Why I’m cutting carbs...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Why I’m cutting carbs... A few people have asked so I thought I’d just blog about it.

I gained 10 pounds in 2 months eating carbs. No joke. I stopped focusing on eating as many fruits and veggies and instead slid down into the hole of carbs and sugar. I’m a sugar addict. I’m a diet cola addict. I’m a carb-a-holic. Its bad.

I’m not going to do super low carb for my long term plan. Spark obviously doesn’t advise that, and I don’t either, but I need a kickstart to force myself to eat healthy and stay in a calorie range. Like BEECHNUT13 mentioned earlier, people get OCD about food and develop semi-eating disorders regularly. I’m a food addict. I’m used to soothing myself with cookies and chips and McDonalds when life gets rough. I need someone to yell at me and put me in a little box and tell me NO! (This is the opposite of the site’s mottos I know—everything in moderation).

Last year I was down 100# and had my arm surgery. In 2011 I lost most of my weight. In 2012 I struggled and really only lost about 5# more to my all time low of 179. I fought HARD for that five pounds. I worked out 4-6 days a week for over an hour. I ate healthy and followed Spark’s nutrition tracker... and did not see much of a loss. Now I was much more toned. I miss my muscles right now, I can tell you that! But I was still jiggly. Still 15 pounds above my “normal” BMI. When you’ve lost 100# and you cant get that last 15# -- stuck on a plateau = its infuriating.

Then in August I had my skin removal surgery. (Soon I’m going to do an update blog with pics of my arms and the scars as they’ve been healing.) The first surgery went well, but there was recovery. Cardio hurt my arms! I needed food to heal... I didn’t restrict as much... and as a result my weight fluctuated up a bit.

In late October I met my current BF and had to balance dating and eating out with him – but I fell into the trap of “happy fat” that comes with some new relationships.

In December right before X-mas I had my revision surgery to fix the rest of my arms – I mean, one elbow can’t be fatter than another (am I right?!) – especially for $6k. Then it went horribly... My incision ripped open... then my arm ripped open... and there was about five months of recovery until it was fully “healed” – it still hurts me sometimes, and I am in the process of stretching out my right arm’s tendons which were shortened (and its my cuddling arm, so I neeed it!). During that five months I could barely work out. No strength training. No cardio. I walked a bit. I got very resentful of Spark. It really irked me to see all of you gaining fitness minutes and talking about your workouts, when I couldn’t do a crunch without pain, couldn’t raise my heart rate without pain, and had a giant, non-healing wound that prevented me from my workouts.

Then my thesis hit. I sold my house, wrote my thesis, and moved all in the SAME WEEK! Needless to say I ate more fast food in that time that I have in the past two years. Surprisingly with the stress I didn’t gain that much weight...

May and June of this year were carb and sugar crazy. I was trying to track, and trying to eat healthy but I obviously didn’t. Add in all those carbs – I somehow managed to gain 10# in 2 months! This was the start of a very negative backslide! I weighed in at 200# on the scale and died a little. I promised myself I wouldn’t let myself get there again, unless I was pregnant.... like suuuuuper pregnant.

I needed to change something. For me its hard to have a small amount of carbs. If I’m eating popcorn (even if its skinny pop) I’ll eat two or three servings. One piece of toast, bah, two, no three! Candy? There’s low cal/sugar filled candy... and then I eat the whole bag with 4-6 servings in it. Low cal fruit snacks --- eat the whole box... So carbs are a trigger for me.

I’m on a lot. I’ve been following the Keto and Paleo dieters on there for awhile. I’ve been throwing around the idea of switching to a low-carb diet for awhile. My intestines are schizophrenic. As I posted in my last blog, there’s a lot of stuff I can’t eat. Lucky for me my irritable bowel syndrome does not need medication, I just need a proper diet and exercise. Cardio does wonders for my guts. Its like the magic pill to feeling better, but then again, cardio is the magic pill to feeling better in general.

I have mild OCD in my normal life, and if I apply that crazy intense focus to dieting, good things can happen for me. Its how I lost that 100# initially. I was very regimented, and things worked. In 2012 I still followed Spark but I couldn’t lose past 184 most of the time. 184 seems too be my body’s new set-point. 184 isn’t bad... its just not where I want to be for the rest of my life.

Now most of you know I’m a scientist. Specifically I’m a biochemist. I know the science behind low-carb and ketone bodies, and the specific pathways that your body uses to adjust from glucose utilization to fat burning for energy. No, this is not a long term diet. I know Spark tries to turn people off of fad diets, or quick fixes, but I think that’s honestly good advice for newbies. If you have a lot of weight to lose, and aren’t used to a healthy lifestyle – then following a diet you can live with is the best way to maintain long term weight loss. I’m not arguing against the Spark plan at all. I think its great. I will probably go back to it once I reach my goal weight, and follow it for maintence.

But for now – I am listening to my body. I ate a lot of carbs and sugar and put on a ton of weight quickly. My brain was addicted to caffeine and carbs and sugar. I’m cutting all of those things down as much as possible to get my body adjusted back to healthy fat and protein and good carbs. As a scientist, I like to experiment... This is just one of the experiments I’m running (with an n of 1, so take my results with a grain of salt).

I don’t know if its going to work. I don’t know how long I plan on doing it... With a keto diet you aim for less than 20 grams of carbs a day. My goal is 50 or less, but if I’m under 100 grams then I won’t beat myself up. I’m trying to focus on limiting my carbs to good carbs. Carbs from fruit and veggies. I’m trying to avoid excess sugar. I’m trying to avoid processed flour. I’m not going gluten free, but since my guts are so dang sensitive to everything, this is also to see how I FEEL on this diet plan.

So I’m going to listen to my body. Adjust to a life with less carbs, and see how the weight loss goes. I’m also cutting my calories down. Spark says 1200-1550. MyFitnessPal says 1324 (so specific!). For the people who have both – which one do you follow? I have my BodyMedia armband on and I’m tracking. So hopefully I will see results. I’ll be weighing in on Saturday AM, so I guess I’ll see then!

In the job front, no word from the lab I interviewed with almost 2 weeks ago. I sent a follow up e-mail and got nothing... I’ve applied for several other jobs since then, and also heard nothing. Job hunting is depressing and frustrating, so I’m trying to focus my energy back on my diet and working out so that I don’t lose it.

Here are some links from a doctor's TedMed Talk on Diabetes, low carb living, and how America might not be to blame for the obesity epidemic... We've been trained using the old food pyramid to eat our grains and limit fat -- the opposite of what our body might really need to function.

Also, Dr. Attia's personal blog and journey of low-carb living:
Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I started on a modified paleo diet after talking to my sister about it...she is training for a triatholon and into some serious workouts, and she said it was the only thing(for her) that kept her weight in check and could help with building the lean muscle she needs. I have been on it one week, eating only meats, veggies, and fruits, and I have to admit I feel pretty great...I still have the occasional greek yogurt, and sweetener for my coffee...but overall I am eating a ton of fruit and veggies! I dont snack as much either....and I am drinking more water too. Its working for me(I think) because I need rules that are very specific, otherwise I go overboard and temptation gets me! I hope you find this works for you too! Congrats on the new relationship, accomplishing your thesis and moving! Keep moving forward, you can do it! emoticon
    1684 days ago
    Best to you on your new plan. I know you can do it. I'm still struggling as well but NEVER will give up! Here's to both of us finding success again!
    1687 days ago
  • NEEDBU66
    Happy fat when you find a new BF. I love it. Never heard of it, but I love it. Good luck with the new diet. Look forward to hearing how the first week goes.
    1687 days ago
  • CANDIK48
    I'm very carb sensitive and have had issues with carb addiction in the past. But I do follow a higher protein slower carb diet that incorporates lots of cruciferous vegetables and legumes as well. I didn't realize just how much bloat and water retention carbs can give until I changed my eating pattern. And although I've started and quit this particular eating plan twice, I noticed an incredible drop the first weeks (9 and 8 pounds respectively) each time I started. Since the plan requires one day of eating "normally" with no restrictions, I see a slight increase on the scale the next day. The more carbs I eat, the higher the scale goes. It drops back down within a day or so. The most amazing thing though is that once I got over the carb addiction (including withdrawal!) I really didn't miss it. Not to say I don't want cake or other treats on my "off" day, but I tend more toward fruits and dairy. Who would have thought? Once I reach goal, and I will do that this time(!) I'll be able to experiment with adding things back in to my daily routine to stop the loss and just maintain.

    I wish you luck on all fronts and hopefully those job offers will start pouring in!! emoticon
    1688 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/11/2013 12:24:35 PM
    Wow! Well, I have to admit, I'm a LOT like you. Carb/sugar addict. I have never truly done low carb. I couldn't do it. BUT, I have cut out processed foods and etc before, and to be honest, I sometimes have days where I have a hard time meeting my carb bottom on SP. I just don't sweat those days. I'm NEVER over 150 (unless I eat a TON of junk food and sugar and garbage!!!) Usually I come in at 100-130.

    1688 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.