Been doing slow carb for months? Are you really still on it?
Are you on the slow carb diet? Really? Following the slow carb principles? Do you have expectations of fat loss, like the book describes? Are you expecting great results? Have you been following the book’s advice for a few months now? What are the chances that over that time, you’re habits have developed and changed, and in fact you might now be on something very close to slow carb?.. That if you re-read the chapters you might find a few common habits you have now that are actually fighting against your desires and goals? Don’t be surprised if you get a little shock.. I know I did.
It was a pretty regular day, and I was cooking up lunch, with it’s meat, red cabbage and red kidney beans, thinking to myself, “Wow, this slow carb stuff doesn’t seem to get old fast.. it’s been months and months now that I’ve been following it and I’m still not bored”.
I reminisced about the first few weeks – adjusting to the weird food back then was quite an adventure, and grocery shopping was likewise, a little strange at first (I’ll never forget seeing a conveyor belt loaded with cans of beans, veges and eggs!).
It was a nice memory, but one that started gripping my stomach, just a little. Back then, things were very simple – beans from the can, eggs, chicken or fish, maybe some red meat occasionally, and my favorite vegetable from the cruciferous family (broccoli, cauliflower, and their friends) or spinach. A dash of salt and we were done for lunch or dinner.
So I started thinking, and looked at what I was making in front of me.. red kidney beans – check, meat for protein – check, red cabbage – looks good, cayennne pepper – excellent, dash of Moroccan seasoning – bending the rules (has some filler rice starch), splash of gluten free soy sauce – that was meant to only be in once a month, a half a carrot in my hand.. hmmm. That doesn’t look great at all.
There I was, cooking my ‘slow carb’ lunch, and realizing that actually I was just cooking ‘lunch’. It so happened that it involved beans.. other than that, there wasn’t really a lot that made it slow carb. As the book points out, slow carb is very much about what you don’t have – or as I prefer to put it – the rules are about what you need to have – and you need nothing else. Beans, lean protein, green vegetables.
And yet here I was, staring at an accidental cheat meal – though it was a minor infraction. But how many of these was I preparing, without thinking about it? Things had crept in, but I was still thinking ‘slow carb’ in my mind, and in my expectations.
And expectations are a danger zone. Because if you don’t take time to update them, you run the risk of drawing false conclusions. Like if I had gone on like this for months, and actually allowed more things to creep in, gained weight, and then thought slow carb had stopped working for me.
Back in the pan, and my now not so great lunch was staring back at me, glistening in oil. I realized that I had abandoned the habit of draining the meat when I tried a low-carb stint a few months ago, but had continued buying regular mince (not lean or extra lean) and hadn’t been draining it – resulting in a much higher fat protein source than is ideal. I also thought through my shopping and recent cooking – and became aware that red meat had become a real staple, and chicken and fish had all but disappeared.
The spices too posed a challenge – if I had blasted my taste buds with such intense flavors, was it any wonder I was chasing more and more flavor, and was getting indiscriminate with my choices. The rice starch filler was just the start of a slippery slope – sugar in cajun spice mix, too much salt in other mixes, and the spices had snowballed into condiments. Soy sauce was a major mistake, but it’s addictive flavor meant it was creeping into more and more dishes.
In a game of quantity – that is, preparing no less than 25 slow carb meals every week – I needed to re-stack the odds in my favor. If 15 or so were now minor deviations from slow carb, that would kill my overall progress. Worse yet is the habits and expectations that I had in place.
So, I ask you, are you on the slow carb diet?
Or have you found a comfortable way of eating, that was based, once, on slow carb?
Do you still have slow-carb-level expectations? Or have you adjusted them to suit your habits?
My worst deviation has been peanut butter – first it was almond butter in the evening, and then, as I wanted to gain muscle, I used it to add calories every day. Having done more recent research and learned more about how muscle building works, its less likely that this added amount of fat is doing much more me. But it is addictive, and has slid from almond butter to natural peanut butter, to regular store-bought peanut butter with additives, due to location changes.
It is truly a slippery slope.
So take a moment to think about what slow carb was like when you first started, and what this week has been like for you. If there’s a big difference, you’d better think about whether you’ve made an equally big change to your expectations. Having re-sorted my ideas, I see that my results are in line with what I could have expected, considering my habits. And that means my habits are changing – today.
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