So after a brutal six days, Tom and I kyboshed the total no-carb diet. My urine turned orange on Saturday (how's that morning coffee tasting?), which Dr. Google informed me is a sign of ketones, an indicator of anemia, liver disease, and/or diabetes. Now, obviously one day of this does not mean I have any of those conditions; what it does mean is that my body was in distress. Ketones are formed when the liver glycogen stores are depleted (Wikipedia). I knew that part of the no-carb process was to deplete that store in order to force your body to draw energy from fats and proteins instead of carbohydrates (which are a "cheap" form of energy). But there is something that doesn't feel right about forcing my body into that kind of distress.
The symptoms we experienced during this diet were:
Let's just say it was a good thing Tom was away for work most of the week.
2. Stomach pain/severe nausea
It was bad. To be fair, I think a lot of this came from suddenly eating a ton of cheese (I usually never do) and eating high sodium, high fat meats like turkey/chicken pepperoni snausages or whatever they are.
3. Fogginess/confusion/utter stupidity
We would forget words. There were several times I didn't feel safe to drive. It was almost like being buzzed all the time without it being any fun.
4. Weakness and general sucking for workouts
I added 15% to my swim time, and a whopping 20 minutes to my bike time (BRUTAL). I felt awful during my workouts and my times really suffered.
5. Losing weight very quickly
My starting weight was 153.2 pounds. The lowest I weighed during the six days was on the fifth day at 144.5 pounds. That's an 8.7 pound loss in five days (!). While the numbers are fun to look at, I can't believe that this is a healthy way for me to shed pounds. And the way I felt was honestly not worth it. I was sleeping 9-10 hours a night and still needing an hour nap each day. I woke up dreading the day because of what I would have to eat; everything I could eat made me nauseated. Opening the fridge would actually make me choke back bile (and not just because I haven't cleaned the fridge in a while).
There are some positives to take away from this experiment.
1. I do consume a lot of easily removed carbs.
Although delicious, I don't NEED to have sugar in my coffee every day. A meal doesn't HAVE to have a bread component to be complete. Eating three yogurts and two pieces of fruit a day is probably excessive.
2. Eating more veggies is easy if I pay attention to it.
One meal I really enjoyed on this diet was tuna salad (with mayo) that I ate using cucumber slices as "scoops". It was like dipping tortilla chips (same crunch) and I didn't need bread to eat my tuna (although I do love me some tuna sammich).
3. Planning meals makes a huge difference.
If you're just grabbing food, you make poor choices. A little planning ahead can mean you eat with purpose instead of mindlessly. On that same note, it is VERY easy to mindless eat carbs. It's as if your body doesn't have an off switch to tell you that's enough. When you are eating protein or fat foods, your body has a trigger finger on that off switch, and it'll let you know when enough's enough.
For the next week (at least), we're still eliminating refined carbs (sorry Shreddies, I still love you!) and milk. We've added back in fruit and potatoes in limited amounts. Hopefully that will help us find a bit more balance.