The addiction. I have accepted it and now I must take the steps towards overcoming this need. I can admit it, I have a problem. Since I was a child weight has always been an issue for me. It seems straight out of the womb I was always in the 90th percentile; always deemed as “overweight”. In recent years I have become more driven towards losing weight and getting in shape. It seems like I tried everything before I truly found the answer. I had to admit I was a carb addict, and take the indicative towards cutting down my carbohydrates.
It was a big challenge at first. It may sound crazy, but the truth is, we are all actually addicted to carbs. Carbs may be harder to quit than nicotine. When you eat a carbohydrate, your glucose levels rise, and in affect your serotonin levels also raise. (Serotonin is the chemical in your brain that makes you happy; it also raises when you exercise). We are always craving carbs because it really does give us happiness. However, that happiness is temporary, and if carbs are not consumed in balance, the weight gained becomes more permanent.
When I started cutting down my consumption of processed carbs (bread, pasta, rice, cereal, pastries), I noticed my weight began to drop. I did in no means cut out carbohydrates completely. We still need some carbs for energy, especially if you exercise regularly. Carbs can work in moderation for someone trying to lose weight. Here are a few tips that will surely make you see some results, as it did for me:
1. When you order a burger, get it wrapped in lettuce. In-N-Out calls this, “Protein Style”
2. Choose brown rice over white
3. Try Almond Milk instead of regular milk. an 8 ounce glass of milk has about 14 grams of carbs, while an 8 ouncer of almond milk has only about 3 grams.
4. When you are craving pasta, try spaghetti squash. [Roast one squash until soft, and use a fork to pull the low carb spaghetti out, top with your favorite bolognese] (Full recipe coming soon).
5. Limit your carbs by planning out your day. If you know you are going to be having your grandmother’s lasagna for dinner, be more conscious about what you have for breakfast and lunch. Maybe yogurt and fruit for breakfast, and a salad for lunch. The goal is to eat somewhere around 60-80 grams of carbs per day.
6. Fruit is a good source of carbohydrates, but it can still creep up on you if you don’t watch it. Fruits are high in carbohydrates, and while they may be healthier carbs, they can still inhibit you from keeping a low carb lifestyle if not eaten in balanced amounts. When making a smoothie, try to substitute some fruits for veggies (which are lower in carbs). Add some cucumber, spinach, or celery, and find your own balance of flavors. Limit your fruit juice, as many bottles of fruit juice have as much sugar as a soda. In your smoothie, instead of adding juice throw in a little almond milk instead.
7. Find your craving substitutes! You’ll crave carbs, but you don’t always have to grab for a hunk of baguette. Try finding substitutes that give you the same satisfaction as carbs. I typically crave carbs around 2pm every day. I found that a banana or avocado does just the trick. When I crave ice cream I’ll do some plain greek yogurt with honey and nuts. As for chips and quacamole, I’ll use homemade zucchini chips, carrots, and celery to serve as a vessel for carrying my guac.
8. Some people find mornings to be the time when they crave the most carbs. Check out my protein pancake recipe for a low carb, high protein substitute!
Since doing low carb and exercising regularly, I have successfully lost 12 pounds this summer, and I am getting closer to a healthy weight every day!