Health and Fitness
Low Carb Diet, Part 3: Results So Far
After all my due diligence
of the low carb diet series),
I was all set to go.
Normally when I enter into a "gotta get seriously into shape" phase,
it would be for something specific like a
I'd have specific weight goals as well as workout and practice goals.
Unless I got injured, I'd be pretty good about persevering with an
"eat less, exercise more" regimen, ineffective though it had come to be.
This time, my training goals were more general: basically, to continue trying
to get back up to snuff in kendo (a torn knee in 2007 and subsequent surgery
in 2008 had really put me in the basement).
For the LCHF diet:
- I scheduled the start time to coincide with some kendo down time
- I vowed to stick with it for at least 3 months,
no matter how much suffering and anguish I had to endure
For point 1, I started the LCHF diet a little before the annual carnival
at my local Japanese community center
during which time and for two weeks afterward we would have no kendo
practice. For point 2, I mentally girded myself to give up gohan (Japanese
This may seem hard to understand, but to the Japanese,
rice is more than food.
Even though I'm technically third generation, meaning my parents were
born in the U.S., my mom and dad were raised in Japan and then came to
America in their early twenties, so we were, for all intents and purposes, an
immigrant family. Gohan was pretty central to life. To give it up,
I was expecting to have to exert more will power than I'd ever had to before.
Amazingly, that test of will power never occurred.
It turned out the hardest thing about
restricting carbs was all the time and effort required to
pick it out when eating restaurant food (in retrospect, I should have carried
chopsticks with me; it would have made things so much easier!).
Below is a graph of my weight, including body fat percentage, for the past
17 months, from 1207.23 to 1401.14
(let's not worry about the exact units, shall we).
A few notes about the graph:
- for the first 4 months I was pretty strict about carbohydrate restriction
- by mid Sep'12, I had effortlessly blown past the best weight loss I had
been able to achieve in the previous twenty years
- in early Dec'12 (first break in graph) we spent 10 days in Europe,
where I started to sample carbs again
- in mid Aug'13, I decided to lose a bit more weight in case it later
rebounded after my voluntary change to being
self-employed in Oct'13
- since Jul'12 I've lost a bit more than 30 pounds
(virtually all of it body fat, by my reckoning)
Some notes about the first month:
- getting through the carnival was tough. I had forgotten how physically
grueling it would be (two full days and nights of manual labor in the
I let myself get dehydrated, never a good idea, but especially bad for
The worst part was I couldn't sample the delicious food the kendo moms
- I learned to recognize an indicator of being keto-adapted: a slightly
metallic taste in the mouth
- I started having "plumbing problems", but quickly got over them by
including low carb vegetables at every meal (e.g.
romaine lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage)
- I started to get some slight muscle and back cramps, but overcame them
by immediately upping my salt and fluid intake, and then giving my
body time to adapt
- like others (see part 1),
I pretty much stopped having sensations of hunger or feeling like I had
run out of energy (as long as I was not dehydrated)
Right now I'm still following a LCHF diet, but not as strictly as before.
I probably eat 75 to 100 grams of carbs a day, give or take a fair chunk.
I still have a bit of excess fat (the lower abdomen and upper thighs are
real buggers!), but I'm not worried about it.
I'm also not worried if I'm still slowly losing weight (as I seem to be),
as long as it's from excess body fat and not muscle.
Well, I think that's enough about me!
I'll end with a couple of notes that may make my mileage differ from yours:
- willpower was not my problem in my previous weight loss attempts
- I already subscribed to the notion that any time you eat something,
there should be some carbohydrate, protein, and fat present (I'm just
using a new ratio these days that restricts the carbs and protein)
- I already went through the experience of giving up a favorite
class of foods when I became allergic to shellfish
(see part 1)
In my mind, the allergy experience is germane.
My body has become sensitive to carbohydrates.
It doesn't go into shock like it does with shellfish,
but the reaction is still bad, and it's worth being vigilant about avoiding it.
In my next post in this series, I'll talk about other references and tools
that I've found useful (like how I do the charting above).
The Seeking42 low carb diet series
(note: this list will be updated as articles are added):
Low Carb Diet, Part 1: Prelude
Low Carb Diet, Part 2: The Art and Science (click "previous in series")
Low Carb Diet, Part 3: Results So Far (this article)
Low Carb Diet, Part 4: Tools and References (click "next in series")
Low Carb Diet, Part 5: The Deep End