HFLC Part 2 – Food for thought.

A few weeks back I wrote this post. For anyone yet to read it, I decided to try out a low-fat high carb diet in order to see whether my skepticism was well founded. Truthfully it will be difficult to come to much of a conclusion about the last two weeks owing to the overindulgence of the last few days. Christmas is nothing if not a time for Chocolate.

Anyway – what actually changed? My caloric intake was much the same, averaging somewhere between 2,500 and 3,500 depending on whether or not I was training on that particular day. I tried to keep my protein intake fairly constant (making up 20-25% of total calories), whilst reducing carbs (from 60 down to approx 35%) and upping fat (20 to 45%). There is no agreed definition of that which precisely constitutes a low-carb diet, I had to be realistic and accept that I didn’t have the self discipline to completely cut out all my favourite foods (that is to say fruit, bread and pasta).

Two days after starting the new regime I went out on the bike for the first time. According to advocates, this diet does take some time to adapt to – hence feeling rubbish was to be expected. My legs very heavy, I certainly lacked any oomph at higher intensities. That said, my power numbers weren’t significantly poorer than usual. As time has progressed I’ve felt gradually better – at this point I’m not noticing much difference from before.

Off the bike there have been some positive changes. Eating a high fat breakfast (i.e. bacon and eggs) certainly leaves me feeling far more satisfied than my usual (i.e. yoghurt with fruit and honey). Throughout the first few days there were some serious cravings to contend with, saying no to chocolate on all but a few occasions did take a good bit of willpower. Once this threshold was passed the cravings did lessen. I genuinely felt more in control of my own eating, with markedly reduced hunger. Sadly my discipline was forgotten for purposes of Christmas and the two days that followed. Now I’ll have to wean myself off sugar all over again.

My mood was certainly more stable when eating less sugar, highs and lows were far less pronounced – I’ll liken it to being closer to a set-point. The same goes for my energy levels, off the bike I found day to day living to be pleasantly easier. My sleep experienced a similar improvement, being a life long insomniac that one did come as a surprise. In the interest of full disclosure, I have read accounts of similar experiences on this diet and as such cannot rule out the placebo effect.

I haven’t lost any weight but given the time of year I wasn’t expecting to. Come the next post I should have a better idea of whether or not this diet is having the desired affect. Having allowed myself some festive indulgence, it’s now back to a more healthy regime. With the season potentially starting in February, it is time to start training harder and losing some of that ‘winter insulation’.

Bottom line – Christmas has got in the way but casting that aside I’m cautiously optimistic about the effects of this diet. Just to reiterate this first post however, I am not advising anyone to try it. What works for one individual may be highly detrimental to another.

On a different note – Happy new year to all my readers. As ever, stay tuned for more.

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