Low Fat Dieting Made Me Fat! #UsFatGirls

carbsI had a conversation with a guy yesterday that I think is relevant here.

We’ve posted and talked often in UsFatGirls that you cannot exercise away an unhealthy, sugar-filled, carb-loaded diet.

He was struggling to lose pounds even though he works out often. In the same sentence he also described how he’s addicted to shamrock shakes (or any other seasonal offerings), craves fries, corn dogs, mac n cheese, and drinks alcohol regularly. (quick note: I don’t have any issues with alcohol – its only included due to being calorie-loaded).

And yes, I asked his permission to talk about our conversation in this post. :).

I think he is like many of us. We wish and hope we can exempt unhealthy eating and drinking by working out.

I learned about this personally in 1996. I was working out obsessively, had lost a little then plateaued for months. About that time I had my yearly doctor visit and in total frustration asked my doctor about it. She asked me to list what I was eating in a typical day.

Back then I was doing “low fat” dieting. This is what a typical day looked like:

Breakfast: Cereal with skim milk

Lunch: A huge baked potato with salsa

Snack: Skittles or a packet of crackers

Dinner: Chicken and rice (stuff myself with rice to fill my belly to make it until morning)

This is how my doctor responded, “oh wow, no wonder!” She explained to me my issue in such a way that it stuck with me. She said that our bodies process food in an order. The first things our bodies try to use are carbs and sugars.  Any carbs and sugars not used up, are stored away for fat – to be used later. When you run out of carbs and sugars, then your body uses up stored fats and reduces pounds.

My problem was that although I was eating no fat, I was eating so many carbs. She said I was eating 3 days worth of carbs per day. There was no way I could ever exercise enough to use up all of the carbs I was eating, let alone ever use them enough to begin burning fat/pounds. She suggested adding lots of green and way more protein (grilled chicken and broccoli, egg whites and spinach).

I still lose and maintain with this same approach. Real food. Lots of green, leafy things. Lots of protein.

Low fat dieting was making me fat! The irony!

Also important to note: It does not work, as an adult, to eat like you did when you were a teenager! Our bodies do not metabolize (process food) in the same way or the same rate. This is especially true if you were a former athlete.  Is it time to transition to the body, age, activity level, and life you live and want now?

It’s hard and feels unfair sometimes don’t you think? I work out sooo hard; surely I should be allowed whatever!!!

But I’ve known for a long time, my body doesn’t let me get away with anything. I had to suck it up and face the body I’ve been given and decide to care for it, whether I think it’s fair or not. 🙂

It’s a hard, honest, self-evaluation to lose pounds. And not simple! I can totally relate and feel the anguish with you when that gut wrenching moment of, “I can’t lose weight!” arrives!

You are beautiful! Don’t give up!

You can do this!

Oh, and if you HAVE to have a Shamrock Shake – here is a healthier alternative (thanks Bethany):  Healthier Shamrock Shake