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Old 12-04-2013, 08:34 PM   #1
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Low Carb long term sustainability?

I need to lose a minimum of 75 pounds. Two years ago I went on a low carb way of eating - 20-30 carbs per day - and the weight just melted off. It was so darn easy! But I ended up with absolutely horrid constipation which no over the counter meds could even touch. A nurse at church told me that at 70 carbs per day I could still lose weight at a decent pace. So I upped my carb intake to 70, hoping that adding in more veggies would help. It didn't. Then, after three months...I became sick and tired of meat and eggs and cheese. Me - who had *always* been a voracious carnivore was dreading every meal. In the end the constipation stopped being an inconvenience and became a problem. All the while I was doing *everything* I could to fix it.

So I gave up and promptly put back on the 25 pounds I had lost plus another 10.

So now here I am two years later. I eat healthy and I workout 45 minutes per day 5-6 days per week. But I have PCOS and if I'm lucky I'll only lose a couple of pounds a month. I'm doing all the right things but my body won't let go of the weight. The only thing I have ever done that allowed me to lose weight was the low carb. But how do I make that sustainable for the long haul? How do I not get sick of the foods and how can I incorporate more veggies into it? I know there are some safe ones like cauliflower and broccoli, but my body really gets unhappy without enough veggies and plenty of fiber these days.

I don't know how to do this. I exercise and eat healthy, but barely lose any weight. I do low carb and the weigh just melts away but it messes up my system in other ways. I'm so confused....ugh.
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Old 12-04-2013, 08:45 PM   #2
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Oh, and just on fyi ~ at the end when I gave up ~ my last straw so to speak ~ I had a horrible allergic reaction to an OTC fiber supplement with magnesium in it. So bad I almost ended up in the ER and was so sick from it I literally didn't leave my house for a month. So taking anything like that is out of the question. My current fiber of choice is Fiber One cereal with almond milk.
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Old 12-04-2013, 08:58 PM   #3
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Research! Look under the recipes section, do lots of google-ing, and get creative with different ways to fix your food. Like adding a bunch of toppings to burgers or cooking different types of chicken not just breasts, making a creamy sauce with meats. That's what helps me...
If you still need fiber for your system there are types out there that are supposed to work wonders, like Acacia Fiber, I hear it's really good, and there's no magnesium in it.
If LC is what works for you to get the weight off, I say do it, because it is really beneficial for those with PCOS/insulin issues. Luckily the strict meat and eggs part doesn't last forever.
Good luck!

Oh yeah! I can only eat eggs everyday for a few weeks at a time, then I need a break, so I rotate between eggs and protein shakes for breakfasts, it really breaks up the monotony and gives me the feeling that I'm drinking a milk shake... a welcome relief from animal protein!
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Old 12-04-2013, 09:24 PM   #4
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I was told the constipation is from a shift in hormones. Make sure your getting a TON of fat and drink plenty of water. If your eating low fat, low carb you could be having issues. Taking psyllium husks for a few days could help??

Exercise, coffee, and fat help me out LOL
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:00 PM   #5
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Maybe a whole 30 or paleo approach? They are typically low carb by US standards but allow fruit.

You might find, like I have, that I do better when I keep dairly to a minimum.
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:49 AM   #6
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I have PCOS, too. I have had luck with carb cycling and with a low carb version of JUDDD, which for me is carb cycling PLUS counting calories. In the past I have lost with Atkins and carb counting (under 80-100 carbs.) The only plans that work for me involve watching carbs.

I get you...it is harder to lose weight with PCOS and I have the same struggles with constipation, too. Have you ever tried flaxseed? Now, I put that stuff in everything. Sometimes, I still have issues. But, the flax and yoga for constipation are what helped most for me.

I had a bad reaction to magnesium once, also. It was a long time before I realized what it really was... a bad case of Candida die-off. (Or it is sometimes called carb flu around here.) I occasionally use magnesium in epsom salts for detox baths and I don't get heart palpitations, aches, pains, numb legs, etc. from it like I did when I first tried it. If you have PCOS and insulin resistance, there is a pretty good chance you could have an issue with Candida like I did. Maybe google it and see if anything sounds familiar.
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Old 12-05-2013, 04:45 AM   #7
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Since you had such serious problems with constipation, you may want to see a gastroenterologist about how to deal with it in the context of any diet plan you choose.

I've been low carbing for many years, and also have suffered with chronic constipation throughout my life. I've found that a variety of things recommended on boards like this are useless for me, but I've also found that different things have worked at different times. My doctor's assessment and advice has been extremely valuable in helping me find solutions.
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Old 12-05-2013, 05:04 AM   #8
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OK, if you're eating "nothing but meat and cheese", you're doomed to failure. Check out some of the many MANY recipes here to get some variety in your diet.


Some people find their constipation is helped by added fiber. For others (including my husband)? It makes it dramatically worse.

Iron and calcium are constipating. Magnesium has the opposite effect, so you can increase magnesium to help, but ONLY if you're not doing that by popping a cal/mag supplement!

Coconut oil also works wonders. It's become my "go-to" for any issues in that department. In fact, just recently (ie: since Thanksgiving morning when I fell and got hurt, while on vacation), I've had issues with constipation due to narcotic (Vicodin) use. ONE DAY back on coconut oil (in this case, in my morning coffee) and things are moving along nicely, again.

As for fiber, many of us incorporate things like flax, chia, and hemp seeds into our plan -- all are high in essential fatty acids AND FIBER.

I strongly suggest you check out some of the "food porn" threads, and the recipe boards. I eat FAR more fiber on an LC diet than is normally eaten on a "standard American diet". My diet -- when I'm past Induction -- is high in seeds, nuts, and vegetables.

Honestly, I lost 30+ pounds, and then started maintaining for a year. I'm currently "up", because of some severe indulgence over my Thanksgiving vacation, but I held the weight off eating LC fairly effortlessly.

This site is an amazing help. I have discovered things -- like Coconut Oil ("CO") that I never would have "found" on my own, but that have become household staples.


Every morning (WHEN I'M HOME) I start my day with "bulletproof coffee": CO and unsalted butter, whizzed together in my coffee. (I use an immersion blender, and it comes out like a latte.) This is my breakfast -- it'll sometimes even hold me through dinner. How MUCH CO I put in depends somewhat on how my "pipes" are feeling. If they're clogged, I'll use a little more. If they're running fast, I'll use a little less. (Starter "dose" is around 1 TBS, until you're used to it.)
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Old 12-05-2013, 05:10 AM   #9
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This same thing happened to me when I did low carb the first time. I ended up going back to the drawing board. I tired the fiber drink stuff to no avail, and I was consuming some veggies, but not enough.

What I did was to try to discover what was causing the problem. I found out it was grains - namely bread. I was making my own LC bread and baked goods. Today I make nothing with grains anymore. And it's working.

The first time I did low carb and this happened, others suggested taking magnesium supplements. In my opinion, no one should have to take any supplements or make supplementation just to sustain a certain diet. That's unsustainable. The diet should be self-sustaining. And I am not saying don't take your vitamins and minerals, as I think all of us should regardless of our diet.

Try to up your veggies -- make those the star of each meal, as they are a very good source of fiber and water. Meat, dairy and eggs contain absolutely no fiber. Foods without fiber can get stuck in the intestine. Fiber keeps things moving in the right direction.

My baking is now done with almond flour and the BTF mix posted in the recipe help section of the forum.
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Old 12-05-2013, 05:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
I became sick and tired of meat and eggs and cheese.
Cheese is notorious for causing constipation.
I would suggest eliminating it completely, or at least keeping it to just 1-2oz per week for a while and see if that helps.
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Old 12-05-2013, 06:27 AM   #11
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Besides coconut oil, eating shredded coconut can help some people with constipation. You can make your own macaroons with egg and sweetener of your choice, and try two per day for a bit to see if it works for you.
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Old 12-05-2013, 07:12 AM   #12
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Have you tried a good probiotic? I think this is often what is lacking. When a diet is altered, as in a low carb woe, it takes the plumbing time to adjust. Lots of people have heart burn or stop having heart burn, don't have b.m.s as regularly as they once did or may even have loose stools until all the changes have been complete. One important thing to remember is that the 'waste' product tends to be much less in volume and frequency on low carb simply because there is less 'waste'.

I think coconut oil will loosen the grip for most people who are not already taking it. I would suggest a slow start (i.e. a teaspoon once per day).
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Old 12-05-2013, 09:06 AM   #13
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I have had constipation almost to the point of impaction my whole life wether low carb or not...I would say low carb has helped a little due to high fat but I still have to suppliment with miralax daily. I have never been more regular than with low carb. I do think coconut oil helps as does mag, probiotics a good idea too. What suppliment did you take? Maybe it was something else in it that caused the reaction.
As for boedom...I found myself bored when eating high carb too...I would have the same stuff every day. And if I tried something new I would binge on it til I got bored with it too.
Plan out one lc week in advance and durring that week start planning out the next...actually write stuff down or add ingredients to shopping list if it helps. Just know that there are a lot of people who get bored no matter how they eat. I have just realized that I would rather be thinner and bored(if I had to be bored) than fat and bored.
Also if constipation persists even after increasing fats talk to a specialist and be honest about how you eat...fiber is not a cure all for some it makes things worse...especially if you do not get enough fluids...there are also articles and books on how it actually will inflame and harm your intestines.
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Old 12-05-2013, 11:09 AM   #14
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fiber is not a cure all for some it makes things worse...especially if you do not get enough fluids...there are also articles and books on how it actually will inflame and harm your intestines.
I second this. My husband has wound up in doctor's office or ER more than once with an impacted bowel caused by increased fiber intake. If it works for you, GREAT... but be aware that there is a lot of research that says for some, it does more harm than good.
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Old 12-05-2013, 11:24 AM   #15
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:24 PM   #16
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This same thing happened to me when I did low carb the first time. I ended up going back to the drawing board. I tired the fiber drink stuff to no avail, and I was consuming some veggies, but not enough.

What I did was to try to discover what was causing the problem. I found out it was grains - namely bread. I was making my own LC bread and baked goods. Today I make nothing with grains anymore. And it's working.

The first time I did low carb and this happened, others suggested taking magnesium supplements. In my opinion, no one should have to take any supplements or make supplementation just to sustain a certain diet. That's unsustainable. The diet should be self-sustaining. And I am not saying don't take your vitamins and minerals, as I think all of us should regardless of our diet.

Try to up your veggies -- make those the star of each meal, as they are a very good source of fiber and water. Meat, dairy and eggs contain absolutely no fiber. Foods without fiber can get stuck in the intestine. Fiber keeps things moving in the right direction.

My baking is now done with almond flour and the BTF mix posted in the recipe help section of the forum.
Sounds like you've found what works for you, and that's great. But taking magnesium every day is not only sustainable for many it is helpful for a lot more than constipation. It is also an excellent anti-inflammatory and a pretty good sleep aide. And, most people are deficient in it.

Dr. Eades says if he could only recommend one supplement to his LC patients it would be magnesium. He has many interesting things to say about this if you go to his blog and put magnesium in the search.

It's not for everybody, nothing is. But I think it's good to know the potential benefits of magnesium, as well as other supplements.
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:32 PM   #17
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Taking a daily probiotic and drinking plenty of water are important. I haven't had any issues since I started doing these two things.
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:56 PM   #18
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I exercise and eat healthy, but barely lose any weight. I do low carb and the weigh just melts away but it messes up my system in other ways.
I know your questions were about avoiding boredom and constipation, but I just wanted to bring this up. You probably need to redefine what it means to "eat healthy" if you are going to low carb for a lifetime. I suggest doing some reading (the books by Dr. Atkins himself; I'm reading "Why We Get Fat" by Gary Taubes now and what an eye-opener that already is!). Understanding why the diet enables you to lose weight so easily at a metabolic level might help convince you that you need to find a way to make it sustainable.

And exercise is a whole 'nother topic, but there's really not much evidence that it has much impact on weight loss.
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:02 PM   #19
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I was told the constipation is from a shift in hormones. Make sure your getting a TON of fat and drink plenty of water. If your eating low fat, low carb you could be having issues. Taking psyllium husks for a few days could help??

Exercise, coffee, and fat help me out LOL
I'd also add get enough salt. You probably are getting much less salt than you used to. Getting enough salt and fat (can't get enough fat in my opinion) is what the experts, like Gary Taubes insist on.

I eat almost no veggies, so only meat, eggs and some dairy, and take no fiber supplements, yet have no digestion or stomach issues, although I did have some minors ones in the first few weeks.

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Old 12-05-2013, 02:54 PM   #20
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Taking a daily probiotic and drinking plenty of water are important. I haven't had any issues since I started doing these two things.
What would you recommend as a good daily probiotic? I have a vitamin shop near by and was thinking of picking some up. Any thoughts?
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Old 12-05-2013, 04:08 PM   #21
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I'm not clear why you think there are no vegetables on low carb? Atkins wants you to eat at least a salad every day.


Vegetables should be your main source of carbs. If you need to eat more nonstarchy veggies to get enough fiber, then do it.

You don't have to follow Atkins induction. Choose the amount of carbs you need and get them from veggies. Go easy on the cheese. And coconut oil works, but start slowly or you'll have the opposite issue. Vary your menu to avoid boredom, but stay away from LW carb Frankenfoods.
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Old 12-05-2013, 05:46 PM   #22
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Hi bluegrassmom, I second your frustration!! I am a newbie here who has also had great weight loss results in the past on low carb, but just could not sustain it due to feeling ill and unwell while on it. I'm now looking for a lifelong, sustainable solution for myself and hoping this forum can help me find it. Torn between JUDD, Paleo, Carbohydrates Addicts Diet, South Beach (so basically many many options!) or even trying Atkins again with some of the success stories on here!! Don't have any advice or anything to add at this stage, but thought I would say hello anyway, as we seem to be in a similar situation!
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Old 12-05-2013, 05:56 PM   #23
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And I strongly recommend posting menus.

You don't have to post quantities, just give us an idea what a typical day's intake looks like.

Most people who start out with frustrations, and POST A MENU get all kinds of feedback -- which usually includes several new foods to try, which leads to long-term sustainability. (Other times, it involves suggestions for how to adjust macro-nutrients to correct problems.)
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Old 12-05-2013, 06:57 PM   #24
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I use the Target brand of Probiotics, thirty day supply is about $20.

I highly recommend reading the ingredient list on the back of any probiotics you decide to try because some of them include potentially allergenic fillers.
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Old 12-06-2013, 05:02 AM   #25
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I am not a big fan of fibre supplements. I took psyllium husks straight up once and they caused major bloating. Mind you, you are supposed to work up to them so that your body learns how to use them properly. Instead I use my fibre additives directly in cooking, where the water is added before you swallow it. Eg. you can use things like glucomannan powder to make puddings, sauces and dips. And psyllium husks can be used in baking as a binding agent. I also use insoluble fibre in my baking such as oat fibre, wheat bran and flax meal.
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Old 12-06-2013, 05:29 AM   #26
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Cheese is notorious for causing constipation.
I would suggest eliminating it completely, or at least keeping it to just 1-2oz per week for a while and see if that helps.
This! We went cold turkey a few years ago- menus way too dependent on cheese as an ingredient. Saved on calories too (try to watch them also). This forced me to be more creative with recipes- added shredded zucchini to meatball mix, rather than cheese, is a good example. Now we have it maybe once a week and consider it a treat. The budget appreciated the cutback too

And careful with magnesium. Not all supplements are created equal. Took one highly recommended to help with sleep and it made me ill. But the recommended 400 mg suit hubby and me just fine- and we are polar opposites in the plumbing area.

Last edited by mamasooze; 12-06-2013 at 05:36 AM..
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Old 12-06-2013, 03:14 PM   #27
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Coconut oil! The best natural food to keep you regular. Look up fat bombs or add it to your morning coffee or tea. Fiber only stops me up worse!
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:06 AM   #28
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I use the Target brand of Probiotics, thirty day supply is about $20.

I highly recommend reading the ingredient list on the back of any probiotics you decide to try because some of them include potentially allergenic fillers.
Thanks Rachel
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