Sarah7500 of the blog Fill Up Your Mug and Sit a While (love the title since I'm such an uber-coffee freak), just posted a comment to my post from last night, Saturday Night Ramblings, asking why I follow a low carb lifestyle. I thought this would be a good blog post, so Sarah, hope this answers your question! 🙂
The key to any sustainable, healthy lifestyle is to find something you can do for life. Unfortunately, some of our weight loss journeys will never end. Maintenance will be a daily struggle of trying to manage the new body and how we fuel it. I originally started low carb several years ago, in January 2005. I was at 445 pounds then, and started Atkins because I felt that I needed to drop weight quickly. The low carb craze was pretty big then, and I did well on it, losing about 100 pounds in under a year. In hindsight, it wasn't really doing anything to increase my fitness. I wasn't exercising, I just ate very few carbs (if any) and was dropping pounds. Of course as we know, this didn't last, and I ended up back at +10 over my former high.
I chose to go back on a low carb lifestyle because I truly did feel better on it. No sugars, no sodas, no white stuff. When I eat carbs, I literally feel like I could fall asleep within minutes. My body just doesn't react well to it. So, that's why I went back to low carb. I have since added more carbs, including berries, but continue to follow it as a lifestyle choice. Yep, I said “lifestyle choice” not “diet.” This way of eating is how I feel most in control, and satisfied.
A low carb lifestyle isn't for everyone- it is the right fit for me, but might not be the right for you. You might do better on calorie counting, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, etc. There are a million different programs out there that work, as long as you can follow them. Here are my tips for picking a way of eating (Insert my “not a nutritionist, doctor, expert, blah blah” here. Consult your physician before starting any new weight loss program.)
- Can you prepare for it? Can you shop in your normal grocery store and farmers market and get everything you need to prepare you meals? Is there an arsenal of dishes that fit within the lifestyle that you can pre-prepare? Fail to plan, plan to fail.
- Can your family handle it? If you have kids who will eat completely different than you, are you prepared to make the meals required? If you don't have the time or energy, look for a plan that your whole family can be on so you don't have to do double work in the kitchen.
- How do you feel on it? Forget the first couple of weeks on a new eating program- that part is the hardest! After that though, how do you feel on it? Are your cravings manageable? Do you feel satisfied after a meal?
- Can you regulate yourself on it? When an especially bad craving hits or a special occasion comes up, are you able to control your cravings and feel like you can make safe choices within the parameters you're given? If your lifestyle requires more flexibility in your eating plan, for example- you travel quite often and often have to entertain clients- low carb isn't one of the easiest ways to go. Maybe something more flexible like Weight Watchers would work for you.
- Can you maintain it? Maybe you make it past one month on your plan. Can you make it two? Three? Six? A year? Are you satisfied with the variety of foods you're eating or are you bored to tears? While yes, you can change plans after a while, wouldn't it be great to find a way of eating that you can continue for life?
So take these things in mind when you're considering a new way of eating. Don't jump on a bandwagon just because its the latest thing and everyone and their mother is on the diet. Everyone is different. For me, low carb actually makes me feel in control and for the most part, not deprived. For others, the thought of no pasta would drive them batty. Remember that in the end, the only person you need to satisfy is yourself, so go with what you feel you can best maintain and still stay satisfied with.