Where to Begin? Part 1
Man, I don’t even know where to begin. Some of my update is going to be controversial – the new way of eating part, and I know it’s against the grain. But if you’re so inclined, bear with me as I’ve done a lot of research, I’ve tried many things and I use my own body to experiment because it’s the one I have to live in – get to live in 🙂
As I was experimenting with diet for the past couple weeks, I was trying to explain to Dan, who’s so patient with me and my every evolving food pyramid, why I’m always researching. And as I was talking, everything clicked as I said “you see, I don’t want to just eat and exercise to look good. I’m not overweight, I know how to look fit on really any ‘diet’ – vegan, ominivorous, low fat, high sugar, dairy free…you name it. What I don’t have yet is that feeling of being a machine. I don’t have endless energy and the feeling that I could try and train for anything. I fatigue easily. At the end of the day and sometimes at the beginning, I feel too tired to talk to people, let alone do something physical. I want to to have energy to run far and fast, try new things, be ready for adventure. I want a wild and beautiful life and to enjoy it – not survive it. and energy-wise, I’ve been surviving for years. I can’t remember waking up ready to do stuff. I want eating to be a side note to my life, not something I do frequently because I feel like I’ll pass out or not be able to finish a class without eating. I WANT TO BE A MACHINE. and I know I can be, I just have a few missing pieces, I think”
And that’s when it clicked. I really don’t care what plan I’m following or what I have to eat – I care about the outcome. I want, as Stu Mittleman put it in his book “Slow Burn” for eating to no longer be the reward for moving but movement to be the reward of eating well (paraphrase). I love movement, I love doing, activity. Clearly you have to eat to be able to move – but what maximizes my personal movement abilities?
I knew it was time for a drastic change. I’d been doing the clean eating thing for a while with pretty good results – I’ve kept my visible abs and good tone, low body weight for a few years now while being able to eat fun foods every weekend. That’s a win, but not enough. I’m tired and I seem to rely on oatmeal and dry fruit for energy. I had gone completely vegan before with good result as well – this I have to admit is my favorite way of eating, ever. I love being vegan, putting things in my body that I know cause no animal suffering. My mind feels at ease. But my body, while okay, did not feel like a machine. I knew I had to try something different if I wanted to test different results, so to make myself feel better I remind myself (apparently I’m all in my mind all the time) that I can change back to vegan ANYTIME I WANT REGARDLESS OF A PLAN OR OTHER PEOPLE. I reserve the right to rescind everything and go back to vegan, without guilt or worry. I can’t get around a feeling of responsibility and the ethics of veganism are really the only ones that feel right in my heart.
But with that written out, I embarked on an opposite journey because it’s one I hadn’t tried yet – knowing I could go back any time I wanted. I started reading a lot about the Atkins diet again as it’s one my mom has been on for a long time. I was for a year in highschool, but I was only half successful and half committed. I remember feeming for sugar the same way I do now and eating jars of peanut butter, coolwhip with sugar free jello, low carb bar after low carb bar and nothing satisfied. I’m pretty sure Dr. Atkins never intended a diet to include so much synthetic food. But I wasn’t willing to eat any meat and I was hungry all the time. Reading about Atkins led me to searching for athletes that were “low-carb”, let me tell you, there’s not a lot of research yet, especially when it comes to female low carb athletes. But I happened upon Dr. Peter Attia’s website called Eating Academy . I will say that reading a lot of his stuff is over my silly dancers head, but he breaks down ketosis and his own eating plan very scientifically since he is a doctor, and someone who is very active – that’s what I wanted to know. Can I stay active, get more active, have increased energy and strength by eating differently? Or is everyone walking around fighting through a wall of mud, which is what I’ve felt like for as long as I can remember?
Wow this post is getting long, I’m going to have to write in parts. Lets finish up by saying, after reading a lot of Dr. Attia’s site (and watching part of his workout on youtube where he flips tires and other strong man schtuff) I decided to dive into – not low carb – but the even more extreme Ketogenic way of eating. I figure if I start extreme I can always pull back, but not always so the other way around. Now I’m fiddling with macros (how much of carbs/fat/protein/calories to eat daily) as no one can just tell me what I need to do but basically my plan was to cut carb, up fat and get into a state of ketosis as quick as possible. So I dropped my carbs to under 50 or under/day and only getting them through green vegetables and the carbs that accompany the fat and protein I’m eating.
It’s been weird, I didn’t know what to eat at first – I wasn’t eating super high carbohydrates but I was up around 200-300 a day, almost solely from dried or fresh fruit and oatmeal. And I found I had to limit even the green vegetables I ate to not go over in carbs. It was suggested I stay at 20-30 carbs, but honestly I can’t find a feasible way to do that yet – and here’s the thing, the gains I’ve had from just staying under 50 have been amazing! I’ve had NO signs of “low-carb flu”, there’s been no negative adjustment, at all.
This is what I’ve noticed in the 7 days that I’ve kept my total carbs under 50g and my fat has hovered between 60 and 105g:
1. I feel double or triple the energy I used to have
2. I feel kinder and more in love with Dan – because talking to him doesn’t take up the vital energy that I need to conserve
3. I have zero food cravings. ZERO. I don’t want dried fruit, or candy or chips or toast (my usual cravings). hell, I don’t even want eggs or vegetables. I feel hungry and when I feel hungry I look at what I need to eat for the day, eat it, and when I feel full I’m full, I’m done – I feel- get ready for it… satiated. I skipped right over a cheat day without so much as a sniff of jelly bellys. I don’t want to lose how good I feel.
4. I do have one craving – water. I feel thirsty and want water specifically several times a day and I’m drinking a lot.
Okay this is waaaay too long. I have so much more to write. Especially since there’s precious little out there on the internet about women on Ketogenic diets that aren’t cyclical. I feel the necessity to document my whole experience especially over the long term (or however long it ends up being).
So stay tuned for Part 2 which will include – the weight I’ve lost, my “cycle”, my exercising experience…and more