Days 3-5: Over and Under… and Stay Away from the Dairy?

I’m nearing the end of my first week of experimenting with the effect of carbohydrates to see if I can get more control over my narcolepsy symptoms.  (To read about the first two days and my battle against Halloween candy, click here.)   Some interesting things have happened over the last few days.
On day 3, I was sick with severe GI issues.  A quick glance through my food journal revealed that I’d eaten slightly more dairy than usual.  I had a flashback of the days my daughter was a tiny baby, relying solely on me for nourishment.  Breastfeeding was tough on both of us, especially for her.  She had reflux, meaning my husband and I were consistently covered in projectile vomit.  Poor baby.  She was so colicky, probably because her little tummy was so upset.  Those first few months were intense, and I’m still in awe that we made it through relatively unscathed.  Finally, the pediatrician suggested that she may be unable to tolerate cow’s milk protein.  No, we weren’t giving her cow’s milk directly, but she was getting traces of it because I was consuming dairy products daily.  It was more important to me to continue breastfeeding than it was for me to keep consuming dairy, so I cut it out.  All of it.  Not just cheese, milk, yogurt, and other obvious sources; I also cut out breads, cakes, etc that had whey or casein in them.  It was one of the most difficult things I’ve done – much harder than giving up gluten.  Her reflux improved with my diet change along with medication.  I also noticed that I felt better, too.  I had fewer cases of digestive issues.

Because I was so ill on Wednesday, I had absolutely no appetite.  It was on this day that I faltered.  The goal was to stay at 20 net carbs per day.  On this day, however, there came a point where the only thing that sounded good was apple slices with peanut butter.  I ate half of an apple and one tablespoon of peanut butter, yet my indulgence cost me 10 net carbs.  I wasn’t sure how to tweak the rest of my day to make up for it, so I continued on the best I could, ending the day at 31 net carbs.  I wasn’t discouraged because that’s still way under my average number of carbs before this week.

Another thing I did was I lowered my Xyrem dose a bit.  I’m still losing weight rather rapidly.  It’s not due to being low-carb; I’m taking in the same amount of calories as I was prior to this week.  It’s the appetite loss causing me problems with taking in more than 1,200-1,500 calories on a daily basis.  (As someone who’s always struggled with eating habits and being on the low end of the “overweight” part of the BMI charts, it’s strange to be fighting to maintain my weight now.)  It also doesn’t help that I’ve been having problems with my stomach that have continued to worsen since June.  This whole time, I’ve wondered if it’s partially due to the Xyrem.  Plus, with my weight being down further, I thought it might be time to lower the dose.  It didn’t do much the first night, but on Thursday night and Friday night, I slept better.  I still feel groggy, nauseated, and slightly dizzy/drunk, though maybe a little less.

On day 4, I was still battling an upset stomach.  I also battled intense cravings for carbs.  Meat and vegetables no longer sounded good.  I wanted pancakes, french fries, potatoes, Reese’s peanut butter cups….anything high in carbs.  As I ate my meat-and-veggie meals, I couldn’t get much more than half down before feeling full – something I’ve struggled with as my GI issues have gotten worse.  I also didn’t eat snacks on this day.  Therefore, I was under my carbs and only consumed around 14 net carbs.

Day 5 went a little better, though I still didn’t make my goal of 20 net carbs.  I was over again by 7 net carbs.  I’m sick of eggs for breakfast and opted for a peanut butter and chocolate Kind Bar.  (If you haven’t tried these yet, you should get one next time you go to the store.  They are super delicious.)  That cost me 15 net carbs.  Whoa.  However, I noticed on day 5 that I had a little more energy in the afternoon than usual.  I even had a desire to go running – something that has not happened often lately (so sad).  I didn’t get to go running since I was busy at work and then feeling sluggish again once my day was done, but the simple fact that I finally felt like I had enough energy to make it through a run left me optimistic.

Hopefully, I can get closer to my goal of 20 net carbs over the last two days of my first week.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far, it’s that counting carbs is a little tedious.  I’ve also learned that it’s better for me to eat more smaller meals than to try to cram three larger meals.

If you’ve got tasty low-carb meal ideas, please feel free to post them in the comments! 


  1. Gina says:

    Stay the course. You’ll get there. Carbs are so much harder than gluten ever dreamed of being. I have stretches of time when I do the over/under thing too but once you eventually get to ketosis it makes life with minimal carbs so much easier. You are already way ahead of the game by being so aware of your body and how it is reacting. That’s a hard thing to teach and you come by it naturally.

    You are in my thoughts girl. Keep rocking it!

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