I’ve been trying to lose about 10 pounds over the past couple of months but not only did I not succeed at losing any weight, I actually ended up gaining a couple more pounds. This put me at my highest weight since the freshman 15 (ok, maybe it was 30 for me), back in the ’90s. No fun!
So I finally got fed up and took what I consider to be drastic step: a low carb diet. Jack and I have done this once before, last September actually, and found that it’s a good way to get back in control after a summer of too-much-fun and poolside drinking. When we did it last fall I had less weight to lose, and so while I only dropped about three pounds, I could see a difference in my face and how my clothes fit.
The idea behind a low carb diet is that your body will get into ketosis, and you’ll start burning fat for energy, instead of being fueled primarily by carbs. I’m definitely no scientist, but that’s my understanding of it 🙂 You do feel crappy for the first few days, while your body is getting used to the change. Last fall, when we did the diet in earnest, I did feel bad, but I was motivated. This time, I pretty much didn’t feel a change. I don’t know if this is because I was already feeling kind of lousy and tired from unhealthy habits, but I was convinced I wasn’t even in ketosis because I didn’t feel any different. But I got my ketostix and was happy to see that I was indeed in ketosis, after just a few days. I also lost about four pounds in the first few days. I know this is mostly water weight, but it’s motivating nonetheless. All my clothes fit SO much better after just a week!
The best part about this diet is it forces me to chill with all the sugar. I’ve always been a big fan of dessert, but training for my half-marathon last spring really cemented my sugar habit. We literally were eating Snickers before (and during) our long runs. I was at the point that I was craving sweets after every meal – even breakfast. Gross.
The worst part about this diet is, well, there are two things. One, it’s really easy to eat a ton of meat on this diet, which I don’t enjoy and do feel guilty about. Two, it really affects my energy level on my runs. I only ran twice in the last week and I felt exhausted throughout both of them.
Because this diet focuses heavily on eating a lot of fat, it’s important to eat healthier fats (avocado, grass-fed butter, coconut oil) rather than bacon all day, every day. I do have a heavy reliance on cheese, but that’s not necessarily a new thing for me 🙂 I’m eating shrimp, salmon, and chicken, and trying not to mow down on cheeseburgers. I’m also eating a ton of fresh veggies: big salads, stir-fries, roasted cauliflower. A couple of strawberries and a bite of dark chocolate when I do have a sweet tooth. All this fresh, yummy, mostly-healthy food, combined with good fats (heavy cream in coffee = true love), means I’m staying satisfied and not very interested in snacks. It also keeps me away from the booze, which is a good thing.
As for running, I have to accept I’m not going to be making any big gains right now. I’m spending more time in the gym, and we did two hikes this weekend. I absolutely feel less energetic when I’m working out, so it seems like a good time to do some weight training, rather than just aerobic activities. I’m also going to bed around 9:00 and getting a ton of rest, which is completely delicious.
I’m planning on keeping with this low carb diet for awhile. The more I do it, the less I crave. And I’m happy that I’m not really craving ice cream or bread. What I really want is a bowl of oatmeal, with honey and milk and walnuts and raisins. How wholesome 🙂
Have you ever tried a low carb/keto diet? What weight loss strategy works for you?