Before Christmas, things were going well on the Low Carb High Fat train. Then Christmas came and went and something changed. I went a bit too far with the experimentation, away from the basics, and I got a bit lost. The physical sensations were different, I started eating more often and larger plates of food (averaging 500kcals a day more than I'm supposed to need even accounting for training). I didn't put on any weight (go figure), but nor was it dropping off like it should do (I'm still nowhere near a lean, fat-fuelled body composition and I reckon there's about 5kg to go from the weight I was 2 days ago), I felt squashy, cranky, sleepy and just not the same as before Christmas.
I stumbled across a post by Sweet Geek about ketogenic diets and her experience and it made me realise that urine ketone measurements doesn't tell you enough of the story for my purposes. I need to be at the place where my brain isn't powered by glucose created in my liver from dietary protein; "By testing your blood ketones, you can really tell not only if you are
in ketotis but if you are well adapted, i.e. making enough ketones to
fuel your brain and the rest of your body runs on fat. If you are on the
borderline, then your liver will create glucose from protein which if
you are trying to lower glucose metabolism, isn’t terribly helpful. In
addition it seems that in that borderline state you aren’t getting
enough glucose to use it as your primary fuel and yet you aren’t able to
run off of fat well either and consequently you probably feel awful
with low-energy, fatigue, cravings and mood swings." Bingo! There were the differences between before and after Christmas.
So, when I'm back from training camp in Lanzarote, I'll be using the ridiculously expensive ketone testing strips that MrTOTKat got for me (along with a ketone testing machine, which is far less stupidly expensive in the grand scheme of things) once a day, in the morning probably. And I'll lay off the fancy experimentation stuff, stick to the delicious things we were eating in November/December last year and try a new thing once a week or so, but not obsessively. In the mean time, I'll just aim to keep carbs to 30g a day or less, easy on the protein and eat when I'm hungry rather than when it's time.