Tag Archives: coffee

A Word About: Triggers

As the title of this post suggests, I want to talk about ‘triggers’. I was thinking about this last night, trying to figure out what sort of things lead me off the LC highway and up the garden path to the gingerbread house – so to speak. I’ve been falling off the wagon a lot since my birthday in September, and there’s a few reasons for that sure, but there’s also specific things that make me go ‘Oh, I want that and I can’t be f*****  fighting off the craving so I’m just going to have the damn thing’ or just make me crave sugar so badly I feel miserable. I’ve come a long way, so my random indulgences these last four months haven’t made too much of a difference – I’m not at my target weight yet, but, as everyone keeps reminding me (myself included!) I don’t need to be there tomorrow, just some time before May (yay, goal set!) – but obviously identifying pitfalls is a good place to start when it comes to avoiding them.

So, obstacles in no real order:

1. CHOCOLATE. It’s taken me a few weeks to realise (and then admit) that. I notice that when I indulge and have those 2 squares of 80%+ chocolate I start to want ‘real’ sweets, with real sugary goodness to them. Tactic? Avoidance when at all possible.

2. CAFFEINE. I don’t drink anything but black decaf coffee when I do drink it, but it happens without fail that whenever I do have it, I want chocolate, or ice cream, or milk. Tactic? Stop drinking the stuff completely.

3. MENSTRUATION. Okay, this one I can’t really do anything about except combat cravings with more regular savoury treats that are higher in fat and thus, in theory, provide more satisfaction. I was reading a blog entry a few weeks ago in which the author had a separate ‘diet’ menu trageting her time of the month just so she could stay on the wagon, it might be something I need to implement.

4. STRESS/ANXIETY/EXHAUSTION. All of these things take a toll on your psyche, and when I’m feeling down and out I’m more likely to just lose control and stuff my face with ice cream or chocolate or both. Tactic? Try to return to a steady sleeping habit and avoid the other issues – not always possible, and often there are elements that are beyond our control, but we do what we can.

5. MIGRAINES/PAIN IN GENERAL. So I used to get really bad migraines. Luckily since I’ve started LCing, I no longer suffer from them much at all. Great! The trouble is, I do sometimes get them – usually if I’ve had caffeine or artificial sweeteners – and the pain can be so bad that it’s a ‘what the hell, I don’t care’ situation. Tactic? Avoid migraine/headache/pain triggers when at all possible, eat clean and you’ll feel clean! Er…better.

6. ‘SAFE’ SWEETS. Artificial sweeteners, or even natural ones like Stevia, make me want sweet things. It’s like I suddenly realise what I’m missing and thus, I want them. Tactic? Avoidance.

7. SOCIAL OUTINGS. I live in a very outgoing family, we often go out for dinner or coffee or whatnot, and it’s not always possible to avoid carbs while we’re out, especially not since I’m the only fool doing this to myself… Kidding, the family is extremely supportive and even intrigued. Tactic? Do the best I can, there’s no point ruining what little social life I have by curtailing outings just because I can’t eat certain things.

8. LAZINESS & SELF SABOTAGE. Not really a thing, per se, but still relevant. I tend to forget to enter things into my My Fitness app at the time of my meals, so I add them later, and that’s fine, except that something I ‘tweak’ the numbers because I ‘can’t have remembered that correctly’. This leads to carb creep. Tactic? BE HONEST WITH MYSELF FFS. >.<

9. CLIMATE. I eat a lot when it’s hot. I want cakes, cookies, and cream. I crave ice cream. I mean, it’s summer, it goes with the bloody season, right? Winter makes me want warm bread, oozing with butter, custards, and chocolate… I also do less in summer physically because I get tired faster in the heat don’t we all? Tactic? Don’t give in so easily; cool yourself down, or warm yourself up.

And I’m going to have to leave it at 9 I think, since I can’t think of any other things at the moment. Unless you guys have any triggers you want to share? I’m sure I’ve got a heap more that haven’t even occurred to me. Food for thought.

Clear skies,

Vee

Advertisements

A Word About: Diets and Vacations

This weekend, the husband and I are spending a few days away from the home. It’s the first time that we’ve had a chance to travel for fun in about three years. Weird. It’s also the first time that I’ve been really away from home since I started LCing. Also weird. At first it concerned me, I mean, we’re going to be out of the house what am I going to eat? Clearly, two choices were available to me:

1. Should I just cheat the whole way through? It’s only two days right? And there’s such awesome food available! This is what I desperately wanted to do, just lash out and take a short holiday from the weight loss. I wanted to be able to enjoy food the way it’s served, without having to requested complicated food changes. That would be a relief. But then I thought, why should I lose all this awesome progress that I’ve made so far? Sure, I wouldn’t lose it all, but I’d stall again and definitely knock myself out of ketosis. Which lead me to the second option:

2. Do I stick with it and persevere? Deconstructed food is also pretty awesome and it’s not like we’re going to be going to a fancy restaurant – this is low key fun! On top of that I don’t particularly want to be bloated and gassy in my brand new bathing suit, I’m already self-conscious about my thighs at this point, I’m not going to be adding unhappy tummy to that.

So in the end, I decided to stick to my LC, with a few exceptions here and there. I decided to let my hair down a little bit but without putting the overall keto at too much risk!

What should you do when you go on vacation? Really up to you. You’re your own person and I’m not going to dictate one way or the other, but let me tell you: you can’t control the temptations you’ll be faced with while out of your regular port of call (so to speak), so keep in mind that despite the many new tasty options available to you while en vacances you can always say ‘no’ and have the duck salad instead, I’m sure it’s just as tasty.

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

Migraines, Caffeine and the Low Carb Dream

This morning, I rolled out of bed, had my shower, got dressed and made myself the customary green tea – the only caffeine I allow myself now barring the occasional dark chocolate. I get one cup a day. That’s it. And today I really want more – I want to be on a caffeine high! Forget the fact that the crash at the end is worse than a hangover, I miss my university days where night and day blurred together without margins. It was a poetic time that; I remember watching the dawn on several occasions, struggling to finish the essay due at 9am that day.

“I can only abide mornings from the right way in,” I used to say.

Ah, good times. Then of course came the migraines. Inevitably after a couple of days stoked up on caffeinated beverages – not just coffee, I was a bad, bad girl and mainlined Red Bull, Rockstars, Mothers, and V –  my brain would decide to set itself on fire, release a herd of around a 10,000 mustangs, and rev up the migraine engine. The result was that I’d be forced to spend three days in a dark room, sick to my stomach, doped up on over-the-counter painkillers that made me feel only half connected to the world. When  I first moved in with my then-just-friends-later-husband the first thing he did was put all the coffee out of reach – not hard since I’m literally 5 foot nothing. I remember the first week without coffee being agony, I had shakes, headaches, bouts of anger and depression. It really was kind of pathetic to tell the truth, I mean, it’s not like I’d been on heroin or cocaine…seriously.

After the week of hell and a gentle reintroduction to caffeine through black tea – consumed in moderation! – my migraines became less frequent. Where before I’d have been having them at least twice a month, I was now down to once every two or three months with a few random flair ups in between, but those were minor and manageable. I don’t know how many of you suffer through migraines, but for those of you who don’t, I would like to elaborate a little bit on what it’s like to have them:

Think about an anvil. You know, like in a blacksmith shop. It gets worked over as the blacksmith goes about his business, bending metals to his will. The pressures an anvil faces – not just heat, but physical pressure – is the only thing I can compare having a migraine too. It’s like someone’s taken the inside of your head, compressed it in some sort of vicious vice, and then started hammering down on it over and over and over again with no relief. I used to describe the pain to my brother as a white hot knot of the worse pain you could experience sealed in a pressure cooker that just happens to be your skull. Sometimes I’d experience auras with my migraines: bright lights, spots of colour. Think eyestrain only with shards of broken glass being driven into your eye sockets. Sounds like fun right? And mine aren’t even the worse ones. A friend of mine was telling me that her cousin is literally crippled by migraines – she does not function as a human being because of the pain. I’d always considered myself lucky because I’d only ever experience mine a couple of times a month at most – I’d lose a week, maybe, out of every month – but other people lose entire months, completely unable to do anything.

“Isn’t there any medication out there for this stuff?” you ask, worried.

Of course there is, the trouble is the diagnosis: migraines are not chronic headaches; they have different triggers and medical science hasn’t quite been able to work out just what exactly sets them off. So while for some people a prescription of beta-blockers or blood thinners help combat the symptoms and the triggers, for others it makes absolutely no difference. My only recourse, for example, was the cut out things in my diet that I believed to be the triggers, and number one on that list was caffeine.

Caffeine does funny things to our bodies. It ups our energy levels in one quick burst, almost mimicking a sugar rush. After having cut it out, I now get a racing heart and feel anxious when I have a cup of full strength coffee. That’s because caffeine speeds up our metabolism – albeit temporarily – by causing a release of adrenalin. This makes the liver burn up any and all glycogen (sugar) it’s got in one burst, causing a spike in blood sugar, causing a rise in insulin levels aaaand basically messing with the LC balance you’ve been working on. That said, this doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone – people who are prone to unstable blood sugar or insulin levels should be wary of their caffeine consumption while on an LC diet, but others seem to be able to drink as normal.  It’s a funny old world, this.

After I started my LC diet I realised that my migraines became a thing of the past and it wasn’t just the lack of caffeine – like I said, only having one cup of green tea, I rarely drink decaf coffee now and hardly ever have black tea of any kind – but also the processed sugars I’d obviously been consuming. The beauty of an LC lifestyle is that you don’t realise how much crap you’re cutting out of your diet until you notice that you’re feeling so much better, your skin’s looking great, and not only are you losing weight but you’re getting some serious muscle definition. The best part, I find, is that people notice and compliment you! Now for me, hopelessly introverted when it comes to face to face meetings – yes, I know…I work in hospitality, don’t ask – the fact that people tell me I look ‘great’ or ‘wow, have you lost weight?’ makes a big difference and gives my self esteem a well deserved boost. It’s important to take those compliments on board: you’re doing this for yourself, but it never hurts to get a little help along the way!

Clear Skies,

Vee