Saturday, September 19, 2009

Caloric Restriction: Love The Pros, Didn't Expect The Con...

Actually, I can't be completely sure whether this effect was triggered by caloric restriction, but this is the second time it has ever happened to me, and the situations are very similar...

But first things first.

I woke up after enjoying my lovely sleep-in (though I initially awoke at 7:11am, approximately my usual alarm time), and hopped on the scale.


Holy cow burgers! So somehow, since last Saturday, I have managed to shave over one kilogram off my previous lowest weight. I say 'somehow', but it's clearly the caloric restriction in the comfort of my carnivore lifestyle. And this is despite the high-stress of the final week of term and all the high-pressure assessment I was having to complete after work every night. So hooray!

I kicked off the day-of-lowest-weight-ever with the roast chicken leg left over from my plate last night. Pretty teeny really at 100g, but it silenced my ravenous morning hunger. And kept it silent all day. Impressive for such a little gam.

However, I did snack on a rasher of bacon while I was making Primal Quiche for the beau and for Mum, who will be house-sitting whilst we're away. I also made her a batch of her favourite Primal Pumpkin Soup since I had a wedge of pumpkin waiting to be used as well. Hopefully it will be a lovely surprise when she finds my notes and treats waiting for her!

The beau received a slice of quiche as his dinner entree, before we both sat down to half a scotch fillet steak each (mine served with butter, of course), and a large salmon fillet.

I lapped up the scotch fillet and butter, leaving the salmon til last, but could only manage a couple of bites since it was quite bland. Good thing I stopped too, since within a couple of minutes I was feeling quite sated. I checked the remaining weight of the meat to see how much I had in fact consumed, and lookit - 100g of steak and 50g salmon - the magic 150g again! That was 4.5 hours ago, and I'm not in the least bit hungry.

Spark reckons I only consumed 850kcal today, which is ridiculously low and my psyche is screaming that it might impact on my metabolism etc, but my body is quite adamant that it's all good. Hm. I did have quite a low-key day today though, activity-wise, since all I did was try on almost every article of clothing I own in order to pick the wardrobe for Thailand and find items to cast off to charity. I had only picked through perhaps 1/4 of my amassed collection when the car was full of items to cast-off, so the boy did a charity run whilst I cooked Mum's treats. So not my usual day of walking to and from work, pacing around classrooms, etc. I might do a bit of a re-feed tomorrow though, just to be sure. Shame I'm now out of eggs and bacon!

So, fat loss, physical comfort, and an absolute lack of hyperphagia - all wonderful things thanks to caloric restriction and carnivorism. But as I foreshadowed, there was a con today.

My period arrived.

I am taking the BCP, this is my second month since the PCO revelation, so the pill should be controlling my cycle. However, tonight is the start of my non-pill week, so my period isn't due until Tuesday. So something else has caused my progesterone levels to drop, signaling my body to shed the uterine lining. And the bastard of this incident is that we leave for Thailand on Monday, and I'll be spending the following 11 days in my swimsuit, so now I'll have to deal with tucking strings and all that bollocks that I usually avoid in summer. Perfect timing!

The other bastard is that now I don't know whether I should just have my non-pill week, or push through to the next month's pills like I had planned to. I'm thinking I'll just go for the former, given what happened the first time this occurred:

In January this year, I began my low-carb diet. I was taking my BCP, as I had been for a good few years prior, and my period would arrive in the final week of each month. However, in the second week of January, I began to menstruate. I kept taking my pill, since I wasn't sure what was going on and I didn't want to mess with my hormones (little did I know that I already was thanks to rapid weight loss, cutting carbs, and - as it would seem by today's incident - restricting calories). That menstrual episode continued for a solid two weeks, leaving just a couple of days of BCP left before the off-week. Surely I wouldn't get my normal period after what I had gone through already. Wrong. Man, January was not cool. But at least my usual PMT symptoms were minimal, and in most cases, non-existent. So I decided to stay off the BCP for a while to let my body sort itself out. And after 5 months without menstruation, I was diagnosed with PCO (but not PCOS). Without the pill, I wouldn't have regular periods, and could put myself at risk of ovarian issues since I was not ovulating correctly, although my body was trying to. Hence, I'm back on the pill.

So this time around, given the time of my cycle, I'll just give my body its week off the pill, to let estrogen and progesterone levels drop further before building them up again from next Saturday. But please cross your fingers that I won't get a double-whammy like last time - I really don't want to have that annoyance during the entirety of my trip. And I swear to Gawd, if I bloat even once centimetre, I'll be booking a complete hysterectomy for the day we return!

Nonetheless, I will not be overeating while we're overseas - I will be sticking to carnivore if it's possible to do so, and only eating as much as my system asks me to eat. I'll try to load up in the mornings of our touristy stuff in case the provided lunches are rice and veg, etc. We're provided with a breakfast buffet every morning - here's hoping I can snaffle a few extra pieces of bacon in my tankini top for the particularly draining trips! :)


God said...

yum! i forgot about quiche. you have inspired me to make some.

Reamz said...

oh i hate it when periods coincide with going on holiday! Good luck anyway, and i hope it all turns out ok!

Anonymous said...

I love that you experiment with your body so much and track the results. I've found your food adventures interesting to follow.

I think menstruating is an empowering piece of life and never, ever found it an inconvenience, so I hope you can find your way around this.

I had loads and loads of fresh seafood in Thailand -- my travel partner tired of squid, but if you are on a tour it may be a bit of a challenge. I passed on the roasted rat sold on skewers in the market, but if you are in need of carnivorous fare, these are sold all over.

I do hope you have a fab holiday!

Jezwyn said...

I'm inspiring God now? Awesome...

Thanks, Reamz! Fingers crossed!

Thanks for the info, thewholeway! I can't wait to go face-down in piles of cooked squid! The tours are just a few day trips - motor boat to Phi Phi island, canoeing, elephant trekking, etc. So we'll be at the resort for breakfast and dinner, but lunch could be interesting. Hopefully I won't need to eat between the other two meals, as per my usual eating plan.

If you find menstruation empowering, I guess you don't spend at least one day of it curled up in crampy agony, accompanied occasionally by overpowering nausea and migraines... That was me up until this year, and here's hoping those symptoms don't return! I haven't carried Nurofen in my bag since 2008, but I'm tempted to take some to Thailand, just in case. I do hypothesise that my old symptoms were very much attached to my old lifestyle though, since last month all I felt were a few mild crampy pangs, so maybe that side of my life is concluded. I should really share this with my paternal aunts, who have always suffered worse than I (think power-spews, poor kittens...)

Shari Baby said...

Ive been reading your blog and found this entry particularily informative. I have not had a period in 2 years - in June I had a slight episode, bt then it disappeared again . Ive been Paleo and calorie restrictive as well, and ow am worried I should actuallybe concerned about it instead of being grateful! Ill get my blood drawn and see what happens.Thanks!! :)

Ross said...

I have to admit that I cringe every time I hear of a healthy young woman going on the pill. The pill is a huge hormonal game-changer for your endocrine system and though a convenience, to be sure, the long-term side effects have caused my wife and I to swear off them forever. My wife was on the pill while we were dating and then engaged. She gained quite a bit of weight in all the wrong spots and we started reading about long-term risks. Unfortunately, most of the side effects of note (other than weight gain) appear later in life, long after you've stopped taking the pill.

Estrogens have been listed carcinogens since 2003, yet I'm willing to be that your doctor nor your prescription had any mention of that. Contrary to much of the marketing, the long-term effects of excess estrogen includes osteoporosis (progesterone can stabilize or reverse it) and several varieties of cancer of the female reproductive system and the lower digestive tract.

Yet another book reference:

A big hunk of it is on Google books too:

My wife and I decided to use an IUD for long-term birth control. The track record is so long as to be ridiculous, and the long-term effects appear to be nonexistent.

Jezwyn said...

Hi Shari - here's hoping your experience is nothing more than your body adjusting to your new lifestyle (assuming your CR is not too severe)!

Thanks for that, Ross - do I assume you haven't read the rest of my blog by the fact that you label me a "healthy young woman"? I have PCO. I take the pill to combat that. I do not take it for the 'convenience' of birth control. If there's another option for me that will ensure I do not risk PCO-related cancers, a higher probability than the carcinogenic potential of Yasmin, then I'll be jumping on board. I hate taking drugs for any reason - I have never smoked or tried other drugs, I don't drink, I don't consume caffeine, so believe me when I say that I hate having to pop a pill every night. That said, most of the people who rant about the dangers of the BCP are also scarfing huge amounts of vegetable oils and refined carbs, which are a heck of a lot more damaging to the body. The copper IUD (which I assume your wife is using) won't help my PCO, so I'd have to use one of the IUDs that release hormones, so that's no better than the pill, and would also bring with it all the terrifying dangers associated with IUD use, so no thanks! I even know of someone who fell pregnant whilst using an IUD, and was unable to have the device removed, so it stayed in, threatening her pregnancy. The baby ended up safe - the IUD punctured her bowel during labour instead. Good times. I am a bit worried that you claim "the long term effects appear to be non-existent", because the IUD is always a foreign body in your uterus, and can cause damage or malfunction at any point, not just during the first few months of use. So you always need to be careful, and act quickly at the first twinge of pain. Thanks for the comment, and all the best.

zantheria said...

Hey there!
I've also been trying to live as primal as possible (no easy feat as I'm still in high school!) and I love reading your blog.
My period was absent for about four months, around the same time I started my paleo ways (it finally arrived yesterday... relieved/disappointed? not sure xD)
Obviously I'm not alone; makes me wonder if low-carbing is somehow related to this?
Keep up the great posts =]

Jezwyn said...

Hi Zantheria,

I recently read that high fibre diets affect your estrogen levels - they lower the amount produced, which is why high fibre intake is linked to lowered breast cancer risk.

I wonder whether cutting the grains from your diet therefore allows your estrogen to return to a normal level, with your reproductive cycle thrown into chaos while the levels find a happy balance again..? This would certainly explain my January weirdness of three periods in one month!