The second installment in my fitness-blogging hiatus takes us to a land rich in leafy greens, abundant in lean proteins, cruciferous vegetables, and clear water with a squeeze of lemon. Not a grain or potato in sight. Welcome to the Land of Low Carb :).
If you read my last post, you might start to understand two things; 1. I have a lot of personal experience with dieting (as so many of us have), 2. I hate dieting (again, as many of us do).
Generally speaking, diets work to deprive the body of the full amount of energy that it requires to sustain itself, causing the body to instead burn fat for energy. There is emphasis on clean eating, i.e. not eating processed foods with lots of chemicals in them (for example, it is always a plus when you can read and understand the ingredients in what you’re eating). There are fad diets that omit certain random food groups with claims as to why eliminating particular foods is beneficial to weight loss, i.e. low carb. However, in my personal experience, no amount of clean eating or elimination will lead to weight loss if you are eating enough of it. In order to lose weight, you must be hungry for some amount of the time. The more frequently you feel hungry, the faster your weight loss progression. Ironically the faster you lose, the more fragile your ‘thinner’ state of being is, especially after your body kicks into starvation mode…*sigh* there is too much . I don’t know why it can’t just be simple…oh yeah, because it sucks.
I just want to make one thing clear, I do not diet anymore. What I do is eat very clean and very simply. The reason that this is not a diet is because I’m not hungry all the time, just incase you didn’t read the paragraph above. Healthy eating is so frequently mistaken for dieting. This is something that causes me sorrow as it really dictates the current health status of our society. Sometimes my eating habits have even lead to ridicule (check out my post on health-food-shaming).
In direct opposition to the theory I expressed above about deprivation of sustenance no matter the source, Low-Carb diets’ claim to fame is the ability to eat as much as you want and still lose weight. A spin-off of the Low Carb diet I also wish do discuss (but not now) is the Paleo diet. And now straight to it.
Low Carb Diet
Carbohydrates are broken down in our bodies and used as a main energy source. They are broken into sugars during digestion, where they are then absorbed into the blood stream and converted to glucose (source). Depleting glucose levels in the blood stream decreases insulin levels. I am not going to discuss Keto diets or putting the body in Ketosis. Anyways, a diet with an all-you-can-eat bacon motto? Sign me up!
Now one benefit of eating super healthy all the time is that you automatically eat fewer carbs. Many carbs found in the ‘American’ diet are hidden in the form of added sugars in packaged foods, items that I rarely partake in. However I pretty much live off sweet potatoes and I eat 1-3 pieces of fruit every day, items that are congruent with heathenism to any low-carber.
I have limited carbs more than this in the past, and I did go full on low carb for about 2-3 weeks. The results? I was terribly ill. Not like a flu (again we are not discussing ketosis, Keto flu, none of it), but horrible indigestion, I won’t get into detail. To be fair this could have been a coincidental stomach bug. The more likely scenario; our bodies are supposed to eat carbs, especially if you are a fitness instructor (duh), and my body was also reacting to too much protein.
What happens when you eat too much protein? Well, your kidneys can fail actually. That’s what can happen…Ok so this is extreme. What is more probable and less apocalyptic is that the kidney’s work overtime to remove the excess protein and nitrogen, which cause excess urination, which leads to dehydration. Dehydration, as we know, can cause stomach upset. (source)
So I ate all the bacon I could eat (and all the other low carb stuff), for about 3 weeks. I was starving the whole time. I found myself needing to eat every hour, I felt ill, I had no energy, and my craving for anything but meat and vegetables was overwhelming. My tummy was very trim however, but honestly at this point I didn’t care. So I called it quits, ate like one cracker and all of my weight loss came back in that single bite (exaggerating).
Long story shortish; I like my carbs. Guys, there is so much more to eliminating carbs. The type of carbs in question, the time of day to eat carbs, and more. For example it is said that avoiding carbs at night will help your weight goals. I don’t really have a problem with this. Why? because I don’t necessarily need that much energy before I go to bed (go figure), and stuffing carbs before bed actually makes me feel quite icky in the morning. The science behind this for weight loss however, is that eating carbs at night causes weight gain because your metabolism slows down so the excess carbohydrate will be stored as fat (source).
Limiting or omitting carbs works for some people. Not for me. The Paleo or Caveman diet I did actually make friends with, and will tell you about in my next post.
This is what I ate for breakfast.
Oatmeal, sprinkled with peanuts and almonds. Normally there would be different adornments (pistachios, almond milk, walnuts, banana, a generous sprinkling of cinnamon) I have not made it to the grocery store this week..
Until next time!