Weight Loss Support - Carbs are really bringing me down...

05-28-2013, 02:20 AM
I know my situation is a little bit different, but I am posting here because you guys understand how different types of food affect the body...

Last year I did Atkins, best time of my life, got tons of energy from it and I was feeling great. Before Atkins I was a carb lover, grew up eating carbs all my life and felt just fine.

FF to Jan and I get pregnant. Carbs is all I can eat. 22 weeks down and I am just sooo tired all the time. I've been pregnant before and this is supposed to be the best time of the pregnancy with lots of energy.

I so want to go back to the low carb lifestyle, but read different opinions about it during pregnancy. I have an appointment tomorrow and I will run it with my midwife....

Now, the whole point of my post is to ask if those of you who were fine with carbs notice a change after doing low carb for a while... I feel like I somehow messed up my body by going low carb and now carbs just work against me (energy wise)

Hope you guys can give me some input on this.

05-28-2013, 09:52 AM
Hi there! I am carb sensitive and have found that if I stay away from processed carbs (the white ones) I feel pretty darn good. Sprouted wheat bread, whole grain pasta, oatmeal, brown rice, etc work really well for me and I do not feel as tired and drained. YMMV, of course.

05-28-2013, 09:59 AM
When you say carbs, are you referring to breads/pastas or do you mean things like broccoli, carrots, etc? Because I'm guessing it's the first category (I've been pregnant 3x so I totally get this).

Have you considered just following a natural pre-agricultural diet? Women do not need grains/pastas to sustain a healthy pregnancy, they do need carbohydrates and fats - but carbohydrates and fats don't mean butter pasta, it can mean a rich coconut milk stew with root vegetables and meats.

Also, if you are that run down at 22 weeks (which we both know is the honeymoon period) you may also want to consider getting your iron re-tested. My 3rd pregnancy for some strange reason my iron levels were insanely low, with no change in diet/activity.

05-28-2013, 10:17 AM
Pregnancy can be exhausting. Get your levels checked and stick to whole grains.

05-28-2013, 10:35 AM
What kind of carbs are you eating? I know being pregnant brings another factor into it but many people follow a low GI/GL diet focusing on carbs that result in a stable blood sugar (like whole grains, beans, etc) rather than ones that can cause drastic spikes (white bread, sugar, etc).

05-28-2013, 10:51 AM
I also suggest you get your levels checked.

Both times I was pregnant I had gestational diabetes. I started out grossly overweight. The doctor put me on a very low carb diet: no grains at all, nothing sweet (even no fruit), no legumes, and when I had dairy, always the full fat versions. I ate lots of vegetables, real fats and unprocessed meat. I never measured what I ate, but don't think I ever overate. I felt really good and I didn't gain an ounce.

I didn't gain weight with pregnancy, but the week after I had both babies, I went back to my old carby ways and that's when I gained a lot of weight.

05-28-2013, 12:28 PM
I only eat whole grains. Brown rice, wheat pasta, whole wheat bread. I eat white flour occationally (only if I buy a treat or go to somebody else's house).

You guys are right about my iron. I got tested at the beggining and they told me my levels were great but now I just don't know. I am taking my vitamins (not as I should... But yes, I should get re check just in case.

I will talk to my MW today and see if cutting grains all together for a while will do me some good.

Thanks for all your answers :)

05-28-2013, 01:15 PM
I cut all the starchy carbs out because of the gestational diabetes. But if you want to keep the whole grains, why not eliminate just the foods with flour in them? It takes longer to digest the physical whole grains. Flour makes carbs available much more quickly.

05-28-2013, 11:17 PM
I had one very low carb pregnancy that felt great, lots of energy, very little morning sickness, upbeat the whole time. My second pregnancy I felt like I couldn't really follow low carb bc I was having insane intense apple cravings and if I have some carbs all I want is more. I felt horrible, no energy, just felt under the weather the whole time. Boy babies were pictures if health, though.

Arctic Mama
05-29-2013, 03:18 AM
I had a whole response typed out earlier and the computer ate it. Long and short of it, I stayed very low carb for this entire pregnancy, with the exception of eight weeks in the first trimester. I ate ad libitum of low carb food, according to Atkins OWL rungs (rung four is my sweet spot), and averaged 25 net carbs per day.

I felt WORLDS better when I went back to low carb than when I tried the 'sensible' advice of eating starch. Pregnancy went well, birth was easy, recovery was a breeze, I'm only up a few pounds from prepregnancy here at two months out. Baby was also vigorous and healthy, doing very well at birth and at her two month checkup earlier today. I am on a different board with many gals who have done low and zero carb pregnancies and all of us have had excellent outcomes.

Put simply - uncontrolled gestational diabetes is an entirely different biological animal from benign dietary-induced ketosis, even though both show ketones circulating through the system. They are almost anatomical opposites, and the womb environment of a mama eating eggs/sardines/steaks/salads/cream/berries/nuts/dark chocolate/sea vegetables is just not convincingly 'dangerous' as a diet. In fact my midwives did nothing but compliment my food logs, though I did not mention that I specifically low carb they praised my choices as extremely healthy. My labs were pristine (except cholesterol, which goes through the roof in the third trimester to accommodate the massive shifts of progesterone/estrogen/prolactin that is required for birth and nursing), my blood pressure was stellar, all urine screenings were healthy as well. No preterm labor, intrauterine growth restriction, fetal distress or placental calcification of any kind. I was a bit anemic, but I have been that way with every single pregnancy (and I've done SAD, Brewer's Diet, calorie counting, and now Atkins during pregnancy - this last one was by far the best outcomes during and after birth).

Don't restrict calories - eat to hunger - but doing so on unprocessed foods from the Atkins lists, along with taking appropriate supplements, exercising daily, and getting sleep every night? I defy any doctor to indicate such things are deleterious to your health or your baby's, simply because of the presence of ketones (which, dirty little secret, most pregnant women deal with almost daily. Overnight they tend to go ketotic, and with severe morning sickness it can be a constant state. Yet there are no warnings of the safety relating to either of those).

When I mention I low carb I get looks and all sorts of warnings. When I show people my activity and food logs, and just say I avoid sugar and starch in favor of more nutrient dense foods, I'm praised as some sort of health nut maternity saint :D. Methinks a fair bit of nutritional ignorance and bias is standing in for actual data in the recommendations against low carb during pregnancy. When I researched it I came across a weak correlation (relating to gestational diabetes, essentially) and an overall lack of evidence for or against ketosis during pregnancy. An absence of data does NOT equal a negative result scientifically, not by a long shot. And while I was nervous to self experiment when the general advice was that what I was doing was dangerous, I went with my gut and listened carefully to my body's feedback throughout my eating and exercise - all I came up with was energy, vitality, and a healthy mama and baby.

Oh, and I'm low carbing while nursing, too. Did I mention this is the first baby I have NOT experienced any supply issues with? I'm thoroughly convinced that I won't be succumbing to the call to add back in carbs any time in the future, pregnant or not. My body clearly responds well to low carb, whole foods, and light daily activity. The consensus on the other board I am a member of is similar - some of the doctors and midwives actually put their patients ON low carb as a healthful way to control their blood sugars and morning sickness when they have a tendency toward gestational or general type II diabetes. So while it is going against recommendations to go low carb during pregnancy, I have had nothing but brilliant results from no grains, sugar, legumes, or starchy vegetables, and a carb ceiling of about 35 net on a daily basis (usually lower, occasionally higher).

I can't praise OWL during pregnancy enough. Especially when your calories are sufficient, what's wrong with nourishing your body with a core of rich vegetables and meats, with dairy, nuts, and some low sugar fruits added in? Is anyone really convinced a bran muffin or potato is better nourishment for a mommy and baby than fried eggs, sauerkraut, or salmon? Really? I'm a skeptic of dietary advice from the medical establishment as a rule - pregnancy and nursing had proven no exception for me!

05-29-2013, 07:29 AM
I totally agree Arctic Mama.

I just think of it this way - we've thrived millions of years on pregnancy and nursing (ONLY nursing!) from eating things like salmon, nuts, and berries. Not sitting on a couch all day. And then suddenly women are made to feel they are harming their babies if they don't eat bread? Give mother nature more credit.

The more I read about pregnancy/nursing and dieting, the moer I found actual (study) support for higher fat/lower carb than the other way around... it makes sense.

05-29-2013, 01:09 PM
Thanks ladies!

I talked to my MW yesterday and she said that grains are not essential as long as I am eating my green veggies, and some fruits. After talking to her I realized that I switch my whole way of eating. I went from eating very little grains, to making the majority of my diet based on grains. I haven't been eating that many greens at all!!

So today I am starting again!

Thanks Arcticmama! I read in other forums that some women go 0 carb (I always wanted to ask them what do they mean by it???? No greens at all???)

Anyhow, I am getting rid of my grains and see if I can keep my carbs under 50 net (I have to eat berries... They are cheap and in season! Haha)

Here is to feeling better!! ;)

Arctic Mama
05-29-2013, 05:13 PM
Yes, the zero carbers generally do small amounts of organ meat, plus fats like butter and heavy whipping cream, and plenty of ground beef/eggs/fish/chicken thighs, etc. While many are not technically 'zero' carb, as all but pure muscle and fat has some trace carbohydrates and some organs are quite rich in them, it is effectively very low and they do not seek out plant based foods at all (this is a generalization, there are certainly variants among individuals!). The carb content is truly negligible, from a metabolic standpoint.

Better to think of it as 'very low carb' with no plant sources of food, as opposed to 'very low carb' in the vein of Atkins '72, if that makes sense. And though the diet seems quite extreme, there are plenty of individuals thriving on it, including pregnant and nursing mamas. It's a small subset of the low carb/high fat dieting population as a whole, but definitely exists. And from the anecdotes of these women I am online friends with, both they and their children are in excellent health. The challenge for some of them has come when they're experiencing major food aversions to meat and carb cravings - not giving in, or forcing yourself to eat what is the cornerstone of your personal diet; that can be tough!

I went back through a full Atkins induction at 16 weeks, when I was thoroughly fed up with the carb nonsense and how I felt. I had a little induction flu and pushed electrolytes hard, but beyond about day three I felt SO much better. It was like night and day, especially regarding energy. I hope it goes the same for you :)