General Diet Plans and Questions - Considering Low-Carb... Advice?

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Missy Krissy
06-07-2013, 01:08 PM
So, long story short:

I'm a calorie counter and have managed to lose nearly 50 pounds from last September to now. I'm also nursing my 12 month old, though as you can imagine he's eating solids regularly and so does not nurse as frequently as he did when he was a newborn. I aim for 1700 calories a day. I've also taken up running recently, and have just completed week five of C25K (so that means that for exercise I run 3 days a week, for roughly 20-30 minutes).

Trouble is, I'm stuck! Stuck stuck stuck! My weight has been fluctuating between 131-135 lbs for the past month or so, and losses have been S.L.O.W. Part of that is due to my unintentional off days, when my appetite feels out of control and I end up overeating. I know that. But looking at my food journal, I think I may have a slight addiction to sugar/carbs? I love fruits and veggies and make sure to get my 5 a day, but I also enjoy refined and processed sugars re: table sugar, ice cream, chocolate, pita chips :devil:

So, I've been thinking about trying low-carb. Thinking. The idea is a little scary to me, partly because I don't know much about it (like for example, how many carbs should I be eating a day? Do you calculate carbs the same way you calculate calories?).

Does anyone have any good advice? Or can anyone maybe point me to some good resources? Of course I can always do a good ol' fashioned google search, but I'd rather hear from real people what's worked for them and where they got their information. Thanks in advance!

06-07-2013, 01:19 PM
The best thing I can do is warn you about "carb flu":

A lot of people don't make it through the first two weeks because depending on the level they drop to, they get foggy brain/ yucky feelings/ headache, what have you. My symptoms cleared after a week, but I went from pop and bread to less than 20g per day overnight. I wouldn't recommend that, especially nursing.

I would recommend starting slow by removing refined sugars, then cutting down the fruit etc.

06-07-2013, 01:27 PM
I have done nothing BUT low carb diets! I love them BECAUSE they drop the weigh fast and you dont have to work your butt off to see success! I have a lot of information on my blog that you may find helpful! diymydiet :carrot:

06-07-2013, 03:42 PM
Well, on moderately low carb, you would probably want your total carbs to be 25% or less of total calories. For 1700, it would be calculated as (1700 *.25)/4. The reason you divide by four is because carbs have 4 calories per gram. That would mean around 107 grams of carbohydrates.

Also, don't forget, you can also subtract fiber from the total carbs to get "net" or digestible carbs. Fiber won't be stored up as fat, so they don't count.

06-07-2013, 04:07 PM
What about just taking a look at the processed carbs and sugar in your diet that you mentioned and trying to cut there first to see if that helps... Do you know how many grams approximately of carbohydrate you're eating now? I would suggest tracking that for several days to see where you're at... I've found for myself through quite a bit of trial and error that very low carb in the 20 to 30g a day range wasn't right for me and while I did better in the 50g range... a ketogenic diet just wasn't the best choice for me based on the amount of running I like to do... And even at 100g's of carbs a day that still wasn't enough for me... So now I'm eating around 200g's a day (which is still a lot less than the 300 to 500g's of carbs many people consume on average) and I feel my endurance has improved dramatically as far as my running goes and I feel better as well... But it took me a couple of years to finally figure all of this out for myself... and it's still a work in progress... :)

06-08-2013, 09:12 AM
As a calorie counter myself I notice that I naturally keep carbs at an arm's length. Let's face it, carbs have a lot of calories!!! I can eat way more protein and fats if I keep the carbs to a minimum. So try distributing your meal to be less carbs and more protein for a start.

When I was nursing I needed carbs, so you probably do too. Not as much as in the beginning but even at 12mos you can't go no-carb!

My first step to low carb was to cut out wheat entirely. You'll be amazed at what that does to your mind and body. I still avoid wheat whenever I can, I've learned that rice doesn't make me crazy the way wheat does. Even a small amount of wheat can make me into a vampire. So stuff like sandwiches and cereals are out, you learn to get creative!

SUGAR needs to be busted. At any weight or fitness level this little white substance will derail you at every turn. Sugar is completely unecessary for the human body. And make sure to watch Sugar: the Bitter Truth and The Skinny on Obesity on youtube, you'll never want to eat sugar again!

06-08-2013, 11:06 AM
I've been doing Atkins for 9+ years....that being said, there are many low carb plans out there. My advice is to research and decide which plan you can 100% commit yourself to because without 100% commitment, no plan is going to work.
Atkins was the way to go for me because it allowed me to eat foods I enjoy which made it easy for me to stick with.....and 9+ years later, here I am still eating low carb!
All the best to you!!
You CAN do this! :)

06-08-2013, 12:23 PM
I'm doing Ideal Protein and I'm so so pleased with the results.

It is easy to follow. Because it works with ketosis I don't get cravings. My weight loss has been averaging three to four Pounds per week.

I was skeptical of these kinds of diets but on the encouragement of my brother explored. I am so happy I did. It is backed by solid new science and brings a lot of positive health benefits.

If you are interested, I encourage you to check it out. There is a section in this forum specifically devoted to the ideal protein diet. You can also go on YouTube to find people speaking about their experience with it.

06-08-2013, 01:51 PM
I am also doing IP which is a very low carb diet called a protein-sparing modified fast diet. It's an easy way to start a low carb diet because you don't have to figure anything out, you just use three packets/bars a day and have 4 cups of veggies and 8 oz of meat a day. It's cold-turkey on carbs, so you might go through a few days of "keto flu" as your body develops the infrastructure to burn fat instead of carbs. But, I've found I don't really have cravings for carbs anymore (and I loved them carbs). I am losing weight quickly and finding it easy to stick to, however I am researching other low carb diets for long term maintenance. There's a thread on Reddit (r/keto) that has great resources like calculators to figure out how many grams of carbs and protein you need. This is another good resource:

Best of luck!

06-08-2013, 02:43 PM
Your weight is close to goal, so you have to expect slow losses. To get rid of carb cravings, you would have to get into ketosis. I am not sure you want to do such a restricted diet. Certainly not something like IP, which is also a very low calorie diet. IP is for when you want to loose >30 lbs. The biggest drop in weight you would get in ketosis is due to the loss of glycogen stores and associated water, not fat loss. You could also not work out on something like IP. I would rather just cut out refined carbs and decrease calorie intake to 1400-1500 once you stop nursing.

If you started running just recently, you may experience water retention, which would explain your "stall". You are likely building up muscle and increasing glycogen stores. Both cause water retention, which will ease within a couple of weeks (6-8 weeks). Why not add strength training to your exercise? If you build up muscle, you will end up looking your target weight, without having to reach it.

Missy Krissy
06-10-2013, 02:12 PM
Thanks so much everyone for your input! You gave me lots to think about. I'm pretty sure I don't want to go super low carb (nothing like RadioJane's <20!), but I do think it would be helpful to try to get my macro-nutrients in a balance. I also don't think that IP is for me, though I know that a lot of people have a great deal of success with it.

I went through my food journal and picked a random day where my calorie intake was 1700, and calculated what my carb intake was for that day: 219. Looking at my log I see that I had a small order of french fries from Burger King and a Milky Way Midnight (my favorite!) which contributed 85 carbs to that total. :yikes:

I think you are all probably right - a good place to start would be to cut out the refined foods, or at least reduce them. I know this in my head, but it's hard to put into practice!

Laciemn, thank you for giving me a formula to work with! I've decided to take a short maintenance break (about a week before re-booting) and will be eating between 1700-2000 calories/day, so I think I'll try to keep carbs between 107-125/day and see how I feel on that.

This whole weight loss thing has a lot of trial and error, am I right? LOL.

Thanks again everyone for your input!

06-10-2013, 04:56 PM
I lost right at 60 pounds with plain calorie-counting, but for the last few weeks I've started watching my carbs. I try to keep net carbs under 80g a day (random number pulled out of nowhere, but I stick to it) and I can say that my carb cravings have pretty much vanished.

Of course, I still eat fruit and vegetables since our bodies need healthy carbs, so maybe that's why I don't have the cravings? But I haven't wanted "junk" carbs for a while, and that's definitely new for me. It's also broken me out of a stall, so even more reasons for me to stick with it.