ADOPTING A LOW CARB LIFESTYLE
Pizza, pasta, cookies, sugar… all the good stuff is packed with carbs 😉 I’m only kidding, I know there are TONS of delicious, low carb versions of your favorite foods. Just take 5 seconds to search “low carb recipes” on Pinterest and you’ll get everything from donuts to lasagna made low carb. It’s pretty crazy!
But that’s exactly what I’m talking about…
IT’S SO EASY TO GO LOW CARB TODAY
All you have to do is ditch your bread and swap your grains for veggies like cauliflower… Okay, maybe it’s not that simple, but you know what I’m talking about 😉 The point is, a TON of us are eating low carb now… At least I know that when I made the switch, I’d go as far as to say that I basically jumped on the grain-free paleo bandwagon without even blinking an eye.
But what happens when low carb stops working as well as it was in the beginning? What if you do what a lot of people do and completely miss the warning signs that you could be too low carb? Looking back, I would definitely change a few things while eating low carb… and that’s exactly what I’m sharing today!
IS EATING LOW CARB HEALTHIER?
I mean, it’s the trendy thing to do, isn’t it? I absolutely used to think eating low carb was a healthier option for me. I was totally convinced, so I quickly…
- Stopped eating bread.
- Switched potatoes for cauliflower.
- Swapped pasta for spaghetti squash.
- Traded bananas for berries.
- Ordered sushi without the rice.
I didn’t think there was anything wrong with how I was eating. Based on all my research, I believed I was doing everything “right”. But I missed the warning signs that what I was doing WASN’T right for me. I clearly was making some HUGE mistakes when it came to eating low carb.
IT DEPENDS ON YOUR DEFINITION OF LOW CARB
Foods high in carbohydrates are…
- Whole grains
- Refined grains
- Squash and beets
I thought I could simply give up all those things and be healthy… I tried, but now I know that it’s not that simple. Especially if you don’t know the risks of going too low carb for way too long.
3 GIGANTIC LOW CARB MISTAKES
I made 3 HUGE mistakes when I tried to go low carb. It’s not that eating low carb is bad… it’s that you need to be more careful and pay close attention to your body. I still love swapping my carbs for low carb veggies, BUT there are some essential things to remember if you’re eating low carb on a regular basis. Here are the 3 gigantic mistakes I made when eating low carb:
1. Neglecting to increase my healthy fats and protein.
The #1 mistake behind going low carb? Drastically reducing your calories because of it. The thing I didn’t realize was all of a sudden I was swapping my calorie dense carbohydrates for low-calorie vegetable substitutes. Initially, this helps you lose weight – but over time, eating low carb without eating enough fats and protein can take a serious toll on your health. Because of this, I had trouble…
- Falling asleep and staying asleep.
- Staying warm (I was freezing all the time).
- Keeping up enough energy to do normal activities.
- Controlling my moods – I was HANGRY.
How to fix it:
You have to eat more of the OTHER things if you want to actually be full… otherwise, you’ll end up pretty low in calories. I ended up grossly under fueling my high workout schedule and was easily fatigued. This also contributed to my ED, which you can read about here. Therefore, you can fix that by including high-quality fats and protein. Examples:
- High-quality protein from grass-fed meats, grass-fed collagen protein supplements, and wild-caught fish
- High-quality fats from avocados, coconuts, nuts, and seeds
2. Thinking carbs were the enemy.
Carbs aren’t the enemy (especially for female hormones). You still need carbs! Even though I eat many low carb meals, I STILL EAT CARBS. Before you sware all carbs off the menu, always keep an open mind and know that not everything that works for someone else is going to work for you. Even bulletproof recommends moderate carbs, especially for women.
How to fix it:
You don’t have to go low carb just to be healthier. Your body still needs carbs! If you’re interested in changing the way you eat carbohydrates, you can make lower-inflammatory choices by:
- Eating starchy vegetables instead of grains
- Lowering your daily sugar intake
- Swapping your refined grains for whole grains (like a side of quinoa instead of a burger bun)
3. Not trusting my body’s warning signs.
Remember to trust your body. You’re probably already eating the right amount of carbohydrates for your body if you FEEL GOOD. Meaning your hormones feel regulated, your energy is good, and you’re in good health. But, if you want to experiment with going low carb, do your research first 🙂 Don’t try to cut all your carbs out at once and adapt to a keto-style diet unless you think it will work for you AND YOUR LIFESTYLE.
How to fix it:
There are reasons that your body might need more carbs, which is why eating “low carb” doesn’t mean “no carb”. At the time I went super low carb, I made some huge mistakes. I didn’t account for my…
- Super intense workout schedule
- Hormonal needs as a young woman
- Calorie-restrictive IIFYM (if it fits your macros) diet
- High-stress school and work schedule
I was going way too low carb for my body’s needs. Truthfully, I was avoiding so many carbs that I pretty much could say I was on a “no carb” diet instead of a “low carb” one. Therefore, you should always take a good look at your body’s physical needs for carbs and experiment with how including more makes you feel! If you’re going too low carb, adding some back in should give you a boost of energy.
Check out this awesome post from Dr. Axe to learn more about the risks vs. benefits of lowering carbohydrates.
TAKEAWAY: PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY’S NEEDS
The thing is, carbohydrates don’t work independently of your body… they serve a purpose! I couldn’t have said this better myself, “Sure, we can cut carbs temporarily if we need to lose weight quickly. But for most of us, keeping carbs too low for too long can have disastrous consequences.” (Precision Nutrition) Read more about the negative consequences of going too low carb here + get some tips about how many you may need.
P.S. I no longer consider myself “paleo”, “low carb”, “grain free”, or whatever for that matter, I just eat! 🙂 I eat by my own rules and have taken the time to understand what works best for my body. AND YOU CAN DO THE SAME!