Carbs, The Good, The Bad and The Hungry

First, this is not a NO CARB diet. There are some out there but this isn’t one of them. 

There are carbs in your fruit, your vegetables and in the yogurt.  You’re eating carbs everyday so “carb withdrawal” may not be as big a problem as some of you think.  When people dieting don’t feel good they immediately think “Oh it MUST be the diet.” But a week ago, prior to the diet you might wake up and not feel good – or felt less than 100% and what was that about?  Let’s face it we just don’t all feel great all the time.  We all have good days, better days and a few not so good days, right?  In fact since you’re eating healthier your “better days” might even be better than they were before making your “off days” just feel a little bit worse!

Let’s face it anytime you make a fundamental change in your diet your body is going to react.

There is a thing called “carb withdrawal” but it often has to do more about KETOSIS than it has to do with your body “needing” carbs it’s not getting.  In fact if you are following the plan, eating your veggies, yogurt and fruit you are in fact getting enough carbs just less than you were eating. 

But if you still think you’re having carb withdrawal let’s talk a little bit about that.  I mean the goal is not just to lose weight but to stay healthy physically and mentally, right?  So, here we go…

During the first three or four days of starting a low carb diet you might go through what’s commonly called, “carb withdrawal.”  This can mean symptoms such as mild headaches (these slight headaches and dizziness can also be brought on by the probiotics also), weariness, cravings for sugar or starches, a few mild intestinal disruptions or a feeling of mild sickness and an increase in overall hungriness.

Sounds scary, right?

Well, let me assure you it will pass!  These side effects I’m describing are “worst case scenario” for the most part but if you are experiencing them here are a couple of things you can do to minimize and cope.

Drink lots of Water.  This is the most important thing you can do.  When you are reducing carbs your body goes into Ketosis which in basic terms means your body is switching to burning off the carbs you’re eating to burning off existing or stored fat for fuel.  In other words you’re ingesting less fat and carbs so the body will use the fat it’s stored in your fat cells for energy.  YOU’RE BURNING YOUR FAT FOR FUEL

This is a good thing.  A GREAT thing.  The body usually burns carbohydrates for fuel.  In ketosis your energy is coming from ketones, little fragments created by the breakdown of fat you’ve stored.  Basically instead of being a carb burning machine you are now a FAT BURNING machine.  When you are in ketosis generally you will feel less hungry and you’re likely to eat less.  The down sides, well, one is kidney stones can be a problem. 

This is why you MUST drink a LOT of water to flush and dilute the ketones in your system

The lower your carb intake, the greater your risk of dehydration and the greater your need for water. Most low-carb diet experts suggest drinking at least 2 quarts of water daily.

In addition to keeping you hydrated – drinking enough water can also help alleviate another problem in low carb diets; The BIG “C” CONSTIPATION – On this diet you also have the combination of Green Tea which we now know causes constipation and ketosis which causes constipation.  The double whammy!

Drinking lots of water can also help offset still another low-carb diet problem: bad breath.  The ketones produced during the diet can lead to what is sometimes described as a fruity odor although it is often described as having an almost “chemical” odor similar to acetone or nail polish remover. Um, nice huh?  So now you’re thin but no one will come near you!

Oh, and if you’re thinking you’ll just handle the problem by brushing and flossing a little more often, guess again. Since the breath odor is coming from metabolic changes and not necessarily a dental-related condition, traditional breath products are not likely to provide long-lasting relief. On the other hand drinking more water intake can do the trick.

If you’re feeling “peckish” or have low energy eat more protein!  This should help get you through those first few days and get you into the habit of reaching for protein when you’re hungry, not carbs.

And of course if you really think you’re in carb withdrawal and just can’t take it, eat some carbs!  Just make sure they are “good” carbs.  Will it affect your weight loss?  Yes, probably.  But don’t make yourself sick. What’s the point in that!  If you are really having problems have a half slice of whole wheat fiber bread or a couple spoonfuls of beans.

And, in case you’re wondering a “normal” healthy person at their desired weight is recommended eating about 100 grams of carbs a day.  The good ones, not candy bars.

Okay a couple of other things…there are still comments on the board about, “I got on the scale and gained 2 pounds, what have I done wrong?”  PLEEZE…If weighing yourself demotivates or depresses you – get off the scale!  It’s not worth it.  If you are following the plan, regardless of what the scale says, you are losing.  The scale measures water and waste in the body as well as fat so there can be a couple of pounds of fluctuation from day to day, especially in women. 

It’s like this:  We’re all getting older every day, right?  But you don’t notice yourself getting older every time you look in the mirror do you?  So, just like you don’t notice yourself getting older every time you look in the mirror you will not notice weight loss every time you jump on the scale.  Just focus on eating according to the plan and staying active. 

DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS.  Especially if you’re a woman.  Women lose slower than men and generally lose it in “spurts” that can be separated by small plateaus.  Weight loss can come in spurts.  Sometimes the body needs to readjust itself and find its new metabolic triggers where it will kick in and start burning fat again. 

TRUST ME, eventually if you are following the plan and exercising you will lose weight. I promise you!

38 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karen
    Jan 29, 2011 @ 23:44:10

    Good Blog, Terri. Thank you for the time and research you put into this site to get us all this information and encouragement. Much of this I relearned from my Atkins Days… and it still makes sense! Into Cycle 2 now, things slowing down, but not my commitment or enthusiasm. This really is something I can do long term!

  2. Michele
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 00:05:12

    Had no idea about the side affects of Green Tea things are making more sense now, might have switch to Smooth Move tea tonight :-) What would I do without you Terri.

  3. Marcie
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 01:04:22

    Excellent blog, ty.

  4. suz
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 03:33:52

    Hope there are some early birds this morning, i am starting cycle 2 today and i was going to have oatmeal, is it suppose to be 1/2 cup cooked, or half a cup uncooked which would make a great sized bowl. Thanks

  5. Terri
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 04:26:12

    The actual serving size is 1/2 cu.

  6. Heather Gordon
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 04:26:20

    Hi Suz,

    When I make my 7 grain cereal, I measure 1/4 cup dry and eat that, with fruit and some honey. If you are going to eat 1/2 a cup, I would do it post cooking. :-)

  7. Terri
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 04:26:33

    So cooked.

  8. suz
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 04:39:54

    Great thanks so much!

  9. Mike S
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 06:12:00


    Since November or 2009 when I started dieting to control my weight and improve my health, I have lost 40 pounds(down from a high of 268).

    I have a had a few hiccups along the way, my mother had a stroke, and I gained weight while taking care of her because I ate to avoid worrying about her, during the gulf oil spill, I lived in my car down near Panama City Beach and lived off of fast food and midnight rations while cleaning up oil, but always in the back of my mind despite the hiccups was always a goal, I will one day weigh under 200 again.

    Today I weigh 228.6 that’s down 17 pounds since I decided to go on this diet and despite a couple of hiccups, I feel great and I look forward to every time I weigh myself so that I can see PROGRESS.

  10. tami
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 07:00:10

    I have read the blog, start to end, read the comments, and am excited to see such a group of supportive and like minded people willing to share their trials and triumphs, I am going to start tomorrow, and my husband as well, I feel 10 pounds lighter just by putting it out there! Thanks to every one for stories and sharing. I stumbled across this site by accident, but maybe it was no accident. I am even going to put on something that doesn’t quite fit and take the photos, if that isn’t insentive enough I don’t think anything will be.

  11. Lori
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 08:27:42

    GREAT Article Terri,
    It really helps those that don’t truly understand how it all works..the sacle for me is down again this morning so I am happy..I am at 12.5 lbs in 21 days…but even if it didn’t go down I know I am giving my body, spirit, mind and health the greatest gift..losing weight to be healthy!!
    I have finally started really adding exercise now and can I just say OMG..I am out of shape!! I did or should say tried to do 20 min of Turbo Jam this morning..Welllllll, I made it about 15 min. But I actually feel good. Each day will get better ,but I know it is key in the whole picture…so for anyone that thinks they can just keep doing the program and not add MOVING more into it, they just won’t get the results, at least not as easily , they will get discouraged after weeks or months of not doing anything extra and quit..We don’t want get moving!!!

    Fifteen minutes is more than I have done in Three years. I used to be an avid exerciser, one time I was walking 10 miles a day!! Now being in menopause I should be moving even more!! Each new journey starts with the first step.. So I am off…..
    I use to say each day”what am I going to eat today” and eat mindlessly, now I look forward to making meals and planning for the week. The food is delicious and there are so many choices to make and experiment with my own recipies..I love it…so does my honey who by the way did most of the cooking previously, because he loves to cook. He has lost 14 lbs in 21 days…feels great, looks wonderful, looks younger than he is fantastic to regain the vitality we knew for so long..As I shared previously we had lost a combined weight of 155Lbs together and kept if off for 10 years. He gained back about 40 Lbs I gained back A LOT more..But that was yesterday is today…
    Thank you all for all your input, community , and support..It is so much fun to do this with all of you!!

    Congratulations on your strong constitution to stay on track to your goal. It just shows that when we have a determined goal, despite the bumps, challenges we meet..we can still do it if we put our minds to it. It is so easy to say the heck with it..but it is just as easy to say I can do it! You no doubt will meet your goal..God bless you for being one of the hero’s who worked to clean up the horrible oil spill..making the sacrifice it took to do it!!

    I am going to attempt to make the power cookies today..I have been dying to make them…so here goes!!

    Make it a great day today, make it your best day ever…

    Your biggest cheerleader..:0)

  12. mamamin77
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 08:28:31

    Terri, thanks for writing your blog and inviting me over from the horrible calorie counter website! And thank you to all the people on here that are so supportive and NICE! My 10 year old daughter and I are doing this diet together and very happy with our progress. I’ve lost 15 lbs and she’s lost 10, we are on Day 27.

  13. MaryAnn
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 09:17:08

    I get so frustrated when people I know say, “Oh, I couldn’t do the ‘no carb diet’ you are doing.” or “You’ll never be able to keep up with the ‘no carb’ thing.” I count to ten, and then tell them, “The difference is eating ‘good’ carbs and not ‘bad’ carbs.” Under other circumstances, these people seem very intelligent.

    They remember when I was on the Atkins bandwagon ten years ago. I did great! Lost about 60 pounds in nine months, and kept it off for about three years. Then, as many of us have done over the years, I allowed it to creep back on.

    When I tell them everything I am eating, they still insist that I can’t live without carbs. DUH… veggies and fruit ARE carbs. And now that I can have brown rice, oatmeal, and butternut squash, I have to explain to them that these are also “good” carbs. The difference now is that I CHOOSE not to eat doughnuts and Milky Way bars.

    Also, to touch on another topic… I sometimes catch myself saying, “I ONLY lost x pounds this week.” I have to shake my head and do a little self talk, and it turns around to, “I have lost 14 pounds in four weeks time! That’s amazing!” Yeah, so 11.5 came off in the first 17 days, and “only” 2.5 in the last 12 days… SO WHAT? When was the last time I could say that I lost ANY weight?

    Cycle 2, Day 13 SW 221 CW 207 GW 165

  14. Lori
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 09:38:41

    Mary Ann,
    People don’t know and sometimes the most intelligent are the most uninformed people in the world..It can be frustrating but when I have trained people in business or in weight management..I always say when people give your their “opinions” al you have to do is state facts..No one can argue with “Facts”. when we show we know what we are talking about and back it up with facts they can’t argue..If they still want to be right then just don’t talk about it with them..would you take financial advise form someone that is Broke, drives a beat up car…No of course not..Tell facts and inform them..if they don’t respect it then have no conversation about what you are doing..We don’t need to “convince” anyone. People are just misinformed..give the correct information and then they can make an informed opinion!!

    If they still have a know it all Opinion.then walk away..not worth it to try to change their mind!

    “The most important opinion you’ll ever have is the one you hold of yourself” ~Denis Waitley~


  15. Debbie Ponz
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 09:49:12

    You are doing great Mike and even without the book. It just goes to show you that no matter what are the struggles we face when we are ready to make a change it will happen. Keep it up!

  16. Debbie Ponz
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 09:59:02

    MaryAnn and Lori you are both right on. I also find myself saying I have only lost “x” pounds. I am getting lots of remarks about how good I am looking and how much thinner. I have never been able to just say thank you, I always say “I have a lot more to lose” I know for years I didn’t try to lose weight because I didn’t want to fail again. What I mean is to lose the weight and then to regain it seems like such a waste. You get everyone telling you how much better you look since you have lost the weight and then you gain it all back and they say nothing but you know they are thinking “I knew she couldn’t do it”. The next time someone asks I am going to shout it yes I am going great I feel so much better and I am fitting into smaller sizes. Maybe it will help them to chose a healthier lifestyle.

    Happy to say I walked the dog today. It was 29 degrees but there was no ice on the roads so I didn’t have any problem. Walked 20 min this time going to increase 2 min a day until I am up to 45 min. Snow storm coming on Tuesday maybe up to 12 inches hope the weatherman is wrong!
    Everyone have a wonderful day.

  17. Claudette
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 10:29:50

    Get blog Terri, I do thank you for your time and great words of encouragement.

  18. Claudette
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 10:44:12

    Good blog Terri, brain moving faster than fingers!

  19. DJ
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 13:08:59

    I have just started today. Are we limited to only the fish from the list? I love orange roughy but don’t see it on the list.

  20. GaleK
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 13:22:16

    Hi all,
    Good for you Lori! Maybe we can cheer each other on… I did the elliptical today for 20 minutes…. the other day 17 minutes….. tomorrow I hope to do it for 30 minutes…..It’s right here.. behind me in my office ( I work from home) so there is NOOOOOOOOO EXCUSE FOR ME! And I know that exercies will only help with the weight loss!

    Mary-Ann This is NOT a no-carb diet as you tell your friends.. and . as Terri said we are eating the good carbs…. and then in cycle there more carbs are introduced… so when people say “the no-carb diet” they don’t know what they are talking about!

    MaryAnn, Lori and Debbie… I agree with you…

    Good job Mike! Keep it up…

    Debbie-12 inches of snow? Where do you live? I’m in Indiana and more snow on the way here mid week. I have had enough of it!

    Don’t know why I feel so hungry today…. Eating the way I usually eat, and drinking too… its 4:30 and my tummy is growling… too early for dinner, so Im munching on carrots….

    Cycle2 Day Day 13 SW 214.8 CW204.6 GW140 or less

  21. Katie
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 14:31:03

    Welcome welcome Tami!

    I stumbled across this web site too and boy am I glad I did! Good luck tomorrow!!!

    Katie B.

  22. Debbie Ponz
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 16:12:28

    Yes you are limited to the fish on the list Sorry

  23. Debbie Ponz
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 16:13:48

    Hi Gale I am on northern Indiana about 40 miles south east of South Bend. Not sure if we will get anything you know how the weather man is. LOL

  24. Tina Lynn
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 16:16:30

    Terri, I was wondering, is it normal to crave carbs after a hard workout? It was finally a nice warm sunny day so I went for a 5 mile wog (walk/jog)…. a few hours after, I wanted to eat any/every carb in site…. is that normal?

  25. Terri
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 16:18:35

    Yes Tina it is. Based on today’s post you have burned all the carbs you’ve eaten, your body is now burning stored fat and it want’s carbs to burn instead of having to work so hard to burn that stored fat. EAT PROTEIN…it helps you to build muscle and your still burning that stored fat!

  26. Jenn Dupont
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 16:22:34

    I’m always amazed by how other poeple are so concerned with what I am putting into my mouth. It’s none of their business and even though I’m eating healthy they seem to think it’s ok to try to tell me why its not healthy even as they are cramming their own mouths full of nachos! “Y’know Jenn it’s not healthy to go without carbs…the body needs carbs”….or the one I really love is my MIL telling me how bad artificial sweetners are for me as she puffs away on her cigarettes! GAWD! If I’m overwieght people say it’s not healthy and when I’m trying to get my weight under control people want to tell me I’m doing it in an unhelthy way. I wish people would mind their own business unless they have something encouraging to say. It’s so frustrating. Thanks Terri for all your encouragement, support and good information. :)

  27. Gwen
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 16:37:52

    Hey, Gail. Where in IN are you? I’m north of Terre Haute! I love the snow and it doesn’t impede my lifestyle. If we get some, stay safe.

    As for dieting, I’m having a terrible time with “psychological cravings.” (Is there a difference?) I SO want cookies or toast with butter and cinnamon-sugar. I’m really sick of vegetables and am apparently lightyears from learning to like them. :-( I’m on C1-D11 and down 6.5 lbs.

  28. Tina Lynn
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 16:41:31

    Thank you!

  29. Katie
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 16:48:53

    wow, busy day for me and not to much time to post. I’ll catch up tomorrow.
    I asked this question on the recipe site but didn’t get an answer.

    Can we have tofu?? CAN YOU BELIEVE I’M ASKING THAT! hahahah I have only tried it once and icky. But found a really good recipe for creamed asparagus and the tofu is the creamy part????? any way, what do you think?

    See you all tomorrow, Wonderful to see so many new “faces!” welcome!!!!!!

    Katie B.

  30. Kimberly
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 16:49:08

    I start Cycle 2 tomorrow and I figured I’d get a jump start on what I was going to have for breakfast sooooo…… I made the Power Cookies Dr. Mike suggested. Let me just tell you, THEY ARE AMAZING!!!! Yes, I couldn’t wait and so that’s what I had for dinner. I won’t be making a habit out of having them for dinner :-} but definitely for breakfast!!! I will say that you can tell they are healthy for you but again I think they are excellent! Also, the ingredients are pretty pricey but I’m quite pleased to say the least. I remember reading somewhere that someone had made these cookies and they turned out dry. I did decide to increase the unsweetened applesauce from 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup and I also cooked them for only 15 minutes in a gas oven. I hope this brings some excitement to you all who are getting close to Cycle 2 or those of you that are already there but haven’t tried the recipe yet!!! If you have any questions about this recipe please feel free to ask.
    Starting weight – 237.5 Current weight – 224.5 Goal weight – 170
    Dream weight – 150 :-}

  31. Kimberly
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 16:53:29

    One more thing about the cookies…. They count as 1 Protein and 1 Natural Starch. Ok, I’m finished talking these cookies :-}

  32. Kimberly
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 17:04:15

    Katie, on page 128 Dr. Mike talks about Tofu…. Read behind me but it seems like you can once in Cycle 2. Hope this helps!

  33. Cathi
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 20:33:55

    Bravo MaryAnn, Bravo!! I couldn’t agree more :)

  34. Cathi
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 20:37:17

    Debbie — YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS you are doing great, and feeling better.. Yiipppeee!! Also.. kudos to you for getting up, out, and moving in 29 degree weather. You make me who isn’t challenged by the weather to have no excuse and to get out there — I succeeded in completing a STEP class today without falling on my face – so success there as well. Have a great week!!!

  35. Katie
    Jan 31, 2011 @ 09:23:40

    Thank you Kim! I have been all over that book, but just kept missing it. That is another wonderful think about this site! If there is a question, there is someone with a answer!!!!! I’m on cycle 2 so I’ll give it a try. ME?? TOFU???? hahah

    Katie B.

  36. GaleK
    Jan 31, 2011 @ 09:55:30

    Hi Debbie and Gwen,
    Oh we are neighbors! LOL Im about 15 miles south of Indianapolis… They are predicting a severe ice storm here… not looking forward to that one!

    Jenn-There are some people that aren’t happy unless they are crticizing… just tell them you are eating carbs.. and leave it at that….

    Gwen, Hang in there on cycle 3 bread’s a coming….. I am a carb addict too…Previously, I could not walk down the bread aisle without getting high LOL I never thought I could give up my ice cream snack and chips at night… but once I saw that weight coming off…(almost a pound a day in the beginning) those cravings went away… Guess it depends on how badly you want it….

  37. Kimberly
    Jan 31, 2011 @ 12:16:14

    No worries Katie…. let me know how it turns out, I started Cycle 2 today.

  38. Pat
    Feb 03, 2011 @ 05:40:23

    I, too, have found that stepping up the exercise a bit in Cycle 2 makes a huge difference. Here’s what I’ve done….I’ve taken the 17 minutes and decided to triple it, in 3 sements, morning, noon and night. I find I can always fit in 17 minutes and I hop on the treadmill and before I know it, I’m done. This equals 51 minutes a day, far more than I had been doing. I’m 14# down and very excited about this plan.
    A word of thanks to you Terri. I am getting more from your blogs and the wonderful responses than I have from the book. Thanks to all…


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