More than a week, dunzo. I noted the other day that I had some sugar cravings after a lunch of eggs and greens. I had similar cravings today, after a similar lunch — but not yesterday, when I ate the same thing as today but with the addition of a spoonful of Nuttzo nut butter. Too few data points to tell whether that made a causative difference, but it’ll be interesting to see whether a similar pattern repeats later.
As much as my taste buds miss their old halcyon days when I would scarf down, say, a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts or 32 slices of pizza in one sitting, the most important factor in changing the way I eat has been experiencing stable blood sugar firsthand. Even when I wasn’t binging that much on junk food, back in the day I rode a continual blood sugar rollercoaster — frequently feeling like I could die at any moment unless I ate a bunch of simple carbs, and quick.
Anybody who’s gone down that road knows what it feels like. A sudden nosedive in strength and energy, the sensation of ice water flowing through veins, physical tremors. I have no idea what it’s like to experience withdrawal from a controlled substance, the type of thing we usually think of as an addictive drug, but I imagine it’s in the same ballpark as pathalogically low blood sugar crashes. The relief of getting another fix is probably comparable, too.
I can tell when I’m having a sugar craving when I feel it in my arms. Usual hunger pangs are stomach-centric. But when my body tells me it wants sugar, it’s almost like the blood vessels in my arms start growling. This is incredibly rare today, although before I started limiting my carb intake, it happened nearly every day — usually multiple times. And in those rare instances when I have this kind of sugar craving now, it’s only an echo of the past’s severity. It’s a mild sensation that passes after I eat some protein and fat, then disappears again for quite a while.
The fact that I’ve experienced this feeling a couple of times since starting the Whole30 program indicates to me that even my previously limited carb intake has probably been a little too high. Regular intake of protein and (especially) fat level out the blood sugar fluctuations, but carbs trigger insulin release and shoot things out of whack. Both highs and lows follow. Most people aren’t this sensitive to carb intake, but after years of doing things like plowing through a five-pound bag of Smarties in a week, I have no doubt that I’ve become particularly insulin resistant.
So, I’ve never second-guessed that I’m doing the right thing by leaving most carbs out of my diet. Losing about as much weight as a ordinary-sized person weighs is great. Even better than that, though, is no longer feeling like I’m about to die all the time.
I’m still unmistakably a fattie. Anybody who didn’t know the old me wouldn’t suspect that my current body belongs to a nascent health nut. But sometimes the people who did know the even more ginormous me then, and see the difference, ask me how I did it. Limiting carb intake was my biggest tool — whether in the form of sugar, grains, or starch.
Sometimes these people will tell me that they could never give up X kind of food because they love it too much. But of course they can, because I did — and few people loved it more than 439-pound me.
Here are my food photos for day 8:
Wednesday, Jan. 22
I woke up at 10:00 a.m. (after heading to bed at 2:15 a.m.). Sleep was a little restless.
Breakfast: 11:05 a.m. | 1 pork chop, 1/4 head cabbage, 1/2 sweet onion, 4 cloves garlic, 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, herbs & spices
Leftovers from last night’s dinner.
Lunch: 3:05 p.m. | 4 eggs, 2 oz. baby spinach, 2 Tbsp. red palm oil, herbs & spices
I had some mild sugar cravings a couple of hours after lunch.
Dinner: 9:35 p.m. | 1 pork chop, 1 1/2 turnips, 1 carrot, 1 oz. baby spinach, 1/2 red onion, 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, herbs & spices
I ate half of the contents of the skillet below, saving the other half for breakfast.