My Health Journey – The Low Carb Years

When I got to collage, things got REAL. I didn’t have parental support and knew that if I was going to make it there, it was all on me. I had no concept of money and the cost of living plus my education expenses took every dime I had. We joke about the crap food we ate, but thats all we either made time for or could afford. Forget fitness or diets, I had no time or interest for either anymore. All my efforts were focused on work, studies, and making ends meet.

After my first year, I landed a pretty sweet job as a cell phone sales associate and my money situation drastically improved. That was when we starting eating out a great deal and drinking a fair amount of beer.

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Now we had extra money to spend on eating out and buying beer. Let the good times roll!

Often we reminisce about hangovers at Ryan’s buffet and how we would smuggle cookies out with us for a late night dessert after we were already so stuffed from pigging out while we were there. Me and my roommate would have an evening out at Red Lobster, each ordering the Captains Platter. We were out of control and by spring of my second year at college it showed!

In 2 years I was very unhappy with my weight gain and tried hiding it chunky knit sweaters and layers.

My wake up call came after a cruise with some friends. After we got the pictures developed, I was horrified. I couldn’t believe how fluffy I looked in them. How did I let it go this far again? If it’s the freshman 15, then it must be the sophomore 20.

 

Wake up call cruise

I knew I had to make some changes and luckily an episode of the View helped me do just that. I saw Susan Somers on the View and decided what she had was for me. She talked about being able to eat all the fat and cheese she wanted. After the episode, I made a trip over to books a million and bought the latest copy of her book. I will never forget one of the headlines “Fat- Eat To Your Heart’s Content”. I was thrilled! Oh and no working out necessary? Sign me up.

 

Introduction to Low-carb eating

Then I went on to read that sugar and alcohol was off limits. What!? I lived on sugar. I agreed with Buddy Elf, I tried to stick to the four main food groups: Candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup. Well, not that bad, but I did have a problem. Oh and a decent amount of beer. I loved sugar! I ate it all the time when the low-fat craze was popular. This was totally different, scary, and yet a little exciting. I had been fat deprived for years and the idea of eating as much as I wanted of it sounded delicious! No more low-fat dressings and cheese!  And so began my decent into the low carb canyon.

 

I was eating a lot more veggies and 
I was proud of that.

 

Additions to my Low-carb Library 

Ironically, I found artificial sweeteners, full fat,  and veggies at the same time! What an adventurous season. My stomach was in minor distress, but who cares, I was going to get skinny and everything tastes amazing! Or it did at first. I lost a good deal, plateaued and then I noticed I was putting weight back on. You see, I was living on mostly meat and cheese and it felt kind of gross . Mrs. Somers failed to mention in her best seller how awful cravings would become. That the simple act of a friend eating her salad cracker would send me into a spiral of benging on white bread and cereal for days.

 

Eating low carb did teach me some healthier habits. For example, I started to really enjoy salads and all my meals now contained some kind of green veggie. Quitting sugar was a good thing right? Well yeah, but not when you replace it with artificial sweeteners. I was putting it in and on everything I wanted or needed sweet. This is turn, made my body crave the real thing. There is a ton of research now linking artificial sweeteners to increased weight gain and myriad of other scary health risks. Since I stopped eating artificial sweeteners I no longer have those intense sugar cravings. I can actually enjoy a sweet treat occasionally and not loose complete control.

When I started gaining weight again, I ramped up my research and looked beyond the low-carb, no exercise advice I was following. It was then That I came across “Body For Life” by Bill Phillips. His plan was much more balanced.  He didn’t eliminate entire food groups and he also explained why exercise was important.

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Oscar and I were on board together!

Stay tuned! In my next post, I’ll detail our experience with Bill and our love-hate relationship with exercise.

As so my library of diet and nutrition books starts to grow.

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