Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Confessions of a Former Carb Queen: Part II

Okay, yesterday I told you I ran into a couple problems in all my carb queen glory.
Odds are you've run into this problem at some point too, because it's probably the most universal of my two problems.
Problem #2: My pants got tight. Real tight. Fortunately I rarely had an occasion to wear them, but when I did I avoided bending over in my skinny jeans—just to preserve their life; and I avoided sitting down in my riding pants—the top snap popped open almost every time I did.

This is not the first time I've dealt with pant dilemmas, and I know it won't be the last. It's one of the many joys of being a woman.

When I was a freshman in college I was totally unprepared for the way that heavy weight lifting with my track team would transform my body. Just two months into a regime of heavy squats and power cleans, my favorite pants split clean and quick up the backside while I was hopping into my dad's SUV. It wasn't one of my finer moments.

I learned soon after that the sprinter/hurdler/jumper girls on my team had two pairs of pants: one for the off-season and one for the in-season, because of the way the lifting in the different seasons changed their bodies.

Alas, my days of blaming tight pants on sweaty hours in the weight room have passed. In fact, while sick in bed I began to rapidly lose muscle mass, and there was no way in the world I'd be able to roll out of bed and move around enough to get my toneage back and shed a few jiggly pounds.

But glory of glories, the necessary diet changes I'd begun to implement for my energy and immune system eventually got my body back to its normal weight, and kept it there. Without any exercise!

Here are a few more energy-boosting and weight-shedding diet tips:

1. The word "diet" comes from the Greek word "diaita," meaning way of living.Unless you have exceptional health problems, the way you eat needs to be something you can do every day for the rest of your life. It needs to be manageable.

If you're on a "Super-Size Me" diet, then you are going to need to make some significant changes and it won't feel manageable, so try to make the changes in doable chunks. Give yourself one thing to change per week, or even month. And give yourself grace. (But do not "sin" because grace abounds!)

2. Remember the "focus on adding rather than subtracting" rule? Once you've made some good additions to your diet, you can begin to focus on gradually taking away some of your more unhealthy options and replacing them with good ones.

When you can, choose God-made over man-made.

Your body will be especially thankful if you use caffeine and sugar sparingly. I know, I know, climbing Mount Everest on your hands sounds easier. And it probably is. But eating refined sugar and drinking coffee will make your adrenals even more fatigued, which will make you so tired you'll want to eat more, which will make your pants tighter, which will make you depressed, which will make you eat more, which will—well, you get the picture.

So give up soda first ("pop" for you northwesterners, and midwesterners). Then replace froo froo lattes with black coffee and a little half and half. Then work on drinking tea instead of coffee once a week. Then work on replacing bad carbs with good carbs. You get the picture.

If you can slowly change your diet and adjust to the accompanying difficulties, you will eventually have more energy than you did when you ate refined sugar and drank loads of coffee.Your pants will fit better too!

3. Some of you may hate exercising, in part, because it makes you so darn hungry all the time. The irony is that exercise can make overeating even more of a temptation!

If you exercise regularly, try to eat in the first thirty minutes after you work out.

I know food is the last thing you want when you're sweaty, panting, and nauseated, but your body is doing its most serious muscle repair work in that thirty-minute window.

In fact, if you can eat the proper ratio of carbs to protein in that window you will be less hungry the rest of the day and you'll feel better for your next workout.

It's like magic.

Here's how you can figure out what you need to eat in that thirty-minute, post-workout window:

To determine how many grams of carbs your body needs, figure out your weight in kilograms(use this converter), and divide your weight in kilograms by three. This is the number of carb grams you need.

Take that last number and divide it in half. That's how many grams of protein you need to eat.

For example, if you weigh 150 lbs, then you weigh 68 kilograms. Divide 68 by 3 and you need 22 grams of carbohydrates. Divide 22 by 2 and you need 11 grams of protein in that window.

4. "An apple a day keeps the doctor a day." It also keeps your pants fitting like they should.

Eat an apple and drink a tall glass of water before lunch and dinner. This will help you to manage portion size, especially since we're often tricked into thinking we're super hungry, when it's water that we need.

Well there you have it, my friends: Some sure-fire ways to feel confident when you zip up those fitted pants, and energized when you realize you need to run to the store to buy them in a smaller size.

Bon Appetit!


  1. I'm loving these confessions, Sarah! Especially the reminder to add rather than take away. So much more positive and encouraging. I've been very aware of my thirty-something-with-four-children state of being lately. Time to take charge :).

  2. Thank you, Julianna! Focusing on adding the right foods to my diet has probably been the single most helpful step toward healthy eating. I plan to carry this tip with me into my childbearing years, should I ever have kids. :)