Food for thought.

I’m not going to call it diet because that sounds like what i hear most of the time in the staffroom at work which is that x person is on Y ‘diet’ and most of them (the diets) don’t make any sense to me whatsoever : and these are people that should at least know the basics and not just copy what this months celebrity is doing.

Saying that i have often had a problem with food and mainly that i have or used to have a very high craving for sweet stuff : show me a good looking victoria sponge and i’m your man !. Seriously though if i do a long session working at the computer its not just coffee and a biscuit but several coffee’s and half a dozen biscuits each time. High carbs certainly did work for me very well in certain situations and as an example in carrying a heavy load across difficult ie mountainous terrain for days on end : in those situations its actually difficult to maintain appetite.  But hey ! how often do i ruck a load these days…..not ever !.

So the first very simple food goal is to dump all the fast, high sugar carbohydrates all in one go and compensate by eating food that makes me feel full and doesn’t create cravings. I am pretty convinced now that the physiology of a high carbohydrate intake does directly cause cravings for more of the same through the insulin/serotonin pathway and the dopamine pathway : high carbs may be as addictive in that sense as cocaine. I am also coming around to the idea that the serotonin response to caffeine and carbs has a calming but possibly depressing effect so it will be interesting to see if my mood swings level out a bit.

On that one simple goal i am just past 1 week into my change in regular food habits with not having ate anything like cakes and biscuits all week , i did have one bowl of fruit and cream during the week and i know that fruit sugars are a problem but i might just have those once a week as a treat. So far the only high carb foods i have had at all have been a couple of slices of bread for one breakfast and some onion with meat. Bread perhaps gave me a tiny bit of bloating but not a big problem.

What i have done rather than what i have avoided is mainly ate a load of protein and a moderate amount of fat with a small amount of carbohydrate and i do also know that there will have been some hidden carbs. I haven’t sat down and worked out the overall calorie value nor the macro values of how much protein and fats but i know that my overall calorie intake will be lower, possibly a lot lower just by taking out the biscuits, cakes, fruit-bread etc. What i am eating sounds suspicously like a ketogenic diet or atkins induction phase : it isn’t either as its nothing like the ketogenic diet developed primarily for children with intractable epilepsy which has a much higher fat content and not quite an atkins induction because i am eating foods not on the recommended list (eg onion) but that dietary approach is possibly the closest match to what i am doing. and if people ask i just call it a ketosis induction phase diet and they nod as if they have a slightest scooby what i am talking about.    Essentially what i am doing is inducing continous ketosis by eating regularly a moderate amount of protein and fat with much less carbs. Now technically speaking its pretty dumb to take carbs out of the diet as then its possible that the krebs cycle doesn’t work properly and long term a total protein diet is usually deadly although a lot of weight will be lost in the short term.

The theoretical side of high protein and moderate fat is that certain hormones are triggered during their metabolism that helps the body recognise that it is ‘full’ and satisfied and without huge swings in blood sugar.
The metabolic pathways with the fat and protein are then hugely complex and not fully understood : its not exactly clear for example why there is such high weight loss on a ketogenic diet : my suspicion is that i do genuinely eat a less calorific diet and the foods are more metabolically ‘expensive’ to metabolise and that visceral fat is slowly metabolised.       There is i believe strong evidence that visceral fat isn’t ‘neutral’ in any sense but is highly metabolically active and leads to an inflammatory response amongst other unwanted effects.      The practical effect is that i am in ketosis now and i hit that point within half a day of starting ,i can tell that just from the metallic/dull taste in my mouth and apparently my breath has the characteristic smell. I have had some mild headaches at work but that is partially a dehydration problem so i have had to learn to have water in the work area but that’s not a big problem. Oddly my taste for coffee has really gone off so i might well be able to halve my coffee consumption so watch nescafe’s share price tumble this week !. Classically i have dumped a fair bit of water but also increased my water intake.

Numbers.
Starting weight : 102.6 kg
Weight today (1 week) 100.4kg

My target weight is below 80 kg so that will be a big task, i know that i will lose weight initially quite fast and then have periods of plateau.  My first goal is 90kg as that is achievable with quite moderate changes to food and exercise.  I should take other metrics into account such as gross waist measurement and hip/waist ratio.  I might do that once the first water-loss stage is over (usually around 2 weeks).

Edit at 10 days.

I have probably got a better idea today (day 10) of gross weight loss although of course a lot of that will be water but 10 days in and i have lost exactly 2kg as my weight this morning was 100.6 kg.   Its been bouncing around a bit this week : up a bit, down a bit but there have been so many influences this week outside of purely diet that a daily weight is all but meaningless.  Just to mention my first proper workouts, hay fever and antihistamines, back pain and NSAID’s (water retention) etc etc.   The ten day weight loss gives me an idea of progress though and what i expect will happen is that i should see another 2kg loss minus about 10% in the next 10 days : its a very crude rule of thumb everything else being equal.   Its been a bit of a wobbly week on some things, generally stuck to food choices quite well but my taste was definitely off yesterday and i really didn’t enjoy my food and my taste is distinctly nasty at times : i put that down to the ketones.

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