Crunchy, Chewy, Crispy Carbs: How many should I eat with PCOS?

Carbs. Salty, chewy carbs. Tortilla chips, sourdough bread, crackers, potatoes, rice. MMMM. CARBS. Oh, how I love carbs. I’d take the warm, chewy sourdough bread with a tab of melting butter over the freshly-baked chocolate cake any day. Who needs sugar when you can have BREAD?!

When all the Atkins and Southbeach and Zone diets started coming out, I remember having this reaction, summed up so exquisitely by Michael Cera in Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World: (And yes, Scotty, I could eat garlic bread for every meal, too.)

Now that I know what’s up with my body (PCOS and subclinical hypothyroid), it makes sense that in my dieting life, the only diet that’s ever worked has been low-carb. When you have PCOS, you are typically insulin resistant, which means that sugars and carbs spike your blood sugar, causing you to hold on to those calories and sugar grams much more than fat. Here’s a nifty diagram that explains it:

740e86fdcded1eaffc57c96132a411ce

I’ve had the sad realization lately that a low-calorie diet with exercise ain’t gonna do it. Oh no. My body needs less, and in a way, it needs more. More fat, less carbs. My doctor is sadly moving on to another practice, so next week I’ll meet with her replacement, hopefully somebody who can work with me and be like “THIS IS WHY YOU’RE FAT” (and, ahem, not point out the meal I had last week that *was* just a giant piece of garlic bread. Naaaaah. Couldn’t be that.) Today I started a super low dose of Synthroid to help get my sluggish thyroid moving a little bit, and I was also put back on Metformin, the diabetes drug that helps with PCOS insulin resistance. When I was on it last time for a few weeks, I remember lovvvving the energy boost I felt. I wasn’t dragging through the day. I’m looking forward to feeling normal again, even though a nice, nasty summer cold showed up today and I sound all froggy.

I’ve decided to start counting carbs again. While I’m not necessarily doing an Atkins style diet, I’m going to try to eat around 100-150 grams of carbs per day. I came to this number by doing some extensive Googling. The first two weeks of Atkins, induction, has you eating 40 grams of carbs or less. I figure 100 is a nice number that allows me to still have a piece of bread here and there, but for the most part, my meals need to be vegetable and protein. It’s not too bad, I suppose. I’d honestly rather eat low-carb than 1,000 calories, because at least on low carb you can enjoy olive oil, butter and cheese, sparingly. And who doesn’t love bacon?! I’ve been using My Fitness Pal and a new app called Daily Carb.

Given that low-carb has always been the key to success with me and weight loss, I’m hoping this new approach towards eating plus regular exercise and my new medicines will help get things moving the right way. Thankfully I’ve maintained a couple pounds down in the past month, which I’m hopeful about as the scale has FINALLY stopped moving up. I suppose it could be different when I weigh in at the doctor’s next week, but for now, I’m trying not to focus on the number so much as getting into a routine. Because consistency is key, right?

Have you noticed anything about how carbs affect your weight loss? Does it not matter? Are you one of those lucky people who could LOSE weight by eating only carbs?

Thailand Tuesday, Week 9

I’m so excited I can’t even say Hi first. This week…

I lost 5.2 pounds

Um, YEAH! That’s MAJOR. That’s probably the most weight I’ve ever lost in my life. (Slight hyperbole). But in a week? Definitely up there with the most weight I’ve ever lost in a week. There were some major things that contributed to this major loss, like -

I miss you everyday, Leo!

1) Grief. I was a sad sap from Tuesday through Friday and had to force myself to eat. So, a lot of this is probably water weight, but my calories were greatly reduced.

2) I’m low-carbing it up. Before everyone gets their pitch forks and battering rams ready, I’m not going low-carb for life or even an extended amount of time. I just wanted to see what would happen if I cut out all “junk carbs” in my life like crackers, sugar, certain breads, etc. Evidently this made a major difference. I’ve been eating way more protein which is hard for me because I’m not a big meat eater, but I can feel it because I’m not nearly as snacky or hungry during the day. I’m also focusing more on “good fats” like avocado and olive oil.

So – Wow! I’m a lot closer to my Thailand Tuesday goal today than I thought I would be. Next week’s weigh in will be interesting, because there is a possibility of regain since probably a fair amount of this was just drastic calorie reduction from my lack of eating. (Interesting factoid: A couple of years ago, any extreme emotion I felt – joy, sadness, grief, anger – would lead me to eat. I knew I was changing emotionally when I found those extreme emotions would take away my hunger. Such a big change for me, but one I’d rather have. A bag of chips does not soothe a complicated life, at least not for the long term.)

But – We’ve been feeling better and looking forward to eventually giving a great home to another cat in need, just like we did for Leo. We’re not rushing it and there will certainly never be a replacement, but pets can only bring joy in our family.

How are you doing today? What’s affecting your day? I hope you’re having a great one.

A Chip on My Shoulder

Remember how last night I posted about my concerns about pigging out on tortilla chips? The fiesta is over and the results are in. Did I win my battle against the siren song of freshly fried tortilla chips? Read on to find out!

Sad for a lack of chips in my life.

I did not eat a single chip. Not a bite, lick or taste. Zip. Zero. Nada. Zilch.

Nary a chip crossed my lips! Not gonna lie, it was hard. I was starving, the food took forever to come out, but I didn’t do it. Because I knew once I went into that territory and even one salty, sumptuous corn triangle crossed my lips, I’d be done for. I’m like an alcoholic around three things: tortilla chips, movie theatre popcorn, and sourdough bread. Sometimes avoidance is best.

I’m pretty proud of myself. It’s kind of dumb to have to think, “Wow, I can’t even eat a tortilla chip without getting all bingey”, but that’s the American way. The average basket of restaurant size tortilla chips is 500 calories. And I’ve totally eaten like two baskets on my own – and I know other people do it too. Why do we eat before we eat? Weird, right? In this case, it’s better to just refrain. Tonight, I have no chips on my conscience and happily, no chip on my shoulder.

Steak Salad!