As mentioned in Part I, I haven’t had the best time with this experiment.
However, as I’ve said time and time again – mine is a journey of science, not of advocacy. So you might find it interesting that I’ll have a few more positive things than last time to say from Carbland… even if I can’t wait to return to Fatland. (I should find a better name for the latter location :D)
Updates from the Last List
GI Stress. This has gotten better. Since my last posting, I’ve had it just once in the morning. This could be due to my current phase having only 1155 calories / day, of course.
Postprandial drowsiness. This is likewise improved. But as above, this isn’t too surprising given each of my meals are just 385 calories during this last sprint.
Broken circadian rhythm. Also improved. Very close to how I was sleeping in keto.
Weight gain. So I found out my scale wasn’t giving me accurate numbers. After trying a few tear aways by holding specific weights while on it, then without, I found it was extremely inconsistent. I changed the batteries, reset it, and afterward, it appeared to work better. At that point it displayed I was 183lb and I was one day into this lower calorie phase.
In short, I now don’t trust my original weight readings mentioned earlier and thus I can’t say for sure on that metric. It’s just as possible I didn’t gain much weight, even if more was showing in my waistline — however, even in this case, it was likely more water weight than anything else. (My hope is that it is 100% water weight. :D)
Transient Symptoms or Just Lower Calories?
As mentioned above, I’m now in a phase where I’ve been lower calorie overall, yet still having around 108g of carbs a day. It could be some of the previous symptoms were due to the transition to having carbs back, and to some degree, it could be having lower energy load overall. My guess is that it is a little from Column A and a little from Column B.
And hey, while I’m on this pro-carb-just-lower-calorie promotion train, I have a uniquely special circumstance that is worth mentioning. In all my experiments, I’ve always had a very difficult time eating below 1200 calories as I feel generally hungry, keto or not. Yet, this current low-calorie phase has been easier relative to the others in that I don’t crave larger helpings of the food I’m eating. Yes, it does help that I really, really dislike this diet (as Siobhan called it, “prison food”), but even so, I’m finding less physiological hunger to eat more.
Aside from the physiological cravings, however, my mind has been filled with the delicious, juicy cuts of fatty meat I plan to eat when this is all done. As experiments go, this one has been one of the toughest. I miss my keto diet terribly and I’m excited to get back soon.
A Very Unexpected Part III
I’ve been planning to post the above for Monday morning, Oct 23rd, which is tomorrow as of this writing. Everything there was written in the late morning today and I presumed nothing more would change.
But something very odd happened that I feel I should make note of…
Around 2 pm I was doing monotonous work with my spreadsheet and nothing about it was unusual. Weirdly, I felt a kind of acute mood shift. It was like a wave of both exhaustion and general pessimism. What made this particularly noticeable was how fast the trend was. One moment I was trucking along with some code and the next I felt heavy malaise.
I happened to have a Skype meeting with Siobhan a few hours later and was trying to describe what it was like. “I feel strangely pessimistic about everything now.” Indeed, I was feeling gloomy about my experiment and at how valuable the data might be. I have a family member I’m working with and had new and less optimistic thoughts about this outcome of this as well. I tried to take a break and browse Netflix, but felt unusually anxious and annoyed at their selection. It was as though I had just gotten some terrible news about something and it was affecting me in a very profound way… but without the actual news.
Everything I thought about seemed to have a greater negative spin to it.
Being the scientist I am, I actually started ranking my mood on a 1-10 scale on the hour (1 being miserable, 10 being very happy). How long would this last?
Right now it is 11:30pm as I write this and I think I’m still at a 4. I just can’t seem to shake this odd episode. I’d say it gives me all the more reason to look forward to the experiment’s end tomorrow following the blood draw, but even that doesn’t seem as exciting as it should be. Truly, I can’t recall ever having experienced anything like this before.
My mood is closer to a 7 now, but I woke up exhausted – and I mean really exhausted. Like I pulled an all-nighter with work and I could head back to bed and sleep five hours. Why?!?
This is one of those moments I truly wish I just had a lot more money to put down on a per-test basis. I’d add more tests to my blood draw like a thyroid panel and hormones (such as Cortisol), which I used to do when I was more flush with savings. If this is some strange biochemical episode, I’d love to catch its origin better.