Carbs and I got back together this weekend…and now I am tired and wanting more!

This past weekend carbs and I definitely got back together. In a big way. One of my best friends and her husband were visiting us in LA from Nor Cal, so we were constantly eating out and overindulging. We did get a great hike by the Hollywood sign in, but the weekend was filled with all you can eat brunches, mimosas, and late night pizza deliveries. While this was all fun and good at the time, I have been VERY tired this week and craving more carbs.

Confession: last night I got home much earlier than my husband and was starving. I had a healthy low carb lunch, but by the time I was home I wanted whatever I could get my hands on. Unfortunately for my PCOS and IR, leftover pizza won the no carb battle.

As I explore the challenges of this new lifestyle, it has been helping me to really understand the impact carbs have on my body. The more I know, the harder it is for me to get back together with carbs by staying strong in my decision for  us to break up.

Here is some of the info I found to help me stay strong and just say no to carbs:

Why are carbs making me tired?

Insulin resistance is a process in which the body is inefficient at managing sugars and starches you have eaten in your diet. When you eat a carbohydrate, such as a piece of bread or something sweet like ice cream, your body releases insulin from your pancreas to process that sugar. Without insulin, you would not be able to assimilate this sugar, called glucose, from your blood stream into your liver and muscles. In insulin resistance, your body makes too much insulin for the amount of carbohydrate consumed. This extra insulin is what causes so many of the listed problems, both functional problems (those which precede pathological), as well as pathological problems (those with tissue alterations.) Initially, the extra insulin often ends up processing sugar too rapidly and blood glucose levels are driven too low. This is called hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. This adds stress to the body and causes the production of other hormones (especially adrenal gland hormones like cortisol), which increase blood sugar levels. As CI gets worse, more and more insulin is needed to process a small amount of sugar. The insulin eventually becomes ineffective at driving the sugar into the cells where the nourishment is needed. The cells have become resistant to the insulin.

As CI is developing, the extra stress on the hormonal system, particularly to the adrenal glands, overworks these organs. This results in a complex pattern of symptoms that differ from person to person.

Symptoms of CI include but are not limited to sleepiness, drowsiness, lack of concentration, or a feeling of being bloated after a meal, especially one containing sweet foods or starches. Always feeling hungry or having weak legs or knees after eating is also a symptom of CI. These are just a few of the functional symptoms.

All of this explains why I have been so incredibly tired…especially the more carbs I eat.

Why does eating carbs cause me to want more carbs?

Sugary foods and drinks, white bread and other processed carbohydrates that are known to cause abrupt spikes and falls in blood sugar appear to stimulate parts of the brain involved in hunger, craving and reward, the new research shows. The findings, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest that these so-called high-glycemic foods influence the brain in a way that might drive some people to overeat.

For those who are particularly susceptible to these effects, avoiding refined carbohydrates might reduce urges and potentially help control weight, said Dr. David Ludwig, the lead author of the study and the director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Also, research suggests that when blood sugar levels plummet, people have a tendency to seek out foods that can restore it quickly, and this may set up a cycle of overeating driven by high-glycemic foods, Dr. Ludwig said. “It makes sense that the brain would direct us to foods that would rescue blood sugar,” he said. “That’s a normal protective mechanism.”

Makes a lot of sense why I am wanting more carbs…my body thinks it is a reward and is wanting to restore low blood sugars when my levels plummet after they spike. I also have heard from a lot of other people that it is hard to change the mentality that a whole day or even week is wasted once you slip up on your diet. Have to take it a meal at a time…

Getting back on track:

Knowing all this, I am proud to say I made a healthy choice for lunch today:

IMG_0956

Greek salad with fresh feta and grilled chicken kabob. I especially love the garlic sauce many Mediterranean or Lebanese restaurants have. It is just garlic, lemon, olive oil, and ice!

Here are some great articles that helped inform this post:

12 thoughts on “Carbs and I got back together this weekend…and now I am tired and wanting more!

  1. I completely understand! Giving up or cutting back on carbs is really hard. I find that it is the mid-afternoon that is the hardest as this is when I am tired and dealing with my small children who can be demanding then too – they are also tired! A few tricks that I have found that work for me are: eat more (good) fat as this helps fill me up and give me energy. Think perhaps an egg or some nuts or full fat greek yoghurt mid afternoon. I also often eat a mini vegetable snack mid afternoon instead of nuts, usually left over veges from the night before or I heat up a mug of vege soup and sip it. I have been low carb now for almost a year to manage my PCOS and the hardest part is the first couple of months until you get used to the new way of eating. It is worth persevering – I get my period now and so does my sister. Keep smiling and keep going. As long as you are heading in the right direction a small break isn’t the end of the world…

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    • Thank you for your tricks! I am in that mid-afternoon craving time…and of course there is leftover pizza in the office kitchen I am working to ignore. I also want to try to get on board with Greek yogurt…I know a lot of people love it. So glad to hear that you and your sister are feeling better…gives me a ton of encouragement!

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  2. I do this same thing! Once I have started eating one little carby thing- I just go nuts with it! Your salad looks super yummy! And remember- move forward and don’t let one little setback get you too down. Sending good eating vibes your way!

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  3. Ugh, totally feel your pain! The struggle is all too real! I’ve given up most processed carbs and refined sugar, and what’s helped me is eating snacks with more good fats: avocado, nuts & nut butters, etc. It curbs my carb cravings and keeps me satiated until the my next meal. You’ll have to experiment with what works for you, though. For me, I can’t eat a lot of fruit. Too much fructose and my body can’t process it very well. I’ve also almost completely given up dairy. I eat cheese from time to time, but that’s it. My PCOS symptoms have improved a ton over the last year when I really started to makes changes to how I eat.

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    • Thank you so much for sharing what has worked for you! It is crazy to learn about the things that have more carbs than you expect…I grabbed a banana as a snack and was shocked to see it had 30g of carbs! That is my limit for ONE meal! I am going to take your advice and try to work more nuts and avocado into my diet, too!

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  4. I find that if I limit carbs to something really amazing it helps. If I tell myself I can’t have carbs all together then I will be eating an entire pizza. However, if I am gonna have pizza it is gonna be the best pizza I have ever had! I especially love french bread…so that is something I will splurge for, or home made bread. Instead of cheating, I call it indulging. Choosing to indulge is different than losing control.

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    • That is a really good point…my splurges have been out of control because I get so tired of saying “no” and always being so strict with control. I am going to think through some of my absolute favorites (right now I am afraid the list would be way too long) and go from there! Thank you so much for the tip.

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  5. It is tough. I am struggling with just counting the carbs. Obvious things I easily avoid. Having a predominantly Indian diet, I forget that pulses too are just carbs. Sometimes I end up having too many portions. I really need to start nitpicking. Thank you for your post. Pretty informative.

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    • You are very welcome! I agree with you…the sneaky carbs are the worst. I have been trying to be patient with myself as I learn the ins and outs of low carb eating. For me, I hope it becomes second nature over time. Here’s to hoping and hopefully succeeding!

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