If you are like me, you have tried multiple diets from some carbs, to all carbs, to absolutely zero carbs. It seems that most diets are hard to maintain and really vary in results. It can be so frustrating to work hard and long for a change in your body, especially as you watch most of the men in your life scarf down an entire pizza or 10 chicken soft tacos for dinner while you are eating what they affectionately call, “rabbit food.”
I have come to learn that dieting is a reality for almost every woman I know. It is fascinating how different everyone’s bodies react to food and even more interesting as I learn more about how my body reacts to carbohydrates.
Diets and I have never been the best of friends. I struggle with the self control, especially during celebrations, weekends, stress, work trips, restaurants…you get the picture. I am happy to say that the diet discussed with my Endocrinologist really has been significantly more manageable than anything else I have tried in the past.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a Dietitian or Doctor, but I am someone who has spent a significant amount of time wondering why I could not lose weight and am now happily to report I have found an attainable approach.
Here are my rules of the road for food when it comes to food while battling Insulin Resistance and PCOS:
Stick to 110g of carbs every possible day
Let’s be real…not every day can be perfect and slip ups certainly happen (I have no idea how those chips and guacamole ended up in my mouth last night.) However, it is important to try to stick to 110g of carbs (this is ALL carbs including veggies) whenever I possibly can.
My Endocrinologist broke up the 110g of carbs like this for me: 30g of carbs per meal and 20g of carbs for snacks.
This can be tricky, but with the right tools, it really is quite manageable. Here is the app I use to get a ballpark amount of carbs in each thing I eat:
Whether you want to lose weight, manage your diabetes or improve your health; there are no quick fixes and fad diets don’t work. It’s your everyday food choices that count. That’s where there reliable and convenient guides come in.
To make the smart food choices that lead to permanent weight control, you must become aware of what you eat on a day-to-day basis. The CalorieKing Calorie, Fat & Carbohydrate Counter is the most accurate resource for calorie, fat & carbohydrate counts.
Take it everywhere; look up foods before you eat, when eating choices count the most! With over 15 million copies sold, this pocketsize guide consistently receives the highest average reader rating of all books of its kind and is recommended by health care professionals.
If you are like me and love your apps, you can download the app for free!
The app icon looks like this:
The user interface looks like this:
These are some of the great features:
- Calorie and carb counts for 70,000+ foods
- Most accurate and up-to-date database
- Includes 260 fast food chains and restaurants
- Great for people with diabetes tracking carb intake
Over time, you will find that you can remember how many carbs are in some of your favorite foods. You will get very good at counting the carbs in your head and making the right choices accordingly. This may seem tedious, but you will find that it gets easier over time and that there still are many delicious foods with no carbs.
Enjoy the carb free/low carb foods
Comparing this low carb diet to other diets I have tried in the past, I have found myself enjoying foods that were restricted before and that my friends on low calorie diet cannot eat. Remember, for people with Insulin Resistance, it is more about carb monitoring than calorie monitoring.
All naturally-occurring meats contain no carbohydrates; however, pre-packaged and deli meats are often processed with a sugar and salt solution or seasoning blends, conferring carbohydrates to the meats. Processed and cured meats, such as sausage, ham, bacon, and frankfurters regularly contain small amounts of carbohydrates. Reading package labels is essential to learn if pre-packaged products contain carbohydrates. In their natural state, the following contain zero carbs:
- Fish (such as salmon, trout, and halibut)
- Shellfish (such as crab, shrimp, and lobster)
- Mollusks (such as oysters, mussels, and clams)
- Game meats (such as venison and elk)
- Exotic meats (such as ostrich and emu)
Milk contains simple sugars, and all dairy products are made from milk. Even fatty cheeses and heavy cream contain carbohydrates, although usually very low levels. Only one dairy product contains no carbohydrates – butter.
My personal favorite of these items is CHEESE! You can read more about my love of cheese and it’s benefits here: https://mycarbbreakup.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/weekend-food-survival-food-guide-from-someone-with-insulin-resistance-mycarbbreakup/
Condiments, Seasoning, and Oils
Most condiments contain carbohydrates. Likewise, salad dressings and mayonnaise often contain some carbs because they are made with vinegar and may contain herbs. The following oils and condiments do not:
- Vegetable, nut, and fruit oils such as avocado, grapeseed, safflower, canola, and olive oil
- Animal fats like fish oil and lard
- Some brands of margarine and shortening – read package labels
Aspartame, sucralose, stevia, and saccharine are all advertised as low-carb alternatives to sugar. Because they are so highly sweet, it only takes a little of a sugar substitute to go a long way. While these are likely to contain trace amounts of carbohydrates, you can effectively consider them no-carbohydrate foods; however, sweeteners may affect insulin in the same way sugar does, so proceed with caution. Additionally, sweeteners in granular form may contain carbohydrate-containing fillers.
Many beverages contain zero carbohydrates; however, if they are sweetened with artificial sweetener, they may have some of the same caveats as listed above. Along with diet soda, Crystal Light, and other sweetened beverages, water, coffee, tea, and distilled alcohol contain zero carbohydrates. Use alcohol with caution, however, because your body prioritizes the alcohol first. This means that you burn alcohol before utilizing other fuel, including fat.
Don’t completely cut out carbs
Although reducing your carb consumption — when coupled with an increased protein intake — can help you control your overall calorie intake for weight loss and healthy weight management, your body does need carbohydrates on a daily basis to function properly. Consuming too few carbs can lead to nausea, headaches, dizziness, constipation, weakness and fatigue.
How carbs impact the body:
It is interesting to think abut carbs and how they play into the body.
You can appreciate this a lot more when you realize that there are eight essential amino acids and eight essential fatty acids required for life. These same nutrients are used all over the body for normal and constant metabolic processes such as repair of hair, skin, bone, muscle, red blood cells. Fat is used for energy purposes, protein only in ketosis.
Compare this to carbs, which have a very limited role around the body, in fact it’s only the brain that needs carbohydrates as a fuel source, most cellular processes are happy using fat. That’s one of the reasons why we are designed to carry so much of it around with us.
Carbs do provide us with fiber and minuscule but essential amounts of vitamins and minerals which are very difficult to store (unless they’re fat soluble), and if they’re not used at that time, they are passed through the body very quickly.
This means the main role of carbs is to top up the liver and muscles which are not as big a store as some people would realize. A closer look at the anatomy of a person reveals that the human liver can hold approx 80-100g of carbohydrates and the muscles can only hold 1-2% of carbs by volume, known as glycogen.
Be patient with yourself
Any change in your lifestyle takes time. Be patient with yourself and keep exploring trial & error as you navigate a diet that is best with you. With some patience and discipline, you will be on your way to a healthier you before you know it!
Here are some of the great resources that informed this post: