Sunday, September 21

Paying Attention and Water Weight

OK, first I'd like to talk about something odd and kind of embarrassing.

In my last 12 week plan (ended mid-August), not quite halfway through, my weight loss slowed down vastly. To nearly a stop. By a little after halfway through, I had gained a few pounds and wasn't losing anything at all.

I was demoralized. At MY weight, I ought to be losing a helluva lot more weight. I stopped tracking my food, that "obsession taking over my life" since apparently it wasn't doing a damn bit of good. I kept forgetting to weigh... I told myself I didn't care. I was still eating mostly ok but I guess I just kind of gave up, angrily.

I remembered to weigh near the end of the period, which was a low weight even though only a couple pounds lower than I'd been like 10 weeks before, so I put it in my spreadsheet and abandoned lowcarb for a month of true hedonism. Not surprisingly, after a month of high-carb and gluten, I had asthma, allergies, massive bloating, zits, was exhausted, weak, and could barely move in the mornings.

I realized last week that I couldn't find a food log for the end of that period. Now, how can I look at what I was doing and say "This doesn't work for me so let's do something else," if I hadn't tracked it? ME, the measure-to-the-gram, USDA-obsessed, counts to-two-decimals freak?!

Well I went back to start another 12 week cycle. I'm an incurable optimist. I'm not going to be so obsessive about weighing food but I must return to what is right. I know that I eat lowcarb for some reasons that aren't even about fat. So even if I am not losing weight, I still need to eat well. My normal 'extremist' nature tends to make it one or the other.

And looking at my tracking sheet, I realized how much my psychology had been affected by weeks of demoralization in the middle: I failed to even NOTICE that by the end of 12 weeks, it had turned around and I had lost a total of 33 lbs in those 12 weeks. Now, I lost nearly all of that in the first 3.5 weeks. Then I lost nothing, then gained some, then lost nothing, and only re-lost a couple pounds and then a couple more at the very end of that period. Of course, understand that 20 of those "don't count" -- they are water weight I will gain/lose with carbs; I only really counted the others.

The problem is, I blogged about lowcarb not working the way it did for me, and while it IS true that it definitely does NOT cause the degree of weight loss with me it did initially, I think I was injust to lowcarb, inaccurate and not by any possible means fair when I griped about 'no results'. I wonder if I am more psychologically sensitive due to the degree of my weight, or if I just quit believing in it in my despair, I quit paying attention, and so made some assumptions that weren't fair.

Anyway. Seems like people are always assuming anybody who's fat is a moron and lying about their food, so I feel horrible publicly talking about having been a little inaccurate and a lot unfair, as if I'm a bad example of the cliche. But I felt it wouldn't be honest of me if I didn't fess up publicly.


I've been pretty sick the last few days. And I went back to lowcarb the night of the 18th (the two are not related, except that perhaps the HC/gluten caused a lung infection that ended up in sinuses/everywhere).

In 1.5 days -- between late evening 9/19 and early morning 9/21 -- I lost 13# in water weight. Ye gods. That's nearly 2 gallons! I've had to pee like every 30-90 minutes depending for two days, haven't really slept in two days, every part of my face hurts from sinuses, and I am in general very unhappy physically. But it's an amazing thing to drink nearly a gallon of water a day and yet lose nearly two gallons of body-water in 1.5 days time! The minute I ditched carbs and shifted to "meat", took very little time -- it is interesting that every time I would be in the restroom I could feel my right thigh and FEEL that it was just slightly less bloated than 30-90 minutes before! How amazingly efficient the body is.

Already I don't wake up feeling like I'm "overstuffed-inside" and nearly immobilized. I feel kind of weak and unbalanced but I suspect that's as much about being sick as it is such a drastic sudden weight loss.

When I began LC it was 9/18/06. So my recent re-beginning was on my two year anniversary. For all my griping about it not working consistently and more, the fact is that I have kept 100# off for nearly two years now and lost some more in the meantime. I should credit getting off carbs and gluten for more than I do: even if eating well doesn't always result in anything like the kind of weight loss I had initially (I guess I have been unrealistic...), obviously this has worked for me to some degree and the weight has, in general, STAYED off my body -- that is frankly far more impressive than the weight loss, if you look at the maintenance % of weight loss in our society.

I do seem to have some issue with losing/regaining the last 15# several times over the last 18 months but since I keep sliding off lowcarb, I can hardly blame that on the eating plan.

It's always a cascade failure, and it always starts with insufficient protein. Always. If I get 100+g of protein a day, I stay on plan. When I don't, for 2-3 days running, I end up eating something I shouldn't, or deciding to go out to eat, or whatever. It's so obviously a "feeding behavior" much like we measure in animals it's almost embarrassing, though I think it's good that it's become so clear. At least what keeps me on plan -- or sends me off it -- is pretty evident.

OK, I need to get back to feeling sorry for myself here, or I'll be wasting all this valuable time being sick. (haha)


Jim said...

Wow! You've really done an amazing job of analyzing how your low-carb diet is working for you. That's the great thing about keeping records. I know I need to do a better job of keeping track of my low-carbing. Best wishes to you.

Former Donut Junkie said...

Wow! It's so refreshing to hear someone 'fess up that they regained a few pounds, yet DIDN'T blame it on their low-carb nutritional lifestyle. For myself, it's ALWAYS "pilot error"! Drifting off plan is the silent, invisible enemy whose stealthily devised scheme will derail us without fail every time. In the end we always seem to scratch our head and mutter, "Gee, I never saw that one coming!"

Anonymous said...

I wrestle a bit with my weight, which I found I was better able to control with low-carb, which also provided a number of side benefits such as the loss of a horrid case of acid reflux and great cholesterol numbers. But it's nothing like what you have had to face. Though I have wrestled with a serious case of alcoholism/ addiction for which the only cure was not to drink at all, and by the grace of God that has been the case for a bit over 22 years. The reason I mention the alcoholism is I see a lot of parallels in what you continue to post here. As an example it's a really common thing for alcoholics to attempt time, after time, after time to continue to control it by endless methods. By cutting down, switching brands, going from scotch to beer, swearing this is the last time they'll do that, etc., etc., etc. In the end the only solution is to simply accept totally that you simply cannot drink with impunity like everyone else seems to be able to do. No it's not fair etc, but it's the only thing that works. Now the problem here is that you can't stop eating. And if I had had to somehow get by with being forced to drink even a little bit of whatever even just once in a while, I don't think I could have ever made it long term. So I'm very serious in saying that I understand how hard this must be. But it is what it is, and I wonder if you accepted that you simply cannot eat certain "trigger" carb/ foods. And I mean really accepted that, knowing from years of experience the whole downward spiral that just one bite can lead to, and thereby treating it in the same manner an alkie would when considering taking just one drink. In a very real sense you are simply allergic to a whole host of delicious foods that you love, but the only workable option is to give up every single one of them completely.

Yes I know advice is easily handed out in such matters, and it may be that none of, or only part of the above proves to be of any use. But as your friend I really do give a crap about you and thought I would at least toss the thought out there.


Complex said...

PJ do you drink a actual gallon of water ever day, or is that just a manner of speaking? My legs swell up. I wonder if I should drink a lot of water? BTY I am glad you are back to low carb.

Anonymous said...

Protein, protein, protein girl!

Vikki said...

I just wanted to say thank you! You've made a big difference in my life lately. I had been losing and gaining the same 10lbs for nearly the last year. I was defeated, sliding in and out of my low carb lifestyle like a pair of jammies. Nothing seemed to work.

Then I came across you posting about making changes, and how being so anal about your carbs counts just wasn't working for you. It got me thinking about what I had been doing. How I had let things slide so because trying to keep up with every single gram of food was just too much.

Well, I just restarted my efforts again on the 17th. The first weight loss was exactly 13 lbs of fluid in the first day, but I had put that 13lbs on in 2 days. It scared the bejeezous out of me.

I'm now down 11 lbs not counting that initial 13 which I don't count either. How have I done it, by making my plan simplier and not stressing over every single gram of carbs. I no longer count the carbs in veggies at all. I count all other carbs but meat, veggies and of course fat, I don't keep track of at all.

I was really hesitate at first thinking that it wouldn't work. But it HAS and I'm thrilled. I know with as much weight as I have to lose, I've still got another couple hundred to go, that I will have to reorganized and make changes again and again. I know in the next week or so that the rate of loss will slow way down, I'm prepared for that, and what's more I can deal.

I just feel so much better having taken a postive action, having done something. And for that I want to thank you. Whether you know it or not, your making a difference out here. We read, we think and you help us all on our journey to healthier, slimmer bodies.

PJ said...

Thanks Jim. :-)

PJ said...

FDJ: "Pilot error", yep! To me half the battle is figuring out what will insidiously result in pilot error down the road, sigh!

PJ said...

Gene: you may be right about the relationship of carbs that make me 'crash' (off lowcarb) and alcohol for an alcoholic. Anything with gluten is especially bad although I suspect caseine is an issue too but I love dairy so I'm in denial about that. It really does, with me, seem to be an either/or issue. I can either eat horribly, or I can eat very lowcarb. If I have carbs they have to be mostly fruit or nut based. Otherwise, if they are say, based on something with gluten, it's just a matter of time before I'm off the wagon again. It's like having 90% of your food sources become heroin or something, and everywhere you go people push it on you and "hide" it in all kinds of foods and even ingredients (both in grocery and in restaurants and other peoples' cooking) and lecture you on how avoiding it is so unhealthy. And you can avoid it 99% of the time with immense and constant effort and then 1 time after a month, 1 meal out of those 99 or so, eat off plan and end up devolving completely and eating like the rest of the world--that is to say, horribly--for the next month. Not everybody has that reaction to eating badly, but much of the time I seem to.

It always seems to start with insufficient protein with me. And THAT always seems to start with insufficient TIME to GET that much protein. I'm working, I can't stop to make food, it requires at least 20 minutes to MAKE 'real food' even with nothing special just a plain piece of meat (aside from spending longer earlier so you can nuke smoething later), and I end up not eating for a meal, or two, or I realize it's 11pm and I forgot to eat. And I'm fine with that--except that if I don't instantly obsess on protein for the next 48 hours, in retrospect, I can track that my "food decisions" will suck within about 48 hours.

It's harder that it doesn't happen immediately, it happens gradually, subtly enough that my conscious mind thinks *it* is in control, despite that just like with science measuring animal feeding behaviors, from a larger pattern observation, it clearly is not a conscious thing but driven by nutrition (or its lack).

PJ said...

Complex: I don't drink a gallon of water a day but I wish I did. The times I've been losing the most weight usually corresponded with the times I was drinking the most water, although there were other variables in there too. It's best to increase water gradually as the organs have to get used to it. I think I feel better when I'm drinking a lot of water, and it goes without saying that the more water I drink, the less diet soda I drink!

PJ said...

Vikki I'm so glad to hear you are doing well. I hope you still are. Get a blog girl! It's such a long journey, it's such a big plan, but it's so important that we focus on where we are in the journey and keep moving along!