Things have changed.
My body simply does not tolerate the level of carbs it used to tolerate. I know this because, after re-introducing lots of fruit (3-5 servings/day) and small amounts of wheat (pizza crust, a slice of bread, a whole grain waffle, a few Wheat Thins) I see a big difference in how I feel. Back in 2007 - 2009, I ate that stuff and more and felt fine as long as I also got enough protein, especially in my breakfast. I felt well and lost weight. Thinking this over, my history is
pre-August-2007: lots of junk, processed crap, tons of fast food, packages of cookies, homemade cakes and brownies several times a week, lots of hot dogs, chips, candy bars, donuts, and pizza. Why? Crisis. My rise to 283 pounds had a lot to do with the traumatic health issues during my last pregnancy and the extreme stress of my little one's health issues. When she began to stabilize, I began to snap out of it a bit and be capable of caring about my food choices. I am not at all placing blame, here. I am saying I was in a very, very bad place and food was both a coping mechanism and a convenience. Look back on my early blog posts where I describe the way I used to eat. Thousands and thousands of calories every day and almost none of it was nutritious. I am frankly shocked I was not diabetic with the way I was eating. How can a person eat 5 candy bars in a sitting and not be sick from that? I dunno, it was crazy.
August 2007 - March 2010: I ate very much like the menus I posted the other day from 2008. I ate what I wanted within my calorie budget. I still ate plenty of whole wheat, oatmeal, crackers, and boxed cereals. I ate tons of fruit, sometimes 8 servings a day. I was putting sugar in my tea and coffee, and if I wanted a candy bar I had it and fit it into the calorie budget. I no longer ate TONS of junk, and didn't eat a whole box of cookies in a sitting, but I was eating plenty of carby stuff and I felt really good.
March 2010 - recently: Low carb, starting with Medifast. Most of the time, I kept my carbs around 85 grams a day, sometimes going as high as 100 or 105 grams in a day. I felt AWESOME when sticking to Medifast and out of control when I went off and ate extra carbs. For two years I kept the carbs low *most* of the time. I ate almost NO grains of any kind and almost NO fruit. No sugary stuff. This is when I discovered that a lot of my joint/arthritis pain is aggravated by eating sugar. No sugar, no pain. Sugar, pain. (Apparently plantar fasciitis and bursitis pain are *not* brought on by eating sugar, because I had those flare ups even when eating none).
And now, I let myself eat lots of fruit and a few servings of grains, and I don't feel as well. In fact the scale has gone UP (which could be because an average of 1800 calories per day is too high, which I get, but still that level of eating should not result in a 4-pound gain in 6 days). I think there is inflammation and water retention going on. I am also more tired, hungrier, and less satisfied with my food.
Part of why this first week of calorie counting did not restrict specific food is because I have often wanted to TRY to go back to a moderate carb intake. I have these fond memories of waking up and making smoothies for breakfast or eating whole grain waffles with almond butter, and feeling great. But this week I tried those breakfasts and felt horrible. I could actually feel my blood sugar being out of whack in the mornings after I ate those things, and all I wanted to do was eat a couple of eggs. And now, those old food dreams have lost their appeal and I am moving on to better breakfasts... higher protein ones that I know help me feel my best.
I am 42 years old. I am not sure if age or hormones has to do with it, or if two years of low carbing changed the way my body works. But I know that if I ate the way I did pre-2007 *now*, I would end up in the hospital. And if I ate from the 2008 menus that I felt great on back then, I would be absolutely miserable.
Week 2 of calorie counting is going to lower the calorie bar to 1600 and cut the fruit down to a max of 2 servings per day. I'm also cutting the grains back out and will keep a closer eye on my carb levels each day.
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