Friday, September 21, 2007

Altering Cycle Lengths

For those of you who are new, I do a form of carb cycling. I do 11 days of very low carb followed by 3 days of normal/high carbs. The total cycle repeats every 14 days. The intent is to keep the body's metabolism from adjusting to a constant low carb intake. Cycling makes life more pleasant. You usually circumvent cheaters syndrome and the guilt and negative self talk that go with it. This likely decreases the chances of quitting.

Recently, I have been reading about various carb and calorie cycle programs. And many people seem to think that the body's metabolism adjusts to anything you do consistently. So, the body may even grow accustomed to and resistant to carb cycling. For this reason, some people (mostly body builders) mix up their cycle lengths to "keep the body guessing".

Along these lines, I am contemplating officially changing my plan so that it is more flexible. This might entail that all carb ups must be 2 days separated by a minimum of 5 days down but no more than 21 days down. It would give me some opportunities to be more spontaneous. The variability would help keep my body from adjusting to a consistent plan. No decision has been made. I'll keep you posted if I change my plan to something along these lines. I'll have to run it by my wife and see if she'd like this better. The risk is that all cycles might wind up being on the short end of the spectrum. I am afraid to not have a fixed number of carb up days as it would open the doors to never returning to carb down days.

Recently, my weight loss has slowed substantially. There are a number of reasons for this. But, chiefly, it's because I have not yet gotten back into my regular cycles since returning from my 1 & 1/2 month leave from the diet plan. This leave was the result of staying with extended family followed by a beach vacation which was followed by my wife's birthday and a bad cold, etc. etc. I am sure I can think up a few dozen more excuses. I had expected my most recent cycle to be my first full 14 day cycle since returning. However, it got cut short due to... well... temptations...

Wednesday night, I was in Nashville. 15 co-workers decided to go to my favorite pizza restaurant, Mellow Mushroom. This is my favorite and hard to say no to, especially if it would mean eating alone or watching them eat it. The next day, I was to attend a catered business event where nothing on the menu was carb friendly. So, I decided to cut my 11 day down cycle short at 9 days. And to compensate, I did just one and a half days of carbing up instead of 3. Today, I am home and starting my next carb down earlier than I had anticipated.

However, I don't feel guilty. I was thinking about shaking up the cycles anyway. It's just a matter of figuring out a framework to give structure to a more flexible plan. And then to monitor closely to insure that it is working.


Anonymous said...

Big Daddy,

By all means, I think you should try new things and see if it works for you--I'm always tweaking my plan, too, except I really try to hold out on eating carbs for as long as I can so that (like with what you recently experienced at Mellow Mushroom) if something special comes up, I've got many many days of low-carb eating banked.

Also, I find getting back on the wagon the next day to be quite murderous, so I'd almost rather just not get off the wagon to begin with.

And yes, I would have killed to sit next to you and enjoyed that slice (or four) of pizza. LOL

Breadless MrsB said...

I think your cycling is sorta like me trying Alli/low-fat for a bit. I just felt I needed SOMEthing to jumpstart my body again. Sometimes I feel like my body is so used to low-carb now that it doesn't have that same "detoxifying" feeling it used to have whenever I get back on track. So I think you're onto something with this cycling method.

Oscar Jones said...

Great article. I really like this approach. Think I will give It a try. I recently tried a low carb diet with great results.

Anyway, great article!

Gluttonynomore said...

Years ago when I started my LC journey I was 2 weeks on with 1 day off. It worked for me then and I believe in the cycle idea. Now, I can't handle it because the craving monster doesn's know how to go back under the stair well :(. Plus trying harder to maintain constant blood sugars under 100. I would suggest that when you go off you still stay away from those highly processed carbs such as white sugar and flour.

Anonymous said...

Big Daddy,

i just found your blog tonight. I fell off the wagon 6 months ago. This was due in part to graduate school and life getting in the way. I do like your concept of cycling. I actually did this on the weekends when I was LC all the way. I kept the weight off for 3.5 years that way. I am finding now that it is hard to get back on the wagon after being off so long. keep up the good work!!

Thank you