So what and how have I been feeling since these last three weeks out of Keto? I felt indulged. After all, that serotonin overload was coming back to me. Reminding me what sleepiness during the afternoons truly felt like. Somewhat lazy, that is.
Below are the Six things I noticed; as I adhered myself back to the low fat, high carbohydrates eating alongside including the intermittent days of no-counting, no macro set ways of eating which took place amongst my (long overdue) family visitation overseas.
As a prelude; this “suspension” period began from as soon as I left Australia for a family visitation from the 9th of November and all the way until the 29th. For eleven long years I have not eaten “traditionally” from what anyone would “normally” suggest in terms of “usual” or a “relaxed” way of eating.
After all, 11 years is a long time. At the very least in my personal case as far as I could remember – the last time I set foot upon an airliner was over five years ago. That’s right. Five years ago; when money were all aplenty as discretionary indulgences.
1. (Random) GI discomforts / distress.
First and foremost – I’d never ever thought this would occur to me. Perhaps because I have not travelled for over five years due to my gut biome being consistently set to the same outside environmental climate I maintain and inhabited. And perhaps also the water I’ve been drinking were regularly filtered + fluoride free.
But GI symptoms; be it “issues” ranging from very loose stools, sudden occurence of diarrheas (thankfully – not of the painful type), then the intermittent “warm-like” pains in stomach – all occurring in unpredictable timing, contexts and environments. Never before I felt such a drastic series of hours in any given day just from alternating dietary regime/s. Especially when obligations, and cravings (which soon envelopes greatly of course) inevitably supersedes all my prior sensibilities and habits.
In as little as about three days (whilst in JKT, Indonesia) I already experienced many gastric discomforts; that neither the fridge-free probiotics I took with me were of enough quantities (though better than nothing) to both ease and prepare for whatever gut biome differences I had to yet brace myself as soon as I left the plane.
One problem still remain to this day of me writing this. My stools are still suspiciously light. Sometimes even lighter than clay.
I felt as though I clearly underestimated my own nutritive physiology and faith that I was able to live and get by just “fine”. That is, it has been after all – 11 years since I have not eaten all those Ketopraks, Pempe’s, Ikan Gurame’s with homemade chilli sauces, broths, and beef balls.. you name it.
Thankfully nonetheless, the warm-like pains and diarrheas subsided as I am easing myself back to low carbohydrates.
2. Morning back and lower right hip pain “freezes”
This happened to me in as little as just about two days of heavy carb eating. After heavy dinner, with only a few small sips of my whey shake/s before bed – the very next morning a (not excruciating) but noticeable – lower back pain were almost a certainty. Much akin to me slowly crawling away from a car accident.
A “frozen” like pain/s. A feeling where you just do not want to move. Just higher up from my hip or the rear/s of my lower obliques. The right side more than it is on my left.
Even on the days I returned to Australia, the morning wake-up pain/s somewhat persisted though not as clearly as bad how I was overseas; when everything almost seemed like a drag.
From this pain then comes the next “side effect” much akin to a hang over.
3. Hazy + Lazy = mental and overall drainage/s
You’d feel strong and “plentiful” at one moment, then crashes eventually upon another moment hour/s afterwards.
At least that’s what happened to me. It (carbs) increased / promoted every tryptophan and serotonin levels in the brain. Those feelings of lingering tiredness when I’m supposed to feel just adequately and implicitly nourished and attentive; suddenly taking naps in broad daylights seemed like a routinely, “must-have’s”.
When you get that sense where days seem to “linger” on for too long. Then you’d know and get that feeling of being hazily “overwhelmed”. Not to the point of tipping your entire way of being off balance to whatever it is you NEED to be doing. But enough to notice it that you feel somewhat “tired”. Or can’t be bothered to move at all.
In fact, there were times even where I found myself somewhat less talkative. Or just in the state of “can’t be bothered to explain further”. Rolling my eyes and spitting out “Yeah, whatever’s.” – came out far more often than I’d realise.
I’m not sure if the same happened to any of you who frequently carb-cycled in and out of Keto – Do you ever felt as though you are “sluggish” or “lagging” in the mind when trying to bridge and/or following up on any of your own wording – in a conversation?
Even on a general day-to-day sense; I almost can felt as though there is a lingering difference. I gathered this from recalling as best I could out of my Ketogenic eating life as before; and measured against anything else afterwards – as soon as I set down from that plane. And the difference in my capacity to string together conversations, was astounding.
Again, bear in mind that these do not occur almost defenitely and recurringly to how I expect it. When it DOES happen it does occur uncannily real to the point where you have to literally wake yourself up mentally somehow.
4. Fatigues / “Crashes” + haphazard calorie surpluses
…And that follows on to my next concern – the sugar crashes aka Hangriness. Unless if someone were to feed me something to eat, or any signal/s strong enough to me as an environment stimuli – then I’ll be on my way again. Of course, this only lasts for as long as, well… not long enough.
Very similarly to when I was addicted to taking pre-workouts years and years ago as a gym newbie. First half hour? I’d jump around like rabbits. The next half hour? I couldn’t even be bothered to go for a walk. My mind just “wander” itself lazily enough that in the presence of lackingly enough environmental or food/insulinogenic stimuli – sleepiness and some sort of subtle fatigue – will at some stage becomes a certainty.
All these “hazy & lazy” fogginess happened to me about the second or third days into my vacation as I increasingly felt the need to lie down and nap during the afternoons. Which; to my previous senses on Ketogenic as I clearly remembered – sure I felt somewhat wired and WEAK – but I have never ever felt THIS SLEEPY as though I needed to take a nap.
Hence, I am back to my “15 year old” teenager habits. I am a serial Napper. For at least an hour. And still lingeringly around for days even after landing back home.
Besides also – going back on a HCLF diet with an intent to eat on a hypercaloric surplus IS SO MUCH EASIER. This however, is a either a curse or a (blissful) blessing depending to your contextual need/s. Strength gains? Absolutely. You may need that extra meal/s. Quell your hunger whenever possible. When to stop however; is a difficult exercise as a warning.
5….And very hungry too; should no food comes to me.
Yup. The same old problem returns. I truly feel “greedy” about food. The stronger you become, the more greedy you feel from within. Hunger was not only visceral. But also – lingeringly anxious from hour to hour unless I can get myself sleepy enough to pass over the time.
Otherwise, it’s a long, arduous, road of looking at the clock. Either that; or that hard earned bulge in my triceps I worked just hours before starts fading away via gluconeogenesis. That feeling, that hunger once again – felt overly greedy and impatient.
I always wanted to believe everything from what is commonly perpetuated about the benefits of CKD (resetting Leptin to keep the satiations back to prior / normal) would eliminate all my worries away. From continuously intaking in carbohydrates in just one day, or two. But what happens if one were to transition briefly away from Keto altogether for an extended number of days? Weeks? or Even months? Sadly, those anxious, leering hunger – came back to me once again. From what I felt thus far in following back to a carb heavy diet however, I was not only feeling a bit “lazy + hazy” but also irritably angry – should food do not come at any moment of want, or at will.
Unlike being hungry on Keto which I can learn to accept consciously myself to stay on without food for another half hour (or two). This? I could not bear even for half an hour. This hunger anxiety or “Hangry pang/s”as some would call it – remains both real and palpable.
In other words, wants can easily be confused as needs.
Ever so materialistically evident from just how much $$$ transactions off my bank statement I’ve made as soon as I’ve landed back in Perth.
5. …My time + wallet = unforgiving.
No surprise that this last point is not the least in terms of its bleak severity. The worst part of a hang over is not realising the bigger (and increasingly bigger) picture of what you’ve done.
My wallet after all – speaks for itself for not treating me well. “Come on, it’s been 11 years for I’ve not been eating indulging normally based on what normal people would? Give me some slack, will ya?”…Just as karmaic pattern goes. Before I knew it, I’m already a consequence of my own doing. I am already – a damage – of something else I am yet to foresee what it is.As soon as I landed back a few days later I raked up over $60 worth of groceries. Wtf? Where was all the humility I previously had before?
These three weeks were always that sense of never ending, lingering “fear” sense or thought of uncertainties that food WILL run out. Carbohydrates truly made me felt insecure. Somewhat neurotically. Noticeably (yet blindingly at first) leaving me making rash decisions about more on what to indulge, rather than how to prioritise.
All that left me convinced me to keep stocking up more rice, oats, proteins and worse – auxuliarry flavourings – some fruits, honey etc – all in the hope for replenishing BOTH liver and muscle glycogens. My wallet, bank account – was out of the picture. Almost selfishly. My old consumption habits it seems, was already set in place long before I realised them. That is how damaging this old regime was. And then there was the time involved. Hours and finesse over timing/s and expertise – towards cooking things just rightly done.
Preparing meals all of a sudden became a part time job instead of humblingly and lovingly part of sustenance ritual. Yet alone also – trying to keep up with liveable, food and auxuliiary flavouring resources. Especially if it has been YEARS since I have indulged this prior ways but literally also trying to remind myself by the clock again and again – that I need to first PREPARE, COOK and then EAT.
…And so, where and how should I conclude?
I’ll be honest with you – if it weren’t for the hyper caloric surpluses I went for throughout those three weeks, I would never be able to have improved all my records of training in these such short periods of time. Yes, my joints felt recovered. Yes, it allowed me the stamina to do more exercises or at least shifting the weights up the next day and the next day in all of my 6×6, 15-20s rest workouts.
Yes, the carbs definitely did this.
It is perhaps safe for me to conclude thus far – that HCLF remains a viable way of eating should A MERITOCRATIC / SOCIO-HEDONIC pursuit/s marks as excruciatingly important for some people. Because they are more likely able from what they can afford, granted and access – to objectively pursue anything they wish to attain for concrete physicalities and materialisms; especially when it is aimed to be witnessed by those OUTSIDE of their own skin. That is; also consequently where the appraisal of conservatism / pedestrian social conformities still remains to be respected and adhered. If these applies to your current context and circumstances then by all means – a Ketogenic regime will only remain as an Accessory, NOT primary – dietary subscription.
As much as I (seemingly) endorse Ketogenic / HFLC objectively stronger or (hesitant term I had to use) “healthier” way of eating than sticking to anointed the Low Fat / Pyramid – what matters more than debating one over another as “better” in my humble, subjective opinion – is that of your own life’s parameters outside of FOOD – is what matters.
How are your current life conditions? Which or what is your Contextual Aspects of living? What qualities of food can you access LONG TERM? What can you afford? What food groups can you metabolically OR implicitly satiates you better – more carbohydrates or less of it? Drive as much of these questions down to you as you work your way to form your very own nutritional humility.
I invite you to go back to reading my prior article My Keto first Anniversary food for thoughts Part 3 of 3. Because much of that presents my (rather exhaustively) long series of attempts to subjectively “answers” or to ascertain if one dietary regime is “better” than another. But of all things – at least in the context from my experience – indulgences are both evil and light on the same coin; how they affect one’s life – is variably dependent deep down to enzyematic preferences AND socio-economical leverage/s.
Being consciously aware of your current living conditions as well as metabolic perception/s and preferences towards your predisposed Contextual Living Aspects is far more important than at least giving yourself another excuse to eat based merely on “emotions”.Such excuses will only lead you to haphazardly “binge-and-purge” path of neurosis. This I cannot be held responsibly should it becomes more increasingly apparent to you.
Until next time for another post, humbly take care of yourself.
I want to know your Ketogenic cycling journeys thus far in your life. What are your thoughts should you have at least cycled in and out of Ketogenic or Low Carb principles? What goods can you derive from these experiences? Leave your thoughts and comments below!