If I have to sum up my food weakness in one word it will have to be: CARBS! Add some butter and sugar to white flour and I’m in carb-heaven and inevitably in big trouble. Like many other people who struggle with food; carb addiction is a very big reality for me!
I crave carbs, and then I eat carbs and then I crave carbs some more… you get the picture.
Now I’m sure you are all well aware of the big debate that has been going on for years around low carb diets. So let me come clean: I am in no way an advocate for low carb diets, and I am well aware that not everybody benefits from it. However, I am not in denial about the negative effects of too much carbs on my life either. Weight gain for me is directly linked to the consumption of too much carbs. On the flip side, weight loss in my life can be tracked down to every time I removed the carbs from the throne it held in my heart and traded it in for some lean steaks and vegetables (and time with God of course)
In all seriousness, I’ve tried to hang on to my carbs for as long as I could, but without much success. It was undoubtedly the pastries, the fresh white breads, the cakes and the crackers that called to me time and time again, until I started slipping and sliding all the way down into another pit of food addiction.
So let’s have some straight talk: Can we really go without it? And if so, how long will it last before we give in to the “calling of the carbs” again?
The answer: Yes and No.
Yes, we have to try our best to stay away from it, as often as possible, for the simple reason that it is addictive and the more we eat it the more we want it and the worse we feel. There is nothing that packs on the pounds around the middle riff like some good old white flour mixed with fat and sugar. And those dreaded rolls around the middle makes our chances for a heart attack so much bigger! Please note that I’m including myself in this group 100%. The “muffin-top battle”, you know the one where your upper body spills over your jeans like the dough of a muffin to create a “muffin-top”, has been mine for many years!
No, keeping it up FOREVER is almost impossible. I say almost because I can not speak for the whole world, but only for myself and the ladies I know who have tried to go “cold turkey” about a million times (slight exaggeration, sorry)
So what is a poor girl to do in a society where the doughnut rules breakfast and hamburger and fries are basic lunch staples?
Here’s a thought: The 90% rule
Remember how we talked about making a commitment to go to the gym 5 to 6 days a week never mind how pathetic the effort. We also spoke about just showing up every day, waiting in God’s presence with your Bible study open on your lap, even if you ” feel” nothing at times.
Now, for this week (and the next 365 days) let me encourage you to eat those carbs, but only for one meal a day. Come on, try it. It has helped me so much! If you feel like you simply have to have some chocolate chip ice cream, save it for your most vulnerable time of the day. If you often find yourself eating carbs in the evening like a carb crazy woman, then decide to have it then. The rest of the day, make it low or no carb meals with tons of veggies.
Then, come dinner time, think carbs, just make sure you mix it up with healthy and filling food as well. So have your ice cream, but add some unsalted nuts, healthy granola (made with honey and oats), and blueberries in with it. Or eat your bread, but make it fresh baked whole wheat bread with lean meat and veggies on. Stack 365 of these days on top of each other and you will have much more energy, no more cravings, no more binging, and a smaller waist line.
A word of warning from one food addict to another: Still avoid the carbs that makes you spiral out of control. For instance, if I’m just dying for some potatoes, I will choose a baked potato as part of my “carb meal” instead of chips or mashed potatoes that can easily set me up for a “carb binge”
Research has shown that eating carbs only ONCE a day (no snacking inbetween on carbs, only snack on meat and veggies) can cut down those cravings. I’m telling you it works! Now, of course there’s a way to have NO MORE cravings. If you go on a strickt low carb diet, you can seriously have NO MORE SUGAR OR WHITE FLOUR CRAVINGS after 21 days! I’ve tried it a few times, and it works. The problem: It’s too extreme thus not natural and not healthy. Also, the chance of you just giving up and binging on carbs are HUGE! So why take the risk, and spiral down again? It is so discouraging and can set you back again for years!
Eating carbs sensibly (not 12 dougnuts of course!) once a day over a period of time will produce weight loss, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, you can keep doing it through birthdays and Christmas and all the other special days. I’m still quite new to this, but the past few months have been so much easier than the “I will not eat carbs, I will not eat carbs…” that I’ve been doing before. So try it out with me and see if you’re also getting good results:) You might feel tired the first few days as your body withdraws from all the carbs, you might even feel slightly down and have a headache, but IT WILL PASS. Doing the first day is the hardest, but after you’re through the first week things will get much easier. You will feel joy returning to your life as you stop grazing on carbs all day long, and that full, bloated feeling around your upper body will be something of the past.
However, if you just can’t get a grip on your food addiction, you might want to have a look at my 12 Week Online Program or Week 3 on Food Addiction. Sometimes we just can’t put the “crutch” or “idol” down because of underlying pain and issues we didn’t deal with.
Now before you think that I’m super smart, let me tell you that I have some food addict experts to thank for my new enlightenment:) If this seems like something you are interested in giving a shot, go have a look at one of the books I recommend at the bottom of this post. If low carb doesn’t work for you, or you get scared just thinking about it, I recommend Jillian Michaels’ (biggest loser coach) book about different ways of eating that applies to different people, in other words, low carb does not fit all.
For me, low and healthy carbs actually equals a healthy lifestyle.
VERY IMPORTANT: Let me remind you to not get obsessed over ANY of this. God brings some good ideas along our paths, but in the end we have to keep building that relationship with Him and ask Him to help us accomplish it.
You know by now, my dear friend, you can have all the knowledge and great ideas in the world at your disposal, but if God doesn’t help you implement it permanently into your life, it’s the same old story over and over again.
So bend those knees early every morning, admit that you can’t do it, and ask God for some great interventions and great revelations for that specific day.
Wish I could look you in the eye and tell you…don’t give up…please…quitting is the only wrong move that you can make.
Lots of love
Books to read:
The Carbohydrate Addict’s healthy heart program by Dr. Richard F. Heller, Dr. Rachel. F. Heller, Dr. Fredric J. Vagnini
Winning by Losing by Jillian Michaels