Carbohydrates are just as addictive as nicotine, if not more.
The first time I quit smoking after fourteen years, I quit it for two years. Then one night at a party I was offered a cigarette by someone I hadn’t seen for a while and I, figuring I was “cured,” lit it up.
The next day I bought a pack and jumped right back into smoking a pack a day for three more years before I finally quit again (2.5 years now!)
When it comes to carbohydrates, I don’t see a difference. Last year on my birthday, after doing keto for a solid six or seven months, my wonderful fiance got me a doughnut cake as a cheat day treat. A doughnut, the size of a cake.
I figured hey, it’s one day, one doughnut. But it wasn’t. The minute carbohydrates were back in my system it was as if they were never gone. And suddenly we were ordering Dominos and drinking Coca-Cola. And again. And again. In fact, I never ate pizza regularly or drank soda until that moment. It’s like one big doughnut was a gateway drug to everything bad, even things I didn’t eat before. Eight months and 20lbs later we were able to get the will power together to quit them again.
Losing Weight on a Low Carb Diet
If you’re on a low carb diet, you don’t need me to tell you the benefits. Some do it for weight loss, others for mental clarity, and others for illnesses like cancer and alzheimers.
But remember, quitting carbs doesn’t mean quitting real food. Every day I eat grass-fed meat, organic greens like spinach, and even berries. If you choose to drink diet coke and processed things loaded with fake sugars, with a block of cheese for lunch, you’re not making yourself healthier, you might even be damaging your body rather than helping it.
One thing I’ve learned from quitting carbohydrates and then falling off the wagon a few times is that the most frustrating thing in the world is when you plateau and you stop losing weight.
The first time I did keto, I lost five pounds my first week and then I lost none for a month. I also never felt hungry, which I found to be a benefit but was really my body telling me that my metabolism had basically fallen asleep. It wasn’t even trying to burn the food I was putting into it because I wasn’t putting enough in, even though I felt full and satisfied. I started monitoring my calories to make sure I was eating enough and started losing again at 1500 calories per day (and 20 net carbs per day).
The second time I did keto I was losing weight pretty steadily and two months in basically stopped losing weight again for a month. I got discouraged and had a cheat day. The next day I lost five pounds. Oh that pesky metabolism and its narcolepsy.
This time I’ve done something a little different, learning from these past two experiences, and it’s working better than ever before. In the first five days, my fiance lost 11lbs and I lost 8. My body feels balanced and healthy, which I felt before, but much moreso this time.
Carb Cycling on a Low Carb Keto Diet
On a keto diet, you typically have 20 net carbs per day. If you’re not losing weight on a low carb diet like keto where you only eat 20 net carbs per day, then you need to wake that metabolism back up.
What I’m doing now is rotating between 20 carbs per day and 50 carbs per day. I’ve also adopted a more paleo approach where I don’t eat processed foods and the food I do eat is high quality and even bought from local farmers when possible. Your body is a temple, and all that.
So by adding more carbs to your diet every day I’m not suggesting a “cheat day” every other day. I mean you get to indulge in more veggies, fruits, maybe even a glass of Trop50 orange juice (they use stevia).
I’m not going to judge people who eat bacon for three meals a day and the people who make keto desserts loaded with splenda, but I’ve found that a more balanced diet with high-quality ingredients works better and makes me feel better. I’ve done the keto cheesecakes and cupcakes in past keto lives, but not this time.
If you’re on a low carb diet like keto and are following it strictly but not losing weight, try out carb cycling and choosing better ingredients. Then, report back!
Disclosure: I'm not a nutritionist or a medical professional. The recipes and articles on this blog should not replace the advice of your doctor. Also, I only recommend products that I have used and love, but in these cases I may use Amazon.com affiliate links, which means I get paid a small commission if you buy the product. A girl's gotta pay for all these ingredients you know! :)