Low carb eating – the rules

THESE ARE THE RULES OF MY HEALTHY, LOW CARB EATING PLAN

No meticulous measuring

No calorie counting

No beating myself up if I fall off the wagon

No ‘all or nothing’ thinking

All I am going to do is follow these rules:

1. No grains, wheat, etc

Bread

2. No sugar

Sugar
3. As much veg as possible

Fruit and Veg

4. Unlimited good fat

Avacados for Guac

5. Minimal saturated fat

Bacon

6. Unlimited protein

Cottage Cheese Salad w/Olives, Grape Tomatoes, & Fresh Tarragon

No carb weighing. No calorie counting. No portion control. I follow the rules above, eat when I’m hungry, and that’s it.

When I take this plan seriously, I find it beneficial in numerous ways:

  1. I have bags of energy. I’m not a scientist or a nutritionist, so I’m not really sure why this is. However, my lay-person’s guess would be that my blood sugar is level and my brain isn’t engaged in controlling insulin.
  2. I’m not hungry. Ever. Even if I want food, I don’t have that gnawing feeling, where you’d run over your own grandmother for some food and your stomach sounds likes a the mating call of a humpback whale.
  3. My skin clears up. Again, I’m not an expert on why this is, but after consulting the unquestionable and totally reliable oracle of Google I suspect this is to do with hormones. Eating cake and producing too much insulin can cause the things to punish you with a patchwork of zits. Thanks hormones.
  4. I lose weight. Everyone knows that dropping the carbs is the fastest way to lose weight.

However, this is deceptive: a lot of this is water lost from the liver and the muscles (the body’s glycogen stores).

So as soon as you start celebrating, a well-earned biscuit crosses your lips, replenishes the glycogen and BOOM you gain a stone in one day, and spend the next 24 hours wailing into a bowl of coco-pops and resigning to a life of fat.

In short: weight loss from a low carb diet is not reliable. It’s best not to do it solely for this reason.

This diet isn’t for everyone. It works well for me because I don’t have too much of a sweet tooth (I’d much rather have a slab of cheese than a piece of cake any day). I am also a little sensitive to sugar, and if I overdo it I end up with the shakes three hours later. So generally I feel much better this way.

What is your view? Is low carb dieting a good thing? Or is the age old wisdom of ‘eat a little less, move a little more’ still the only adage that counts?

Photo credits from top to bottom: rprata; Uwe Hermann; sjdunphy; ericskiff; kjetil_r; kellyhogaboom

For more about my low carb healthy eating plan, read here

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26 thoughts on “Low carb eating – the rules

  1. I have far too much of a sweet tooth for the above to ever stick for me, I personally work on an ‘everything in moderation’ ethos, though I do appreciate that there are tweaks I could make to my own intake that would be beneficial. Evening cookies (with my book) are my treat for making it through each day, which means I eat chocolate pretty much every day. I can probably count on one hand the number of times a month I eat processed (read take out/ready meal style) food a month. And I’m fortunate in that I genuinely love my fruit and veg.

    Good luck with the regime, you seem to have the right attitude!

  2. I wouldn’t sweat too much about the saturated fat if you’ve kicked the carbs into touch. Well done, keep it up!

    • thank you! I must admit I do like to nibble (/gorge) on some cheese… I just think it’s healthier to have avacados/nuts/olives/fish etc. but you’ve got to have a treat from time to time!

  3. Thanks for liking my post about broccoli juice! Though, have you tried it yet? It is mixed with fruit juice so there is sugar present, but at least there’s no extra sugar…
    Also, my diet in the US is bread-heavy but satch fat-light, but when I’m back in East Asia it, well replace bread with rice and the other thing with bread… though meals that regularly consist of avocados, olives, nuts, fish, and pulses can never be bad.

  4. Hi!

    I like the blog.

    Something to bear in mind if you feel the call of the carbs…

    You can solve (or at least reduce) some of the problems of carbs that you list by simply switching from refined grain carbs such as white bread/pasta/rice etc to wholegrain versions e.g. brown/wholemeal bread/pasta/rice etc. They take longer to break down so you feel full for longer, you also don’t get the spike-and-crash that you described (well I don’t any more anyway), which is nice because that spike causes your body to store some of the excess sugar as fat. This is just a combination of what I’ve read since trying to be healthy myself and my own experience, so take with a pinch of salt!

    • Hi Stu,
      That’s really interesting thanks for that. I have tried the low GI thing, but it seems to have a similar effect on me as other carbs… I think I must be very carb sensitive or something. I may well try it again at some point though just to test it! Thanks!

  5. low carb seems to work for me i am not sure why but it is about the only thing that helps.. a little bad carbs i feel yucky and bloated.

  6. I’d say I follow a vegetarian South Beach-style diet. Good carbs, good fats. I think low carb might be a good option for some (I actually think almost any of the major diets is an improvement over what the average person eats), but not for me. I have noticed that when I restrict carbs, my running suffers.

    • yeah the running thing is a big problem for me as well. I like the idea of a vegetarian south beach style diet – that is pretty much what I’m doing (only with fish thrown in). Thanks for commenting – good luck with the running!

  7. Like the other readers, I love the idea of a lo carb diet. I love bread and grains, mostly eat other than refined white, and yes bread fills me up, so I eat less. But I am learning to do without bread each day ( it is difficult, as I live in the land of the “sandwich lunch”. I thing to note might be that excess protein is turned into fat by the body. So maybe a lot of protein, but not unlimited is the answer to more weight loss on this kind of diet. Otherwise, totally agree with you on the results with clear skin eating this way…. thanks so much. Hope re-blogging is ok?

    • Hi there, thanks for the reblog 🙂 Much appreciated. it’s interesting what you’ve said about protein. I’ve also read that protein can be turned into glucose if you have too much of it – kind of defeating the point of the low carb diet! this dieting business is so complex 🙂 i guess there’s a lot to be said for the moderation approach… I jsut find it difficult as I have a bit of an ‘all or nothing’ personality.

  8. Your rules make a lot of sense even for just a ‘general’ diet – you say you have as much veg as possible, but people often forget that vegies ARE carbs – good ones! – it that bread potatoes, white rice / pasta we need to avoid, a lot ofpeople’s ‘addictions’ are actually just habit, and you can change these, you just gotta persevere! Do you exercise to enhance your weight loss?..

    • thanks for your comments! you’re right, veggies are the best form of carbs. I do exercise, I do quite a lot of running, although it’s quite hard with the low carb diet (something I’ve blogged about on here a few times). i’m thinking of reintroducing some fruit, oats, etc but still staying away from the bread, pasta etc as you advise 🙂

  9. I have been trying to follow the same kind of healthy eating guidelines but can’t let go of sugar. When you did your research which aspects were linked to clearer skin?

  10. I don’t find it that hard and if I do have a bit of sweets, I don’t gain that much if I jump right back on. I’ve been extremely successful with this way of eating. I do eat some fruit in my diet, however, I keep it early in the day… maybe because I keep some carbs in my diet on a daily basis?
    My skin has gotten so much clearer, and I’m unsure of why that is, but eternally grateful for it. I do have lemon water in the mornings, I’m thinking that has something to do with it… the acid?

    • that’s great – really pleased you’ve had so much success! they do say lemon water is a great way to start the day, I might start trying this. Thanks so mcuh for your comments – really inspired me to stick at it 🙂

  11. Excellent rules. I’ve attempted this type of diet before but found the craving too strong so I do a minimal carb diet allowing for some carbs from grains here and there. Not a lot, just a bit. Keep it up!

    • Thanks Katie 🙂 That sounds like a good approach, it’s all about finding what works for you. I find that grains don’t agree with me unless in small amounts, but I’m thinking of reintroducing some fruit. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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