It was about a month ago that I wrote my "confession" post and got serious again about not succumbing to the cravings. I have done fairly well through that time but it has been a frustrating time as my weight has not responded at all. I had assumed that I would return, at least, to my pre-"carb bloat" weight of around 172. Instead, I have been stuck fluctuating between 176 and 178.

Because of this, I spent alot of time soul searching about whether to stay zero carb. As Kristina and Karen have both mentioned, the thoughts of "why am I doing this if it isn't working" keep rearing their ugly heads. I also read a lot of low carb and paleo blogs and most of them are pretty adamant that you don't have to go to zero on the carbs to be healthy. That works on you, too, when things aren't going your way. I'll have to admit that I have strongly considered going a more paleo route.

With all of the soul searching, I keep coming back to something that is a foundational belief for me - for me to lose weight and be healthy, I [b]must[/b] eat only small amounts when physically hungry. Anything that interferes with that will keep me from my goals. With that in mind, here is what I learned over the last year+ (actually more like eleven years+):

Carbs, even "paleo" carbs like nuts and low starch veggies, screw up my hunger by making it harder to stop eating when satisfied.

Caffeine masks my hunger signals, making it harder to tell when I am physically hungry.

My body doesn't seem to take well to consuming calories in liquid form. Even if I wait until I am hungry to take in food that way, like cream in coffee, it messes up my hunger signal the rest of the day. This is true even with decaf coffee or if I do a shake (cream and egg), so it isn't just the caffeine from the coffee.

Dairy doesn't mess me up unless it's in a liquid form and I eat it with eggs or meat (the raw form seems to help with the sinus issues but I am talking hunger signals here).

Too much fat interferes with hunger frequency. It takes longer to get hungry and I get tempted to do things like eat with my family when I am not hungry. If I eat the right amount, I tend to be hungry mid-morning and then again around dinner time. I am not talking about low fat but just stuff like not snacking on the butter while cooking my steak or draining a little of the stuff that cooks out of the hamburger. I assume that my body will let me know if I don't get enough fat.

With all of that in mind, it is obvious what I have to do to get to where I want to be. Eating only when hungry is paramount and zero carb is the tool to achieve it. The health benefits are nice but they aren't my main concern at the moment, to be completely honest.

Since tomorrow is May 1, I am going to consider it as Day 1 of phase 2 of my zero carb journey. I spent the first 13 months screwing around and learning what worked and what didn't. Now it's time to implement all of that knowledge and actually do it. I am not eating carbs or anything like that today; it's just that May 1 is easier to remember than April 30.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Musings about dairy

My best period of weight loss on ZC was the period between Sept and Nov of last year. During that time, I lost weight and didn't have cravings. I was meat, water and a little black tea only during this period.

The problem, though, was that I never felt great. I kept waiting for the boost of energy everyone talks about and it didn't come. When I added dairy back on our trip over Thanksgiving, I felt really good. My energy level came up and I just felt better.The only problem was I started getting stuffed up, the cravings started and my weight loss slowed.

After I fell off of the wagon over Christmas and New Years', I vowed to get back on track and went beef and water only (I misspoke about this month earlier in my journal). The cravings subsided and I dropped the weight I had put on over the holidays. However, the familiar rundown feeling returned. I also didn't go any lower than pre-holiday weight. Unfortunately, I fell off the wagon again over my birthday the first of February and that is when my weekly struggles began that I journaled about earlier and finally overcame again a month ago.

Since getting back on to ZC a month ago, I keep trying different things to see if it is possible to have some form of dairy so that I feel better but without the cravings, stuffiness and with being able to lose weight. Have my cake and eat it, too, so to speak.

At first, I suspected carrageenan in cream but it didn't change things when I found cream without it. Then I thought perhaps it was the casein and tried goat dairy because it has a different form of casein that is not supposed to bother us as much. The cravings subsided with that but it stuffed me up as much.

The latest thought from reading around is that it is pasteurized dairy that is the problem. I have read quite a few people that claim that they were stuffed up with pasteurized dairy but not raw. Since I can get it fairy easily, I figured I would give it a shot.

I just started this week so it is too early to tell anything yet. I am still stuffed up but it takes a little while to get it out of my system. My energy levels are good and I am not as tired as I was last week when I was trying to do no dairy. I haven't had any cravings since starting but it is still early. One problem I do have is that the raw milk is pretty good and I want to get in to it more than I should but it is also new and a bit of a novelty, so that may play a part.

As for why dairy makes me feel so much better? I don't know. It could be an addict getting his fix, though three months of no dairy didn't help in that regard. I don't think it's the extra fat because I eat very fatty meats as it is. If I have dairy, I eat less meat, so it isn't additional fat. To be honest, I am starting to wonder if it isn't just raising the baseline carb intake just a little.

I am also thinking I may have to grin and bear it going meat only until I am at a reasonable weight and then look at dairy as a maintenance item, like Charles is doing. I am going to give the raw dairy a little more time to see what happens before I do that.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

April 21, 2010 update

Yesterday went pretty well. I wanted coffee all morning but resisted. I had a bit of a headache all morning. Strangely, I was also sleepy all day despite getting a decent night's sleep the night before. I assume it's because I am still working the caffeine out of my system.

I ate a burger bowl early on when I got hungry. I was kind of getting hungry again by the time I got home from work but held off until dinner time when I had a thick ribeye off of my slab. I had been worried that this slab wasn't going to be as good because they had trimmed so much fat off of the side. However, it is very nicely marbled and not nearly as dry as the last two slabs were. It's only been aging two weeks but is disappearing at an alarming rate.

I had no dairy yesterday, of any kind. I was still pretty stuffed up last night but I imagine it will take some time to work out of my system.

My weight was down slightly, .2 pounds. That is essentially holding but better than what it was doing last week at this time - going up.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April 14, 2010 Update

As I have mentioned before, I didn't have a clean week all through January, February and March of this year. I would be ZC from Saturday or Sunday through Thursday and then fail on Friday and/or Saturday. During this time, my weight would fluctuate from 175-ish right after a carb up down to around 171 by Thursday. It did this like clock-work.

My last carb up was March 27, when my wife and I celebrated our anniversary by eating at a Thai restaurant and then having some Easter candy and ice cream later that day. My weight shot up to 179 the next day, followed by 181 the next day!

I returned to ZC after that, except for the Diet Pepsi, and I expected the weight to drop back off like it had been doing. I dropped down to the 176 - 177 range but it hasn't wanted to budge since. Since the difference was in the Diet Pepsi, I felt that the Diet Pepsi was holding my weight up so I stopped drinking it last Friday. It has been six days and the weight is still holding and, in fact, has been slowly increasing over the last three days.

I kind of remembered my weight doing something similar last time, so I went back and reread my journal from last September through the first of November. I had remembered the weight going up right after giving up DP but then dropping off really quickly after that. It wasn't quite that simple, though. It looks like I better expect to stay at the higher weight for a while.

I gave up DP and all AS on September 18. My weight started to creep up after that and peaked after about a week (where I am now). After 10 days, the extra weight dropped off and I was back to where I started. On September 29, I dropped all dairy.

My weight dropped a couple of pounds after that but I held it for almost three weeks. On October 22, I started losing again. This loss turned into an almost six pound loss in a week.

Carbs are bad enough but it looks like carbs plus Diet Pepsi is lethal, weight-wise. I probably really dicked myself this time. All I can do is to stay ZC and wait it out and hopefully remember this next time I want to be stupid.

Monday, April 12, 2010

April 12 2010 Update - Starting Year 2

Yesterday, April 11, was one year since I started down the carnivorous path. I wish I could say I have been ZC the entire time but, of course, I haven't. Still, I have seen a lot of health improvements along the way and am thankful for this way of life. My goal for the next year is to stay the path.

In keeping to that goal, I made it another week ZC. There were fewer cravings and temptations this weekend and eating wasn't a problem. I still haven't been very hungry. I'm not really sure where my appetite went.

Confession time #2 - about a month ago, I started drinking Diet Pepsi again. At first, it was just here or there. I started drinking it pretty heavily two weeks ago, about the time I got back on track food-wise. As before, I get no carb cravings from it and this time, I didn't get dizzy. However, I wasn't losing the "temporary weight gain" from my last carb up and I figured that had to be because of the soda because the food was in order.

I had always planned on dropping it again and finally decided to last Friday. I had my last one Thursday night. I had expected a day of headaches but didn't expect anything too bad because the withdrawals weren't that bad when I gave it up seven months ago and I hadn't been back on it very long.

I was wrong. I was useless Friday and Saturday and was extremely sick. Besides the vicious headache, I just felt ill in general. I woke up Sunday feeling better, which was good because I didn't think I could stand another day like Saturday. I had the headache come back for a while on Sunday afternoon but I think I am on the downside of it.

It was interesting that when I first started having one here and there, it was actually not that good, which is why I didn't go whole hog at first. Then, one day it started tasting great again. Thinking on that, I now believe that once it starts tasting good is when you are hooked again. It's like your body is now dependent and changes your brain to think that it tastes wonderful so that you want it more. I have heard that smokers go through the same thing - at first it makes them want to puke and then, after a while, smoking tastes great. I hope I remember this next time I think it's okay to "have just one". Currently, I am not tempted to "have just one" because I don't want to go through another weekend like this last one.

I spent most of the weekend on the couch, trying to keep my brain from leaking out of my eyes. Unfortunately, all that laying around aggravated my back and now it really hurts. It has gone from being just in my lower left back to now going from that spot, down my hip to the front of my thigh. It is very sore. Hopefully it will loosen up soon as I get to moving around again.

So anyway - here is where I am now. No caffeine, no cow dairy, very limited goat dairy, water and meat, mostly beef. I think that should get me going into year 2 nicely.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

April 8, 2010 update

My first day of no dairy and coffee went well. I didn't have any cravings for it and my energy levels were actually up a bit. It may just be that I am getting past the induction flu stage.

My hunger levels are still really low. I think I am going to go back to eating strictly to hunger (or to any cravings). I will watch it carefully in case the craving rear their ugly heads again. I was hungry early yesterday and had some ground beef around 8 am. I was feeling kinda, sorta but not really hungry around 2 pm and ate one boneless short rib. I wasn't hungry by dinner time and wasn't going to eat. However, when I cut a ribeye steak off for K, I decided to do a thin one for me, too. It was really good, so maybe I was hungrier than I thought.

My weight was down slightly this morning. However, my body really seems to want to hold on to the weight I gained after my last carb up a couple of weeks ago. It is coming off really slowly.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

April 7, 2010 Update - Dairy goes bye-bye

Well, today is the day that the dairy and coffee go. I had planned on finishing out the week. However, yesterday I suddenly just didn't want it any more. I got rid of the rest of the HWC and packed up all of my coffee making stuff at work and took it home.

The coffee and HWC was messing with my hunger signals. I always waited until I was hungry to have it but I was rarely hungry the rest of the day after having it. However, cream alone for fuel was upsetting my stomach. Then, if I ate some meat, I would feel overstuffed. It became too much screwing around. Like Mel says - KISS - so it goes.

I did engage in a little "last supper" eating last night with some cheese. It didn't affect my weight as I was down a little this morning but I woke up completely stuffed up and kept sneezing this morning. It's kind of a relief to have it go.

Dairy is definitely my "bad girlfriend". I keep going back to it, each time hoping that "this time" will be different but finding out that after the initial pleasure, it isn't good for me.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April 6, 2010 update

Nothing particularly interesting to report but I want to keep journalling so that I stay on track.

I'm still on track and haven't had any cravings lately. I thought about a handful of nuts Sunday afternoon but it was easy to ignore the thoughts and stay clean.

It is a little frustrating that the weight is coming off veeeeeeeery slowly. I think it is because I have been more worried about eating only animal products and not worried about eating to hunger. I am actually not very hungry at all but I have been trying to eat with meals so that the cravings stay at bay. Once I feel a little more comfortable about the cravings staying away, I am definitely going back to eating only when physically hungry. I feel better doing that.

I am still dragging a bit too, so I think I am still going through induction flu. I hope to snap out of that soon.

Monday, April 5, 2010

April 5, 2010 update - Made it through a week!

I had a really busy weekend, so I didn't get a chance to post much.

The food part went pretty well. I stayed zero carb the whole weekend, though I ate way too much dairy. I think I was engaging in a little "last supper" eating as I know I have to cut it out and I really don't want to.

I was answering a question last week and wrote that the only difference between the time I was doing well and the time I was struggling was the reintroduction of dairy at Thanksgiving. I hadn't thought it through that clearly, so it was a bit of a light bulb moment. So, now that I hit my first goal of making it through a week staying zero carb, now my next goal is to clean it up some and get rid of the dairy and the caffeine, while staying zero carb, of course. I am still not worried about eating to hunger as I want to make sure the cravings don't get out of control again.

I am only down about three pounds for the last week. My weight was up a bit this morning but it was probably due to the salt in the ham we had for Easter dinner last night. It was pretty good ham and I ate more than I should have.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April 1, 2010 update

As I have said before, Monday through Thursday is not normally a problem for me. It's when I am home on the weekends that I have problems. However, I seem to have a different mindset this week and I am feeling pretty good about staying ZC. I don't know if it is because I have been journalling about my struggles or because it has been really relaxed at home (since the boys are gone) but whatever it is, I like it. The proof is in the pudding, of course. I still have to get through the weekend.

I haven't been very hungry lately. I had a hamburger bowl late yesterday, about 2 pm, and then I basically forgot about dinner. Around 7:30, K wasn't forgetting about dinner, so I cooked up a tri-tip for her and I. I wasn't really hungry at the time but it was a very good steak, one of the best I have had in a while.

I was down another 1.4 pounds though I am still heavier than last week.