Since April 2014 I have been staying on a pretty strict low carb diet of 20-30 net carbs per day. I have lost about 50 pounds and still have at least 30 to go. Overall I have been happy with this change in my lifestyle and it is the only “diet” I have been able to stick with consistently. I have always been the type of person to pick off the extra bread from a sandwich and usually enjoy the main meal more than dessert so that is a big part of why a low carb diet appeals to me.
While on the diet, I would never eat starches or refined sugars. There are sugars in the occasional tomato or even broccoli but that was the only sugar for me. I drink diet soda (I know it is horrible for me), cut out beer and Liqueurs in favor of distilled spirits, and stay away from any type of sweet snack. Doing this has made me very aware of what foods have carbs. Even yogurt can be very high in sugar and a single cup can give me a whole days work of carbs. Meat and veggies are a pretty good stand-bys when in doubt. Most cheese is good but you have to watch out as some brands have carbs while others don’t, so eating at home is the safest bet even though I rarely do.
So why did I decide to go back for a week to the “carb life?” Well, mostly because I felt like I was missing out. That, and I figured it would be good for me to kick out of ketosis for a while. Even though I have lost weight and feel mostly good there are a few things that have bothered me on this diet. For instance, after a night of drinks, I would wake up very early with calf and shin cramps. Sometimes the craps were severe and other times they were just annoying. I had figured that I was in my 30s and just couldn’t drink like I used to. While back on carbs though I had a few late nights and enjoyed a few drinks as well and woke up with no cramps, no hangover, and felt good like I used to. I have tried to counter the ill effects while on a low carb diet with drinking lots of water as I figured I was getting dehydrated. This never seemed to help and there seemed to never be enough water to drink to make a difference.
I was staying at an all inclusive resort in Punta Cana while I was back on the carb wagon and unfortunately, the food was not that great. It got the job done but I wish I was in the US where I could get anything I wanted rather than just what they had to offer. Even with mediocre food, I was really enjoying myself. I had coffee and doughnuts! I ate ice cream! I are fried things with breading! It was wonderful and everything tasted so sweet. Sweeter than ever before my diet. Whether I am right or not, I always viewed my diet in absolutes. I figure that since I am eating high fat and protein that if I go over my carb limits I will just balloon up. Well, that is exactly what happened. I gained 10 pounds the week I was on vacation. Since April, I had been either loosing or staying the same so this was the first gain I had and didn’t care for the feeling at all.
Now I am back home and back to staying away from carbs. I have been a little tempted and feel hungry a lot but I chalk that up to overeating on vacation making my stomach bigger. Also I hope that in a week or 2 I will have lost the weight from vacation. Ketosis also takes away water weight so that, I hope, accounts for several pounds of my gain that will go away quickly.
I hate talking about my diet because it is just boring and everyone seems to have an opinion on the low carb thing. Either they confuse it with the similar Paleo diet, or they talk about stories of a friend who did it and their hair fell out, or that I will die an early death from heart disease from eating fat. I don’t like talking about diet because there is so much voodoo knowledge out there regarding nutrition, it is hard for me or most other people I have spoken with to have a rational conversation because different eating habits work for different people. I know that removing carbs from my diet has had positive effects on my life and minimal negative ones. I am due for blood work this year at my doctor so I will hopefully find out how my eating habits have affected my health from a numbers perspective. Several years ago I had high triglycerides and I hope this will have taken care of that issue and not caused any new ones. We will see though. I don’t think I will stay in ketosis forever, but after I hit my goal weight I would like to be able to have more fruit, and moderate other carby treats like a breads and even a little cheesecake sometimes without becoming huge.