Last week I announced that I was giving up carbs for six weeks. Some people who know me well were shocked. Some people who don’t know me well skimmed the post, totally missed why I was doing this, and gave me lots of dieting advice, so I also wrote this.
Now that my first week is done, I have some results and some observations.
In the first week I lost 4.8 pounds. That might seem like a lot, but that’s pretty typical for the first week of every diet I’ve ever done in my life. The key seems to be salt, as far as I can figure it out. I’m a salt addict, especially with potatoes. When I go on a diet, I eat less across the board (and this time potatoes are cut out altogether). Less food means less salt, which means less water retention. So I never really “count” the first week’s results. The second week is usually more indicative of how things are going to go.
My body fat percentage went down 1.3%. I’m not sure how much I trust this number, because it’s from my bathroom scale, which is probably not incredibly accurate. But over time the number has been consistent, so I have no reason to believe that it didn’t go down a little.
My Aching Head
I’ve had a lot of headaches this past week. I get occasional headaches (usually from wearing my ponytail too tight), but nothing like this. This was more like the few times I’ve had to give up caffeine. The first one started on the third night. I should have taken something before bed but I didn’t, and when I woke up on Wednesday it had gotten a lot worse. It didn’t go away with Tylenol, so I took some Advil too and that did the trick. It came back on Thursday, and again today (although progressively duller – again, just like a caffeine headache).
My first thought was that I was dehydrated, but I don’t have any other signs of dehydration and am drinking plenty of water. So I have to assume that it’s just my brain shouting “Hey, lady, where the hell are the carbs?”
Beware: Poop Talk Ahead
The first full day after giving up most carbs, I had some truly epic diarrhea. A friend of my daughter’s had the stomach flu at the same time, so I suppose there’s a possibility that it could have been that, but I had no other symptoms – not even an upset stomach before or after.
It got better as the week went on…gradually.
My Sad Mental State
So, it’s hard for me to describe how hard this is to do for someone who loves carbs as much as I do. Because, it’s both easier and harder than I thought it would be.
Physically, it’s not that hard. To hear some people describe how they felt giving up carbs, you’d think they were giving up heroin. I didn’t get dizzy, I didn’t get the shakes. The headaches were it.
Mentally, though, it’s been harder. The first three days, actually, were pretty easy. Then, all of a sudden, I really wanted carbs. I sat on the couch alone late one night thinking, “What if I had just one roll? Just one? How much could that matter?” So I went to bed, and the feeling passed.
It’s annoying more that anything. I’m annoyed that I can’t grab a slice of pizza when I’m on the go. I’m annoyed that meeting friends at a restaurant (something I managed to avoid all last week) would most likely mean me sitting there with a salad or grilled vegetables. If I weren’t a vegetarian there would be a lot more restaurant options, I guess.
I know that going out to lunch with friends is supposed to be about the people, but for me it’s always been at least 50% about the food.
Other than that, this is just boring. Food isn’t exciting. I don’t look forward to it. There’s no reason for me to be hungry – I don’t have to limit how much or when I eat. But sometimes I sit here working long past the point where I’m hungry, because I’m just not looking forward to another salad or hard boiled egg.
There’s nothing special calorie-wise about eating low carb. You can’t suddenly eat a zillion calories and still lose weight. Instead, all of the things that I would normally overeat on have been taken away. I love eggs, but I’m not going to eat them until I’m sick like I would with pizza. I won’t grab some roasted broccoli to munch on when I’m not hungry like I would with potato chips.
Even cheese gets boring after the first few bites when I don’t have bread or crackers. I will lose weight on this simply because eating low-carb is causing me to eat less, not because eating low-carb is magical.
I’ve started looking up some recipes for some more exciting foods. If I actually make any of them, I’ll report back.
No Ups And Downs
I’ve always heard that carbs give you sugar highs and sugar crashes. I’ve never felt those, as far as I could tell. But I thought that maybe I’d notice this week, if they weren’t there. That I would feel their absence even though I’d never felt their presence.
But no, I feel the same. When I don’t get enough sleep I’m tired, and when I get enough sleep I’m not tired. I’m always a little sluggish. I’m lazy. And it doesn’t seem to follow any eating patterns.
I’m Still Baking
A lot of people assumed that I wouldn’t be doing any baking during this time. Wrong! In fact, I just made a batch of baguette dough.
I’m not sure how to explain this, but it was the same when I was doing the FastDiet: Being around forbidden foods don’t make this any better or worse. Ridding my house of all carbs would be pointless because they would still be out there in the world, just a short walk away.
I can see how getting rid of these things would help if moderation were what I was going for, but since I can’t have any of my favorite things, whether they’re here or not doesn’t really matter. They still exist. I’m not a toddler. I understand object permanence.
Besides, giving people baked goods and bread will still make me happy – that has nothing to do with whether I get a taste or not.
I No Longer Want To Cook For My Family
On the other hand, I’ve pretty much lost all interest in feeding my family, except for “special” foods like waffles and cookies (they give me that grateful “Oh my God this is so good!!” reaction that they don’t give me when I make, say, mac & cheese; baked goods are love). I’ve kind-of been on my own food schedule this week, mostly eating whenever I’m hungry, so feeding them just seems like an extra chore, like a servant making a meal for her employers that she won’t be sharing in. At least when I was on the FastDiet, I could eat their leftovers for lunch the next day.
I supposed I could just make them fend for themselves these next five weeks, and I did encourage them to order in whenever they wanted. But as the stay-at-home parent (as opposed to the one who gets home right before dinner, if not later), that really wouldn’t be fair. This isn’t anything that my family encouraged me in any way to do, so they shouldn’t have to suffer for it.
As for the people who suggested that I make my family members eat the way I’m eating…I hate the way I’m eating. Why would I do that to them?