Meet the old Kathleen:
I had done Atkins in the mid-90s and lost 60 pounds. I felt great but thought the weight loss was due to not eating white sugar. I went off of the diet and slowly gained everything back. In 1999 I had half of my thyroid removed, which didn't help. Then in 2008 I found a wonderful doctor who helped me with my thyroid issues and finally diagnosed my food allergies. She told me to start by removing all wheat and rice. I immediately felt better. My joints stopped hurting and I started losing weight, all without exercising. A couple of weeks in I ate some pizza, and all my symptoms came back, which confirmed my allergies.
Over the next 3 years I lost 74 pounds and experimented with food elimination to figure out what I'm allergic to. I'm allergic to all grains (glutens are the worst), beans (soy reacts just like gluten), and carrageenan.
The longer I don't eat those foods, the better I feel. But the reaction is worse now if I do eat my allergens.
I've had a problem the past year and have gained 13 pounds (I'm at 195 currently - Jan 2012). If I stay low-carb I feel great and don't crave carbs. But if I eat sugar or chips, I start craving carbs. I don't feel good when I eat them, and they're not satisfying, but it's like "lizard brain' turns on and I eat them without thinking. I've had a problem eating carbs since I started my current job. It's stressful, I only get 5.5 or 6 hours sleep per night, and I think I'm stress eating. I'm not one to go through an entire bag of chips or an entire box of chocolates, but I will eat 1-2oz of chips a night or 2 pieces of candy a night (if it's there). The calories add up and it makes me crave even more carbs.
This past month I've been slowly eliminating carbs again. There's nothing I can do about getting more sleep, but I'm documenting everything I eat (including calories). I've been reminding myself that I simply cannot eat sugar/carbs. My body doesn't do well when I eat them.
Meet Kathleen Today:
What was the biggest challenge to adopting a carbohydrate-restricted or paleo diet?
Eating away from home. Dinner isn't so bad because I can get a steak almost anywhere. Lunch is a problem. Most lunches consist of sandwiches or pizza.
What advice (if any) would you give to someone interested in trying a carbohydrate-restricted or paleo diet? Were there any obstacles that you overcame that could help future dieters?
Cut out sugar completely. Find out if you have food allergies by trying food elimination (stop eating a food for 15-30 days and see how you feel, then eat it and see if any symptoms you had return). Plan your meals in advance, especially if you'll be out of the house. In-n-Out and Carl's Jr are the only fast food places that don't put wheat in their french fries, and they both have low-carb burgers wrapped in lettuce (only eat there in a pinch). Combat your carb cravings with high-fat meals. Don't try to eat low-fat low-carb -- there's a reason it's referred to as Faileo. You need saturated fat, it's good for you, and it makes you feel full.
Tried a paleo or carb-restricted diet? Join the registry and contribute to a better understanding of this way of eating!