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05 January 2005 @ 01:53 am
Haven't updated in a while  
Hooray for:

10 contiguous days of vacation.
Getting to see all kinds of family and friends over vacation.
Getting to see a bit of Chicago as well (and shop at a store called Gaymart - that was fun).
Being able to comfortably do certain upper-body exercises and stretches that bothered my rotator cuff-related parts for a while. At last, I can hit my upper body hard in the gym.

Boo for:

Losing all willpower when confronted with mass quantities of holiday snacks.
Not quite being able to chin yet because my forearms are still grouchy. Feh.

I'm going to be 26 on Saturday. I don't feel old yet. At all.

It's that bodyfat dropping time of year again. I've finally gotten the cojones to go on a cyclical ketogenic diet. I'll have to write an update about that (either here or on Meow Mix) to address all the misconceptions that commonly float around about diet plans that involve major carbohydrate restriction, which can be basically summed up by "OMFG dangerous stupid fad diet you'll get malnourished and die of poisoned kidneys". To make a VERY long story short, I'm trying out a CKD because it blunts hunger most of the week and lets me eat a lot of nifty food - including food high in simple carbs - every weekend. (If you lift, you can't be in ketosis 24-7 - you need to refill your glycogen stores regularly. Thus, there's a planned refueling period.) That takes care of my two most common problems with caloric restriction: being hungry although I've eaten enough calories for the day and being tempted to eat too much nonoptimal food. Also...right after the end of the week workout, you're supposed to consume liquid carbs and protein. What does that mean for me? Grape juice...which I love but rarely drink because it's pure sugar. Being able to have that each week as part of a diet is w00t. And yes, you can eat your veggies just fine and dandy on a ketogenic diet (and I'm taking supplements to cover my ass), so no worries about nutrient deficiencies, umkay?

dymphana, I didn't forget about your lyrics. ^_^ I just have to remember where they were so I can reply.
Current Mood: goodgood
Current Music: '80s music stuck in my head
yuda on January 5th, 2005 08:52 pm (UTC)
Any news about that on-campus job?
The Heavy Metal Matador: frylockrydain on January 5th, 2005 09:37 pm (UTC)
Not yet. I don't think the university is quite back in business. He did tell me that they close for 2 weeks over winter and that their last day was the Wednesday right before Christmas, so I'd think that the department in question comes back today or tomorrow. I'll be sure to post an update as soon as I hear from them.
silverluzsilverluz on January 5th, 2005 10:19 pm (UTC)
*sigh* Ketogenic diets _can_be_ dangerous when misused or misapplied, particularly in extreme forms. (There's also not much consensus about long-term benefits/risks, or the best way to go about it.) Lifting or not, no one should be in ketosis 24-7. It sounds like you've done your research, but I'd still advise you to proceed with caution. You probably don't want to stay in ketosis for more than a few days at a time. Add in a few days to actually get to ketosis and a weekly schedule might work out. But it's true that your body only does this as a kind of emergency measure, so pay attention to what it's telling you.
The Heavy Metal Matador: frylockrydain on January 5th, 2005 11:09 pm (UTC)
Sorry...I wasn't meaning to trivialize the importance of caution or the fact that you can indeed screw yourself up if you aren't careful, and I do appreciate your informed concern. My snarky comment was a reaction to seeing too many people without a clue as to what they're talking about acting as if all low-carb diets are bad, evil, unhealthy, etc. and of course offering no good evidence to back up their claims. (Funnily enough, I've run into an Atkins zealot who has repeatedly claimed that grains are poison, which is just as silly and annoying. But I digress.)

The CKD was developed by Lyle McDonald, who has a deserved reputation for being quite well-versed in nutrition and exercise science. Along the lines of what you suggested, it involves a 36-hour carb-up every weekend. In my case, I'll be eating about 3000 calories during that period of time, and 70% or so is supposed to come from carbs. I'll also only stay on the diet for 2-3 months max. I don't have a reference for this, but I read from another trustworthy source that you basically adapt to keto after a long period of time, so it doesn't have the same good effects. Besides, planning for meals on my carb-restricted days involves much more work than it does on my standard moderate-carb diet, especially because I don't eat meat, and of course, I have a pretty restricted variety of food to choose from. I am one of those types who can eat the same foods over and over again, but I'm sure it's going to get old at some point.

Overall, my energy level has been good (not OMFG bouncing off the walls but anywhere from average to w00t). I've seemed to require less sleep in the past couple of days, and I haven't gotten the standard afternoon sleepy slump either. My brain has felt rather weird, but I can think and function just fine. I've heard of people getting brain fog that caused them to put on multiple pairs of undies because they forgot they had one on already, so no complaints here. My lifting workout yesterday was surprisingly good although I'd been off for a couple of weeks and didn't get to do a proper carb-up in the days before. All in all, I've been feeling pretty good. If I degrade to crappyland, I will abandon the diet.

On the emergency measure subject, I was thinking about that today and getting confused. I understand other emergency measures your body takes, like breaking down muscle tissue first when you eat too few calories. This makes sense because less muscle equals a slower metabolism, which conserves the fat stores (so you can starve for longer without dying). On the other hand, when you're in ketosis, you preferentially burn fat and (in most people's experience, including mine) are far less hungry. I still get hungry, but it feels much less urgent and only comes when I haven't eaten for a while. I had to make myself eat yesterday in order to reach my daily caloric goal (about 1500). Any idea why it has this effect instead of trying to get you to eat more?
zerielzeriel on January 5th, 2005 11:48 pm (UTC)
IIRC it's because the same metabolic impulse that starts burning fats and muscles also turns down the hunger reflex so you are more apt to ration your (theoretically limited, if you're coming at this the natural way (i.e., starvation)) food intake intelligently instead of binge.

Just another survival trait.
The Heavy Metal Matador: frylockrydain on January 6th, 2005 12:01 am (UTC)
Ah...so that's why starvation is reputed to blunt hunger as well. I'm obviously never going to investigate that for myself, but I've wondered about it too. The rationing explanation makes sense, especially when considered in the context of evolution and the survival of populations. As we know, people can subsist on suboptimal nutrition long enough to reproduce, so over time, a population in which most people get some food will probably outnumber one in which a few people get a lot of food. Now why didn't I think of that earlier? =P
silverluzsilverluz on January 6th, 2005 07:57 pm (UTC)
Not sure about the hunger thing, I'd have to look some stuff up. I suspect it may have to do with differences in blood sugar levels, but my knowledge starts to fade out when you start to move from biochemistry (ie cell level) to physiology (ie organism level).

It goes both ways - I've just gotten tired of all the fad people going 'OMFG carbs will kill you all meat diets are the r0x0r!!!!11'

Re. brain fog: I'm going to go off on a tangent, but read if you're curious. There's actually a very sound explanation for 'brain fog' associated with low-carb diets. Basically, most cells in your body can use pretty much any energy source, at least under relaxed conditions. Carbs, fats, proteins - there are preferences based on ease of use and energy content, but they'll take what they can get. But some cells are different - they're specialized enough that they don't want to bother with tons of metabolic pathways. Brain cells fall in this category. They permanently turn off most of the fat and protein pathways so they can spend more energy doing the things the brain does. Brain cells live on sugar (aka carbs). So when you've exhausted free sugar and glycogen, the rest of your body rolls along on fat and protein but your brain is like 'OMFG we're starving!' and your liver kicks in to ketogenesis. It converts fat into a vaguely sugar-resembling sort of molecule (a small ketone) which your brain can handle. But it's not exactly ideal - it's low energy, and the side-products after you burn it up are annoying. This is basically the secret of low-carb diets: there's no decent way to turn protein in something resembling sugar, so your body is forced to burn fat to try to keep your brain (and some other organs but I'll be damned if I remember what they are) alive. So your brain goes on low power cause its got the metabolic equivalent of airline food.

So basically what I'm saying is, if you do find yourself disoriented/confused/otherwise unable to think, you've cut back too far - eat something carby like bread for a short-term fix, and increase your overall carb intake until it stops happening.
The Heavy Metal Matador: frylockrydain on January 6th, 2005 09:03 pm (UTC)
Yeah...over-the-top faddists are just plain irritating regardless of what they're disparaging. I only know one nitwit along the lines of the example you gave, but she's very obnoxious on the message board on which I see her posts, so she might as well be an entire "everything but Atkins is TEH SATAN" Greek chorus. =P

Thanks for the additional info and cautionary note on brain fog (and LOL at the airline food comparison). Judging from the funny chemical smell that occurs when I go to the bathroom, I am officially in ketosis, and I'm not having any trouble coding, reading stuff, writing, typing, etc. If my thought processes start degrading, I'll be able to promptly feed myself as you said. Randy is eating normally, so we have plenty of bread, fruit, yogurt, and other carby food at the house, and there's a giant thingy of free pretzels at work as well.