For the five days I was on the Egg Fast, I was able to recognize a few things about my cravings. Foods that are sweet (regardless of low carb, no sugar) stimulate my hunger cravings. This, however, does not apply to my morning coffee or my Elecrolyte Soda that I consume daily. I noticed this with my consumption of the Cheese Danish Cloud Bread. If I had one, I could have easily had ten. I had to physically stop myself from eating them, as well. They certainly satisfied my sweet tooth. However, same as when I eat conventional sweets, I have no STOP button. After recognizing that, I noticed that my STOP button was activated once I severely limited my sweet foods consumption along with some other changes. Needless to say, until I reach my size/weight goal, I will be cutting back my treats consumption.
Also, I think I have to be careful with my dairy intake. Some people have no problems with dairy stalling their weight loss on keto; I have a suspicion that I might fall into the other category. So, not including butter, I will be limiting the amount of dairy (heavy whipping cream and all cheeses) I eat. I think 2-3 oz a day is a good start. If that does not work, I will cut them out completely and see if that works. If not, then the butter will be the last to go.
Then, I was researching what to do when/why you are not losing weight on a ketogenic diet. I found all the normal reasons that I already knew and what to do (I wasn’t satisfied with those suggestions as they do not seem to work for me). Then, I decided to research Ghrelin and Leptin (hunger and appetite suppression hormones) to see if I found a back door to the answers I was looking for. Lo and Behold, I found something – two somethings to be exact. This note/article on Dr. Arya M. Sharma’s website about obesity and calorie restriced, ketogenic diets. Then, this article on Kim Hopwood’s website explaining Ghrelin and Leptin – how they work, what helps. etc..
It was like a light bulb went off simultaneously as the clouds opened and angels could be heard singing. Let me explain in 2 parts…
Every single item I read (about controlling cravings, losing weight, getting through stalls, etc. on a ketogenic diet) gives the same information over and over again. Too many calories, too much protein, too much dairy, up your fat intake, too many sugar alcohols, blah blah blah – which is great and all have their merit – assuming you are not aware of your macros (which I am and make my food adjustments throughout the day using the FatSecret app) and assuming it is your first time navigating the block – not in my case. However, those do not work for me as a whole. I still end up consuming too many calories because – again – I HAVE NO STOP BUTTON. Which has made me suspicious about my current hormonal activity regarding my obvious lady issues and (little known to most) Ghrelin’s (hunger & weight control hormone) and Leptin’s (satiety hormone) roles in my case.
See below a snippet from Kim Hopwood’s Ghrelin Leptin Article:
How the Foods we Eat will Affect Our Hunger Hormones
A study led by David Cummings, M.D. from the University of Washington revealed how macronutrients influence the ups and downs of one’s appetite. During the said study, experts found that proteins have the highest influence with regard to suppressing a person’s appetite.
Fats were also found to only have neutral effects on an individual’s appetite. Researchers discovered that although carbohydrates initially lower one’s appetite, they will later increase an individual’s appetite to levels higher than before the carbohydrates were introduced into the body.
So if you want to lose weight, a very good start is to eat more proteins and less carbs, especially sugar-rich, high-GI carbs!
Okay, so Fats have a neutral effect on appetite suppression (which I have been increasing for ketosis) and Proteins have a suppressing effect (which I have been carefully limiting). Carbohydrates I have already been restricting so that information has no bearing on my issues with my current dietary changes.
So, that is “Aa hah!” number One. On to “Aa hah!” number Two.
On Dr. Sharma’s website, this opening line from his article is what brought it all into the light for me:
One of the most remarkable clinical observations in people embarking on severely calorie-restricted ketogenic diets, is the almost complete lack of hunger that occurs within a few days of dieting.
“Why?” you ask. Remember, I got through my last weight loss stall by going on the Ideal Protein eating plan and had tremendous success. IDEAL PROTEIN is a CALORIE RESTRICTED, KETOGENIC DIET that puts emphasis on APPROPRIATE, QUALITY PROTEIN INTAKE to ensure SATIETY along with MAINTAINING LEAN BODY MASS (AKA muscle mass – which loss of lean body mass is a common problem with traditional, high carbohydrate, calorie restricted diets).
After reading these two articles and including my observations during my Egg Fast, I tweaked what I ate on Sunday and yesterday (Monday). I upped my protein intake, adjusted my dairy intake, and cut back on my sweet foods. Guess what? I felt full and did not exceed 1400 calories on both days (which included weight training yesterday). In my case, this is a miracle – considering I can easily consume over 2000 calories and still not feel full. So, I am going to try this over the next few weeks to see if it helps kick start my weight loss.
The above information also explains why a traditional ketogenic diet is great for me for maintaining my weight loss. But, the traditional route does not work for me with losing weight because of my STOP BUTTON issues (Ghrelin & Leptin). Until those get completely under control and normalized (which might take upwards of a year), I will need to be very carbohydrate restrictive with my diet in order to keep the weight off and level out my hormones. Also while in Weight Loss Mode, I will need to keep my protein levels a little higher in order to: maintain satiety; keep my calorie intake lower than my calorie output; to keep my muscles properly fueled for my excercise program; and to ward off muscle atrophy due to the calorie restrictions. I am hopefull this is the answer.
This is why you have to pay attention to your body, your gut instinct, research, adjust, and not get frustrated & quit. No weight loss plan is One Size Fits All. Look at me! What worked for me just in the near past no longer works for me the exact same way. I know enough about my body and how it reacts to carbohydrates to know that traditional weight loss methods do not work for me. I am also learning that my wacky hormones are keeping me from losing weight on a traditional keotgenic diet. Now, I am making adjustments and will continue to do so until I have success!
Later this week, I will post some recipes – Yeasty Oopsie Rolls and Thai Fried “Rice”.