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I'm struggling with low carbing.

(32 Posts)
Faverolles Tue 04-Mar-14 12:59:32

Have been low carbing since the beginning of the year.
I love the food, love the science behind it and generally find it easy to stick to.
However, I don't feel well on it. I don't feel healthy, my skin looks dry and awful despite drinking loads.
I'm also constipated.

It was my birthday last week and I've ended up having a few days off (eating cake, biscuits, chocolate etc) and feel much better in myself, more energy, more impulse to get out and go for walks, and I can go to the loo fine!

Does low carbing just not suit me, or is there a way to make it work for me?

Can I start the day with porridge and low carb from there, or will that not work?

FavadiCacao Tue 04-Mar-14 19:44:02

I didn't do well on a VLC (~20g). Maybe you are better suited to a 'lower' carb? Paleo is more lenient on carbs. Mark's daily apple is a good place to start.
You are welcome to join us on the Paleo thread, where you can ask away!grin

fieldfare Tue 04-Mar-14 19:50:35

I do low GI instead of low carb and I don't really limit my fruit and veg. So I'll have a bowl of porridge mixed with oat bran, wheat bran and ground linseed (mixed with Greek yoghurt and frozen fruit the night before so I can have cold porridge), then a couple of big bowls of homemade veggie soup for lunch and a normal dinner (piece of salmon, veggies, a little brown rice). Snacks are olives, hard boiled eggs, fruit, nuts.

coffeewithcreamm Tue 04-Mar-14 19:56:39

I lost a stone and a half low carbing but ( and I know, I know and I'm sorry!) but I find it utterly joyless. For me. I need to enjoy food again, not think about what I can't eat all the time. I will greatly reduce my sugar, refined carbs, alcohol etc but for me, right now, I'm having a break.

Faverolles Tue 04-Mar-14 20:49:49

I like the idea of paleo, but I honestly don't think I can give up dairy.
I haven't had any problem giving up wheat and processed stuff, but I expected to feel better for it, but I just feel grim and tired and can't poo!

BIWI Tue 04-Mar-14 20:51:00

How much fat are you eating, Faverolles?

omletta Tue 04-Mar-14 20:54:24

My understanding is that if you must eat carbs you should eat them as early as possible in the day as they are the first source of energy to be used up.

BIWI Tue 04-Mar-14 20:58:53

Thing is, if you're low carbing 'properly', your body will have shifted to burning fat rather than carbs. You won't need the carbs for energy. You will either be using the fat on your body or the fat that's in your food.

If you're feeling tired, then it could be a couple of things.

Most likely that you're not eating enough fat. But it could also be that you're not getting the right nutrients, especially your electrolytes, if you're also drinking loads of water.

Do you use salt in your cooking and on your food? You also need potassium and magnesium, so foods like salmon, spinach, avocado and full fat natural yoghurt.

Faverolles Tue 04-Mar-14 21:05:31

I think I've been eating plenty of fat - butter, cheese, cream etc. I've been drinking about 2l of water a day, adding salt to stuff.
I've been lurking on the boot camp threads and following the recipes.

I've really enjoyed it as a way of eating, haven't felt depraved at all.
I regularly read the diet doctor blogs, mark's daily apple and have felt very passionate and motivated about it all, until eating crap for a few days, fully expecting to feel like shit after, but actually feeling great for the first time in weeks sad

Faverolles Tue 04-Mar-14 21:06:46

I lost about 22 lbs, so after the initial 2 week mega loss, it was a steady 1-2 lbs a week

BIWI Tue 04-Mar-14 21:16:59

I'm glad you haven't felt depraved grin

BIWI Tue 04-Mar-14 21:17:36

Are you eating fattier cuts of meat? Using oil in your cooking and on salads?

How much more weight do you have to lose?

FavadiCacao Tue 04-Mar-14 21:19:37

You don't have to give up dairy! Paleo means making tailored made for you. Chris Kresser is a paleo dairy believer, Mark Sisson eats some dairy, too. Personally, I eat dairy (even make my own cream cheese!). Some paleo people even eat rice, sweetcorn and pulses (soaked, sprouted). I have fresh runner beans, broad beans and peas.
I started by removing gluten and sugar, then grains and a lot of pulses...I reached my happy medium: I lost weight and feel amazing (asthma, eczema, ulcer gone, joints pain greatly reduced). What's more I can feed the entire family on one plan (just need to add extra fat and big carb refeeds-with safe starches- for very active and fast growing teen son)!

PS.I felt rubbish on VLC, and was seriously ill! I needed at least 50g and lost over 4 st ranging between 50-90g carbs daily.

Faverolles Tue 04-Mar-14 21:23:44


Yes to fattier cuts of meat, and oils in cooking and salad.

I have about 5 stone left to lose. I think I should be at the feeling great, cruising it stage, which I am in terms of not craving carbs or crap, in that respect it's great. In myself though I feel sluggish.

Faverolles Tue 04-Mar-14 21:27:39

Actually, thinking about it, I'm not VLC because I'm still breastfeeding - not sure if that's necessary or not?

I do have carrots and very occasionally sweet potatoes (to help the constipation - sorry, tmi)

I haven't had bread, sugar, grains, pulses, potatoes at all since January. Well, until last Thursday.

BIWI Tue 04-Mar-14 21:45:31

Are you eating enough, if you're breastfeeding?

Faverolles Tue 04-Mar-14 21:52:22

Yes eating plenty.

I think I'll go back to basics and write down what I'm having so I can see where I'm going wrong!

BIWI Tue 04-Mar-14 21:55:38

If you list it out here, we can see if there's anything obvious

Faverolles Tue 04-Mar-14 22:01:32

A typical day would be:
7.30 cup of tea
10ish 3 eggs scrambled/fried in butter (smallish eggs, so have 3 instead of 2 as I end up hungry)
12-1 salad with bacon and cheese, avocado, that sort of thing.
4ish snack of cheese or carrot or yogurt
8ish tea - chicken with courgettes and cream sauce, or a curry.

I would say portion sizes are on the larger size.

BIWI Tue 04-Mar-14 22:08:12

"The more weight you have to lose, the more water you should drink. This is from Water is essential to weight loss for those who eat low-carb. The minimum consumed in a day should be:
Your Weight--------Litres
High levels of ketones in the blood stream can lead to a reduction in ketone production, therefore being well hydrated could aid in keeping the levels low and ketone production ongoing. Consuming enough water can have many other positive side effects: aids your kidneys with the processing of protein, reduces the retention of water, helps with preventing constipation, and reduces the levels of ketones released by your breath, which in-turn will reduce breath odour. However, drinking a lot of water can mean that you also need to keep an eye on your electrolyte balance. You need to make sure that you are consuming sufficient sodium and potassium. On a low carb diet we can eat more salt, so make sure that you are cooking with salt and adding salt to food, if you like it. Good, low carb, sources of potassium are spinach (raw), avocado, mushrooms, courgettes and asparagus, as well as salmon and yoghurt."193.6

This is c+p from the Bootcamp rules - suggests that you need to be drinking a bit more water

Your food looks OK, but I'm not sure what you mean about large portions? If you're hungry, the rule is that you eat! As long as it's low carb, then that's fine.

Faverolles Tue 04-Mar-14 22:10:48

So it looks like I'm not drinking enough then?
Would that explain why I've been feeling under par?

Thanks for taking the time to answer BIWI smile

Sleepwhenidie Tue 04-Mar-14 22:18:17

By all means try drinking more water Faverolles but keep in mind that however convinced any of us may be by the science behind any diet or WOE, there is no single plan that suits everyone and ultimately you must listen to what your_body is telling you (and this may change over time, even if for a certain period you do fantastically well). Experiment with small changes (eg more water, no dairy, more fat, a little more unprocessed carbs) to find the right thing for you smile.

Faverolles Tue 04-Mar-14 22:31:01

Thank you smile

BIWI Tue 04-Mar-14 22:32:31

Actually - one thing that occurs to me - are you anaemic?

You could also try upping your carbs slightly by having a slice of whole meal toast with your breakfast - see if that helps.

Grokette Tue 04-Mar-14 22:36:32

What Sleepwhenidie said. It can be very seductive when in the low carb/paleo mindset to want to 'hack' everything, and try to maximise results by eating a so-called perfect diet, but reality is low carb, like anything, is an n=1 way of life. If oats in the morning make you feel great, then eat them. Hell, there are way worse options out there!

That being said, here is my checklist of other things to consider which might help explain why you're feeling under par, many of which will have already been said by everyone else:

- too little fat or not the best sources of fat
- too little salt and, relatedly
- low potassium and/or magnesium
- artificial sweeteners including stevia
- too much cardio

On the salt and minerals thing, what I have found very helpful is to supplement with magnesium, and also get some potassium salt ('lite' or diet salt) and mix it half-half with iodised salt and use that on your food, heavily.

With the sweeteners it's very much a personal thing. Some people can eat them no problems, me I have to avoid any sweet taste at all in order to not feel like crap. Everything I eat is savoury, and it works great for me. Like anything, this may or may not apply.

But ultimately, do what makes you feel good smile

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