My Name Is Stephanie, and I’m A Quitter

Confession time!!!

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.


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.

20 thoughts on “My Name Is Stephanie, and I’m A Quitter

  1. Good for you, Stephanie. I know there are so many of these crazes, and as much as I like to assume the way I eat is the best and only way, you need to find what works best for you 😉

    I’ve been doing M-F pretty strict, then Friday night to Sunday, it’s a free for all. But it’s not even like I go on massive binges or anything; I just don’t worry “is this paleo?” or not. I just eat and enjoy.

    Keep up the awesome work, chica.

    1. Thanks girl! It really just wasn’t for me… I like your approach — giving yourself a little wiggle room. Keeps it less stressful!

  2. Don’t feel like you owe us, your readers, anything – eat the carbs, girl!

    It’s like you said; the days I deliberately try not to eat too many carbs (like deny myself a second bowl of oats or a sweet potato) are the my carb-hangriest. But if I don’t overthink it, I eat naturally lower-carb anyway since I hate pasta and most bread.

    1. Same here!! I don’t even eat a high carb diet, and especially not one in simple carbs, but it was ALL I could think about when doing this. It was like some sort of crazy mind game. Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Thanks for your honesty. You verbalized how I have been feeling of late. Watching friends count calories, protein, fat etc as though their very lives depend on it has put my competitive self into a place of ‘I need to do that too’. I love to train and I want a lean strong body but I am not willing to be controlled by food to the point that it makes me feel sad or like a failure if I eat an apple or a piece of cheese. God forbid, a piece of chocolate.
    Perhaps I am just rebelling against any kind of external control (which my hubs says is not completely unlikely!) but I just really feel there needs to be a balance and I am not willing to sacrifice my mental health and enjoyment of healthy clean food just to be more ripped than someone I will never meet on Instagram.

    1. It is NOT worth sacrificing your sanity and happiness just to be 100% strict with food intake, unless a figure competition is your endgame, and in that case go for it I guess! I’m glad someone else is feeling the same way.. I just can’t have my life controlled by food, glad you understand!

  4. LOL good on you for being honest! I think because of my disordered past, I’m SO careful not to be too restrictive. This is usually why I fail so miserably at following food rules, especially regarding carbs. I eat them whenever I want, damn it!

    1. Haha, I think that’s what my biggest problem was too! Feeling so restricted made me want to “rebel”. It was all just a little silly looking back on it!

  5. Bravo for this post. I’ve been going back and forth a lot lately about whether or not I want to get super serious about clean eating again or if whether (at this point in my life) I really do prefer the occasional wine and chocolate cupcake. I’ve decided to go with wine and chocolate for now.

    1. Wine and cupcakes all the way! Balance is all about including the things that make you happy, and unless I’m trying to compete in a figure competition (I’m not), there’s no reason to be miserable over food. Glad you enjoyed it!

  6. No bananas in smoothies? #goestoliedown

  7. hahahahhahahahahha animal crackers. i love everything about this. screw CBL, its not worth it if it makes you hangry. 🙂

    1. hangry monster! I still have the animal crackers in my cupboard, haven’t craved them once since this incident. CBL mind games!

  8. GOOD FOR YOU! I lasted about 6 weeks on CBL, but I was overeating during the day and was probably therefore too full to crave anything I shouldn’t have had. I ultimately went back to carbs around workouts as well (and I went back to eating breakfast!), and I am much better off for it.

    1. Wow 6 weeks, kudos to you for lasting that long!! I enjoy carbs around my workouts too, and I think it works well for me 🙂

  9. Hey, random google searcher who stumbled here. Read the CBL post and am quite disappointed– you quit too soon! I have been using CBL for a while now and it’s been incredible. The trick, that I’ve found, is not being overly restrictive on off days. Eat your normal 30/30/40 split as if you weren’t CBL’ing and choose fat/protein sources in lieu of carbs sources for breakfast and lunch. Or just say screw it and eat a bowl of cereal or oatmeal — I’ve done it. On lift days I usually avoid breakfast altogether and have a coffee / nuts / meat lunch 2 hours pre-workout. Also CBL only works if you really stuff down the carbs postworkout. I’m 6’3, 210 lbs and I’m taking in atleast 400g in the 4 hour postworkout window. Most people simply don’t eat enough garbage postworkout for CBL to work effectively.

    Try it again– I bet you’ll love it.

    Oh and forget the prep-phase.

    1. I know I really did quit too soon, and I think it’s because I was trying to be way too “perfect” with it, and it was stressing me out. If I were to try it again, I would definitely do it the way you describe here. Sounds much less stressful, but for now I think I’ll stick with my IF protocol because it’s working for the time being. Thanks so much for your input though, I really appreciate it and I’ll come back to this if I try CBL again!

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