Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Q&A

We're starting a new feature at Sugarless, Flourless and Fabulous: Friday Q&A.  If you have any questions to which you would like us to respond, feel free to email them to us!

Today's question(s):
  • How long have you been sugarless and flourless?
  • Do you plan to maintain this for life?

I have been sugarless and flourless, a bit inconsistently, since June 2011.  I had researched Atkins for three months before finally giving it a go.  I would eat low-carb for a day, and then we'd go out for TexMex food and I would cram the basket of chips and salsa in my mouth and, like Scarlet, think about being low-carb tomorrow.  It wasn't until I decided I was done with this nonsense and planned to do Atkins for thirty straight days of Induction that I saw any results.  As I posted Wednesday, I was seduced by the enticing carbohydrates of Italy and Spain this last Fall and I fell completely off the wagon.

I'm back on the wagon, and feel amazing!

As for life maintenance, I absolutely will continue low-carb eating.  I pull from two different low-carb philosophies: Atkins and Paleo/Primal.  I'm doing Atkins as a tool for counting my net carbs so I can continue to lose the unwanted and unnecessary body fat.  What I don't like about Atkins is the employment of "fake" foods with soy flour and sugar substitutes (note: the original Atkins does not incorporate Atkins brand shakes and bars, so be warned).  This is where my research into Paleo/Primal eating comes in: no grains at all, highly limited use of dairy - and only if it is full-fatt, no fake sugars at all, rice on very special occassions, and focused exercise routines.  Also, Paleo/Primal practically mandates, so much as it is available and you don't pay $5 for a cucumber, that your food should be organic and wild (grass fed) if it is meat.

I'm seeing better results in the gym by lifting very heavy weights for short durations compared to when I lifted light weights for many repetitions to "tone".  You don't want to tone; you want to build muscles so you can improve your bone density, keep those tendons supple, look amazing in your underwear, and eat more bacon.

I have been eating sugarless and flourless (a.k.a low-carb) on and off since 2003. I vividly remember the night I watched Larry King interview Dr. Atkins. I had tried eating low-carb several months earlier and could not even make it through a single day without sugar. When I saw the riveting interview with Atkins, I became convinced that his plan was the answer to my weight problem. I was so intrigued by what he proclaimed his diet could do, I had to try it myself.

The very next day, I began the Atkins Diet in earnest and stayed on it for a few years. I experienced not only a 25 pound weight loss - from 185 pounds to 160 pounds (a size 6 to 8 for my 6'2" stature) - but I slept great, had much more energy, clear skin, less painful menstrual cycles, no bloating and no PMS. I was friendlier, my mind was sharper, and no longer experienced the afternoon crashes I did before when sugar was ever-present in my life.

One summer, my husband and I took a 31-day RV trip, visiting several western states. Little by little, the carbohydrates and the sugar crept back into my life. I was on vacation after all! It was time to enjoy and let go and that's exactly what I did. By the end of the trip, I could only wear pants that had elastic waists and drawstrings. I was officially off the plan and I didn't care.

Eventually, I gained back all the weight and then some. I stopped weighing myself at 194 and am confident I crossed the 200-pound threshold, an all time high. I don't believe in going backwards in any area of my life. So I tried new ways of eating:  vegetarian, small portions, Weight Watchers. None of it worked. I had all but resigned myself to middle-aged spread and a size 14.

Then, through the wonders of blogging, I met Rebekah, my co-writer of Sugarless, Flourless and Fabulous and Amy, who writes for lowcarbhighstyle. Reading about their successes on their blogs and recalling my previous results convinced me to commit to a life without sugar and flour.

I restarted my low-carb lifestyle last fall. I have gradually - not rapidly - gone from 184 pounds earlier this year to my current weight of 172. I would like to lose seven to ten more this year.
I do plan on living a low-carb lifestyle indefinitely.

Will I ever eat sugary treats and pastas and breads again? Of course! When it's a special occasion or when I am traveling to a place where the carbs and sugar are worth it (not eat a croissant or Nutella and banana crepe in Paris? Ignore pizzas and scoops of gelato in Italy? I think not). But for the majority of the time, low-carb is how I'll be living. I am committed to feeling and looking my very best. And for me, this plan is the way for me to achieve that.


Cindy Swanson said...

Love that Rebekah lives in Austin--many of my dearly-loved family members live in Round Rock. I love Austin!

Cindy at Notes in the Key of Life

Anonymous said...

Hi, Cindy! I've only been in Austin for a year or so. We moved from Seattle to get more sunshine in our lives. There are a ton of erstwhile Pacific Northwesterners in Austin!

Anonymous said...

What a fun feature! Love hearing the stories from you both!