A few weeks ago I shared the story of my lifetime of dieting, and I promised to write about the healthy changes I’ve made. Since this morning I visited the wellness nurse and can now report I have lost 45 lbs. since taking charge of my health at the end of March, it seems like a good time to fulfill that promise!
After years of looking askance at the claims of low-carb enthusiasts, and being absolutely sure that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, I am now a convert. I won’t bore you with the latest science because you can google as well as I can. Let’s just say it makes sense to me, and that the proof is in the pudding, or in this case, the lack thereof.
Like I wrote before, I am a diet expert, and this is the easiest diet I have ever been on. If you want to get healthy, and lose weight, and feel good, and never be hungry, this is the diet for you.
I had to make a couple of major changes that were very difficult for me. The first one was giving up cereal. I loved cereal, and I not only ate it for breakfast every morning, I also had a bowl right before bed every night. When I first decided to make healthy changes, but before I met with the wellness nurse, I went out and bought a lot of very healthy whole grain cereals, only to find out at my first appointment that pretty much all cereal is too high in carbohydrates for it to work in a low carb diet. I was EXTREMELY attached to that evening bowl of cereal and it was hard to get past that but I did.
The other super hard thing was coffee. Coffee is fine on a low carb diet, but not when it’s full of sugar. So I started by cutting the number of cups per day rather than cutting the sugar! Slowly (one week at a time) I cut the sugar by .5 tsp until I could drink it with nothing but cream. This was huge!
I now cook exclusively with butter, olive oil, and coconut oil. Remember when coconut oil was bad and canola oil was good? Well, forget that. I don’t even use Pam (or the generic equivalent) anymore.
Giving up bread, pasta, potatoes, and rice is not hard in the sense that I crave and want those things and feel sad about them but rather in the sense that they are ubiquitous and seem almost necessary! So I have a few substitutes: low carb bread that you can get at Kroger for an occasional sandwich (about twice a week); low carb wraps (also from Kroger) that can be used in lieu of hot dog buns, or to make burritos; low carb sandwich thins for hamburgers or black bean burgers; and mashed cauliflower with cheese instead of mashed potatoes. I’ve heard of some pasta and rice substitutes that I haven’t tried yet, but mostly I just have given those up for now.
Someone asked me the other day if I still go out to eat and the answer is yes, absolutely! Eating out is easy on this diet. At American restaurants order steak, chicken, or fish and substitute broccoli for the customary baked potato and take the complimentary bread home to your kids. At Asian restaurants get meat and veggies and just eat a couple of bites of the rice. If you must go to Italian restaurants, get a non-pasta entree. At Panera Bread or the like, get salad and soup instead of the sandwich.
It can be a little daunting to remember what is low carb and what is not, but if you have an iPhone you are in luck! Yes, Siri can count your carbs for you. And of course before long you will more or less know, just like you know how many calories or points or fat grams are in things after awhile when you follow those kinds of diets.
On a typical day I eat two scrambled eggs and coffee for breakfast. I have hummus with vegetables, or apple slices with peanut butter, or handfuls of nuts for snacks most of the time. And you are encouraged to have two or three snacks (and lots of water) each day, to keep your metabolism moving. For lunch I try to go heavy on vegetables. For supper I focus more on the meat. I am eating all the things I have avoided my entire dieting life, and it turns out that these are the things that make you feel full and satisfied. I AM NEVER HUNGRY.
Now that I basically know how many carbs most things have in them, I don’t really count them. Supposedly I’m allowed to have about 40 a day, but my philosophy is just to try to avoid them as much as possible so that if I need to go over ever (this happens sometimes when we are eating out at a church function or some other place where the menu is not under my control) it will sort of even itself out. So unlike other diets, there is nothing to count or write down (although that might be useful if you are having problems staying on track) and no meal plans to follow. THIS IS EASY.
Will I eat this way forever? Not exactly, but probably in a modified way. For example, I just can’t wrap my head around the idea that whole grains and beans are bad. So when all my numbers are below where they should be, and I have lost all the weight I want to, I will likely reintroduce these items occasionally. I do still eat small amounts of beans and brown rice even now.
Below are some examples of easy, delicious, and lower carb meals I have been enjoying.
Tuna salad made with actual mayonnaise, pickles, onions, cucumbers, celery, and tomato:
Tomatoes, black olives, olive oil, and brown rice:
Tomato, fresh basil, and mozzarella:
Salad with artisan lettuce mix, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, feta cheese, and Green Goddess dressing:
Have you ever tried low carb eating? Any other life-change success stories to share with us in the comments?