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The Low Carb Alcohol Stall Revisited

Posted Sep 28 2008 7:02pm

When we last left our hero (that’s me), he was at the end of a one month experiment trying to determine to what extent his drinking habit had sabotaged his effort to lose weight after returning to a very low carb regimen.  After abstaining from his routine two or three martinis per evening for four weeks, he’d lost about another five pounds from his two-month-long standstill for a total of about 15 since the beginning of 2008.  But what would he do now that the experiment was over and seemed successful?  Let’s tune in…

“Dry gin martini, please, shaken, and three olives.”

It was supposed to be a small martini nightly, and just one.  That lasted a week.  Then it was two small ones.  The problem with small martinis is that since they’re so small, you often want just one more.  I kept track of food intake and calorie counts for two weeks following the end of the experiment, and noted that where my daily calories on abstinence averaged just under 2000, in the weeks afterward they averaged about 2700 (the 700 calorie increase is invariably from the alcohol).  On seven of those fourteen days my net carbs ranged between 25 and 35 grams instead of 20 or less.

In the four weeks following the experiment, I’ve watched my weight chart graph line sawtooth back up to the point that I’ve regained the five pounds lost during abstinence.  Instead of being at a 25 pound loss as I was on this day of the diet in 2003, I am barely down 10 and struggling to hang on to that.  In 2003, I had already been into Phase 2 of Atkins for some time, and this time around I am still basically in induction.  I’ve had no fruit since the beginning of the year, nor cereal, nor low-carb milk, and only a few spoonfuls of low-carb yogurt.  Except for three or four slices of low carb bread and several low carb tortillas, I’ve had no baked goods for four months.  I’ve cut out the processed deli meats like salami, opting instead for prosciutto.  Breakfasts typically consist of eggs, either in commercially-made omelet form or fresh with either sausage or bacon.  Vegetables that are served with a meat course are always low carb, and only a small serving.  I had been overdoing it for a couple weeks on sugar-free chocolates and nuts, but I cut those back this week.  I’ve been making smaller and smaller lunches, sometimes having just a couple ounces of hard cheese.  For a friend’s birthday party last weekend, we made spinach-artichoke dip, and I brought pork rinds for myself to enjoy with it.  Still the pounds inched back.

Not much of a morale-booster of a post, is it?  Of course, we all make our own conscious decisions about what’s important to us.  I still feel good that I’m eating low carb for the health aspects of the diet, but I want to lose another 20 pounds or more.  To do it, it should be clear to me by now that I need to put the bottles away for a while, and not just for a few weeks.  So which wins out, my need for “relaxation” or my wish to be thinner?

See you in the next chapter.


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