This post is a two for one, because the topics are related. I had posted some time ago about how hot flashes were driving me crazy at night. I was going to try Soy for the isoflavones to see if it helped. Not only did it not help I found I am extremely intolerant of Soy. I had horrible GI upset after eating Soy. Now, some people said my body would just get used to it. Well guess what? I didn’t want to get used to it. I am on my feet 8 hours a day at work, and being in the bathroom every 30 minutes is just not doable. So, no more soy. For the record I was eating tofu, but I am not going to try any other soy products.
I had posted on my Facebook profile to ask any of my 50 and older lady friends what they were doing for hot flashes. Some did say estrogen hormone replacement, but most said they just learned to suffer with it, with various methods of cooling. None of these sounded even moderately helpful to me. Then, one friend, shared that decreasing sugars helped her a lot. Now, that was interesting! So, I started researching sugar, which includes carbs, and hot flashes. There are tons of articles and research on this topic, but this website explains it in a simple understandable way. Now, I am not promoting her program just sharing her thoughts on the topic of hot flashes and sugar/carbs.
I started to test whether a low carb diet could help my hot flashes. I am not going to lie I was skeptical. I started by just avoiding foods with lots of added sugars, that means highly processed foods. Then, I started paying more attention to how many carbs per serving where in the foods I ate. Believe it or not my hot flashes started to disappear just with those little changes. I started waking up less at night with hot flashes. Better sleep, yay!
Now, comes the second part of this topic. I began to wonder if those low carb diets everyone raves about could help me lose weight more efficiently than what I was already doing, and keep it off. That last part, keeping it off, is super important to me. As a woman who comes from a gene line of heavy people I have often felt like being fat was just in my genes. I truly still believe that, but I had lost lots of weight before children and knew I could do it again. But, my body has changed since my twenties, and with less female hormones my metabolism is much slower and fat deposits have moved to my abdominal area, from my hips. I am short, so it is very easy to carry extra weight in a high carb world of eating. Plus, I could maybe do away with hot flashes altogether as well as lose weight.
So, what is low carb? Lots of Diabetics follow a low carb diet, or at least are recommended to. According to the ADA a low carb diet is 150 grams per day or less. That may sound like a lot of carbs, but it really is not. If you have been following my Portion Distortion posts you will have read exactly how easy it is to get too many carbs with high portions. But, with some discipline and practice it is doable. To throw a wrench into it I also am stage 3 CKD, which means I limit my protein intake, as well as watch potassium and phosphorus. This complicates a low carb diet as many fruits and veggies are high in potassium and phosphorus. But, again it is doable with some discipline and practice.
I had stopped weighing myself and was only measuring my body every week. I had lost inches, so I lost fat, but my weight basically just stayed the same or a little less. This is extremely frustrating if you have a goal to lose weight. So, I started keeping a food journal, using my Fitbit app, to track how many carbs I was consuming in a day, as well as calories. I did this for a period of 4 weeks and you can read my results below.
In those 4 weeks I have managed to lose 10 pounds so far.
If I stay at less than 100 carbs per day I can lose a pound a day. For me that means 80-105 grams of carbs per day. I am not Keto, which is less than 50 grams of carbs per day. Keto could be very dangerous for anyone with kidney disease. If I go 106-120 grams of carbs per day I may lose weight, but I won’t gain weight. Anything over 120 grams per day and I will gain weight.
I did not change my exercise routine at all, and kept it at low intensity level. Now, I could have lost more weight than 10 pounds, but I was testing what levels I needed to be at to lose weight. Also, it is extremely hard to stay at 100 carbs per day, every day, especially when the family wants to get together or eat out. That part I am still learning to adjust and control.
So, what do I eat? First, I count all carbs even from drinks, which would mostly be my coffee creamer since I drink water. See my post on coffee creamer. Today, for example I had my coffee with creamer, lunch was a 5 oz baked potato with my homemade coleslaw 1/2 cup, dinner will be my homemade pasta salad. The pasta I used allows me 1 1/4 cup of pasta per serving with 42 carbs per serving. That will bring me exactly to 102 grams of carbs for today. If I need a snack I have hard boiled eggs in the fridge. Which I will probably eat anyhow as pasta salad provides me with little to no protein. I aim for at least 40-50 grams of protein per day. I don’t calculate potassium or phosphorus, but I do keep those foods to half of a regular serving or even quarter. I forgot to say I had a spinach, banana smoothie with my lunch. I keep calories at 1200 to 1500 calories per day, and some days with low carbs it is hard to even get to 1200 calories per day.
This does not mean I never eat candy or treats such as chips. I do, I just count them into my daily carbs, and try to keep them to a minimum. If I am going to eat out, well that is a challenge. You can eat part of the meal and bring the rest home. Since I am the only one on low carbs, I can’t expect everyone else to eat where I want. We have not eaten out in a while, because covid cases are going up again, here. I use my healthy kidney app to help me figure out how much phosphorus is in foods. I am also not high fat intake, another part of a keto diet. I avoid processed foods if at all possible. Processed foods are always going to be higher in sugar, fat and sodium.
The pasta salad I mentioned above is the budget meal on the menu for today. See my 25 dollar food challenge post. It does have cheese in it for some protein, but I only consume 1 oz of cheese per day. That is mostly for my daughter and husband.
My hot flashes are now completely gone. I have not had even one in 4 weeks! I sleep awesome, most nights, I mean there has to be every now and then when I can’t sleep, lol. But, it isn’t because of hot flashes!
If you would like to learn more about counting carbs, losing weight, getting rid of hot flashes, or monitoring your kidney diet, use the contact form at the end of this post to message me for a free meet and greet.