The majority of my life I have considered myself a relatively healthy eater. Aside from my brief slip into the fast food drive-in abyss after the birth of my child, I was always a fan of fruits and vegetables. I never had a sweet tooth. Certainly, I had the occasional craving, but I never stocked candy, chips, and sodas in my home. When I started to retain fat, I was baffled. After getting over my dependence on the drive-in restaurant, I lost a few pounds, but I still retained a considerable amount of fat. So I began to examine my diet closely.
I was eating what I considered a balanced diet with all the major food groups. I was exercising daily, but I still retained an undesirable amount of fat. I wasn’t eating “junk” (candy, chips, sugary drinks, desserts, etc.), but I was still very giggly. I even cut back on my calories and portion sizes. Beneath the fat I could feel the hard muscle underneath so I knew the exercise was strengthening my body and I felt better, but didn’t look toned. I had to figure out what was keeping me fat.
Although I rarely ate sugary foods I loved starches. I loved potatoes. I didn’t eat them fried or smothered in cheese, but just plain with the skin on for extra fiber. I also loved pasta, but I felt I was doing a good thing by only getting the multi-grain variety and eating it with tons of veggies. I believe I had a starch with every meal. I needed a starch with every meal for it to be complete. I could not eat beef without a potato. I couldn’t eat chicken or fish without pasta or rice. If I didn’t have pasta, rice, or a potato, I had to have some kind of bread. I realized that the one thing I felt I could not have a meal without was making me fat. I was consuming too many carbohydrates.
I realize that carbohydrates are necessary in your diet, but I was over doing it. I had to have a bite of potato with every bite of steak. I had to have a spoonful of rice with every bite of fish and and a mouthful of pasta with every bite of chicken. If the starch on my plate ran out before the meat, I had to get more before I could finish. I was saying things like “I have to get some more rice to eat with the rest of this fish”. So I needed more of “that” (starch) just to finish my meal. I had a dependency on starch. Have you ever said while eating a meal,”I just need a little more potatoes to eat with this steak”? If you feel that need something just to finish a meal, “that” may be making you fat. It may not be starch like it was for me. It could be a glass of wine or a beer or maybe a big cold glass of iced tea. It is the common factor in all your meals and you may be over doing it. If you feel that you are doing all the right things to maintain or achieve a healthy weight and not seeing the results, take a good look “that”.
Once I realized that I had a carb dependency, I began to cut back. I put myself on a carb budget. As I had hoped, I started to lose fat. All of the muscle I had been working on was becoming visible. My carbohydrate dependency was making me fat.
I still eat carbohydrates and I feel that we all should, but I have learned how to eat them effectively. Carbohydrates now work with me, not against me.
What I would like to challenge all of us to do is to find out what our “that” is. We are all different. I know plenty of people who can eat tons of pasta, rice, and potatoes and don’t gain fat. I am not one of them. We have to find out or own personal diet plans and not be discouraged when something that seems to work for everyone else does not work for us.