Today was definitely the most easy-breezy day. The system feels like it’s starting to normalize. Sleep was a little better. My eyes did not glow red when I asked for things like kegs of beer. I’m really having to remind myself to eat now because I just don’t think about food or have any hunger signals. Crazy I know.
Back to the conversation on up and down regulation however before leaving that near and dear topic:
When you get off of a beta-endorphin spiking substance for example, or even quit a beta-endorphin spiking activity like intense exercise, receptor sites for beta-endorphin begin to open up again. The lower the levels of endorphin, the more receptor sites are open.
This is what sets a person up for relapse. Consider the simple scenario of dropping sugar, or even just carbs in general…
Sugar spikes beta-endorphin. You get a little, happy buzz from it when you first start eating sugar. As receptor sites shut down to keep too much endorphin from flooding the system, the sugar no longer provides a buzz. In fact, without the sugar, and less receptor sites open, you feel crappier without your sugar. Sugar, is the only thing that makes you feel normal, although that’s temporary. Thus addiction is established.
If you stop eating sugar, you will crave it strongly as endorphin levels drop to normal because your receptor sites will be too low. You will then have the experience of having too little circulating endorphin. Instead of feeling the “runner’s high,” where pain subsides and euphoria takes over, you will have a perpetual low, experiencing extra pain, dysphoria (not actually a word but we’re communicating right?), grouchiness, depression, you name it.
The longer you stay away from the sugar, the more receptor sites spring back into action. You are now in a more “upregulated” state. All this means is that your chances of relapse are even greater. The reward, if you touch sugar, will be enhanced since you have more receptor sites open. This is often why people, when trying to quit a substance, make it for a while and then, when they encounter the substance again, get hooked on it even worse than they were before deciding to quit. In a way, trying to give up something addictive is risky. If you fail, odds are your addiction will be even more severe than it was if you had never tried avoiding it.
And it doesn’t matter what you do or ingest – if it has a stimulating property to biochemicals like serotonin or beta-endorphin, norepinephrine, dopamine, or whatever – that substance/activity will enter you into an addictive cycle due to downregulation as a result of frequently spiking those chemicals.
Consider legendary ultramarathoner and author, Dean Karnazes. Dean is famous for running 200 miles in one lick and other truly super-human endurance feats. His accomplishments in that arena are truly beyond believable.
In one of Dean’s books though, he talks about the three days he’d tried to rest one time. When trying to rest, since Dean probably has fewer beta-endorphin receptor of any living human being, he absolutely collapsed. Again, Dean experienced having far too little beta-endorphin, which is the exact opposite of the symptoms of the high. He became sick, depressed, ached all over… So he got back in his running shoes and got his beta-endorphin levels back up to where his tiny amount of receptor sites could take in enough for him to feel like his normal, positive, incredibly enthusiastic, and good-spirited self (or so he makes it seem).
I too had this experience when I was an exercise addict. If I didn’t get intense exercise by noon I was beyond unruly. The pain I felt in my back was so intense I could barely stand up, and I would yell at my then girlfriend over whatever I could find to yell about. Either that or have an emotional breakdown. After exercise, it was like someone drugged me with happy juice, and I had no physical pain whatsoever.
It wasn’t until I decided to stop exercising, take an extended break, and just focus on eating a healthy diet that my pain went away without having to rely on exercise to override my downregulated receptor sites. Life then became stable, instead of wavering back and forth between Godzilla and Barney depending on how much blood, sweat, and tears I’d left on the trail or in the gym that day.
All I’m saying is this, in relation to this diet…
Just because something makes you feel better doesn’t mean it is good for you. Just because something makes you feel bad doesn’t mean it is bad for you. Oftentimes, much healing occurs when you’re feeling bad, and much damage occurs when you are feeling good. Anyway, no matter how good I feel on this diet (and I feel pretty swell at the moment), that’s not necessarily proof of anything. We’ll see where it goes from here.
Breakfast: 4 eggs scrambled in 1.5T of butter with 3 massive uncured pastured pork bacon strips
Lunch: 1 pound raw fatty ribeye, sliced and drizzled with 1T macadamia nut oil and 1t truffle oil
Dinner: 6 soft-boiled eggs and 4 ounces Fontina cheese