My post-diet-carb-freak-out

15 Apr

Even though one of the main points of doing a 12-week diet was to start building the self-discipline to eat clean on a consistent basis, I didn’t realize the emotional aspect of changing my eating habits forever. There’s a lot to think about and things that seemed simple suddenly got confusing and completely overwhelming.

Enter the post-diet-carb-freak-out.

I realized immediately after the diet that even though I was still eating 6 meals a day, the introduction of more carbs immediately led to a feeling of “puffiness” and within a few days, I gained some LBs.

I’ve always joked and said that I could eat a grape and gain weight. What I didn’t realize is that I was actually onto something. Grapes happen to have a Glycemic Index (GI) value of 46, which means they are more sugary (i.e., more carby) than other fruits like grapefruit, cherries, strawberries, pears, and apples. Of course,eating grapes isn’t going to result in saggy arm fat. But what I knew then–even though I didn’t really do anything about it– was that my body uses carbs to bulk. And fast.

This is all pretty funny considering that bodybuilders often eat a heavier carb diet in the “off-season” to bulk so they can lift more and gain muscle. I just never stopped to consider that all this time, I wanted to get LEAN, but I continued to eat carbs like I was bulking. Hmmm.

Of course I dropped a lot of carbs during my 12-week diet and even more in the last 4 weeks of the diet. And guess what — I got a lot leaner! However, realizing that the body I want will be the product of a low-carb diet for life was, in a strange way, hard for me to embrace. What should I eat? How should I eat? Suddenly, I didn’t know. Should I always be on a diet? Will I be too restrictive in my food choices?  Ahh!!

Some simple math eases my anxiety

Now that I’ve had some time to think about it, I realize that I was making things too difficult. Yesterday I said that I applied some numbers to the issue and it helped me work through it. Here’s what I did.

I realized that I still lost weight on my diet and I cheated every week. My cheat meals consisted of far more carbs than any meal during the rest of the week. 12 cheat meals in 12 weeks meant that 2.3% of the time on my diet, I was carbing it up, but I was still able to lose weight.

What that means is I don’t have to worry about gaining weight from eating higher carbs, if I limit those times to roughly once a week, or about 50 meals a year. Granted, that’s not very many meals considering the roughly 2,136 meals that I will eat this year. But on my vacation, I used about 4 or 5 of my yearly “cheat” meals, and that was OK with me because I knew I would come back to the lower-carb diet and my body would respond appropriately.

With my mind at ease now, I’m ready to embrace my new lifestyle and find ways to be creative with my diet.

Steph

Watch me do it!

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