A couple of weeks ago, I described my current relationship with carbohydrates as a ‘roller coaster’; an endless cycle of carb cravings, indulgence and blood sugar highs and lows.
Your comments to the video confirmed my belief that I am not alone in my tendency to be drawn to sweets; particularly when tired, stressed, pre-menstrual and super busy. (Isn’t that what June is usually like for mom’s of school age kids???)
In an attempt to understand why my usual strategies for maintaining control over my diet weren’t working, I decided to do some research. For me, intellectualizing a problem is the first step to solving it (I was the nerdy kid who played ‘school’ during summer vacation). I created a reading list and got to work.
- Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health
- The Metabolic Effect Diet: Eat More, Work Out Less, and Actually Lose Weight While You Rest and
- The Carb Sensitivity Program: Discover Which Carbs Will Curb Your Cravings, Control Your Appetite and Banish Belly Fat
I decided to start with the 2nd book on the list; I’ve read it before and the arguments presented made sense to me then (given the things I already know about nutrition and physiology and my own body’s response to certain foods).
The book is based on the premise that hormones determine whether your body burns or stores fat. Too much of one hormone? Fat storage is turned on and you gain weight. Keep those hormones in check? Fat burning ramps up and the weight comes off. The trick is understanding how food affects your hormones and manipulating your diet to get the desired results.
According to my answers to the book’s questionnaire, I am a classic ‘mixed burner’.
My body uses both sugar (derived from the protein in my muscles) and fat as sources of fuel, and can shift easily between the two according to the lifestyle I choose to adopt. Too many carbohydrates? Elevated stress? Inactivity? Menopause? Each will push a mixed burner into the fat-storing, muscle-burning state. Low-calorie diets that may have worked when they were younger will lose effectiveness as they age.
All of this rings true for me.
According to the authors, my diet should consist primarily of
- vegetables and fruit (except for the very sweet ones; banana, pineapple, watermelon, mango and grapes)
- lean protein and
- nuts (up to 1 cup per day)
- count bites of starchy carbohydrates rather than measure out portions or count calories
- pay attention to how your body responds to the level of starchy carbohydrates you’re eating (if you’re eating 5 bites per meal, are you hungry before or after eating? do you experience cravings between meals? how are your energy levels?). Adjust your ‘bite number’ up or down accordingly, with the goal of eliminating cravings and improving energy
- combine high intensity rest-based interval training with daily walking to improve my hormonal profile
Now that birthday season is over in my house (3 birthdays in 10 days means lots of extra dessert nights, more wine than usual and a box or two of dark chocolate caramels…), my plan is to give the Metabolic Effect Diet a test drive for the next 8 weeks or so.
I’ll be monitoring my energy levels and paying close attention to cravings and feelings of hunger until I figure out exactly how many bites of starchy carbs are best for me.
I’m also starting a new workout plan The New Rules of Lifting For Life: An All-New Muscle-Building, Fat-Blasting Plan for Men and Women Who Want to Ace Their Midlife Exams based on core strength, whole body compound exercises and high intensity intervals which should further enhance fat burning and mood stabilization. The first two phases of the program will overlap with my new nutrition plan, at which point, I’ll recap my progress and thoughts about both.
I still plan on reading and reviewing Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health and The Carb Sensitivity Program: Discover Which Carbs Will Curb Your Cravings, Control Your Appetite and Banish Belly Fat because both sound intriguing and the best researchers compare and contrast their findings!
Have you read any of the books on my summer reading list?
Are you a ‘self-help’ book reader like me? What’s your favourite healthy lifestyle self-help title?