Banned Words: I’ll Start Tomorrow

It starts out innocently enough. In my case, a movie. The husband and I had been wanting to see Gravity for a few weeks, but overlapping schedules prevented us from the two-hour luxury. We finally made it yesterday night. As we planned our day, I thought about what we’d make for dinner. I had previously said on Saturday that I’d “start low-carb tomorrow.” I’ve been kind of “off” the past few days in terms of exercise, overwhelmed by life and feeling lazy. (House-hunting and being a business owner will do that to ya.) I knew I needed a fresh start. I decided that I’d have movie theater popcorn as my dinner. Yes, yes, that sounded lovely. There’s nothing like hot, buttered popcorn and a suspenseful flick to end the week. Wait! A little voice popped up in my head. “Popcorn isn’t low carb.”

“Oh, who cares,” the other voice in my head reasoned. “If you don’t eat dinner, and have popcorn instead, it cancels itself out. Sure, it’s high in calories, but you ate light today.”

The other voice responds, “Movie popcorn is the worst thing you could eat. The salt alone will make you bloat ten pounds. Add the butter oil and you’re asking for it. I thought you wanted to lose weight. Don’t do it. Losing weight means saying NO. It means discomfort. It means sacrifice. How bad do you want this? You have to make the change.”

The other voice, growing panicked, grasps for straws. “You deserve it! You’ve had a hard week, with lots of important, adult decisions. Movie popcorn is your FAVORITE. AND, you’ve eaten low-carb all day. You’ve already done so well! You can have a little splurge.”

The other voice, sounding sad, tells you to stop and think. “Remember trying on jeans at TJ Maxx? How the cold, metal button on almost every pair gouged into your tummy, made you cringe? How you’re avoiding the scale, knowing that your body isn’t “normal”, and that your small mistakes with food and exercise WILL ALWAYS show? Your hormones are wacky. It’s not just bad habits that make you gain weight, but it doesn’t help. Your body is actively going rogue. You have to work hard to prevent it from defeating you. It is what it is. Popcorn won’t help, on any level. You know that, Alyssa.”

The other voice, feeling defensive now, says “Just start tomorrow, Alyssa. You deserve this. It will make you feel good.”

The other voice says, firmly now, “No. I’m not starting tomorrow. I’m starting today.”

I’ve learned something about myself the past few years. I can’t just decide one day to lose weight and just do it. I have to decide almost every minute of every day. At least once an hour. I need to decide to drink water, to get moving, to not eat bread, or cookies, or candy. To refuse the movie popcorn. I need to recommit. I’m fiercely loyal to the things I love. Clearly, weight loss is not a thing I love.

So I saw Gravity. And for a riveting two hours, I sat, consumed with emotion and angst, completely lost in the story. The movie was phenomenal, and my husband and I left shaky and tense, rocked by the amazing visual effects and captivating storyline. We’re still talking about the movie today. I didn’t even miss the popcorn. Sure, the smell always seduces me when I walk in, but I didn’t need the crunch, the salt, the butter, the motions, the kernels in my teeth. I didn’t need popcorn. I didn’t need snacks. I didn’t need to start tomorrow. I needed to start today.

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:

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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?