Confession time: I have a history of failed eating ideals (that’s right eating ideals—I don’t believe in dieting) and I’ve spent the majority (ok, almost ALL) of my twenties overweight. I don’t believe in dieting because I have an aversion to temporary approaches to nutrition in order to lose or maintain weight. I don’t think a healthy lifestyle can be built on a foundation of The Hollywood Diet, The 10 Slices-of-Bread-a-Day Diet, The Baby Food Diet, The Tapeworm Diet...the list goes on and on. While these examples may be Fad diets, the word “diet” will always bear a negative connotation to me. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, but I feel like I let myself gain weight and I need to pay my dues in order to lose it. No short cuts, no quick fixes, just healthy eating and working out.
While I haven’t done any crazy fad diets, I am (was) a ritual calorie-counter. At one point I was eating 950 net calories per day, which is effective but unhealthy. Most of the time I capped out at 1250 calories a day. Paired with working out, this method worked. But there were major pitfalls. Counting calories made me obsess about food. All I could think about was food—but not in a good, healthy way. I thought in calories; I can divide like a champ since I spent a lot of time calculating fractions of portions so they would be an “acceptable” number of calories. I found myself doing things like cutting 1/6 of a cake donut to eat (ridiculous), eating ice cream out of a 1/8 measuring cup (think taste bud blue balls), eating 1/3 cup of rice (this is miserable for an Asian mutt like me). I don’t know about you, but that’s tantamount to torture in my book. While I was eating a low calorie diet, I was still trying to eat like a fat kid—a sadistic, twisted, anguished fat kid. While I did eat vegetables, fresh fruit and lean meat, most of my free time was spent dreaming of naughty food. I would salivate at the idea of eating cheesecake and indulge in a nearly transparent, paper-thin slice. Misery.
Because of the constant misery, it was difficult to be a hardcore calorie counter for more than a few months at a time. I thought calorie counting would be my best bet because I could eat anything, just less of it. After a while, it becomes unbearable. What good is pasta if you can only eat a ¼ cup of it?
I’ve moved on to something new. It may be premature to share, but what the hell: I’ve gone low-carb and I’m digging it. Call it Paleo, call it Atkins, call it whatever--I'm on the train.
- NO CALORIE COUNTING! Halle-effing-lujah! I feel so liberated!
- My OCD counting problem has been reduced (and fulfilled) to simple carb counting = less neurotic me.
- I’m eating healthier things by default—greens, some fruits, and proteins are low or no carb.
- I’m cooking more creatively (my creativity comes in the form of problem-solving). I’m having zucchini pasta, cauliflower “rice” risotto, parmesan chips, avocado shakes, and they all taste DELICIOUS. It feels like I’m being naughty, but I’m not.
- I’m less hungry. Less obsessive about food. More energetic. I’m also losing weight AND inches*. You know, no big deal. (*I do have a fairly regular work-out routine, too)
Right now I’m trying to eat 20 grams net carbs per day. Seems like a low number, but it’s not hard to stay in that realm. Sure, a Cappuccino Blast sounds amazing but at 97 g of carbs, it’s not really worth it. Instead I’ll drink a Chai Tea with Almond milk and satisfy the same craving. The really crazy part for me is that I’m actually still staying within 1250-1300 calories per day (I know I said I wasn’t counting calories, but the easiest way to keep a track of carbs is to use a site like Livestrong.com, so I get a calorie count by default--don't judge! I'm in the recovery stage of calorie counting). So far, so good—and I haven’t felt this good in a long time.
I can say for certain my inner fat kid does a little dance every time I eat. Donuts may be out of the picture, but I’ll take a creative, healthy, delectable low carb meal over them any day. Well, today at least and hopefully tomorrow and loooong into the future. I'll be damned if I spend my thirties rotund!
So far, here are a few of my favorite recipes:
And my favorite salad:
For an intense Foodgasm (yeah, I said it), combine:
-2 Cups Organic Arugula
-1 oz Cubed Pancetta
-1 T Light Champagne Vinaigrette (Trader Joes has a good one)
-½ Avocado, Diced
-2 Six-Minute Free Range Eggs (How to here: Eggcellence! P.S. If you can't appreciate a runny egg yolk, our friendship is on the line.)
Cheese Crisp Garnish (How to here: Cheese Chip from joyfulabode.com. You'll never want croutons again!)
Now put it in your food hole and gobble it up. Delicious and 3 Net Carbs.
Here’s to eating well and being healthy!