Day 1: Always fun

matthew's picture

Day 1 of Induction to jump-start a lower carbohydrate eating plan is always kind of fun. Note I say "lower", instead of "low", because I'm a believer that one's nutrition should be tailored to activity level. At present, my activity is slow jogging, swimming, cycling, with moderate weightlifting. My injured shoulder precludes a lot of the intensity I'd like to bring to each sport, so I'm really not exhausting my glycogen stores.

Anyway, yeah, it's a special sort of "fun".

A lot of people describe the first three days of Induction like having the flu. It's an appropriate comparison! I always tend to get loose stools, be irritable, have headaches, feel as if I'm running a low-grade fever, and feel very low on energy those first three days. This time around, I decided to try to accelerate the process through exercise and a little targeted caffeine usage! Seems to be working; I'm feeling a lot better on Day Two.

Log, October 22 2012.

  • Weight: 237.8
  • Fitness: 45 minutes jogging between an eleven minute and a fifteen-minute mile.
  • Macros: 2030 calories. 153g fat, 25.5g carbohydrate, 6.5g fiber, 153g protein.
  • Micros: Took my supplementation. With last week's news that a daily multivitamin reduces the risk of cancer in men, I'm sticking with that plan. Your supplements are your business, but mine include a good multivitamin, B complex, magnesium, coq10, and some fish oil tablets.
  • Overall: Felt like crap. Typical first-week blues on Induction.


Livestrong is showing about 400 more calories than the macronutrients would suggest. That is usually a sure sign that someone messed up in the input for a food. Looking back at yesterday's food log, it sure looks like the dressing, chicken legs, and hamburger counts may not line up correctly. I have used The Daily Plate for many years, but these kinds of discrepancies often make me wonder if I should try a new utility.

Feeling like crap is par for the course the first few days I'm on any new eating regimen, but low-carb is particularlly brutal. I mitigated it with two cups of coffee and a Diet Coke, but was definitely ready for bed by 9PM.

Going for a run on Day 1, and a swim the morning of Day 2, seem to really help with getting past the carb cravings earlier. I usually have the cravings through Day 3 at least, but exercise seems to have put those to bed. I chalk it up to burning through some of my stores of glycogen quicker so I'm not suffering insulin fluctuations.

Sneak preview of Day 2: Low-carb's famous "water weight" loss is definitely swinging for me already. 237.8 on Day 1, 232. on Day 2. The first 3-7 pounds is mostly "water weight" for anybody on a low-carb eating regimen, and should be ignored (glycogen is an energy storage food that's basically a mixture of glucose and water). That said, a shrunken liver and reduced glycogen storage in your cells does make many people feel "thinner" even if the body fat remains unchanged. A loss of five pounds in the first twenty-four hours is unusual; I chalk it up to my cardio. Expecting to feel the "bonk" in my training efforts here within the next few days, but no loss of strength/motivation/stamina yet.


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matthew's picture

Two weeks in...

Two weeks in, I have had a ton of trouble sticking to this. No weight gained (good!), but also no weight lost (bad!). I've gone back to careful calorie-counting with a focus on a balanced diet to fuel workouts. Gotta get my body used to an 1800-calorie-per-day level, and that means resetting my expectations of "normal" portion sizes, and avoiding all sugars.

Matthew P. Barnson