Since I’m not a doctor of anything I won’t try to convince you with the science. I only have a rudimentary understanding of it and would not be able to communicate it adequately enough to change your mind. You can certainly read some books and articles on the subject and/or watch some videos with presenters much more knowledgable than me and then make your decision. I, however, have come to the conclusion that we ought to limit our intake of carbohydrates, particularly the simple carbohydrates and sugars.
Before I get too far into this I will relieve your anxiety and tell you there will be no selfies of me and my abs in this post. So please rest easy.
For the last three months or so I have practiced a diet I call Avoiding Carbs. I haven’t shunned carbs altogether and I haven’t totally kicked the sugar habit, but I eat far less than before. I just wrote a whole paragraph about what my meals look like but it was so boring I erased it all. You can Bing low carb meals and get a good idea of how that looks. Keep in mind, though, I get my share of protein in the form of eggs, beef, chicken, and pork.
Becoming carb aware is a little like being a germaphobe, you start seeing them everywhere. Once you set that goal to eat 30-50 grams of processed carbs per day you see pretty quickly that you can’t get your snacks, or your meals, out of a bag or box anymore. I say processed carbs and I mean things likes Cheezits, Doritos, and Snickers, all of which I love, but I also stay away from pasta, potatoes, and quinoa (because it’s nasty). Needless to say, you can’t go near a soda when you’re limiting your carb intake. Fruit and vegetables fit nicely into my diet. Though they do contain carbs, you’d have to eat pounds and pounds of vegetables each day to get enough carbs to make you fat.
Of course, or maybe it’s not so obvious, but avoiding processed foods and eating fresh, prepared meals is more expensive and way more of a hassle. If you consider the cost per calorie you can spend far less money eating carb-laden starchy products sold in the center aisles of the grocery store.
Consider this week what the heaviest people you know eat on a regular basis, not to judge them, but to learn. We’ve been misled for a long time. It’s not all about burning more than you take in, rather, it’s taking in the right kind of fuel. Not all calories are created equal. An ounce of steak does not equal an ounce of macaroni. You have to be very, very busy to burn through all the calories and carbs in a typical, carb-heavy diet. You will have to run and/or ride many, many miles to use all that fuel, and that may still not be enough.
Let me begin to wrap up by saying I don’t really don’t care what anyone else eats, it’s their business, not mine. I gave up soda a long time ago, even before going low carb, because I came to believe that is was incredibly fattening, but I get very nervous when governments start talking about banning it. Drink a two liter everyday, it’s your right, but it’s also your right to live with the consequences.
So, I guess this was more of a rant than a well articulated argument, but I said that at the beginning, didn’t I. Is it working for me? It’s hard to say. Four years ago, when I started running again, I hovered around 164 pounds. At six feet tall, that’s not too bad, but my weight had been creeping up for some time. I would’ve been 38 at the time, and most of my life I lived at around 155. I started running, got into triathlon, and my weight would drop down to the 155 range in the summer. This last winter, eating low carb, I got down to 154, and the summer training season is just now starting to heat up. But honestly, there are so many variables it’s hard to say if the low carb diet contributed to any weight loss for me. I will say, however, that I feel better, and I’m this close to showing you a picture of my abs.