Sites of Interest: ‘I Breathe…I’m Hungry’ & ‘Holistic Squid’

“The problem with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.” – Terry Pratchett, Diggers

One of the most important things about doing anything new is to know what it is that you’re doing, and why. At least, that’s my opinion. That means you’ve got to keep an open mind and make sure that you’re putting the right information into it. Let’s face it, there is a lot of data out there about low-carb eating; and never mind all the conflicting facts we get blasted with if we dare look up other diets. I’ve put in that quote from Pratchett to make you think about what you read, hear, see… not all the information out there – and, hey, that includes this blog! – will be 100% accurate or suit your needs. There’s a reason why I keep telling you to check with your GP – not just covering my ass! 😉

So where should you look to get accurate information? How should you go about researching this? Well, honestly, I can’t speak for everyone here, but I just go to Google, type in a few keywords and use that as a jumping platform. I dive into a whole load of information and read, read, read. I take notes too, you’d think I was back at university – but what can I say, that’s just the way I work: find, read, notetake, digest, write. My IB English teachers would likely be upset with my waffling on in a lot of places – I am sorry, Mr. D, Ms. R – but I figure some of my uni professors won’t mind the new tone. But I digress…

Finding information. Where to start? Well, rather embarrassingly I tend to start my searches at Wikipedia – don’t freak out. Aside from the fact that Wikipedia isn’t exactly the most reliable source on the net – and indeed, those of you at uni will lose marks if you start citing it! – but I like to use it like a shotgun: it provides me with some terminology I can then look up, and, in addition, most of its articles come provided with a tidy little bibliography that allows for further research.

Which brings me to some key blogs that I like using – these are in no particular order, and they’re just a small sample, but they’re among the best ones I’ve found – for inspiration, motivation and information:

I breathe…I’m hungry is a fantastic blog run by Mellissa Sevigny, complete with a vast range of recipes – a large selection of which are low-carb – and a great collection of tips, guides, and eating plans. Mellissa writes in a witty, quick-flowing way that makes it enjoyable and easy to read her articles. She’s got a wide variety of recipes, ranging from sweet to savoury, which makes it a one stop shop for cooking inspirations. The menu/eating plans she publishes are extremely easy to follow and accessible to even the most rookie dieters amongst us. Take for example her entry on the Egg Fast Diet; a quick read will tell give you the cliff notes and all the information you need, all backed up by her own experiences with the plan itself. To be honest, I’ve yet to come across a better description of eggs and why they’re such awesome superfood for a LC diet.

Another site I like to visit is Holistic Squid. With a funky name like that you can’t really go wrong, but for further detail: this site is written by Emily, who believes in real food, healthy living and how those things go hand in hand. She’s got food plans, new ideas, and a great writing style. In addition, HS is also a great source for those of you with children or thinking about getting pregnant. It’s not strictly a ‘LC’ page or anything, but it’s a great source nonetheless.

And I’ll leave you with those two sites to look over. I’ll try to point out some other good ones as we go.

Clear Skies,

Vee

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Strawberry Flax Muffins

Here’s an interesting recipe to try out. I’ve never worked with flax before, should prove interesting. 🙂

Clear skies,
Vee

Buttoni's Low-Carb Recipes

Strawberry Flax Muffins Strawberry Flax Muffins

These tasty muffins are very similar to the One Minute Muffin many low-carbers are familiar with, but these have a little almond flour as well.  They remind me of a bran muffin, but the strawberries take them to a delightful fruity treat.  They are scrumptious.  They are incredibly moist and light!   These are suitable for Phase 2 Atkins, the nuts and berries level of the carb reintroduction ladder.  They are suitable for other Keto diets as well, as the carbs are so low.

More delicious low-carb recipes can be at your fingertips with your very own set of Jennifer Eloff and friends’ best-selling cookbooks LOW CARBING AMONG FRIENDS.  She has collaborated with famous low-carb Chef George Stella and several other talented cooks to bring you a wealth of delicious recipes you are going to want to try.  Even a few of my recipes are in the…

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Low-Carb ‘Morning Sickness’

A couple of days ago I rolled out of bed, went through my morning routine and headed off to the Cafe. Nothing new, nothing different, except that about half way there a wave of unbelievable nausea hit me. No, I’m not pregnant; though, ironically, diet-change nausea is remarkably similar to morning sickness!

I’m sure some of you have experienced the nausea, the headaches, the dizziness – and not necessarily during the first weeks of carb flu hell. Don’t worry, this is a normal thing, though, if you’re doing things right you shouldn’t be experiencing it more than once in a while. If you’re experiencing constant or regular dizziness, nausea, or other symptoms you find worrying, see your GP. The reason why we experience these symptoms is – sardonic drum-roll, please – because of our blood sugar. So say you’ve had a great LC day, you’ve been exceptionally good and you’ve even managed to squeeze in some exercise time! Awesome. Now, make sure you have a snack before you go to bed, preferably something protein or slow-burning carby – like, say a bit of cheese, or some nuts.

“Why?” you ask.

Remember, you’ve been eating regularly ever two-three hours while you’re awake – theoretically, anyways – to keep your energy levels up and your blood sugar steady; you’re not doing that while you’re asleep. So say you sleep for 8-10 hours, that’s a long time for your newly programmed body to go without fuel, and sure, you’re not using as much fuel as you would when you’re awake, but still… What I’m getting at is that by the time you wake up your body’s out of fuel to burn up so you’re running on left over energy. This means your blood sugar’s going to drop drastically, so until eat you’re going to feel off. Sometimes it can just be that feeling you have normally when you first get out of bed – especially if you’re not a morning person! – but other times, if you’ve had a particularly low carb day the day before, you’ll feel the heavier symptoms of nausea and dizziness etc. This is exactly what women go through with morning sickness as their body’s adjust to their new physical needs. It’s normal, and it’s easy to fix.

“Okay, that’s interesting enough…but how do you fix it?”

Easy: eat something! Just don’t go nuts – er, crazy – eat something simple that your body’s not going to throw right back up. For me that usually means avoiding my usual breakfast foods of eggs and ham and avocado, so I’ll have half a tomato with some salt on it. I’ll wait half an hour after that, then have some more – the other half of the tomato with salt – and if that settles it I’ll try a proper breakfast. Due  to the fact that I no longer have a gallbladder I have to be extra careful, so you might find you can eat heavier foods to fix your ‘morning sickness’, it’s really a matter of trial and error. The things I would definitely avoid however are dairy products, they are just too fatty + carby for an instant fix. It you’re really not getting anywhere with light foods, try getting a whole-grain cracker – like 9 grain Vitawheats, for example – and munching on one of them. Check the box and count the carbs to see how many you can have to stay within your limit, for me that’s usually around 2-3, but I only ever eat them if I’m desperate for something that feels like a cookie.

The other thing I can advise is peppermint or spearmint tea. I use it pretty much as a cure all for headaches and nausea but not everyone likes the taste – especially not without honey or sugar. So if you’re really stuck, say you’ve got a meeting and you really need to be able to concentrate, get some sugar-free spearmint chewing gum and chew on two of those for a while; the menthol and spearmint flavouring should fix your nausea, but keep in mind that it does contain sorbitol – which is a sugar alcohol, something I’ll discuss in greater detail later.

Clear Skies,

Vee

PCOS

I promised at the start of this blog that I would be discussing PCOS as well as an LC diet. If this doesn’t interest you, then that’s fine, just skip this entry. 🙂 This is just the introductory entry, we’ll look at the diet in a PCOS light a little later on.

PCOS affects 1 in 8 women all over the world. In Australia, that’s 12% of all child-bearing women, and around 12 million women in the United States. More or less. That means that if you’re on a bus with twelve women, likelihood is that at least 2 women have it. Some of them won’t even know that that’s what’s causing some of their issues. Maybe they’re trying to get pregnant and have had no luck so far; maybe the lady sitting next to you is wearing those long sleeves because she’s embarrassed by the excessive arm hair she’s got – man hair, her friends might have teased in high school. And the girl sitting down the aisle to the left? Maybe she’s that fat not because she overeats but because she’s got high insulin resistance because her body’s hormonal balances are shot the hell.

For a very long time, PCOS was not considered a single illness: instead it had a host of other names, practically each symptom being addressed as an individual diagnosis. In 1935 a Drs. Irving Stein and Michael Leventhal first described the condition we now call PCOS – Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.  It went through a few phases, carrying a variety of different names.

So let’s take a look at what it actually is…

PCOS is complicated, and for such a common disease it’s actually relatively unheard of. Until I was diagnosed with it I’d certainly never heard of it; hell, for a long time even after the diagnosis I couldn’t figure out what it was. The GP who had diagnosed me wasn’t the best of the best, and she simply gave me the verdict and then left me to my own devices. I hope that isn’t the case with the rest of you, but I figure it depends on who you get – some GPs aren’t 100% familiar with PCOS, and as a result aren’t comfortable to get into the nitty gritty details. That said, I have a great respect for the medical profession, but if you’re not getting the information you need – even after asking several times – it’s time to move on, find a specialist or try a different GP. Gynaecologists are a safe bet for specialist information, or of course, you could hop onto the Internet and try your luck.

In a nutshell, the PCOS is all about insulin resistance – which we’ve covered here –, hormonal imbalances, infertility issues, and irregular periods. We’re not sure how or why PCOS takes hold; there’s plenty of theories with some heavy evidence weighing towards genetic factors. I suppose one of the big problems is that the diagnoses of the syndrome is still so young; it’s really a modern thing, and because of that a lot of women from before the 1990s didn’t know that’s what they had. For example, a woman in the 80s or 70s struggling to get pregnant or perhaps enduring several miscarriages with no apparent reason, might have had PCOS. In fact, it’s likely. But she’d never have been diagnosed with it because the terminology wasn’t widely used. Any daughters she might have run the risk of inheriting the genes prone to high insulin resistance but because she doesn’t know she has it she has no way of monitoring or forewarning her children. Sucky. Luckily we now can diagnose it, so those daughters at least know what they’ve got if they start having the same issues, and with any luck they can help their own kids prevent, avoid or deal with the syndrome themselves. We’ve come a long way since 1721 when the first suspected case was recorded.

This progress is largely due to the sharp development in medical technology and, of course, a deeper insight into female reproduction and women’s health – you’ve got to remember that for the longest time, women couldn’t become doctors, which must have had an impact on the study and diagnoses of women’s health issues.

The symptoms of PCOS, for those unfamiliar with the syndrome, are anovulation – when the ovaries don’t release the egg so ovulation doesn’t occur -, excessive androgens – male hormones -, and, of course, insulin resistance. These can lead to irregular periods, flawed ovulation, acne, hirutism, infertility, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes – especially type II -, and certain types of cancer. Mind you, apparently not all women develop polycystic ovaries and these symptoms vary from woman to woman, I don’t suffer from acne, for example, and only have minor trouble with hirutism compared to other women with PCOS.

Diagnosis tends to be made clinically, meaning that if a woman shows certain symptoms the GP assumes it’s PCOS and may or may not run a few blood test. To know for sure, ask your GP to run more thorough tests, such as a pelvic ultrasound that might show up any cysts growing on ovaries. Other tests they might run is a glucose test, which involves fasting, having blood drawn, drinking a sugary solution, and then having blood drawn at regular intervals. This helps them narrow down how high – if any – insulin resistance you have and how at risk you are for diabetes.

When I was first diagnosed, I was simply told to ‘lose weight’, without being given any advice on why or how. No one told me it would be difficult to lose weight, because no one told me what was causing the weight gain to start with. I’d been put onto a contraceptive pill to control my irregular periods, but further information about why any of this was happening to me didn’t occur until my regular GP happened to be away and I landed a different one. My new GP drew me some pictures and explained it to me in a way that I could understand, writing out some key terms for me to go home and research in my own time. She’s the one who explained about the weight loss – the fact that you’ve got too many male hormones in your system means your body is producing female ones to counter them, and that’s part of what’s causing the trouble. Your body’s storing those hormones rather than flushing them from your system. Remember that Breakthrough Bleeding post? Yeah, that’s where this comes in again, all that estrogen that you’ve been storing in your fat cells because you’ve got too much testosterone floating around in your system is causing a spike in your androgen levels. And round and round and round it goes until suddenly you’re suffering from crippling menstrual cramps, migraines, and worse.

Getting this under control is no easy feat, but the important thing to keep in mind is that it can be done. There’s no cure yet for PCOS, but there are ways of dealing with it, of coping and working around the symptoms in such a way that you can live a happy and full life, and yes, with a little bit of patience, effort and careful diet managing, you can conceive and carry a child to term quite easily. I don’t have any children, so I’m not speaking from experience in that regard, but studies have shown that even a small loss of weight can help remedy the hormonal imbalances that are blocking your way to motherhood. I’ll do some more research in that regard and write about it later since I don’t have any real world experience to back it up with.

I’ll leave it there for now, if you have any questions or whatnot, you know how to reach me.

Clear Skies,

Vee

A few Sites and Articles to look at for more information:
http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/polycystic-ovary-syndrome.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1069067/
http://www.webmd.com/women/tc/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos-exams-and-tests (this one is a little…um, mundane. I don’t usually site or use WebMD as a source, but it gives you a good place to start)
http://www.womhealth.org.au/conditions-and-treatments/95-polycystic-ovarian-syndrome-pcos
http://www.healthyfoodguide.com.au/articles/2009/february/food-and-pcos-how-diet-can-help
http://www.pcosdietsupport.com/ (This one’s particularly good)

Psyche Up!

Motivating yourself isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Even the most confident among us sometimes need a little help, a little push. This goes for everything, not just weight loss. It goes for the athletes, the recovering addicts, the student – those essay won’t write themselves, you know! – and just about every walk of life out there. Without motivation we fall into a lazy lump and often refuse to get out and do anything.

I often need to give myself a reason to get out of bed, especially in winter when there’s a temperature difference between my snugly, warm bed and the real world. I remember when I was a kid I’d remind myself of at least one fun subject at school that day – “Oh it’s Friday, that means library time after recess!” or “Oooh, Thursday, history class!” – which would be enough to get me out of bed before my poor mother had to come and drag me out again. Nowadays it’s not that easy, but I still get out of bed, motivation or no, because well, I believe in getting in to work. It’s an ethics thing. Mind you, I will get out of bed if it’s baking day  – Wednesdays – because baking is one of the most relaxing things I do now. Other days, I don’t need to psyche myself into anything, I’m just so ‘up’ that it all just happens! Like today, I thought today was going to suck, but I feel great, I’m doing things, I’m keeping up with the dishes at the Cafe and I’m not having to work at being friendly to my customers – it’s just happening.

Days like this are awesome and I find that they come when I’m settling into a proper ketosis.  The brain fog has lifted and I’m thinking clear as a bell, I’m feeling more active and there’s no need to push. Sure, I’m tired – I’ve been working all week – but it’s a tired I can deal with because I’m happy.

What do we do on days when we’re not feeling up to anything? Days when it all just seems too much and the diet can go #$%@ itself? I had one of those last week. I’d just had it. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, I just didn’t want to be doing this anymore: I wanted to be at the weight I need to be and just be done with it. I wanted to eat that damned piece of bread sitting on the table, and I wanted to stuff my face full of chocolate without bothering to keep track of it. Above all, I wanted a real coffee, with real milk. But no, I couldn’t do that. It was a day where everything I put in my mouth was not what I wanted. I was depressingly sick of eggs, and even the organic smoked ham we get for the Cafe wasn’t at all enticing. I wanted to eat cake, and cookies, and drink a creamy glass of the Jersey milk we have at the Cafe.

But I didn’t.

It takes some serious willpower to not give into days like that, and there have been days when I have just thrown it all in the air and gone for broke. Some days there’s a good reason for it, most of the time there’s not. That last one was a doozy, but I survived it with minimal damage.

“But…how?” you ask, desperately stuck in the same problem, “I really want to give in and just eat whatever I want! It’s not fair!

Honestly? I took a break. I went to the bathroom, washed my face and glared at my grumpy self in the mirror. We had a serious discussion, my reflection and I that went something like this:

“I want the damned cake we just baked. It’s fruity and chocolatey, and we’ve got our period. Can’t we cheat just a little today?”

“We can’t, because if we do we’re going to cheat more and more and more.”

“So? We’ve been doing this since November. That’s too long!”

“We’re making such awesome progress though! Just look at yourself! Seriously, three months ago, did you have this gorgeous hour-glass shape that other women desperately want? NO! We worked really hard for that and we’re going to keep working hard at it until our arms are beautiful, and our hips sit right. We’re also going to keep working at it until our thighs slim down. We are going to spectacular and don’t you dare wreck it now!”

After this talking to, the grumpy reflection subsided somewhat and I was able to face the rest of the day without doing anything to sabotage my progress. Sometimes I find you’ve got to work yourself through the stage of weight loss, kind of like the stages of grief: first you feel loss, then denial, then anger, etc. It’s kind of like it is grief in a way: you’ve cut out something you’ve relied on for so long it’s a little bit like losing a loved one. Don’t fool yourself, though, it isn’t like losing a loved one. You’re regaining yourself! Keep that in mind.

My motivation comes from seeing the great affects from the lifestyle: every week there’s something new, something better. I take courage from people’s compliments, however small or large they are. I comfort myself with the knowledge that my husband can now pick me up without straining his back. And I find motivation in the fact that my sex life has improved. Oh yes, ladies and gents, your libido will sort itself out, you’ll be way more flexible, and your stamina will shock your partner. There’s nothing quite as motivating as sex.

Having now shocked your sensibilities – or not, and oh, dear I just remembered my parents read this…um. Hi parentals! – other things I use to motivate myself with are the promise of dark chocolate. I try to have one day when I can build in some 90% dark chocolate treat. No more than two or three squares because I really can’t stuff my face with it, but just enough of a treat that it makes me feel good. Extra special treat motivations include a single cheat meal a month of ice cream or frozen yoghurt. I know that it’s not strictly in line with the diet, but sometimes you’ve gotta lose the belt a little bit in order to keep going.

Motivation is a funny thing. We need it for a lot of things. Including keeping up the exercise regime – and for that I take another long look in the mirror. Those flabby arms I now have because I’ve lost the majority of my arm fat? Gotta work those weights to get rid of those! Do you want to look smashing or don’t you?  Beauty is pain, people, beauty is pain. Okay, well, maybe not pain, but it’s certainly long-winded and hard-work. We’re here for the long haul, not just for right now, so let’s work towards that big picture, the light at the end of the tunnel: the body we’ve always dreamed of.

Clear Skies,

Vee

“In Masquerade, Terry Pratchett wrote that inside every fat girl there’s a thin girl and a lot of chocolate. Take a long look at yourself in the mirror, I’ll bet you can see the healthier version of you already. Minus the chocolate.”

A Word About: Diabetes

Over the last few decades, we have seen a drastic rise in diabetes. As we’ve turned to more and more processed food, pre-packed convenient meals, and given into the spread of readily available soft drinks, diabetes has erupted all over the world. In a lot of ways, it can be likened to a pandemic.  And yes, it can kill you.

In the last few entries I’ve been harping on and on about insulin resistance, low GI, low carb and diabetes, mostly assuming that we’re all on the same page. I figure most of us who have stumbled across this blog will know something about diabetes, whether or not we have firsthand experience or not. Those of you following LCO because of PCOS will hopefully know that we are considered high-risk pre-diabetic because of the insulin resistance that’s triggered a lot of our issues. So I figured it was time to have a closer look at this disease, especially given that we are now all at risk of diabetes because it isn’t always clear what we’re eating.

The fact is, just as I can’t talk about Low Carb Lifestyles without discussing PCOS or eating disorders, I can’t write about it without dedicated space to Diabetes, not with it becoming as widespread as it is, and not without it being tied in directly with this particular lifestyle change.

Now, before I start rambling, Diabetes Australia has a great explanation of the disease here.

So, in my own words…

Diabetes lasts a very, very long time; often a person’s entire life. It can start at any age, from the very young to the elderly and some people are more susceptible to it than others due to genetic markers and other influences beyond their control.

Now while most of us on a low carb or low GI diet are juggling all sorts of things, no other ‘thing’ needs careful low Gi/Carb monitoring as diabetes. What it comes down to is this: sugar in your bloodstream is toxic. This is why your body prioritizes sugar for energy burning; as soon as it hits your bloodstream, insulin is released to ferry the sugar to the liver where it can then be converted. When you’re diabetic, your body isn’t producing the right amount of insulin to deal with any sugars in your blood, leading to blood-sugar toxicity or hyperglycaemia. Hyperglycaemic symptoms include extreme thirst, weight loss, heavy urination, blurred vision, exhaustion and a drop in immune system functionality – this is often evidenced by infection, such as yeast infections, or wounds not healing as they should. The causes of this are very simple: you’ve eaten too many carbs in too short a time – and we’re talking primarily simple carbs here: potatoes, rice, cake, pasta, bread, candy/sweets, ice cream, milk, etc. -, the flu – or another sickness – that’s messing with your internal body chemistry, stress – a biggie! Stress can mess with your body’s natural insulin production and immune system! –, medications – some of these can not only knock your system about but can actual inhibit the body’s production of hormones that it needs –, and of course not having taken your insulin on time, or simply not getting enough of a dose for whatever reason.

The opposite can happen with hypoglycaemia, which is when your blood sugar is too low. This can happen when a person has skipped meals, isn’t eating enough carbohydrates – I know, it’s a frustrating balance! -, experiences extreme physical exercise, consumes too much alcohol, or has taken too much insulin. Most people with Type 2 Diabetes (see below) have less of a hard time avoiding hypoglycaemia through appropriate dietary intakes, while Type 1s run a greater risk. The symptoms of this extremely low blood sugar include moodiness – and in some cases, sever mood swings – and depression, weakness – trembling, shaking, that sort of thing -, profuse sweating, dizziness and/or light headedness, lack of concentration, hunger, and numbness around the fingers and lips. A quick fix is to find a quick sugar boost – a bit of soda pop, a glass of juice, some jellybeans, glucose tablets. If you’re prone to low blood sugar, eat accordingly – eat more often, or add in some heavier carbs to sustain yourself between meals.

Now, we’ve got two main types of diabetes. With Type 1 Diabetes the pancreas no longer produces any insulin. This means that the body’s not burning that sugar at all. People with Type 1 require regular doses of insulin to stay alive, it’s as simple as that; without an external source of insulin they die, no questions asked, no second chances. There’s no cure, and people with Type 1 can really only manage their disease as best they can with a healthy low GI lifestyle and regular insulin doses.

Type 2 Diabetes is more common. If you’ve been told you’re pre-diabetic or at risk of becoming diabetic, chances are you’re lined up for Type 2. In this case, your pancreas is still producing insulin but you’ve effectively developed a resistance to it to such an extent that it’s not enough and certainly not as effective.  As with Type 1, there’s no cure, but it’s easier to manage Type 2 with a low carb/low gi lifestyle. Occasionally, people require an external insulin source to keep them alive, but for the most part a change to a healthier, low sugar lifestyle seems to allow them to manage it.

The other type of diabetes I’ll talk about quickly is gestational diabetes, which pops up during pregnancy. When with child, women require a lot more insulin than they normally would – unsurprising really, given that they’re carrying a whole other person around! Gestational diabetes raises the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth, and can put the mother at risk of developing Type 2 after the pregnancy. However, if managed correctly during the pregnancy, these risks can be drastically alleviated. If you’re thinking about conceiving, especially if you’re pre-diabetic – or you have PCOS! – talk to your gynaecologist or GP about the how to best deal with this risk.

So there we have it, in a nutshell, and no doubt we’ll talk about it again: diabetes, spreading like wild fire.

Clear Skies,

Vee

 

Water, water everywhere…

You’ll undoubtedly have read somewhere that you’re meant to drink 8 large glasses of water to help with the weight loss. So today I’m going to be tackling a few questions that I kept asking myself because I’m sure I’m not the only one asking them.

Firstly then, a simple one: just how much is 8 glasses of water? Well, roughly speaking, in metric 8 glasses translates into 2 litres of water, give or take a little.  That’s the equivalent of roughly 67.5 fluid ounces, and half a gallon. In other words, it’s a lot of water, so don’t try to drink it all at once!

The second question that I keep wondering about is: does it have to be water? Can it be tea, coffee, soda water? The jury appears to be out on this one; the Atkins website says ‘yes, it does’, but a variety of other sites suggest that it doesn’t matter provided that you’re getting some pure water into your system. The trouble we get into, I think, is that a lot of our water intake is actually included in our food. Celery sticks, for example, half a high water count. There’s water in pretty much everything we eat, so it becomes tricky for someone to say: you must do this thing! Mind you, the 8 glasses a day is supposed to be in addition to whatever we’re getting from our food.  In my own experience, I don’t drink 8 glasses of water a day: but I do drink at least 2 glasses of pure water and substitute the rest with very large mugs of herbal tea. If I’m exercising, I do add in an extra couple of glasses of pure water. My rule of thumb is to use water to quench thirst and then drink tea mugs throughout the day, so far it’s been working just fine. Really, however, it’s up to you.

Okay, next question: why do we have to drink so much water a day to lose weight? Well, apart from the fact that the consumption of an appropriate amount of water a day is necessary for our wellbeing – regardless of whether we’re trying to lose weight or not – water helps move fat. In a nutshell, your kidneys need high amounts of water to be able to flush out your system. If you don’t keep them properly hydrated they’ll off load some of the work onto the liver, which is meant to be focussing on metabolising fat. Not only that, but all the fat that has been metabolised needs to be washed from the system, which your kidneys can’t do unless you’ve been drinking your water! Then there’s the other issues that crop up, especially when you’ve just started this new diet: constipation. Water keeps your bowels moving, stopping you from getting stopped up. And last, but not least, we often mistake thirst for hunger and act accordingly; next time you find yourself extremely hungry, have a glass of water first, not only will the water fill up part of your stomach, taking away that drastic urge to stuff your face with whatever’s on hand, but it’ll also fulfil any thirst requirement you’ve got.  Apart from those things, water does a whole heap of good things for our bodies; proper hydration means clearer, healthier skin, eyes, hair, nails, muscles, you name it, it’ll do it.

And finally, what is water weight and why do we have to be aware of it while we’re on any kind of diet? In lay terms, water weight is the weight of the excess water your body retains. This water tends to be stored in fat cells as part of your body’s reserves. Those first few weeks on the LC diet where we lost a ridiculous amount of weight? Yeah, that was primarily water weight. Think about when bread gets wet, it tends to expand, like a sponge, soaking up as much water as it can. That’s a natural process, but now we’ve gone and cut out the bread, and the pasta, and the flour, and the rice. In other words we’ve cut out a lot of the things that help our body retain water, so the first thing that’s going to come lose – because it’s most easily shed – is water weight. This is also one of the reasons why you might feel bloated if you’ve cheated on your diet and one of the reasons why the scales are saying you’ve regained x amount of kilos – it’s not just the actual weight, it’s also water weight.

There we go, I hope I’ve explored a few options to let you think about. If you’ve got any questions, send me an email via the Contact Vee page and I’ll see what I can do!

Clear Skies,
Vee

Websites & Articles to have a look at:

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24464774
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256
http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2012/11/20/3633741.htm
http://www.lowcarbluxury.com/water.html
http://www.phlaunt.com/lowcarb/19058097.php
http://www.atkinsexposed.org/atkins/14/losing_(water)_weight.htm

“Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, you’ve got enough going on! If you get stuck, search online or ask around, someone will have a great recipe or idea that you haven’t thought about yet!”