Low Carb Was Not For Me

A while ago I wrote about starting a low carb diet. I didn’t go full-on keto for other health reasons, but for 8 weeks I ate between 30 and 40 grams of carbs a day. There is one version of the Atkins diet that allows for 40 grams of carbs a day, so I know my intake was reasonable.

My diet improved; I ate a lot of chicken, salmon, and green vegetables. I was happy because I could eat cheese and nuts for snacks and didn’t have to obsessively count calories. I also think it was good because it made me pay attention to the sugar in things that I considered harmless because they were low in calories, like the calorie-free Gatorade. I know Gatorade isn’t going to kill me, but it was something to consider.

However, as time went by I gained weight and my mood became increasingly lower. I read more about the low-carb diet and learned that low-carb diets can cause/exacerbate depression and anxiety. Here are a couple sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200403/low-carb-state-mind

http://www.livestrong.com/article/336671-low-carbohydrate-depression/

I wanted to give the diet 8 full weeks in case my body needed time to adjust. After that time was up and I’d only gained weight and sunk lower, I decided to stop.

Obviously, this isn’t what happens to everyone. Low-carb diets work for a lot of people. It’s just not what my body wanted, so I need to do something else. I will say this, though: while eating low-carb, I had waaaay less stomachaches. I think it was a combination of eating more vegetables and eating less candy. So that was a good thing.

I guess now if I want to lose weight I will have to go back to counting calories. For the time being I have other goals I’m focusing on, as I wrote about in my previous post, but I am going to work on slowly improving my eating habits overall.

Low Carb Blast Off!

I’ve known for a while that I needed to change my eating habits. I’m an emotional eater and I eat really badly. I’m also very lazy when it comes to food; I’d rather eat something crappy that I can just grab than prepare/cook anything. I don’t have a lot of energy and get a fair amount of stomach aches and I’m pretty sure that’s because of my food choices. I’m also out of shape and overweight which I know doesn’t help with energy, feeling good, mental health, and self-esteem.

Before now I either haven’t had the motivation and discipline to change or I’ve felt like I couldn’t handle taking on the extra stress and work of weight loss. I feel like the past 5 years or so just keeping a job and staying basically functional has been enough of a challenge for me. But I think now I’m ready to try fixing my diet.

If you find it obnoxious, annoying, or in any way upsetting when people talk about weight loss, dieting, etc then skip these posts. I’ll tag them accordingly and try to make it apparent in the post titles that they are on this topic.

I’ve tried counting calories before and I hated it. It always resulted in severely restricting my intake for several days then losing control and eating a shit ton. I also had a tendency to eat bad stuff with a lot of calories but make it the only thing I ate, which meant I spent most of the day hungry.

Of course I’ve heard a ton about the Atkins diet and keto diet because I don’t live in the wilderness away from society, but last week one of my friends posted a couple of photos on Facebook showing the difference in her face after 2 months on the keto diet. That inspired me. Then a coworker mentioned how awesome she felt after cutting way back on sugar so I started considering that as well.

So Wednesday night I decided I’d start on Thursday. My boyfriend and I had one last bad meal (hot wings, French fries, and ice cream) and it was swell. That night I did some reading and decided I wasn’t going to go full keto (around 20-30 g of carbs a day) because that would be a drastic change for me and I want to set a realistic, attainable goal. Also, it’s recommended that a doctor approve it before a person starts the keto diet. My goal is 50 g of carbs a day for now. I’m not sure how many I was consuming before, but considering that there are 67 grams of carbs in an order of large fries at McDonalds alone, I think going down to 50 g will be good for now.

Thursday after work my bf and I went to Walmart and bought a lot of healthy food. I was surprised by the carb count in a lot of things. I knew the basics, like that bread and pasta would have a lot and green vegetables wouldn’t have much. I didn’t think about cheese having so little and stuff like Gatorade having a ton until I looked at the nutrition facts. I was happy with the things we got, though–salmon, chicken, tuna, vegetables, nuts, peanut butter, cheese, and beans. That night we ate salmon with peas from our garden and salad with kale and tomatoes (from our garden) and carrots.

I was concerned about what I would do for breakfast for a few reasons. For one thing, I hate waking up and have never eating anything that required more effort than taking off a wrapper (Pop-tarts, granola bars, etc). I know I’m not going to magically start getting up and making myself something healthy to eat before work. For another thing, my stomach is pretty finicky in the morning. A lot of times I stuck to crackers or plain bread. The idea of eating meat or vegetables in the morning is gross to me. Fruit is kind of high in carbs and most of it is kind of acidic, which gives me heartburn in the morning. Also, I can handle nuts in small doses but not on an empty stomach. And in the past 8 months eggs have started giving me really bad stomach aches. Hardboiled, scrambled, deviled, sunnyside up, whatever. I get nauseated, bloated, and crampy.

Then my mom suggested I look in the pharmacy section of the grocery store for weight-loss shakes or something of that nature. I’d totally forgotten about all the Atkins diet products. I checked those out Friday and tried one of the shakes and some power bar-type things.They didn’t bother my stomach at all! So the breakfast issue is solved!! I just have to control myself and not waste the shakes and bars during the day.

All right, I’ve rambled long enough about this. I’m hoping my motivation and self-control sticks. I am so excited about the possibility of feeling more energetic, having less stomach aches, and losing some weight.