If you don’t know my story, you also don’t know that there was a period of time where carbs were literally all I lived off of. Pasta, pop-tarts, bagels…multiple times per day. We’ll title this the “Carb-aholic Phase”. I don’t think I ate a single vegetable during my entire high school life- and well into college. Due to my speedy metabolism, this is what worked for me, and this is what I enjoyed. Now by no means was I at all fit at this time. Ironically, this was also during my affair with the elliptical- when I thought burning 100 calories in 20 minutes was a LOT.
Luckily, it was not long after that I became an Exercise Science major and flooded my brain with knowledge that I am so thankful for. The next few years I experimented with many “fad” diets including Paleo, clean eating, carb-cycling and last but not least the Ketogenic Diet. Many of these diets did work yet none of them stayed in my life for more than a couple months. The chemistry just wasn’t there! I would say that being on the Ketogenic (low-carb) diet is where I saw the most change in my body in the shortest amount of time. Bring on the “Anti-Carb Phase”.Obviously this was exciting! But then again….only taking in carbs from vegetables seemed to get old fast. No sweet potatoes, no rice, no peanut butter, no oatmeal. Not even ketchup! Since my carb intake was so low, I had to make up for it elsewhere by increasing my fat intake-tricking my body into using fat as fuel instead of glucose (carbs). I had researched and researched and the evidence seemed wonderful, in fact they use this diet for Epilepsy patients to reduce seizures…so it had to be good…right??
While this diet “worked” in the way that I lost body fat, it did not “work” for me personally. I was constantly worried about knocking my body out of ketosis by consuming too many carbs. I got to a point where I was obsessed with reading nutrition labels before putting anything into my body. It wasn’t worth it. Now I am not saying this diet is bad….or doesn’t work for anyone, however since it took control of my life, I finally realized this was not for me.
Welcome back carbohydrates!
Since moving to San Diego, and moving in with my best friend/boyfriend who happens to be certified in Nutrition, we balanced my diet back out to 40% protein, 20% fat AND 40% carbohydrate. I have to admit transitioning back to this was hard for me- I had somewhere down the line put a label on carbs that said “BAD” in my head. How could the pasta-loving, bagel-eating girl think so poorly of what she basically lived on half of her life? Slowly adding carbs back into my diet, while continuing to eat clean not only has made me happier, but my body is slowly leaning out. I couldn’t believe that eating the foods I loved in the right portions could cause such positive results. To get things straight I am certainly not eating pasta and bagels. I stick to complex carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice, old-fashioned oats, rice cakes, fat-free yogurt and even some high-fiber cereal (Kashi is my favorite!). I can finally say I am a carb-lover again, and not only is my body thanking me, but so is my mind! Finally, the “Carb-balanced Phase”.
Find what’s right for YOU.
With so many diets out there, it is SO easy for us to be confused or want to try something because a friend had success with it. After my years of experimenting, I can finally say that none of those fads worked for me. What does work is a clean, whole-foods lifestyle. There truly is no shortcut or magic trick that will slim you down so if you are looking to better your body from the inside out, start with nutrient dense foods.
Need assistance with jumping on the clean-eating train? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for personalized training plans and nutritional advice.
**Disclaimer: I am NOT a physician or dietician. I just believe in sharing my successes and failures to help as many individuals make the change to the healthy lifestyle.