Crikey carb withdrawal symptoms are awful.

  • Started my challenge on Monday.

    i have my meal plans sorted - with emergency rations at the ready...But I have to admit that I hadn't fully planned my excercise regime.

    i get dreadfully bored with weights and running machines, so decided to try something very different. Mixed martial arts - I found a great gym here in bristol, with a great instructor - and a "foundation" class for beginners. Loving it.

    Tuesday & Wednesday , I had a big major energy low - I really thought I was ill. I skipped the excercise - felt so bad.

    felt a lot better on thursday after some sugary biscuits, and I twigged it - carb addiction.... It's horrible. I never thought it would be so horrendous.

    I'm feeling a bit better now, but the last 2 days, I've been a total mess. So tired and aching and hungry and grumpy - the description "swamp thing" comes to mind...

    I've decided to hop off the BFL for a few days, to clear the cold turkey of carb addiction ( have cut back processed carbs to absolute minimum) the only carbs I'm eating now are fresh veggies and fruit - no bread or flour or wheat at all. plan is to ride out the cold turkey, and get back to it when it's clear.

    i'm re- starting from week 1 on Monday 26th - the nasty carb withdrawal symptoms should have eased significantly by then, and I can concentrate on excercise instead of hash browns! And I'll have all my excercises planned out.

    Anyone else out there had these symptoms?

    It's taken masses of willpower to get through this week - it's been quite a shock.not really disheartened - just shocked and suprised - I hadn't expected this. But I'm pulling it back together, and will plough on next week...

    Wish me luck.


  • I know exactly what you mean!  I didn't realize how dependent my body was on quick carbs until I cut them out when I started BFL.  The first 2-3 days I felt like I had been mentally and physically hit by a truck! I had to take a break from a couple of days of exercising also.  I was doing good to just keep my eyes open. It does pass though and even just a week in now I can tell the difference if I add sugar or fast carbs into the mix... They definitely slow me down and make me fee a little foggy the next day now IF I eat them! I think my body just needed to switch over to burning better food for fuel and I do have much more energy now.  I'll eat an apple dipped in a mix of 1/2 vanilla or plain yogurt mixed  up completely i w 1/2 natural chunky peanut butter if I need an energy snack. It works for me!  Hang in there - You can do it!

  • Carb Addiction:

    The best way is to go Draconian.  Do not re-feed with the crap.  Increase BCAAs, because those will help.  Also, a good quality hearty carb, like sweet potatoes will help.  Your body needs to get used to it, and cutting processed carbs to a minimum means 0%. :)  I would not suggest an apple + yogurt + peanut butter, because that's only carb and fat.  Each meal needs a protein.  Just make sure you're not eating too much carb at some points, and too little at others.  Part of warding off withdrawal is keeping it steady.  And although I often favor fruit, because it's quick, it is a simple carb.  A good complex helps more with withdrawals.  I hope this helps.  

    Jessica Mighty Max ~ 2013 Body-for-LIFE Champion ~ Champion is a VERB!

  • Thanks for the info! I'm a newbie and was looking for anything to keep my eyes open while my body adjusted the first week without going to anything refined.  I see what you mean though about the fat and carbs... So so much to learn... :(

  • You're right that there's a lot to learn, but remember that you have a whole community here.  Also, you can just keep it more simple until you want to think about more nuanced things.  You can do this!  

    Jessica Mighty Max ~ 2013 Body-for-LIFE Champion ~ Champion is a VERB!

  • I really hadn't appreciated how bad the carb addiction was - and how many refined carbs I was eating.

    Even shifting to a balanced carb approach resulted in horrendous withdrawal symptoms.

    I went to a Land Rover show nearby on Sunday, and forgot to take any food with me.

    I was reminded of a spooky film with Bruce Willis in it.

    "I see carbs everywhere. And most don't know that they are carbs!"

    Absolutely nothing healthy to eat there at all - DOH.

    Just as I was getting myself back to normal.

    This is going to take a bit more planning than I thought...

    I feel like something from AA.

    "I've been carb-free for one day now - I'm just taking one day at a time"

    On the plus side, ive managed to ride the highs and lows over the last few days by throwing myself into my camper project - and have made huge inroads since Friday.

  • Yes, Captainbreaky... planning is key!  I realize the association you are making with AA, but want to make sure about your statement.  You are not going "carb-free", right?  

    Jessica Mighty Max ~ 2013 Body-for-LIFE Champion ~ Champion is a VERB!

  • This is my first challenge!  The meal planning is a challenge!  I do not want to lose a lot of body fat, but do want to gain some muscle.  So here goes.  I am learning about the foods; carbs, protein... and just want to take in enough calories and get it right and enjoy the meals.

  • I've gone carb free over the last 5 days to really clear out these withdrawal symptoms, which are now fading fast. I never thought that the withdrawal would be so rough.

    I've not been excercising, because I have felt so dreadful - I am starting back up on Monday.

    I've been following the eating plan, just minus as many carbs as possible over the last few days - which didn't seem like a bad idea, given that I wasn't excercising.

    From now on, I will be cutting out all the fast carbs completely, and will concentrate on slow release carbs from veggies.

    It's funny, my partner had his stomach removed due to cancer 15 years ago, so he has to plan meals carefully and carry around sweet flapjack, fruit buns etc and munch through the day - I often make fun that he is the man of the eternal fruit bun... Looks like I have to do the same with protein bars....

    On the really positive side - I have nearly finished the wiring on my camper van!

    Thanks for the advice and support.

    I'm really looking forward to the bike show at the NEC in the UK in 12 weeks time...

  • That is not going to help you, going completely carb free.  It's one thing to go complex carb free, and certainly processed free, but you need your energy.  Also, do remember that the carbs, along with the protein, are what works to stabilize your insulin.  You don't want the spikes and drops from none, too much, etc.  

    Veggies are great, though aren't enough.  Add in some berries and sweet potatoes, which are arguably your best simple and complex carb choices.  I use fruit when I want a quicker spike, because do remember that it's insulin that lets the protein into your muscles!  

    Protein bars, although good in a pinch, aren't your best option.  Actually, they often have sugar, chemicals, preservatives, and are made with soy.  A better option would be something like Myoplex Strength, which comes in hard bottles, so they won't crush or anything, but are totally portable.  

    I hope you don't think I'm giving you a hard time.  ...just trying to help.  You can do this!  

    Jessica Mighty Max ~ 2013 Body-for-LIFE Champion ~ Champion is a VERB!

  • I really appreciate the advice.

    No- I'm not going all out carb free - but there is some very interesting info out there about low - carb diets and carb withdrawal symptoms that is worth reading for anyone suffering carb withdrawal.

    My word of advice to anyone who is suffering carb Withdrawal, is that it's worth gutting it out - but it takes planning.

    I am very glad that I took the time out of BFL to regroup and sort out the carb issue.

    It is worth also remembering that the insulin spike also contributes to storing fat - so a good tip is to never eat a fat with a "fast" carb - which is the big problem with all fast food - fast carbs and lots of fat!!!

    From my experience, it's the fast carbs that are the problem. Bread, white rice, wheat etc. I didn't realise how much of the processed fast carbs I was eating. I've cut these out of my diet completely, and (after getting over the withdrawal symptoms), I feel a whole lot better.

    Three weeks ago, I started eating to BFL, and ran into carb withdrawal, so I shelved the excercises and the carbs, until I felt human again. I then injured my back, so only returned to excercising this week.

    I'm back on a balanced diet, replacing these processed fast carbs with fruit, squashes, sweet potato etc.

    But the biggest suprise is that I've lost 4lb in weight over this time - just by eating "right" ( I now weigh 200lb )

    This came as quite a suprise, as I've been concentrating on avoiding fast carb foods, but not low fat foods.

    I've not really felt like I was on a diet at all - just concentrating on avoiding processed carbs.

    Meals like chicken or beef curry and quinoa salad - actually was really good, or steak and salad. Fantastic.

    The next suprise came this morning.

    Stuck for 3hrs in a traffic jam with co- workers. Was not in my car, so didn't have my backup protein bars...

    We were all starving, so into Macd's. for breakfast.

    Now, 2 hrs later, I've got a headache, feel bloated and aching - proof to me that processed fast carbs are no good...

    Yes, I agree, I spend quite some time choosing the right meal replacement bars and shakes, as many have la surprising amount of sugar.

    Now I'm back on form, I'll be concentrating on my diet more - and getting into the gym on plan ( traffic jams permitting!!!)

    Looking forward to losing more weight and shaping up.

  • What you are talking about with not having fat and carb together is called partitioning, and many bodybuilders believe in that method.  Healthy fats with fast carbs, like fruit, are less of a factor, and at night, you want more fats, and even your faster carbs.  

    Eliminating carbs altogether isn't a wise thing to do, though doing so with processed carbs is a very good thing.  For those people, doing berries, quinoa, and just a little sweet potato will get them through.  

    Handling insulin spikes right will increase muscle growth.  Doing BFL, as written, will take care of that for itself.  :)

    I'm glad you're on the mend.  These are lessons we all need for ourselves, and like you, boy have I learned the McD's lesson!  

    Jessica Mighty Max ~ 2013 Body-for-LIFE Champion ~ Champion is a VERB!

  • Yup - that's it - partitioning.

    For me, the biggest lesson is that I don't get on very well with refined flour products, and I have pretty much eliminated them altogether, and replaced them with fruit and veg like sweet potato, and definitely feel better for it.

    Definitely on the mend, I've not done a full week of excercises - I am easing into it a bit, as I felt a muscular twinge from my back the other day - I don't fancy going for a 10 on an upper body day right now- concentrating on recovery and stretching -but the cardio is going very well - I'm going to the gym at work - it is so much more convenient and saves time.

    I am also putting up a TRX suspension point in the spare bedroom - so I'll soon literally be in the swing of things...

    Definitely on the up...