If you follow @gfreeb on twitter or Instagram you may have noticed a change of tack in my eating habits. There have been a few less updates about cakey creations, and few more about all things proteiny and vegetabley. Whilst I’ve eaten a healthy and balanced diet for the most part, I have tended to over-rely on all things sugary and starchy, especially since emerging from the new parent fug of tiredness. I felt it was time to change, and also to start to see the results I wanted in the gym. After a few failed self-starts, I threw money at the situation and signed up for the Body Coach 90 Day Shift Shape and Sustain plan. My main aims were to shift the stubborn post-baby fat, and learn some lessons about how I should be constructing my daily plates of nosh to fuel myself healthily, without reaching for the sugary snack box every hour.
At the time of writing I am in the middle of ‘cycle 1’ the ‘Shift’ phase. This is 4 weeks of a low carb diet combined with high-intensity interval training (HITT) aimed at getting rid of some of the belly wobble. Over the next few weeks I will share some ‘mini blogs’ on how I’m progressing and what I’m learning in the process! Today’s theme is…
Going cold turkey* on carbs
The people who follow this plan always seem to be talking about how big the portion sizes are, but to be honest, I’ve been hungry a lot of the time in cycle 1 so far. With the exception of the day when I misread the portion sizes and ate a truckload of beef jerky and double my quinoa. Woops.
The lack of carbohydrates in lots of the meals leaves me unsatisfied, even when I’m full. In fact, this cycle only has carbohydrate-based meals to refuel after exercise, so if you don’t sweat, you don’t get to eat (many) carbs. It was a good motivator to pull on the gym kit (often to the amusement of Baby A in my living room), knowing there were pancakes or porridge to be won at the end of a short session; however I need at least 2 or 3 rest days a week, and those days dragged onnnn punctuated by irritable comments, stomach rumbles and rolled eyes at another small handful of fatty nuts which don’t even touch the sides.
You might think the gluten free diet is naturally very low carb, but the opposite has come to be the case. As a coeliac, I think I’ve become so fixated on where my next carb fix was coming from, especially when on the move with crackers in my bag; than I’ve lost touch with the naturally gluten free diet I aimed for when I first diagnosed, where my nutrients came from moderate portions of whole grains instead of emergency biscuits. And actually that way made me feel so much better – more energetic and less sluggish. This cycle has been like going cold turkey on sugar, and it’s been hard. I just hope it’s teaching me to be less dependant on convenience options, and better at using naturally gluten free ingredients and fresh produce in my own meals.
It’s certainly taught me some tactics for keeping myself fuelled through the day such as:
- Protein for breakfast – I normally wolf down a bowl of cereal at 7am. Having a naturally gluten free protein-based breakfast like pre-made frittata with veggies or a bowl of nut & seed based porridge keeps me going for longer (and feels like a treat!)
- Spacing food – I don’t actually need a snack between breakfast and lunch if I eat a decent sized breakfast with protein in – they are too close together! However I do get a dip at Baby A’s 5pm tea time when I’d normally polish off her leftovers (classic mummy trap) – that’s when to save my snacks for.
- Big enough portions – I know I was under-filling my meal time plates causing me to overcompensate with snacks. I now have a decent idea of a what my portion sizes should be.
- Fill up on fibre – even as a veggie addict, avid spiraliser and Meat Free Monday follower, I’ve never eaten and enjoyed such large portions of fresh, green & filling produce. This is rapidly becoming the first bit of the meal I plan!
Next time I’ll be sharing my experiences in the kitchen – where I’ve had to change from a ‘bung it all in and taste a bit’ way of cooking, to being all about the prep.
*and hot turkey, and turkey mince, and turkey jerky…