New medication // mad carb cravings // keto struggle

(Tracey M) #1

Hi all - I don’t post much, but I’ve decided to come to the fold for a bit of support as I need to do something, say something, to anyone who will listen and understand. And maybe someone has been through a similar problem with meds side effects and can suggest something helpful. My partner isn’t keto, so he just doesn’t get it, and his responses of basically ‘just try harder’ aren’t particularly helpful.

Long story short, I’ve suffered from a neurological condition (along the lines of migraine associated vertigo, with a hypersensitive nervous system) for the last 4 years which has been helped by keto, as suggested by my neurologist - I was on no medication (they thought I’d be too sensitive to side effects based on trying various meds in the first couple of years), and was using keto to keep me stable. It helped until one day it just didn’t anymore; I was keto from August 2017 and symptoms were practically non existent until July 2018 when they started creeping back in. They ramped up considerably over a couple of months, and I ended up off work for three months from Nov 2018.

Since then, I’ve stabilised somewhat, and went back to see Neuro in May for advice on how to proceed. A new neurologist said I can’t rely on lifestyle changes such as keto, and I need meds to help keep me stable.

So I’ve started on Nortriptyline in June, and the carb cravings started within a couple of weeks. They are all consuming cravings, I can’t think of anything except whatever it is I’m craving. It drives me insane. It’s usually a sugar strand donut, though the other day porridge popped into my head (I was never really a big porridge eater before…!) :woman_shrugging:

So, I’m not proud, but I’ve started cheating. Regularly. And a cheat isn’t just “I’m craving a donut so I’ll have one and move on” - we’re talking a full on carb binge, I might as well be truly honest. I don’t even feel sick afterwards, and I really should. It’s like my body’s just like “GIMME!!”. I do go back to keto afterwards, but the cheats are probably at least once a week now. I don’t think I’ve made it past a week eating 100% keto in the last month. And I’m at this point now where I’m stuck between and rock and a hard place - I can’t imagine going back to a diet with carbs in (I had been considering dropping keto and reintroducing carbs, but not just a diet of donuts, because I’m that miserable from the cravings) because I also used to get IBS and heartburn (and my dad has type 2 diabetes from a bad diet), and keto helped with ALL of that; I remember how wonderful I felt on it back in the first six months of being on it. I felt like I could do anything. But despite not being able to imagine eating how I used to again because of the consequences, I also feel miserable on keto just now. And I’ve somehow gotten stuck in my repertoire of meal choices, I can’t remember what I used to eat when I was 100% keto and happy.

I’m not sure if I’m making things too complicated with things like Lo Dough (I’m in the UK, it’s a wrap which is practically zero carb) which I thought was handy for work lunches, and I had introduced sweetened bakes as a regular occurrence (usually something from Gnom-Gnom’s website).

I’m lucky that the meds are helping my condition, I do feel supported by them, so the cravings aren’t all for nothing. But I would feel even more supported if I could manage to be on the meds, and also be keto. As soon as I introduce carbs in, I get some minor symptoms, so I know keto is still also supportive for me even though it didn’t keep me stable last year.

I just feel stuck. I know I’m not really stuck, I just need to pick a direction, and move in it. But sometimes even though things look easy, like to my partner, they’re not that easy in practice. I’m not sure how to handle the cravings best (I think my sweetened bakes may be making things worse?), and feel like a bit of a failure right now. (Yes, 100% full of self pity too, but please don’t slap me to bring me round, I’m not sure I could take it just now :heart:)

Posting this will hopefully help me recommit and put an end to giving in to food cravings (I mean, it’s just food FFS :weary: Come on, brain!!!) even if I don’t hear any words of wisdom back from you.

Tracey x


I am so sorry you are going thru this. It sounds horrible. HUGS!

I looked up your med, Noetriptyline. Holy cow on it. Side effects says weight gain and a whole lot more.

but what gets me is: Tricyclic antidepressants, including nortriptyline, can perform double duty. They may improve Migraine frequency and intensity while also easing symptoms of depression. However, typically, the dose effective for treating depression is higher than the doses used for the treatment of Migraine.

SO DO YOU personally require antidepressant meds ever? In that Drs can recommend one med to help ONE thing and the other part of that med is killing ya.

Go to the Dr and state all you wrote here.
Get med change. There are a lot of ‘migraine meds’ that could be far better than what you are on? I give the ? cause it is try it and see if another suits you.

Then the old…what changed? What have I been doing since feeling SO well and doing SO well that could have changed something I might be doing and not knowing type thing that might reflect why things might have ramped up bad for you again? Meds we know…anything else? Just a thought.

then another thought is total elimination. Go Carnivore. Back to total basics. Fresh meat/fat only. Start at the basics of life. Meat and protein are the only things one needs to live. Not one other food substance. You go all the way back…start there and do experimenting on yourself. Go from there, if good, add back xyz. If great add back abc.

I wish somehow I could help more but there could be underlying situations one can’t address.

I wish you the best of luck on finding your right path. I know you are finding ways to improve yourself and get great results but also…sometimes real meds are required in life but also finding that ‘right’ med for you needs to be addressed also.

A few paths to handle :slight_smile: but you sound so determined to fight for your health and find that right path and tackle the journey set upon you. I love that process and determination to fight for your health!!

(Tracey M) #3

I really appreciate your reply, thank you :heart::heart::heart:

I’ve tried most meds, and had bad side effects, so I’m literally down to my last chance now with Nort lol :crazy_face: I don’t need it for depression reasons, so we’re keeping the dosage low (I actually had gone up to 60mg slowly over a few months as my GP thought 75mg would be a good place to be, but I’ve had to come RIIIGHT back down again to 25mg as it increased my heart rate too much through the night - it spikes up to around 110 bpm at 1am every night, then slowly comes down again until I wake up at 6am. It’s finally starting to normalise again now, though my resting heart rate is still a lot higher than it was).

We’ve added in Candesartan in the last week as that’s also my last chance drug, which the neurologist said could also be helpful and tolerated. GP thinks if it does help too, we can then reduce Nort down to maybe 10mg and keep it there to save my heart from exploding in future. I’m tolerating them both pretty well, apart from constipation from the Nort :upside_down_face:

I had been considering trying carnivore for a few weeks. Something nice and simple. I’m pleased you’ve mentioned it as it’s made me a have a good think about it again. I did buy some thin steaks a couple of weeks ago and cooked them all up to bring into work, figured it was better ‘snacking’ on them than giving in to a craving, and it probably did help actually - I’m not sure why I didn’t continue it :woman_facepalming: It’s like I’ve completely forgotten ‘how to keto’ aside from my bulletproof coffee every morning before I leave the house.

Thanks @Fangs :kissing_heart: You’ve made me have a think, and this is what I need, to get my brain going on it instead of giving in to stupid sugar.

T x

(Jennibc) #4

Sadly, that drug is in the tricyclic class and they are known for that side effect. If Keto was working for you, why did the doc insist you start? I was on doxepin for 17 years because of fibromyalgia and could never get below 230 on it. Finally when I started high fat about three and half years ago, my fibro resolved and I tapered off. I have been able to lose 80 since then.

Just to clarify, did the the keto help? Is there anyway you can taper off that drug?


You got things happening that aren’t ‘cheating’ and ‘loss of self control’ and all that.

It is a physical thing going down…you have absolutely no blame here at all. Outside forces are effecting you.

So you are very smart to work on you :stuck_out_tongue: Again I love you are doing that and are not just sitting back and leaving it up to others to do for you which might hurt ya.

We got a carnivore challenge starting today…come into that thread and start with us if you wish…we can give support and maybe it will be the way to go.

I forget ‘lc’ sometimes also LOL…keto, what’s that HAHA I so get it. Been there.

But since you want new vigor and new paths, try one :slight_smile: come on over and let’s do it!!! Will never hurt ya in any way, only good I hope will come out of it.

Hope to see you there if you think it is a good way to flow for you.

(Tracey M) #6

I had to start on Nort as the keto ‘let me down’ last year and I had a massive flare up and was off work ill for 3 months. Prior to that keto had been helping massively, but it couldn’t protect me from whatever happened last year to make my brain flip out so much, that’s why they said I need some meds to help keep me stable. They didn’t suggest keto at all in May, so that bit’s my decision, I know how much better I’ve felt on it so I am desperate to stick with it if I can :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

T x

(Jane Srygley) #7

Hey Tracey,

I looked up your medication’s side effects associated with the endocrine system (I’ll explain) and this is what I found: " Endocrine Gynecomastia in the male, breast enlargement and galactorrhea in the female; increased or decreased libido, impotence; testicular swelling; elevation or depression of blood sugar levels; syndrome of inappropriate ADH (antidiuretic hormone) secretion." (source:

I looked that up because as a counselor in a methadone clinic, I’ve seen a lot of my clients craving sugar, so I looked into it and found that methadone affects the endocrine system… and here’s what I think: methadone turns my clients into ME! LOL I have significant insulin resistance and when I allow sugar into my diet even in the tiniest possible amounts, my cravings become ruthlessly intense. I keep telling myself I can eat sugar moderately but I really, really can’t. I literally can’t even have the tiniest bite of dark chocolate, though a lot of keto’ers are fine with that. I also gain weight by LOOKING at food, so that’s not super helpful.

I suspect that this medication is doing something similar to you. My suggestion is to abstain from sugar and flour and porridge et al no matter how strong the cravings are because I really think that if your answer to those foods is ALWAYS “NO”, your cravings will diminish. I am personally able to tolerate the sugar free stuff as long as the sweeteners are erythritol, monk fruit and/or stevia, but things like agave and even maltitol are basically my crack cocaine, so I have to say no.

Oh I also think that fasting would probably benefit you…? Disclaimer: make sure your doctor thinks your safe to fast.

Hang in there and good luck and thanks for being brave enough to share your struggles :heart:

(Tracey M) #8

Oooooooh! Me me me! I’ll 100% join in :raising_hand_woman: I feel like this will help get me out of my “what the hell am I going to eat this week?” head.

(Tracey M) #9


It honestly feels like addiction cravings, but I thought that felt too melodramatic to say. I’ve never been hooked on hard drugs, but I did smoke for 11 years and quit 10 years ago. I know I can never have another cigarette, I’ll be a nicotine addict for as long as I’m alive, and I gave up drinking for a LONG time in case I slipped and had a cigarette. I even stopped being friends with people who smoked, and won’t make new friends with smokers, I want to protect myself from the addiction that much.

So… I just need to stop being friends with anyone who eats sugar :rofl::thinking::stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Seriously though, this really helps me. I think I definitely need to step away from anything sweet, even sweeteners, for a while. Thank you. Oh, and I used to fast naturally in the first 6 months of keto, but haven’t felt a natural loss of appetite for a while now. I’m not 100% sure if fasting is recommended for migraineurs, but I never had any consequences when I was doing small 24 hour ones.

T x

(Full Metal KETO AF) #10

@Ilana_Rose suffered from chronic and acute migraines for years before going carnivore. Weigh in please.

@Fangs I second all your advice. :cowboy_hat_face:

(Tracey M) #11

Thank you :hugs:

I don’t get migraine pain, but it is classed as a migraine condition so totally the same biological/neurological goings on :+1:

I’m actually really excited for trying carnivore! It all feels so simple, I’m not struggling with thinking about how I’m going to cope in the coming week and what to eat :cut_of_meat:


I see you on the carnivore challenge thread…let’s go for it!!
So happy you are so psyched for it.

(Tracey M) #13

I think it’s the only logical way to proceed, cut out all carbs and see if my cravings get easier :+1: Moderation was leading to binges. I used to manage easily with keto, so something just has to change now :heart:


yea I hear ya. it’s friggin’ tough in a lot of ways for a lot of us, I get it…with med issues also it has to be worse.
I am doing the carnivore challenge and was thrilled when Cheryl posted it…I needed to clean up the dirty carnivore a bit. Never went off a lot but allowing in a few things that I didn’t need so her challenge hit me at the best time ever…thru the holiday season. I need this! So glad we are off and running.

(erin) #15

I’m sorry about the medication, I know what you mean. I used to live and run on carbs like the energizer bunny lol but I figured I needed to stop eating so much sugar. I tried fasting and in the first 3 days I really felt like I needed tea or coffee with a lot of sugar but the longer I fasted, I was able to stay away from it for some reason. So I pretty much just stayed away from everything sweet. After awhile I started using swerve to sweeten tea and coffee after fasts.

One crazy thing I heard about and tried was eating low carb salty foods along with drinking water daily. When you feel like you need carbs, you may actually need more salt and water but your brain thinks that you need carbs. I would eat a bit of salty cheese and salty food everyday+drink water daily and it was strange but I felt alright without eating any carbs or sweets. You could try keto pizza with cauliflower crust or almond//coconut flour crust.

But sometimes people do need a break from keto. If you ever feel like that, please don’t be hard on yourself. There is healthy carbs like sweet potatoes, nuts, oats and oatmeal, beans and other high fiber carb food including healthy vegetables that you could eat if you can’t go on a keto diet right away. I also heard that people feel sick from carbs because of SIFO or SIBO but sometimes that isn’t the case.
Goodluck on everything and I hope you’re feeling better!