I’ve got a great Reader Question here that I think many people will relate too. She wants a plan to “get her back on track” ( I’ve cut and pasted so we can just get to the meat of the matter).
I’ve been reading your blog and have learned so much from you. I’m trying to cut out the sugar, and cut back on what you call “the grains” too. It’s hard. I run, and on my running days I do better when I have some healthy cereal, like Kashi. But I’ve realized my running days are also my hungriest days, and I eat things I shouldn’t. My husband thinks I need to eat more carbs like whole wheat spaghetti, and that I’m starving myself. After reading what you say, I’m not sure if he’s right or not.
More than anything, I want to lose 20 pounds. I’m a good runner, I usually place in my age group, but I don’t look like a runner at all. Now it’s summer, and I’m still in the same place I was when I started reading your blog and following your advice. I think I need a food plan to get me on track. Can you help me?
I really appreciate this lady’s honesty, because I know she speaks for many. Yes, I can help, but when there’s an addiction, and there often is with processed carbohydrates, it really comes down to us HAVING A REASON TO STOP, THEN MAKING A PLAN, AND STICKING TO THE PLAN BECAUSE YOU BELIEVE IN THE REASONS.
Our actions stem from our beliefs.
I know I’ve written about this before, but do you all remember me telling you that several years ago, in the midst of my Carb Addiction and Binges, I joined an on-line Binge Eating group? I was only on it ONCE. When I read comments from women in their 60s and 70s who have been in full blown binge/purge modes for decades…… that had a HUGE effect on me. I decided right then and there, that wasn’t going to be me. I wasn’t going to waste any more years of my life eating crap and then regretting it. What a waste of mental space and precious time; and the physical damage that happens from those binges is dangerous. What happens when you try to restrict your sugars and grains to just once or twice a day? Just like with drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes, you can’t “limit” your processed carbs; it won’t work. You have to “eliminate” them to break the addiction. And going “gluten free” and eating “gluten free carb products” doesn’t work either. Those addictions centers are still being triggered. It’s sad, I know.
Let me tackle a few more issues in this email. One, “I’m a runner, so I need cereal.” No. You. Don’t. You don’t. I’m living proof that anyone who works out – a lot – doesn’t need sugar and grains to fuel their workouts, or build and maintain muscle, for that matter. Do you need carbs in the form of vegetables and some fruits, for energy? Yes, but if you need to lose weight, you’re going to need to watch the fruits, and make sure that heavy, starchy vegetables, like potatoes, are used WISELY. That would be individual, and she and I will talk about that. There’s a method…
Besides, processed carbs – and yes, Kashi is a processed carb, 100%, – break down so quickly, compared to protein and fat, that you’re hungry again very quickly!! Why? Processed carbs from grains and sugar SPIKE HUNGER; they don’t quench hunger, it’s a hormone thing. Sugar and wheat trigger opioid, or pleasure centers, in the brain. The Gliadin Proteins in wheat specifically stimulate appetite, always. Insulin resistance, Leptin resistance, the natural controls put in place to regulate our appetite? Ruined by processed carbs. That’s why it’s so easy to over eat them. When was the last time you overate beef or chicken?
Next, of course her running days are her hungry days; long endurance workouts always make you hungry. That’s one of the reasons why short “burst” workouts are better for you.
Let’s talk about running.
Many people run because they absolutely Love Love Love to run, they get a high from it, they use it to clear their head, it makes them feel great. Many other people run to lose weight, or to try and keep weight off. That’s very different from the first reason, there’s a lot of cortisol and stress associated with running as a weight loss tool. Let me be real clear: neither running, nor ANY exercise, helps you lose weight or keep weight off. I’ve worked in a gym for 27 years, there’s plenty of overweight members who exercise regularly. I’ve done at least 100 races in my life. Seven of those races were half-marathons; have you ever been to one? In the front holding pens, you’ll see all the sleek, skinny, super fast runners; in the hind pens, you’ll see the un-sleek, un-skinny runners, and there’s plenty. A lot of them are fast too! ( I was always in a way way back rear pen – I’m not super sleek or fast! I’m just consistent.)
My point: you don’t have to be skinny to be a good runner, and conversely, running doesn’t make you skinny. Our body is meant to move and exert energy. If people from my classes are reading this, what’s one of my favorite lines at the end of a class?
YOU DON’T DESERVE A TREAT AFTER THIS. IT’S JUST EXERCISE. WE’RE SUPPOSED TO DO IT. Somehow, completing an exercise session has become another reason to celebrate ourselves.
Last, I want to address the “get back on track” thinking. If I had a dime for every time I heard this, I’d be rich.
If you fell off track in the first place, that’s proof that you eat according to calories, not health. As long as you believe Calories In/Calories Out, you’re doomed to “falling off track”. One, those carbs stimulate and trigger appetites and hormones so strongly, that as long as you’re putting them in your mouth, the addiction continues. Two, if you fall off track, and eat the grains and sugars with the thought that you’ll redeem yourself starting tomorrow/Sunday/the 1st, you’re just perpetuating the cycle in the deepest neural habit centers of your brain.
Remember a while ago I went to that Behavior lecture, and learned that the Brain Doesn’t Want To Do What’s Best For Us, THE BRAIN WANTS US TO DO WHAT’S EASIEST FOR US.
If we want to be successful, we have to Set Ourselves Up For Success. This means we have to have a REASON for sticking to our plans! My reasons? I think sugars and grains are killers! Honestly! I think Fats and Proteins and tons of Vegetables make my cells healthy, make my skin good, give me great energy, and keep my immune system strong. I believe this stuff, because I’ve invested time and effort learning it and drilling it into my brain.
If you’re struggling, you need that brain drilling too. Build a little time into every day to either read a book or listen to a podcast that helps solidify healthy thinking and healthy behaviors. It’s always about our day to day actions, right? Our actions stem from our beliefs. Create a belief system that allows you to feel and look at great as possible, and never stop working on it!
Here’s a few suggestions: my blog:); the podcasts at www.livinlavidalowcarb, and the podcasts at www.undergroundwellness. Want a great book suggestion? Read Wheat Belly. He lays out the science against grains that’s impossible to argue with. And as always, eat Real Whole Food.