Hi, my name is Stephanie, and I’m a quitter.
You see, I started a nutrition experiment, dabbling in intermittent fasting, carb back loading, and (eventually) paleo. I made it through IF just fine, in fact, I enjoyed it.
Then CBL started. And I fell. Flat on my face.
I failed, and I quit, and here is my story:
I started CBL on a Monday. By Tuesday I was cranky, Wednesday I was miserable, and I literally spent all day Thursday at work daydreaming about animal crackers.
MOTHER EFFING ANIMAL CRACKERS
I don’t know about you, but I’ve got far too many important things going on at work (like, say, the health and wellbeing of 250 student athletes) to be wasting my time thinking about little sugary cookies shaped like zoo animals. But there I was, fixated on animal crackers, and how I couldn’t wait to get home and shove them down my face.
I had worked out on Wednesday morning, and then wasn’t training again until Friday morning, so in the CBL world that meant virtually no carbs between my post work-out meal on Wednesday until Thursday night when I could “carb up” (this is where those adorable animal crackers come into play). I know that doesn’t seem that bad, and when I write it out, it seems ridiculous to me that I failed so miserably. But I know exactly why it happened.
The whole thing was a mind game, a very restrictive, annoying mind game. You see, on CBL, the times when you can have carbs, you can essentially have whatever high-glycemic, junky carbs you want to (but for someone my size, I can’t even really have that much of it). But the rest of the time, it’s a no-carb world. This meant none of my green smoothies (because those have bananas). This meant that I was technically off-plan when I had roasted chicken with spaghetti squash and marinera sauce (because of the sugar in the sauce). This meant that I couldn’t have raisins in my yogurt (because raisins are like nature’s jelly beans). And so on, and so on.
I found myself hating foods that I normally loved (like chicken), because I felt so extremely restricted from everything else. And it’s strange, because I eat a moderately low carb diet anyway, and I really don’t eat very many things with added sugars or processed carbs. I do like bananas, sweet potatoes and brown rice though, and those are huge CBL no-nos. Sometimes I like to put my eggs on an Ezekial sprouted grain english muffin. Again, basically a CBL crime against humanity.
Sometimes I like crappy carbs. And sometimes I want to eat them in the middle of the day without feeling like the sugar police are going to come after me.
I know, I know, if I want a crazy lean, ripped body, I’m going to have to make some sacrifices and be uncomfortable every once in a while. But realistically, that’s not my goal. I just want to get stronger, and eventually lose 3-4% body fat. And to me, those goals are completely, 100% doable without making myself (and everyone around me) completely miserable.
So last Friday, I sat at my desk, about to cry (literally, how sad is that? That’s how much this messed with my brain), looking at my bowl of spaghetti squash, marinara sauce (BAD!), and roasted chicken. I ate about 3 bites, and then I wanted to vomit. Right then and there, I fell off the wagon, and landed flat on my face. I ate some carbs (gasp! In the middle of the day!), and you know what? I loved every sugar laden second of it.
And that night, I had a very healthy and delicious meal from my favorite place, Life Alive Cafe, a meal that happened to be served over a bed of brown rice. Carbs AGAIN?!? Yup.
And the funny thing is, since I decided that I didn’t care if I quit CBL, I haven’t hardly craved sugar at all. I have eaten some delicious meals filled with meats, fresh veggies, and wonderful flavors since then, and very few of them after Friday have included a large portion of carbs. It was the mental aspect of the rules and the tight restrictions that was killing me, that I know. While I do plan on following a very loose version of this (cycling my carbs around training times, not eating carb heavy meals early in the day, etc), I’m going to forget the crazy restrictions. If I want a green smoothie in the middle of the day, I’m going to have it, damn it. I had a smoothie yesterday afternoon, for example, and it was good. Real good.
Food restriction is unfortunately a part of my past, and it’s just not a road that I’m willing to wander down again. Never mind the fact that after I did eventually eat those animal crackers (did I mention they were doused in Nutella?), I felt like absolute crap. There’s nothing like pure sugar swimming around in your veins to make you shaky, jittery, and even more irritable.
So, for those of you who were counting on me to do a serious month of CBL, I apologize, and I hope you understand my reasoning. If you don’t, feel free to get in contact with any of my coworkers who witnessed my near mental breakdown at work last week. They’ll tell you this is all for the best.