Why I Stopped Eating Low Carb

In this post I wanted to share my experience and struggles with the low carb diet, and why I decided to quit and try intuitive eating instead.

When I started my YouTube channel, one topic that I wanted to cover was low carb eating. I’ve made some videos related to it like: low carb what I eat in a day videos, grocery hauls, low carb meal ideas, etc. but since then I realized that I don’t really thrive on this lifestyle.

I first started experimenting with low carb eating a few years ago, in 2018. I started with keto (about 5% carbs a day), but I quickly decided that I don’t really want to limit my carbs that much, so I switched to low carb instead (about 20% carbs per day). For the most part I did Atkins 40 where you eat no more than 40 grams of carbs per day. 

Rather watch a video review? Check it out below:

I was able to eat low carb during the week, but on the weekends, I had crazy cravings for junk food: fries, burgers, pizza, you name is… and I usually gave in because “it was the weekend”. Evenings were also hard for me – I was eating “well” during the day, but I found it really hard to keep pushing and not binge on desserts or higher carb snacks later on as the night progressed. 

I had periods where I was forcing myself to eat low carb, then slipping and eating whatever for a while. In my off periods I wasn’t  eating very healthy and it was almost as if I wanted to catch up on all the foods that I was missing out on while eating low carb. I didn’t feel my best, I felt guilty, low energy… So, I told myself that all I needed was to go back to low carb and repair the damage… and then the cycle repeated itself. I couldn’t find any consistency or a happy medium that I can follow for the rest of my life. It was a constant battle with myself. 

Then, I started reading about intuitive eating and realized that my cravings and this on and off relationship with low carb eating might be a sign of deprivation. I started considering the possibility that my body is sending me a signal that it needs more carbs to feel happy and truly satisfied. I’m not saying that eating low carb is inherently bad – I realize that a lot of people are healthy and content on keto and other low carb diets, but I started toying with the idea that it might not be the optimal lifestyle for me personally. 

One thing that I’ve learned so far in my intuitive eating journey and something that made me feel better about myself is the idea that if we’re failing with a specific restrictive diet, it most likely doesn’t have to do with lack of willpower or weakness, but it’s just body trying to get what it needs. It’s a result of your body not getting enough food or not getting enough of a specific food group or nutrient.

Before I came to the U.S. in 2013, I had lost 20 lbs mainly with calorie counting. Between then and now, my body has definitely changed and I’ve had moments when I wanted to lose some weight again, but I could never stick to a diet or restrict for very long. I always used to get mad at myself and thinking of myself as a failure. Now, I’m realizing that maybe it wasn’t the fact that I’m a loser and a failure, maybe my body didn’t want to be hungry or deprived of food.

Now, at 31, I’m starting to accept the fact that my body will never look like the bodies of fitness influencers on instagram and that’s completely okay, I still like myself and love my body.  I’m actually just now opening my eyes to the fact that we’re all different, we’re supposed to look differently and that what makes the world so beautiful and interesting. However, diet culture is trying to convince us that we can and should all look the same and if we don’t fit the mold – we’re obese and unhealthy, and we need to lose some weight.

Reading about intuitive eating inspired me to permanently bring back some of the healthy foods that I had avoided for the past couple of years and was always feeling guilty about eating like oatmeal, rice, a piece of whole wheat toast, and any fruit different from berries. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I haven’t had oatmeal or pasta since 2018, but in my mind they were always “bad” for me and “guilty pleasures”, and something that I wasn’t supposed to be eating.

About a month ago, I decided to quit restricting my carbs and try to follow a more intuitive eating pattern and in those few weeks, I felt a huge difference. I’ve been trying to listen to my body while also making healthy choices as much as possible and I can seriously say that my cravings for unhealthy foods have pretty much completely stopped. I’ve been tracking my calories, not with the goal to restrict them, but just as an educational tool. I want to see how much food my body naturally wants to eat, what types of foods I gravitate towards and how that impacts my energy levels, fullness, and overall wellbeing. 

I try to eat only when I’m hungry and until I’m about 80% full. I still eat out of boredom sometimes which is kind of understandable since I’m at home 24/7… but i’ll be working on eliminating that habit as well. 

Another thing that I’ve come across while researching intuitive eating is the idea of mindful eating without distractions and this is another area that I need to work more on. I love eating while watching an episode of a show or a movie, but apparently when your brain is distracted in that way, it doesn’t really register when you’re full and you need to stop eating. I never use my dining table and I know it sounds stupid, but that would be one of my New Year’s resolutions in 2021 – to eat on my dining table and eat mindfully without distractions. 

I want to finish by reiterating again that this post is not to say “don’t eat low carb” or “low carb eating is bad”, but more for me to share what I’ve learned about myself and intuitive eating in the past couple of months. To tell you it’s okay to quit a diet that doesn’t serve you. To inspire you to listen to your body and make changes to your lifestyle if your body is telling you to do so. You’re not a failure if you keep failing a restrictive diet, it’s just your body trying to survive and get what it needs at all costs. 

I’m by no means an expert in intuitive eating, it’s a journey that I’ve decided to take and see where it would take me. I’m not even sure what my diet will look like in the end and if I will end up following the principles of intuitive eating 100%,  but I know I want to have a healthy, balanced diet without restricting myself and feeling guilty about making choices that ultimately my body wants me to make. 

Do you guys have experience with intuitive eating? If so I would love to hear your perspective and advice in the comments. Also I’d appreciate any recommendations for books, youtube channels, blogs, etc. that discuss intuitive eating. 

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