I’ve gone low carb/high fat (LCHF) (google it).
Man, sugar is addictive. I’ve never done drugs, but I know what it’s like to be jonesing a substance I shouldn’t be using. I’ve sworn off junk food and candy but with Halloween just a couple of days ago and all the candy that’s left in the house I feel like jumping right off the wagon. As I sit here typing I’m thinking about the peanut butter fun-sized Snickers that are still sitting in the plastic jack-o-lantern in the living room. I blame the neighborhood kids. We didn’t get enough trick-or-treaters and now there’s all this left-over drugs, I mean candy.
I can do without bread. I don’t miss pasta. I like hash browns and mashed potatoes, but it doesn’t bother me to do without them. The hardest things for me to give up is the afore-mentioned sugar, and chips and crackers that I can use for dipping. When you’re low carb, about the only thing you can find to dip with are pork rinds, which are OK, but they’re no replacement for a potato chip.
Missing out on the chips is bad, but I don’t have a physiological response to them. It’s just inconvenient when you have a good spinach dip but nothing to dip down in there. But with sugar, and all the desserts that contain it, I can feel my body reacting to it when it’s present and I don’t eat it. I swear it is not in my head. It’s all I can do to resist grabbing “just a couple of pieces” to get my fix.
The physiological response is not just my mouth watering. I get restless, almost fidgety, and I’m compelled to walk over to and reach for the candy. Resisting that urge is uncomfortable. My body tells me there’s no good reason stay away from it. My head tells me different.
Besides making me uncomfortable and missing out on some good Halloween candy, what has LCHF done for me? It’s hard to say. I’ve only been eating low carb for about a year, and for most of that time I’ve been prone to cheat. For the last couple of months, however, I’ve tightened it up and cut out the cheating. For instance, in the past if my wife made a pasta dish for dinner I’d have some. Now, I skip the pasta and find something to replace it with, like salad. I also skip the potatoes and the bread at dinner. But my wife has slowly transitioned us to low carb dinners, so it’s getting easier to be faithful to my diet.
Last April, when I last had my cholesterol checked, it was something like 230, which is considered high, but my HDL, the good cholesterol, was through the roof. It was quite high (I don’t remember the number) and was jacking up my total cholesterol number. There’s some doubt today anyways about total cholesterol being a good indicator for anything, let along heart disease.
I was just looking at my weight log on my phone. At the beginning of 2011 I hovered around 164 pounds (6′ tall). Keep in mind I took up triathlon in 2010, but I don’t have any weight logs that go back to 2010. As I trained through 2011-2013 I’d hover in the mid 150s, getting down to 149.5 as I got close to my 70.3 races in 2011 and 2012. Today, I regularly weigh in at 147. Now, I completed an Ironman on 8/24/14 and a marathon on 10/18/14, but even though my training volume has gone down considerably since Ironman Louisville, I have not gained the weight back. I’m 43 years old. I ought to be plumping back up to my hibernating weight. I’m convinced I can stay lean based on what I eat and not on how much I workout.
And believe me, I don’t go hungry. Often when I’m craving the sugar I’ll have something I can have, like cheese. I get my belly full at every meal. I have eggs almost every morning, often with sausage or bacon. I snack on almonds and cashews. I eat a hearty dinner sized lunch, and a good dinner each evening. After workouts I’ll have a protein shake. I’m telling you, I don’t count calories and I don’t limit myself, except when it comes to the carbs.
Energy wise I feel fine. In my last post I talked about finishing the marathon without any carb-based gels or sports drinks. I didn’t do any worse than I did last year consuming all that stuff.
Will I continue eating this way. Probably, yes. It is inconvenient at times. Carb-laden foods are cheaper to buy, easier to prepare, and oh so delicious. But I think I’m over the hump and it’s really a lifestyle now. It’s just part of who I am. I can certainly see why someone might say the LCHF diet is not sustainable. It is sustainable, but it is inconvenient and at times hard, especially when every molecule in your body says, “Let’s have a pumpkin spice Reese’s cup.
Is LCHF fat for you? I don’t know. You could try it and let me know how it goes. All I can say is be prepared to buy some new pants, or at least a belt. I don’t have any pants that fit me any more. Not that I every had to buy the big boy pants, but if I don’t cinch up my belt all my pants want to hang low like all those cool kids that hang out down by the gas station. Oh, and my ab muscles show through my skin, if you can believe that. This is an ab-selfie free blog so I can’t show you the proof, but they’re there, and I do very little ab work.
So there you have it, my low carb/high fat blog. This is about the third iteration of it and I’m sorry it’s not any better than it is.