Low Carb Fail And A Good Day

Funny story.

Remember a couple days ago I wrote that I was going to do a lower-carb version of a Ray Peat diet so I could stop gaining weight?  Well I tried that yesterday.  Around 11:00AM I found myself not wanting to do anything and feeling like this:

anhedonia

That’s not me, by the way, but I literally had that look on my face and I was staring into space.  I said to myself, “Self, this is stupid. I can’t live like this.”  And then I went to get myself a big glass of orange juice.

Within 15 minutes I was tidying up the house, doing the dishes, chatting with my daughter.  ((Sigh))….I’m officially a sugar burner now.  Those days of being a fat burner are long gone.  I would never be able to tolerate the transition from energetic sugar-burner to adrenaline-driven low carber again.  So that experiment was a fail.

Anyway, today I felt really great all day.  Minimal hunger for some reason – or, at least hunger only at mealtimes.  So let’s analyze the day.

Woke up at 7:30AM – Weight still 209.4 (boo), fasting blood sugar: 122 (meh), temp/pulse: 98.6/85 (yeah!).  My morning temperature and pulse has gradually climbed from 96.9/68 to where it is now – maybe even a little on the warm side for first thing in the morning.  I’m currently taking 1/4 of a Cynoplus tablet and have been following a Ray Peat inspired diet for about 3 months.  I’m really happy with that.

On the other hand I took my blood pressure today, and it was 154/90, despite liberal use of the salt shaker, and blood sugar is also still high, despite elimination of most of my dietary PUFA.  So no miracle there by following Dr. Peat’s advice.  I’ll continue anyway, because I know salt and avoiding PUFAs are beneficial in many ways. I was hoping they would solve these problems though.  Maybe I just need to give it time.

Anyway, back to my day. It wasn’t an ideal day diet-wise – I just ate what we had in the house. We’re low on groceries. Need to shop, but it’s like 40 degrees below 0.  Brr.  Don’t wanna go out.

  • Breakfast: 3 eggs cooked in coconut oil, 8oz orange juice mixed with selzer water.
  • Snack: More OJ and selzer water, and a raw carrot.
  • Lunch: 3 slices of ham dipped in sour cream.
  • Snack: 1-2 oz. gouda cheese, orange juice
  • Snack: 1-2 oz. dark chocolate, orange juice
  • Dinner: Stew made from beef shank (made in crock pot).  I skipped the potatoes.
  • Snack: 1/2 of an apple, orange juice, cheese

Hm….so what was different about today that I felt really good?  I did avoid starches completely…and I ate more protein/fat in the morning than usual.  Other than that, not too unusual.

Oh well, I’ll try to do the same tomorrow.

Next time:  Resistant Starch – 1 month update!

Stress Hormone Overnight Test

Just a quick note – I ate some sugar along with protein and fat (and a glass of wine) last night before bed and this morning my fasting blood sugar was 108!  That’s the lowest it’s been in a long time.  Plus, this morning I felt hungry when I woke up, but I don’t feel hungry all morning long despite eating, as I typically do.  Amazing!

Analysis Paralysis

Yesterday I was in the car for 4 hours, and in that time I listened to 3 or 4 podcasts featuring Ray Peat.  I think I understand now why I’m having trouble with hunger in the mornings but less so in the late afternoon and evenings.  I start each day in a state of metabolic stress.

Here’s how it works:  A healthy person can store enough glycogen in their liver to get through the night (8 hours) without running out.  I’m not healthy.  What happens overnight is I run out of glycogen (which the body uses to maintain a healthy blood sugar level).  The body’s first reaction to running out is to increase adrenaline, which “squeezes the last bit of glycogen out of the liver,” according to Peat.  That same adrenaline will sometimes wake you up in the middle of the night.  If you don’t eat when this happens the body’s next step is to increase cortisol.  Cortisol is the guy that turns protein into glucose for the body to use (gluconeogenesis).  Protein, meaning muscle.  Hmmmm…so you don’t eat enough sugar, and your body raises cortisol to turn your muscle tissue into sugar.  The appetite is suppressed (which is why I used to love low-carbing), but the thyroid is also suppressed in order to reduce the number of calories required to live. Our bodies are remarkable at shutting down important processes to keep us alive.  All about the big picture.  Anyway, yadda yadda yadda, now I have a lot of cortisol-induced abdominal fat and sub-optimal thyroid function.

Another thing I learned is that it’s the lowering of stress hormones that makes you feel tired after eating a high-carbohydrate meal when your body has been depleted of glycogen.  I’ve always wondered about that.  So you’re cruising along on the adrenaline/cortisol high of low-carb and suddenly you decide to have some orange juice or some rice…or you supplement thyroid hormone.  In an hour you’re exhausted.  Yeah, that’s because finally your body is able to rest and put the stress hormones away because you finally fed it what it needs.  So your true fatigue shows up – the fatigue resulting from pushing yourself, staying up too late, waking up too early, running on adrenaline all day long.  Suddenly you feel all of it.

So it seems I wake up with my body all saturated with cortisol from having no glycogen stores overnight.  I’m going to focus on a pure Peat-friendly diet (no starches, which I’ve been eating sporadically) and I’m going to stop measuring my blood sugar throughout the day (with the exception of fasting blood sugar in the morning).  I’m going to listen only to hunger cues.  I think all the testing and micromanaging of my blood sugar, pulse, temperature, calories, macronutrients, and weight is interfering with me actually learning to feel what I need to be healthy.  Also, I’m going to eat some fruit and/or sugar before bed and see what that does to my fasting sugar levels and my hunger the following morning.

Update:  Wow…this chick said it way better than I ever could.