A month ago, I decided to go low(er)-carb while remaining vegetarian. Three weeks later, I did something I never imagined I’d ever do: I added carbs back in to slow down my rapid weight-loss.
I didn’t set out with the primary goal of losing weight. Sure, I wanted to get off the weight I gained during the last, stress-eating-filled, hyper-sedentary days of my PhD. But I’d gotten to the point where I was cool with and even enjoyed being bigger than the standard ideal.
Almost immediately after I altered my diet, I started experiencing the benefits that I had set out for: I had more energy, I felt healthier, and my mood improved significantly. As an added bonus, the weight started melting off. About three weeks in, something changed. I felt depleted because my metabolism was constantly in overdrive. It felt foreign to be in my own body. My dreams became both nostalgic and disturbing – a combination that would’ve made David Lynch proud.
I decided to weigh myself – something I haven’t done voluntarily for over 5 years. I felt like I’d lost close to 20 pounds over the previous three weeks, but that seemed crazy to me. For years, I’d been told that once you hit 30 (which I did over a year ago) gradual/irreversible weight gain is inevitable. I stepped on the scale and was shocked that my intuition had been right – I’d lost almost 18 lbs. in exactly three weeks. That’s about 6 pounds/week, which is a little less than 1 pound/day!
I decided I needed to gently apply the brakes on this process. Losing that fast was taxing my body, making me worry that I wouldn’t be able to keep it off, and releasing lots of negative emotions that had been burrowed in the excess weight.
In talking with others who’d done low-carb diets, I realized that I hadn’t even been that hard-core about it. I ate carrots, oatmeal, and plenty of things that are usually forbidden on such diets – at least at the initial, weight-loss stage. Even with “cheating” at low-carb, I was still losing that fast!
(Full disclosure: I recently altered my schedule to do hot yoga every day, usually in the early morning. It didn’t stop the late-PhD weight-gain, but it’s been super-effective with the diet. Added bonus – my body’s already toned and doesn’t look like a deflated balloon.)
Long story short: I added in a snack of whole-grain toast and half an orange – both of which now taste amazing! Initially, I felt like my weight-loss had ground to a halt, but a few days later it was business as usual. Yesterday, I stepped on the scale and found out I’d lost 3 pounds over the last week – much better. This whole thing made me realize how bad my diet was beforehand – even though I thought I was being healthy. It also made me realize how much I justified and rationalized my addictions to sweets and starchy foods – but that’s another topic for another post…