I’ve just completed my first week, and have found the following:
Lost 3 pounds. More than I was expecting, but in line with what other Paleo dieters experience in their first week. Some attribute this to initial water loss as muscle glycogen gets depleted. Glycogen reportedly binds water, so less glycogen means less water being retained by the body. Glycogen is also the fuel used to provide energy to the muscles, so if glycogen is being depleted you’d expect a loss of stamina for exercise.
I’m most surprised about the weight loss as I’ve been analysing my meals and on at least 3 days of the week I’ve exceeded calorie targets by a considerable margin (eating/drinking out), to the point where over the week I’ve overeaten by 1600 calories. The only way you can explain the weight loss therefore is either water loss, or I’m not accounting for expended energy. I record 700 calories for the gym sessions, based on the exercise bike recording of 250 calories expended (an estimate I know), plus a guess as to calories expended on the weights. I could be out by a few hundred here, but to explain the above, you’d have to account for several thousand!
Another factor that might explain some of it is that protein takes more energy for the body to convert than fat and carbohydrate, by about 25%. So my basal metabolic rate might be higher than what is considered normal for a high-carb dieter. Also, the way I’m recording my intake could be out by a fair amount (meal & weight analysis is going to be a bit hit-and-miss.
For now I’ll put it mostly down to water loss. If the weight loss continues, I might need to find another cause.
No loss in performance or stamina. My last session on Saturday I was back to the same total volume as in July last year. I’ve only been going for 3 weeks this year, as opposed to 3 months last year, but my general fitness levels are probably better this time around from cycling, and the fact I’ve had several days outside work on the hedging, which is a damn good upper body workout.
It’s always difficult to be objective about how you feel, but I’d be inclined to say that I feel better than before. Saturday was the lowest day of the week, with a noticeable inclination to tiredness and hunger. The argument with Paleo is not that you don’t go hungry, but that the lower carb content means that the protein/fat content gets converted to energy more slowly, so no peaks/troughs. However, Saturday saw my usual troughs return, about 3-4 hours after the previous meal. I took lunch earlier than normal, and had a piece of fruit and carrot later in the afternoon, and got through quite without discomfort.
I still have a niggle from the eczema, which after 6 days of strictly no wheat is a little interesting. It is improving, so it might be something to an adjustment in the diet. Maybe that’s what wheat does to the body – it forces it to go through an adjustment each time its consumed due to some component. Now I’ve removed wheat, but added in quite a bit more protein than I’m used to, and maybe the body is dealing with that, and its coming out in a mild aggravation to the eczema. Anyway, the whole point of this exercise is to find out the cause or aggrevator of the eczema, so any new info gleaned is good.
I didn’t mention this before, because didn’t necessarily think it was diet related, but I’ve had a fungal infection in several of my toenails for a few years. It started on my left big toe which I had the nail removed from at age 15 due to ingrowing. I just assumed at the time that the infection was down to some earlier damage which has weakened it. It had most of the nail removed again about 5 years ago when it started, but once the nail had returned so had the infection. In the last year its cropped up on the other big toe and a couple of the smaller toes. The effect on the nail is discolouration, and on close inspection you can see that the texture of the nail has changed to become more fibrous and weak. The nail no longer properly lies on the nail bed either, with attendant risks of it being caught and torn off, so that I’ve now had to cut the nail shorter than normal to avoid the risk.
Anyway, no more gory details, other than to note that since the start of the diet, the colour of the affected part of the nails has changed to a more neutral white colour, rather than a slightly yellowy colour. No other change, but it was worth noting. Time will tell if its significant.