Archive for March, 2016

Update – I Feel Better

March 30, 2016

I must say, I’ve been feeling much better without exercising.  I haven’t lost any weight yet but I must be close to ketosis.


March 28, 2016

I’m going back to one cup of coffee per day.

I have been struggling with a low-carb diet for about 2 months now.  I am hovering between 7-10 pounds down from my highest weight, which in my view is far too heavy for my frame.  (My BMI is just on the low-end of “obese.”)  Recently I’ve been dealing with pangs of hunger.  I’m not exactly sure why this is happening.  I do think coffee triggers a strong insulin response within me and might be setting things off.

I might feel best not having any coffee.

I’m also not so sure if exercise is compatible with me and being very low-carb.  It definitely seems to make me feel worse a few hour afterwards.  I have taken to eating more carbs on those days.  I’m going to have to experiment with this over the next few weeks and see if I need more carbs to fuel my exercise (60-70g per day).  I am also curious to see if it’s just more fat that I need.  I’ve contemplated having a tablespoon of olive oil or almond butter (considered  healthy fats by experts) each time I struggle with hunger and these feelings.

I just read the last post I made about anxiety in 2009.  So interesting to look back on it now, almost seven years later.  I can’t say that I struggle nearly as much with anxiety now, although I have found that I do sometimes get out of control with my anxiety by remaining in the same situation.  Taking myself “outside” out of the situation does sometimes help, however, there is also the issue of the anxiety sometimes “overtaking me” in those outside situations as well.  In my voice lessons, my excellent (let me emphasize that adjective) voice teacher advises me to start with “mindfulness.”  We just allow me to “feel my feelings” and let them be, without judgement.

An aside about my voice teacher – he literally fixed my voice.   Back in 2013, when I became band leader, the overall stress on my voice between teaching, gigging, and a not-so-perfect technique took its toll.  I was soon losing my voice at gigs and cracking on high notes.  I was giving increasingly more songs to the other vocalists in my band so I didn’t have to sing.

Fast-forward to last Friday.  I made it through an entire 2-hour gig without a single crack, singing up to the D5, and singing most of the songs in their original, high-tenor key.  This is such a huge accomplishment for me because I am actually singing better than before I had these issues.  It feels so good to have the voice not only back, but better than ever.

So – back to wellness – I practice “feeling my anxiety” with my teacher.  This seems to have a great deal in common with the “exposure therapy” technique I mentioned (and Russell talks about) back in my original post.  Interesting!


Question:  Is there a minimum number of carbs I need to function, if I include exercise in my routine?

Am I just not adapted enough to the diet yet?

Am I not eating enough soon enough in the day?  (Doesn’t seem likely, as my tracking shows me up very high in calories by mid-morning.)

If I ate fat to try to ease my hunger, would my body respond by reducing hunger, or would hunger just persist and not be reduced because the body is “missing something?”

Would it be better to just not exercise while in ketosis until one has reached their goal bodyweight?  Would these symptoms subside if I stopped exercising while in ketosis?

It is said (Gary Taubes) that fat cells are the slowest to become insulin resistant.  (And thus are the last to release the fat.)  Does this mean that during weight loss, one should let the negative effects of insulin first subside (eat low-carb, let fat cells release fat, then exercise) before resuming exercise (and thus risking aggravating the fat cells to store fat once again through greater carb consumption, which the muscles seem to demand).

Is it possible that exercise makes the muscles so sensitive/demanding of insulin/carbohydrates but by virtue of greater carb consumption causes the fat cells to take in more insulin/carbohydrates as well and thus is somewhat counterproductive?

It seems like if you exercise and consume carbs, your fat cells will always take in some non-zero amount of energy from it all.  Meanwhile, if you forgo the exercise and the carbs, your fat cells may take up less and your weight loss may be faster.

Is there a weight/state of your body when this insulin condition does not happen, and/or moves in the opposite direction?

Does being in ketosis and not exercising result in faster weight loss than doing moderate exercise but replacing the glycogen depletion from exercise with carbs (and possibly kicking out of ketosis)?  This seems to make sense because the fat cells are the last to become insulin resistant.

After exercise, what ratio of carbs gets diverted to the muscles vs. diverted to the fat cells? Is it impossible (I would assume it is) to achieve a 100% diversion of fat to the muscles?

Let’s also assume too that calorie expenditure is equivalent to calorie intake.  (Studies seem to show that when you exercise, your calorie intake rises to match that of your expenditure).   This would mean that exercise would be slightly worse than not exercising for pure weight loss (ignoring the effects on fitness/health, of course) because some non-zero amount of those carbs is going to be stored as fat.

Or maybe there’s no difference, provided you measure your carbs exactly.

I’ll have to report back on my findings.  Today I am going to forgo exercise and try to eat ketogenically.  I’ll update how I’m feeling throughout the day.

How I felt yesterday:  After running for 35 minutes, I felt terrific.  Then as the day went on, I felt slightly dizzy, lightheaded, and nervous.  By around dinnertime, I had a constant gnawing hunger pang in my stomach.  This persisted throughout the day, even as I laid down to go to sleep.  Finally, I had a serving of wheat thins to see if that was the problem.  Within an hour, I fell asleep.  This morning I woke up with no hunger pangs, feeling fine.

(Could it be that I needed the carbs to not feel hungry any more?  Or did I just need to consume an appropriate amount of fat to ease this hunger pang?  Could it be that I was under calories for the day based on my activity?)

How would I test this?  The best way to do so would be to track calories and keep them in range, while eating ketogenically.  The next day, do the same thing, but have carbs.  Observe the affect on hunger.

How I’m feeling: after feeling only slightly nauseous/nervous after breakfast, I don’t feel bad today.  I’m very slightly hungry today, but much less so than I was yesterday.  Could it be that my muscles are demanding less glycogen, or that something else happened in my body?

11:27am:  Feel pretty good.  Less hungry.  Only slightly light-headed.  Not nauseous.

12:30pm:  Started eating.  Immediately felt nervous/dizzy/hungry.  Grabbed some wheat thins.  Didn’t feel better.  Decided to go for a walk to the store to buy more items and get out of the house.  Felt better.  Came back home to eat more.  Started feeling nervous again.   Went back to the store to pick up coffee.  Came back and finished my meal, which included the following vegetables: carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower, all around 3/4 cup each.  I took my vitamin.  By the end of my meal I started feeling better.

3:04pm:  So what was it?  The carbs?  The walk to get my mind off of things?  The total number of calories I ate, and somehow I finally reached a threshold where I’m feeling well?  The vitamin?  I am not sure about any of these things and they all need to be tested.  Why was I feeling so lousy once I started eating food?  Was it low blood sugar/ too much insulin secretion?  Was I still depleted from yesterday’s exercise session?  Or am I just all in my head and now I associate fear with sitting down to eat?