What Should I Expect if I Give Up Grains?
You decided to give up grains from your diet to lose fat, but there is something wrong…
You were supposed to have more energy, but you aren’t.
You were supposed to be less moody, but again you aren’t. In fact, you have turned into Grumpy McGrumpy-Pants.
What the Sara Lee bread is going on here?
Take a breather. This is normal for someone looking to give up grains. In fact, it may be something you have to deal with for a few weeks.
The truth is…you may be running into grain withdrawals.
This is common. If you haven’t started giving up grains yet, then you should expect it when you do. It should last for maybe a 2-3 weeks or even a month at the most. For some it may be a week or days. Then when it is done, you will come out on the other end with more energy, less moodiness, and more self-control.
Here are some initial challenges you should brace yourself for if you give up grains:
- constantly thinking about grains (or sugars)
- diarrhea (kinda weird both constipation and diarrhea can happen)
- “ketone burps” (normal burps, but just caused by ketones doing their thing)
You might say, “Being healthy shouldn’t do this. I don’t want to give up grains anymore.”
What is happening is that your body is purging itself from the toxins you have spent years dumping down it. It is like a phoenix rising from the ashes. These things are happening not because of where you are going, but because of where you have been.
Putting the Cleanse in Perspective
Remember when you decide to give up grains you are giving up something addictive, just like cigarettes. Some are just going to respond better than others, but there are definitely going to be times when you get a hankering for pasta, pizza, or chips. Expect this to not be a simple process.
Now when someone stops smoking and they have withdrawals, we don’t tell them they should go back to smoking right? The same should be the case here for grains.
Be patient with it and make sure to include vegetables and fruit to help curb the cravings.
Focus on your goals:
- shopping wherever you want for clothes,
- being able to use a belt again without breaking it,
- feeling more attractive,
- confidence at work, and
- living longer to be with your loved ones and seeing your kids get married.
Weigh what matters the most: a couple weeks of being uncomfortable or spending less time in your life with your family.
With these short term give up grains side-effects, it shows it is important to be smart about this. Some of you may need to have a knowledgeable physician when doing a lower-carb/Paleo type diet, especially if you have diabetes or suffer from hypertension.
If you are already taking drugs to lower your blood pressure or blood sugar, then you want to make sure you include more carbs through fruits and vegetables. If your blood sugar is too low it can cause hypoglycemia, which can lead to seizures and potentially even death. So make sure to definitely get in vegetables and occasional fruit. Again, get a doctor if you have health issues.
I like you more when you are living.
But What About Cholesterol Increase
Now as you remove grains, it is usually replaced by more protein and fat. There is no doubt this will raise your overall and LDL cholesterol. This is a common reason why people quit after going low carb.
Remember as we talked about earlier in the grain series, there is only a certain kind of LDL cholesterol that is dangerous. This dangerous LDL, called small, dense LDL, is created by grains. Repeat…don’t panic.
So while your LDL, and therefore your total cholesterol, are going up, the size of the LDL is growing. The growing thing is very good. It means the LDL cholesterol is not going to get stuck in your arteries.
Also as you lose fat your body dumps cholesterol too. Initially as cholesterol is going through your blood stream it can spike your insulin levels. This is known as “transient hypercholesterolemia”. This happens for a short period of time. This cholesterol will be excreted and your levels will lower.
Again, give this a month or two and your cholesterol along with the quality of your life will work out.
So I Give up Grains, but What’s Next?
Ok, we get it is going to take some time to get this taken care of. The next question is, “Why aren’t more people dumping grains?”