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Hoonosewen 04-08-2013 02:46 AM

Anxiety when low carbing?
 
I've been going through a cycle lately where I go VLC and within a few days I start feeling anxiety; sort of like I'm super self conscious and uncomfortable in my own skin. I almost feel incapable of socializing and having conversations with people. It is kind of a strange feeling and difficult to pinpoint exactly. It sort of feels like all my confidence has been sucked out of me and I feel completely insecure and incapable. It's very unpleasant.

Something may come up and my resolve weakens and I end up bingeing on carbs , my mood then smooths out, I feel bloated, hot, dull and slowed down, yet content.. most of the anxiety gone, the insecurity faded.

Has anybody else experienced this? Is the anxiety something that will smooth out after a few months of faithful low carbing? Or does this mean that I may be one of those people that does not do very well on VLC?

When starting low carb, I typically eat meat, fish, eggs, vegetables (fresh, steamed, cooked, boiled) and cheeses. I stay around 20 carbs a day and basically stick to that as long as I can. I am trying to get into ketosis and stay in ketosis as long as I can. I am doing it for health benefits and weight loss. I am currently around 220 at 5 "11 and 33 years of age.

Anybody share any of these experiences or have any suggestions?

Thank You,

Paul

jazills 04-08-2013 03:36 AM

Perhaps it is the rise and fall of blood sugar. Maybe you should try a gradual approach, start on the higher end and lower them slowly. Serotonin levels are affected, and everyone is different in the response to the change. On the other hand being in Ketosis can also make you feel like you drunk 2 whole pots of coffee and you're floating on cloud nine. Some people are more sensitive than others.

It may not be long term, and it could allow for just some time to get used to the change. Maybe try some magnesium, I read it helps with a number of things including anxiety.

On a personal note, I become this way by eating carbs. Severely depressed and anxious. LC fixed all of that for me.

Punkin 04-08-2013 05:13 AM

It has to do with fluctuating blood sugar levels. Probably once your body adjusts to being LC it will subside, once you are in ketosis the brain will run on ketone bodies more efficiently.

Hayek 04-08-2013 06:25 AM

Thankfully I'm one of those people who gets mood elevation and energy when I start low-carbing (and the first go-around it was like the 2 pots of coffee and cloud 9 jazills describe). However, when I have a carb binge, I feel like you do starting low-carb. My anxiety comes back, and I get relatively depressed (plus the whole bloated and dull thing lol). While I have the opposite mood reaction than you do, it took me about 3-4 days the first time around to hit ketosis. Then about another 2 days for the energy levels to even out to tolerable levels and for the overly giddy euphoria to just stabilize into an all-around good mood.

However, I have one friend who just started low-carbing last Monday. I didn't know he started, but he kept mentioning how sad he kept feeling throughout the week yet didn't really know why (as nothing particular was going on in his life). Well around Thursday he mentioned he started a low carb diet and maybe that was the cause so I shared with him some information I gathered from these boards. This morning (Day 7 for him) he stated he was finally feeling better and more emotionally stabilized. Granted, I'm not sure how faithful he's staying to his plan or what his plan exactly is other than his running trainer told him that eating under 20 carbs a day and mostly through chicken, eggs, and green veggies is a quick way to lose 10lbs. He's not a very big guy and only doing it for quick weight loss, so we'll see what happens.

My other friend who is more around my (and your) stats did Atkins about two years ago before life got in the way. He said he didn't get depressed or anything, but extremely irritable and lethargic when starting out low carbing. When we discussed it about a month ago, he said he couldn't remember exactly how long it took, but that it was "about a week" before he started feeling normal again.

Of course, those are just anecdotes that I can't relate to, but it seems that guys I know eating in similar fashions with similar downward mood-reactions even out around the one-week range. But it really seems to depend on the person.

clackley 04-08-2013 07:11 AM

You are almost certainly experiencing ketosis. The brain actually does better in this state and although you may feel 'different' for a time, if you stick with it, you will feel normal again once you become keto-adapted. Adding back carbs or succumbing to cravings will only set you back to start the process all over again.

Hoonosewen 04-08-2013 07:26 AM

Responses
 
Thank you guys for your helpful responses. I get anxious and irritable and in my experience it lasts several weeks or even months sometimes. I would love to know what I can do to help alleviate it. I vaguely remember that after a couple months it becomes more tolerable - but I'm not quite sure. I wonder if I'm doing something wrong?

I usually take a multivitamin, fish oil, B complex, Vit D3 with calcium and something else and a few 1000 mg Vit C's.

I do tend to drink a lot of water when I start low carbing.. maybe it's the minerals getting flushed out? I try to add salt to my food as often as possible. Due to money constraints it's hard to get meat to make broth all the time as I've often heard suggested. I have a Magnesium Citrate that I take at times, but I have not noticed a difference with it and sometimes it keeps me from sleeping.

I took 5HTP for a while but got bad isomnia and weird dreams.

clackley 04-08-2013 07:36 AM

In my own personal experience, magnesium is very important and rather than taking b complex, consider just b12. Melatonin is also very useful.

Keto adaption can take up to 2 months if you are 100% adherent. Any time you eat outside your carb allowance, you set yourself back to square one. This seems to be the case until you become fully adapted.

In my own experience, it did not take that long but I would say it did take about a month. I had trouble sleeping and felt 'wired'.

abby! 04-08-2013 07:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hoonosewen (Post 16360773)
Thank you guys for your helpful responses. I get anxious and irritable and in my experience it lasts several weeks or even months sometimes. I would love to know what I can do to help alleviate it. I vaguely remember that after a couple months it becomes more tolerable - but I'm not quite sure. I wonder if I'm doing something wrong?

I usually take a multivitamin, fish oil, B complex, Vit D3 with calcium and something else and a few 1000 mg Vit C's.

I do tend to drink a lot of water when I start low carbing.. maybe it's the minerals getting flushed out? I try to add salt to my food as often as possible. Due to money constraints it's hard to get meat to make broth all the time as I've often heard suggested. I have a Magnesium Citrate that I take at times, but I have not noticed a difference with it and sometimes it keeps me from sleeping.

I took 5HTP for a while but got bad isomnia and weird dreams.

If it lasts months, I would seriously consider adding carbs. I'm happiest at low carb but not at levels that has me in ketosis. I don't like how I feel on ketosis even weeks in. 50g of carbs is still low carb and you will still lose at the appropriate calorie level. Please consider south beach or another less extreme way of limiting carbs because mental health is just as important as physical.

avid 04-08-2013 07:45 AM

I think we here at LCF tend to view diet as the cause/answer to many of our woes.
Perhaps it's something entirelly different.
I can understand that you point to LC as a cause for your anxiety because of the timing.
But you chose this moment to renew LC'ing for a reason.
Maybe that reason is causing, or at least contributing to your anxiety?
I understand the pain of anxiety. Been there, and will never say I'll never be there again.
I wish you all the best.

Knittering 04-08-2013 09:55 AM

Quote:

When starting low carb, I typically eat meat, fish, eggs, vegetables (fresh, steamed, cooked, boiled) and cheeses. I stay around 20 carbs a day and basically stick to that as long as I can.
Are you getting enough fat in your diet? Fat (especially coconut oil) is what promotes feelings of well-being for me, not just being in ketosis.

reddarin 04-08-2013 12:00 PM

Coconut has an undocumented ethereal effect too - I feel good when other people are eating it :)

Leo41 04-08-2013 12:12 PM

There's a book (I think it's called Potatoes and Prozac) in which the author cites many people who experience anxiety from eating low carb. I think it's a drop in serotonin, but I'm not really sure. Her 'prescription' is a plain, boiled potato at bedtime. You'd have to check the book for the details, but it seems to work for a lot of people.

If you find the book online, there should be reviews, etc. that will give you some idea whether your one of the people who can benefit from this.

Patience 04-08-2013 12:27 PM

I got a little spacey last Friday at a conference, not exactly anxiety but definitely not feeling comforable in my skin. Wonky as someone described it. I was just over a weekend my new LC effort. I just left, and hung out at the retreat center where I was lodging. That was the ticket. It was a short - lived sensation, thankfully. You say you have given up 5-HTP. It does work for me, but I take low doses (50 mg) and never right before bed. And rarely in successive days. I've never gotten bad dreams, although I know that is a common side effect. Maybe it helps to try earlier in the day? In my previous LC experience, I did feel euphoria, but that's not the case this time. Not sure the difference.

abby! 04-08-2013 12:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leo41 (Post 16361431)
There's a book (I think it's called Potatoes and Prozac) in which the author cites many people who experience anxiety from eating low carb. I think it's a drop in serotonin, but I'm not really sure. Her 'prescription' is a plain, boiled potato at bedtime. You'd have to check the book for the details, but it seems to work for a lot of people.

If you find the book online, there should be reviews, etc. that will give you some idea whether your one of the people who can benefit from this.

:goodpost: as always.

Erin57 04-08-2013 12:57 PM

If you stay low carb and it continues you need to find your personal sweet spot. I was waking up at very early hours with a feeling of impending doom for no reason. I didn't recognize it as anxiety at first. I did try all the supplements that Julia Ross recommends but none seemed to work for me. My sweet spot was 40. YMMV.

Biochic 04-08-2013 02:43 PM

I have taken GABA in the past which helped with anxiety. I've been off of it for 2 weeks now and anxiety has not returned:dunno:

CTH 04-08-2013 02:50 PM

I am taking a prescription for anxiety which may affect weight loss rate but life without it was miserable... feels like your heart is pounding right in your throat.. being tired and trying to sleep but your heart is going BOOM BOOM BOOM! Can't pin it one particular thing in your life... it's your body's involuntary nervous system going into over-drive.

After a visit to the doctor and all other serious health issues ruled out, he put me on some meds. The first one was AWFUL!! Left me feeling like a zombie all day.. I just wanted to sleep.

Switched it to another and I feel much better. The hard part is that these types of drugs take weeks before they start working and everyone reacts differently to them so if one isn't working you have to move to another.

Of course I would prefer to take nothing... will revisit the issue with the doc in a few months...

Eyma 04-08-2013 11:44 PM

I was very anxious for about a month - really struggled to sleep and would wake up at 3 or 4am every day. It went away, as my body adjusted and I incorporated exercise into my routine.

Hoonosewen 04-09-2013 04:01 AM

Suggestions
 
Thanks again guys for all your great suggestions.

- I've tried melatonin and I get weird sleep and bad dreams on it, but I'm willing to give it a go again sometime.

- I might try incorporating 5HTP earlier in the day, because the issue seems like it's likely to be seratonin related.

I am actually going to restart induction on Thursday 4-11 and going to try to include some exercises, B12, Gaba and chamomile tea, as well as my multivitamin, Vit C, and the D3/Mag/Cal combo one. And of course generously salting everything with sea salt and drinking loads of water.

I'm going to stick it out for a couple months and if things don't smooth out by then I may start experimenting with some startches like sweet potatoes or potatoes. I know fruits are too sweet and usually start my cravings for sweets up.

I'm going to try to take a 45 min walk almost every day. I work nights so some things are tough to get into the schedule, but I get a lot of time at work to do things, like research and simple exercises. I'm thinking of starting out slow, but getting in some push-ups, sit ups, squats and leg lifts in during my night shift.

nolcjunk 04-09-2013 04:54 AM

How many of those 20 carbs are vegetables? I feel the best when I get about 20-30 just from vegetables alone. There are so many nutrients in them and you can't really replace with supplementation.

I also second the GABA- a sublingual form of it is great before bed.

flappa1016 04-09-2013 11:44 AM

I don't have any advice to add, but I am so glad I saw this thread! I thought it was just me. The last year at work has been hell for me, and my husband and I have been having some really serious financial problems. I go through periods when I am so depressed that I have to force myself out of bed in the morning, and I have other times when I can't sleep for sh*t, and my brain just won't shut off. I'm in the insomniac phase right now.

My entire life I've gone through phases where I've felt somewhat down, but never to the levels that I've been experiencing in the last 12-18 months.

CTH 04-09-2013 01:18 PM

I cannot stress how important it is to go see a doctor if you are not getting relief from home remedies or naturopathic treatments.

There is no reason to go through life feeling miserable. Sometimes it's a fear of going to the doctor that can make things even worse!

I found that diet and exercise did not bring the relief I was looking for. Teas, vitamins, deep breathing exercises, etc were no help.

When you are not feeling well it affects the entire househould... perhaps in ways you may not even see at the time....

Chuck41 04-09-2013 01:41 PM

Most everything I could share has already been mentioned already. Most of the sources stress lots of water, and the more carbs are restricted, the more salt you need. You often hear it called the Atkins Flu. Usually recommended is liquids and salt. A hot cup of bullion soup usually helps me

Hoonosewen 04-09-2013 07:04 PM

Boullion
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chuck41 (Post 16363594)
Most everything I could share has already been mentioned already. Most of the sources stress lots of water, and the more carbs are restricted, the more salt you need. You often hear it called the Atkins Flu. Usually recommended is liquids and salt. A hot cup of bullion soup usually helps me

When you say Bullion do you mean the kind you can make with instant cubes, like Knor or do you mean made from scratch?

Does anyone use instant bullion cubes for the salt content or is that a no no because of the msg content?

Hoonosewen 04-09-2013 07:06 PM

Fat
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Knittering (Post 16361145)
Are you getting enough fat in your diet? Fat (especially coconut oil) is what promotes feelings of well-being for me, not just being in ketosis.

Yes, I believe I'm getting enough fat in the diet and I have a cup of tea with 2 tbsp of coconut oil twice a day.

reddarin 04-09-2013 07:07 PM

I use McCormick chicken bouillon cubes.

My formula for broth:

2 cubes
15 to 28 grams bacon grease
10 to 20 grams butter.

If I am eating cabbage I'll either lightly boil it in the broth or, if I am frying the cabbage, I'll throw a little raw in to flavor the broth.

nolcjunk 04-09-2013 07:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hoonosewen (Post 16364134)
When you say Bullion do you mean the kind you can make with instant cubes, like Knor or do you mean made from scratch?

Does anyone use instant bullion cubes for the salt content or is that a no no because of the msg content?

Homemade is best. All the commercial ones pretty much have trashy ingredients like msg, hydrogenated oils, corn starch, etc. Making your own is easy and so much healthier.

reddarin 04-09-2013 08:46 PM

Home made is easy. I've never tried this recipe but everyone says it is outstanding. Courtesy of Buffy:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Buffy45 (Post 16116757)
Take a 8 qt souppot, throw in a whole chicken or the parts to equal at least one chicken and fill pan with water. Put in lots of sea salt and pepper. To this I add at least 1/2 lb butter and let it simmer on the stove all day. Simmering slowly will not boil off your water, which you want to keep, if it gets a little low, add some more hot water. Then, dip out all the chicken and bones, pull that meat off and store, I put mine in bags of 4 oz and strain your broth. Put in freezer containers. It is high fat, strong, salty broth.

And this handy tip from Kateenie:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kateenie (Post 16117541)
For bone broths, I use a big stock pot that came with a "pasta" insert that is really a giant strainer. Plop bones, celery, etc. in and then just pull out the inner pot and the broth is ready! Good thing, since I don't cook pasta in it


Patience 04-10-2013 07:12 AM

I sometimes supplement my homemade broth with purchased broth as the added liquid. Its very rich, and I can always dilute with extra water should I want to. I always buy low salt broth, figuring I can add salt if necessary. Be very careful about purchasing broths, so many have added sugar.

Janknitz 04-10-2013 12:37 PM

I was having a lot of anxiety with low carb and found out it was simple dehydration. I'm terrible about drinking enough, and when I start to feel anxious now, I check in with myself to see if I've been taking in enough fluid.

This is not the cyclical type of anxiety I experienced with blood sugar fluctuations--it's more constant and not as severe. My heart will pound, too.

Drink up, see if it helps.


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