“Alright, Vee, you’ve bored us to bits with the potential bad effects of being on one of these things. I’m not sure I can cope with that whole carb flu business. Why should I be doing this? I want to lose weight but…”
“I get it,” I say calmly, “don’t worry, there’s other side effects, you know, apart from weight loss.”
“Yay for side effects!” you grumble sarcastically.
“No, really! I’m talking about the good kind!”
Most people seem to think that the side effects only refer to the negative ones, which we’ve already been through: carb flu, dizziness, nausea, headaches, etc. But! There are also good ones! So while you’re primary goal is to lose weight you’re going to be reaping a whole lot of benefits, not only from the actual weight loss, but also from the fact that you’re not blindly consuming all that sugar!
One of the first things I noticed after I got over my initial withdrawals was a clear headedness I’d never experienced before. I looked it up, as I do, and realised that people refer to the cloudiness as ‘carb fog’, which after cutting back on processed foods and sugars, lifts and lets you think clearly. It’s an amazing feeling really, one that I can’t really explain to you unless you already know what I’m talking about: it’s like a veil is pulled off your brain and you can suddenly think on your feet. It really is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.
The other thing that I became aware of was an increase in energy levels. Honestly, I thought I’d been drinking caffeinated tea all day instead of herbal: I felt like I was buzzing on a caffeine high, only without the customary agitation I experience during one of those. I felt rested, relaxed, and I noticed that I didn’t need to sleep the full ten hours a night that I’d so desperately needed for the past decade and a half.
I’ve also found that I have no ‘phantom gall-bladder’ attacks anymore (see the post where I talk about that here) and no more migraines. I’m also not getting sick every time I pass someone in the street with the sniffles: definite boost to my immune system, for the win!
In more medical terms, I had another blood test done in May to check if my ‘fatty liver’ was a little less fatty after all these months of dieting. Turns out, it’s doing pretty great! Still needs a little work, but already it’s doing much better. My already good cholesterol showed increases in HDL (good) and drops in LDL (bad) which is the right way to go; it’s often a concern with LC diets that by eating more fat you’re increasing your cholesterol but keep in mind that you should be eating the right kinds of fat, and that that will increase your HDL and drop your LDL, which is what mine’s doing.
Whether all this is universal, I don’t know, but having poked around online a little bit, they’re certainly not unheard of!
Other benefits you can reap from changing to an LC lifestyle is lowering of high blood pressure, steadier insulin/blood sugar levels (like I banged on about the other day!), boosts in your metabolism (yay, energy boost!), and a loss of appetite – in a good way, it basically stops you from craving food when you’re not actually hungry, leaving you more satisfied with what you do eat!
From that small list, I have noticed that I’m not hungry all the time anymore; I don’t find myself standing in front of the fridge an hour after a meal wondering what I can eat. I do get ‘real’ hungry about 2-3 hours after I’ve had a meal, but that’s because I’m grazing and it’s normal.
I suggest that if you’re going to start an LC diet, or if you’re on one, that you go talk to GP – which you should be doing anyway! – and maybe look into seeing how the diet’s improving certain things like a fatty liver or your cholesterol levels. I found that actually looking at these numbers really helped focus myself on what I was achieving here: it’s not just weight loss, it’s a whole host of other health benefits.