Friday, October 12, 2018

Zero Carb: A minimalist approach

Throughout the years, I have spent innumerable time, energy, and thought on health and wellness. I've gone through periods where I'm super tuned in and motivated as well as ones where I'm burnt out and in no mood to make the effort. Through all this, I have progressed along an all too common evolution of thought starting with the mainstream options like Weight Watchers and South Beach and then learning about ancestral and lower carb diets like Paleo and Keto.

Along the way, I've had varied levels of success in terms of weight regulation, resolution of health issues (like GERD, PMS, psoriasis, and headaches), mood stability, and energy levels. So much has resolved for me and I love being healthy and free from those problems that I'm sure would only have intensified with age had I not taken steps to correct my behavior.

And yet. The elephant in the room -- weight. Size. Body image. After all I've done, gone through, and grown, this still plagues me. I work hard to focus on all of the amazing non-scale related benefits but this issue haunts me, despite my best efforts not to care. It is frustrating to come so far but not "look the part". I know it shouldn't matter and my authority should not be tied to how I look, but yet...

This brings me to where I am now in my journey. Several years ago, I discovered an amazing blog, My Zero Carb Life. I was intrigued but not convinced that this step to zero plants was necessary (zero carb is a misnomer, it's really more about eliminating plant foods). But the seed was planted, no pun intended, and came back around to the forefront of my mind recently with a surge in interest in what is now being talked about as a "carnivore" diet.

Being near the end of my rope in my struggle to stay on track, I thought, what the heck? I've been on and off of this way of eating for the past few months, managing about 30-days at a stretch plant-free. I have to admit it does wonders for quieting down cravings but is seen as completely bonkers by most, so is hard to talk about in real life. The 100% elimination of all sweeteners (both caloric and noncaloric) is a huge benefit to me. The increase in protein is also great for my energy levels.

This plan on the face of it seems incredibly restrictive but has the counter-intuitive effect of being quite freeing. Cooking and planning my meals has never been more simple. Most days I throw burgers or steaks in a pan a couple times and call it good. Seriously. I rarely think much about food when I'm not eating, which is such a change for me.

That said, it hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows. I've had a few issues with gluten-free baking with Sammy 5 and had a few run-ins with chocolate. But all in all, this is the easiest plan I have ever tried. The weight issue is still up in the air -- I seem to go up and down without a clear trend as of yet. But, the other results have been so positive that I'm willing to stick it out and see how it goes from here.

Some great resources I've discovered include the Zeroing in on Health and Zero Carb Health Facebook groups, which I appreciate for the simplicity and consistency of their message. I also like the Carnivore Cast, and KETOMAD for podcast and YouTube inspiration. I plan to keep on learning more and settling in to this minimalist eating style to see where it takes me. Wish me luck!

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