For most people, a low carb diet is not their first diet. We come to low carb after failure with isocaloric diets, where we starved while eating tiny portions that were supposedly ideal for our bodies, but not for our appetite. In between meals we watched the clock, counting the hours, minutes, and seconds until the next unfulfilling meal awaited. In between we sipped (or gulped) water, maybe ate carrot sticks or celery, and looked forward with a combination off desire and dread of the next low-calorie meal, hoping this one would fill us up, and usually disappointed that it didn’t.
We got used to hunger if we kept with it long enough. Hunger was just a part of dieting that couldn’t be avoided.
Then someone came along and told us about low carb – and the promise that you can lose weight and not be hungry. Hard to believe, but for many of us, that’s exactly what happened. Low carb diets – especially ketogenic ones, can kill an appetite dead.
It’s a dieter’s Shangra-La. Eat til full and lose weight. Months pass, and we change in two ways. First, the appetite suppression lessens simply because we begin to build a tolerance to it. I believe the power of Ketosis has the most impact on someone who has been high carb all their lives, but that appetite suppressant naturally lessens with time on the diet and the gradual reintroduction of carbs that is usually the natural progression of these diets.
The second change is we grow less tolerant of hunger. We’re less used to it, and as the ketogenic aspects of the diet lessen, through acclimation or through the gradual introduction of carbs, our lessened tolerance of hunger gets us in trouble as we eat greater quantities of low carb food, and the weight loss stops.
I’m wondering if building a ‘hunger practice’ into a low carb diet from the outset – periods where we practice being hungry for short periods of time – might prove beneficial as we progress to long-term weight loss and maintenance.
Just my own theory – does this resonate with any of you?