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Friday, January 2, 2009

Okay, who was a good Little Low-Carber this Holiday Season?

For those of you who were good and remained on the low-carbing WOE this Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years - I'm very impressed. 10 out 10 for you!

Okay, who of us succumbed to the chocolates and roast potatoes and assorted naughties, this season to be jolly? Hesitantly and sheepishly, Jennifer raises her hand. Seriously, I don't know what got into me, but once I started on those Hershey's chocolates, I knew I was in trouble. See, I only wanted one beautiful box of chocolates for Christmas to share with the family. It is sort of tradition. However, this year the box of Lindt chocolates was so expensive and my husband balked much to my dismay! Instead, what happened was he found this bag of Hershey's kisses (I don't even like these very much) and also a bag of little mini bars of Hershey's chocolates at a much better deal. He bought them both (My husband loves a deal and will usually double up and buy two of everything), but it was still way before Christmas. What happened? - we stole one chocolate here and there and pretty soon we were hooked on sugar again. Sugar is such a drug - not to mention chocolate! Come Christmas we were having company and lo and behold our chocolate stash now looked pathetically depleted. So Ian went out and bought another bag of little Hershey chocolate bars (they are really mini she says defensively). So this Christmas time went by in a blissful, guilty, sugary blur! I won't deny that I enjoyed it for a time, but then I was just eating it for the sake of eating and not even tasting it anymore. What a waste!

The painful result? Ugh, well, do I have to share? I think I had better come clean. I won't go near my scale! I'm being an ostrich with her head firmly in the sand. I don't want to know the damage - at least not yet! More Canadian company is arriving on the 7th of January for almost 3 weeks and I can pretend a while longer that I still look the same. I can see the damage on Ian though. He looks decidedly more round in the belly and face. Oh dear - all I wanted was one tray of chocolates and that would have meant with our company, about 2 chocolates per person. Done! Instead our Christmas company (bless their hearts!) brought us two more boxes of Purdy's Chocolates from Canada. We promptly opened the larger one and shared....Does it get any worse than this?

Yep, it does. The other morning I had such a weird turn. I have never been aware of low blood sugar episodes much other than very occasional sort of shakiness inside if I don't eat for a long time. I had a hypoglycemic reaction a few hours after an oatmeal and raisin breakfast (this would normally not happen with such a breakfast but the carb overload was cumulative in its effects on me and I had been up since 4:00 am). I had somewhere between the following symptoms (from this site: WebMD)

Mild hypoglycemia

Symptoms of mild low blood sugar usually develop when blood sugar falls below 70 mg/dL and may include:

* Nausea.
* Extreme hunger.
* Feeling nervous or jittery.
* Cold, clammy, wet skin and/or excessive sweating not caused by exercise.
* A rapid heartbeat (tachycardia).
* Numbness or tingling of the fingertips or lips.
* Trembling.

Moderate hypoglycemia

If blood sugar continues to fall, the nervous system will be affected. Symptoms usually develop when the blood sugar falls below 55 mg/dL and may include:

* Mood changes, such as irritability, anxiety, restlessness, or anger.
* Confusion, difficulty in thinking, or inability to concentrate.
* Blurred vision, dizziness, or headache.
* Weakness, lack of energy.
* Poor coordination.
* Difficulty walking or talking, such as staggering or slurred speech.
* Fatigue, lethargy, or drowsiness.

This woke me up very quickly and I'm back on the wagon and feeling much better. The moral of this story: "Once a sugar addict, always a sugar addict!" It is best not to have these tempting foods in the house. My husband loves white buns (you know, French breads and the like) and when he brings those into the house for our sons, he is sorely tempted. Why bring them in, I ask him? It's not great for our sons either. Fortunately, that stuff never tempts me. Desserts and chocolate - well, that's another story! The irony is that I had plenty of truffles and low-carb chocolates around as well. Weird, how sugar won out time and again!

Okay, so now if anyone had me on a low-carb pedestal even for a brief moment, I've come tumbling down in a humiliating fall. It can happen to anyone - even someone like me who has lived and breathed low-carbing for many years. I won't be kidding myself again in a hurry. The end result was so unhealthy....Many people shiver at the thought of using Splenda, but frankly had I consumed all those desserts I made through the years and used sugar instead....well, I shiver to think....

12 comments:

Vikki said...

Vikki embarassingly raises both hands! No it wasn't sugar, or at least not to much. Where I blew it is what I always do. I over plan, then feel the pressure to get everything done, wear myself out and take the easy way out. Drive through dinner. Yep, once you eat that darn bun, it's all to easy to say you won't do it again.

I did make many low carb treats and gifts, all of which were wonderful. And I didn't do to badly Christmas day, but the day or two before and the week after.... well let's just say there aren't many carbs out there I haven't noshed on.

I'm sick at my tummy, so bloated I feel like a beached whale and like you I don't even want to be in the same room with the scale. And man oh man are my joints inflammed.

Now can anyone tell me why on earth I did this to myself???? For the life of me I don't know what I was thinking.

Jennifer said...

ROFL Sympathies and hugs. We're human, what can I say? I'm sorry that you feel that way - Ian says he does too - and I'm sorry about the inflamed joints. That's no fun either.

I wish I could say I was always stellar. There were many years where I was, but I've relaxed since quitting writing the books and I allow myself short vacations from the diet, but this was really over the top starting with the chocolates. Yikes! I am glad that prolonged sugary binge is behind me. I had some ladies over for a tea party today (I took out my Victorian tea set. It was so much fun and the ladies enjoyed the pretty cups and saucers and plates and the lovely tea pot with its sugar pot (full of Splenda packets) and milk jug). I made low-carb Lemon cheesecake and some moderate carb oatmeal raisin cookies (none of them are low-carbers and incidentally they are all thinner than me. What gives?! lol). I might post both recipes on my blog shortly.

Back to low-carbing for us, Vikki. I want to chat to you via email when you email is working again - okay? I also want to explain something. No rush though.

Kimberly said...

I'm kind of new to the low-carb thing and I also didn't do well over the holidays. I did fine Christmas day, but have been having a lot of sugar about 1-2 times a week. I really have a question though. How do you know how many carbs are right for your body? I mean, I think sometimes I am SO TIRED when I am eating very low-carb. I wonder if I am craving carbs sometimes because I am not getting enough. I am also gluten free, so usually when I want carbs I also give into gluten and it's just one big vicious cycle! I know sugar makes me feel terrible and of course gluten makes me feel terrible, but I also feel terrible sometimes eating low-carb! I just want to find the right balance for my bodies needs. Any suggestions?

Jennifer said...

Hi Kimberly,

Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. I get so bored with this blog of mine sometimes, as it so quiet. :-)

First of all, I'm not an expert, but I have some thoughts that I'll share.

I see from your photo that you certainly don't need to low-carb in order to lose weight. You are very blessed.

Since you are gluten-free and typically that entails eating desserts, etc. made with gluten-free grains that tend to be higher in carbohydrates, I would suggest you do moderate carbs or good carb eating. By all means remain roughly under 100 grams a day, but don't try and do 20 or 30 grams a day. It sounds like your serotonin levels could be a little low and giving you body more carbs will raise them and make you feel better (your carb cravings should reduce and you will feel more calm. Since you are yo-yoing between sugar treats and low-carbing this could also be causing an imbalance.). Having sugar too often will almost always send one to the carbs that are not so good for us and our bodies drive us to continue wanting them. It's a chemical thing. Then all healthy eating goes out the window. Who wants vegetables and protein when that yummy soft, white bun and jam or sugary chocolate fudge brownie is just waiting to be consumed alongside a nice cup of tea? See what I mean?

Keep sugar to a minimum (by all means use honey or molasses in your baking in minimal amounts (1 or 2 tbsp) and sweeteners like erythritol and Stevia if you are against Splenda), but be aware of eating simple sugars too much - such as the chocolate I was consuming recently (and then subsequently I craved it even although I was not even enjoying it after a while).

Even if one is thin, what goes on inside the body due to eating too much sugar is not so nice - it contributes to inflammation and not to mention wrinkling (we don't need that, right?). For the same reasons, avoid white wheat flour.

How wonderful that you are interested in healthy eating!

Concentrate on getting enough protein, some good fats and plenty of vegetables and fruits. If I were you, I would not bother counting carbs. Feel free to include healthy gluten-free grains such as oats, coconut flour, etc. This will be eating lower carb, but moderate in carbs and not really very low. You don't need to eat very low-carb. Some people do because of metabolic issues and weight problems. You can have a more liberal diet than most people - eating good carbs (and moderately - not high, and not low - this includes all fruits and vegetables), sufficient protein and good fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, butter, etc. in moderation. You are the kind of person that can have a potato or sweet potato or a gluten-free higher carb, low-sugar slice of bread or dessert when you want it. If your calories are normal for you (mostly dictated by your appetite), you will not gain weight either.

All of that said, there could be other things contributing to making you feel terrible - even on a low-carb diet. That is actually very likely and with the help of your doctor you may be able to figure it out. It's important at some point to get a thyroid test done and your hormone panel. Have you tried taking DHEA or MACA - DHEA sure increased my energy and I've been taking it for many years now. I just doubled my dose recently as my DHEA levels were found to be a bit low - not so unusual as we get older. A 70-year old has very little DHEA compared to a 20-year old. You can read up on Maca on my blog. It will help regulate feel-good hormone levels, increase energy levels and possibly increase libido.

The other thing is to have other tests done such as to test for anemia - maybe you have not eaten enough iron-containing foods such as beef. You should discuss what you have discussed with me with your doctor.

I pray you will feel better soon and that you will have found the answers to making you feel better. It seems most of us at some point in our lives discover some health challenges, but they can be overcome and there is no need to continue feeling unwell or to simply accept it.

nonegiven said...

I didn't do too badly over the holidays just enough to get really sleepy. I usually eat something carby once a month or so without having bad cravings.

From my experience the symptoms of hypoglycemia are worse when BG drops quickly than when it drops slowly independent of actual BG readings. Usually the faster the carb the quicker the drop and the worse the symptoms even if I never drop below 80mg/dl.

Jennifer said...

Hi Nonegiven,

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. It sounds like you have a good system going with a break once a month. :-)

I agree with what you said - it makes sense to me. Thanks for sharing that.

Tracey said...

The beating heart and shortness of breath are the symptoms I notice the most when I mess up and eat too many carbs. I remember hearing a lot of buzz about reactive hypoglycemia in low carb circles a while back, and having experienced it, it totally makes sense to me. That feeling is definitely enough to get me back on track pretty quickly.

As far as the scale goes, I hide from it, too, when I know I won't like the results, but it helps me if I weigh myself the morning of the day I plan to get back on track, eat really well that day, and then see the change when I weigh in the next morning. I've usually lost so much bloat in one day's time that I'm encouraged to keep going and stick to my plan.

Jennifer said...

Wow, Tracey, I would be encouraged too, if weight dropped off of me that fast! You're blessed. I would love dieting if it happened that way for me.

The symptoms you describe are not fun either - scary! I felt dizzy, foggy-minded, shaky, weak, exhausted and just plain old weird.

lifeglutenfree said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I don't intentionally eat low carb, but I tend to have hypoglycemia and have to eat more protein in my meals than carbs, so in a way I do! I think the key is balance in meals - at least for me.

Jennifer said...

What a clever way to eat. Balanced meals in favor of more protein to stave off hypoglycemia - makes a whole lot of sense!

I enjoy the pics of Sophie on your blog. What a sweetheart!

Tree said...

I totally can relate to everything you wrote... I was terrible this year at holiday time. Thanks for the info on hypoglycemia... I think my husband has a lot of the symptoms! Thanks for being someone so encouraging. It's nice to know we're not in the low-carb lifestyle alone!

Jennifer said...

I know, Trina, my husband has hypoglycemia way worse than I do. I simply had that one weird turn, but now I know that I can have that problem too if I am not careful.

No, you're not alone. We're all in this together - trying to live healthier and hopefully a bit thinner into the bargain.

Thanks for the kind words. It is nice to know I am encouraging. You are too with the work that you do.