My two cents on your Conversation..

Happy Hump Day everyone!  Sometimes I really feel like if I can get through Wednesday I can get through anything.  Some weeks my kids make it easy to get through the week, others not so much 😉

I woke up at 4:15 this morning, a half hour earlier than I did for my Monday morning gym session.  I did this for a few reasons:

  1. It always takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed
  2. I needed to eat more than a banana and decided I would give “real” rolled oats a try (discussion to follow) and I had to cook them.
  3. I needed to eat earlier to give my food time to digest!  It is of no use to me during my workout if it is sitting like a brick in my stomach!

Result of early wake up/oatmeal-an-hour-before combination? SUCCESS!  I was rearing to go!  The sun was also up and shining brightly in the apartment windows adjacent to the gym, talk about motivating!  We started with new abs (a routine totally ripped from the pages of the Oxygen’s May issue) and then did Day 2- Legs.  I love leg days a lot, a REAL lot.  Today’s workout left my legs very flimsy, in a good way!  Check out this post to see my leg routine.

When getting changed this morning I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation between two girls (I’m a tad bit nosy but I am sure I am not the only one!).  And like I said before, the main reason I love morning gym is because of the social aspect and these girls were proving my point!  Anyway, one was explaining that her boyfriend (though running Boston a week ago) feels fat and out-of-shape so he has since stopped eating carbs.  She said when he asked her to jump on his To HELL WITH CARBS bandwagon (those are my words I’ll admit) she said:

“I told him I wouldn’t give up carbs, because when I start eating them again I will gain all the weight back, and then some”

I am sorry, but I feel the need to put in my two cents, and since I would NEVER debate with you in public (yeah I am a chicken, so what?) I will write you a letter.  Here it goes:

Dear Girl I Saw at the Gym this Morning,

It is definitely your prerogative to not give up/give up carbs.  I am a huge fan of doing whatever works best for you.  I do not necessarily agree with you, however, that eating carbs has to be an all-or-nothing endeavor.  Yes, cutting carbs is a very easy way for people to lose weight but it is very restricting and unhealthy! I mean, why do you think so many people end up gaining all their weight back and then some? Just like you I used to believe that to lose weight you must give up bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and all the other delicious carbohydrates, but restricting your body from carbs does not make you healthy (it will make you skinny temporarily, but not healthy). Doing so ultimately denies your body the essential nutrients needed to supply your body with energy.  I am sure you enjoy not feeling like you are going to pass out when you exercise don’t you? And I know your boyfriend must have enjoyed the benefits of carbs during his Marathon run!  Carbs aren’t all that bad when you think about it are they? I have been doing a lot of reading on the subject of nutrition and what is necessary to live a healthy life style.  While I am no expert allow me to share what I have learned so far.

Not all carbs are created equally and knowing this could make a world of difference.  There are actually two types of carbs found in the foods we eat: simple (bad) and complex (good).

First up are the Simple carbohydrates, such as white flour, white pasta, white rice, and white bread.  These carbs have no real nutritional value.  They have been stripped of all nutrients and are made mostly of sugar, which is why we call them “refined sugars”.  Simple carbs cause the “sugar highs” and “crashes” (crazy mood swings anyone?) and cause you to eat more.  Most of the junk we eat contain simple carbohydrates: cereal, instant oatmeal, muffins, granola to name a few.  Basically anything that has “enriched flour” listed as one of the main ingredients falls into this category.  If you are going to give up any carbs, THESE ARE THE CARBS TO GIVE UP!  They really don’t benefit your waistline at all. If you don’t give them up entirely you should consider dramatically limiting your intake of them! (Skinny Bitch, Chapter 2)

Next up we have our Complex Carbs (CC) which are rich in fiber and starches and are converted by the body into glycogen to provide energy.  Energy is as essential to getting out of bed in the morning and functioning as a normal human being as it is to get you through your morning Spin class.  THESE ARE THE CARBS YOU SHOULD EAT NEED!  CC include potatoes, whole wheat pasta, fruits, veggies, nuts, brown rice, and any other foods made with whole grains (non-refined foods). (Skinny Bitch, Chapter 2)  CC should be eaten with each meal because they give you that full feeling, which leaves me content after a meal.  ISN’T THAT GREAT NEWS?  You can eat carbs after all!

My suggestion, Girl I Saw at the Gym this Morning, is that you and your boyfriend get rid of your all-or-nothing attitudes and come to a compromise.  You both can be fit and healthy AND lose weight by simply changing up what kind of carbs you do/do not eat.  Because while you go on eating all the carbs and gaining all the weight, he will go on eating none (until the night he comes home drunk and falls off the no-carb bandwagon by chowing every simple sugar he can find in your house).  The all-or-nothing diet mentality is obviously setting you both up for failure, and no one likes failing!  So how can you make it a win-win situation?

  1. Go ahead and eat carbs, mainly Complex Carbs, with every meal and snack (about the size of one cupped hand’s worth in each meal).
  2. Start small! Don’t go emptying your cabinets of all the simple carbs!  Start with the “staples” such as whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, and brown rice and go from there.  These suggestions are simple substitutions to incorporate into your diet in place of their refined counterparts.
  3. Never say never! Giving up all simple sugars has got to be very difficult.  For one thing, if you are anything like me you have a sweet tooth, and everyone feels the need to indulge (but remember, indulgences are RARE occurences)!  For another, many restaurants,  bakeries, and other places you will buy/eat food most likely don’t give you a “whole grain option”.  So instead of saying NEVER, say ONLY WHEN NECESSARY!   The major problem with saying NEVER when “dieting” is that one tiny slip up causes you to feel guilty, which causes you to think “I already f-ed up and had one dinner roll, I might as well eat the whole basket”.  While reading, rational you says “One roll is better than 10”, but guilty you (with your hand in the bread basket) says “Waiter, can we have more rolls please!”  MAKE SENSE???

In closing, don’t look at this new beginning as a “diet”, “diets” don’t last.  Look at it as a lifestyle change and don’t be afraid to let anyone and everyone know you are trying to be a healthier and happier version of you! Significantly limiting simple carbs and consistently eating CC will leave you feeling fuller longer, more energetic, and grateful that you are not stuck eating bacon and cheese for three meals a day.

I look forward to hearing your discussion of this post tomorrow morning,

~L

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

🙂 Think she’ll read it??  I’d die!  haha

I have been trying the three steps above for about a week.  For me, the pasta, rice, rolled oats, fruits, and veggies are do-able.  In regards to whole wheat pasta vs white I don’t taste much of a difference.

The bread?  Well that is another story!  Wonder Bread, which I grew up on is soft and tasteless (though delicious), similarly it is also nutrition less (if any bread lists “enriched flour” as an ingredient, consider it junk food!).  I made the switch to whole wheat bread.  It is hard and tastes funky but I am willing to give it a try for a bit to see if I can get used to it!

As I wrote that I actually ate my dinner, homemade ravioli (talk about the pot calling the kettle black) that my coworker Elaine made from scratch for me a while ago.  I’ve kept them in my freezer.  Homemade pasta of any sort is so delicious and these ravioli are no exception.  I had 5 of them (because the others were stuck to the container) with a big spoonful of my sauce.  Mmmmm!  I am hoping she will teach me how to make homemade ravioli so I can switch up the recipe and use whole wheat flour instead.  Like I said above, eating whole grains (as opposed to refined) is healthy, but that isn’t always an option!

I really enjoyed spending my afternoon/evening writing this post.  I think about possible topics all day long during conversations I have, things I read, whatever I do!  Today it hit me in the shower that I NEEDED to write about my thoughts on carbs!  Ha!  I’ll take the inspiration wherever I can get it!

What do you think of the simple carb vs. complex carb argument?  Do you believe in the all-or-nothing approach or my complex carbs with every meal approach? Or neither? Let me know! I am genuinely interested in learning as much as I can about the healthy (or getting healthy) lifestyles of you guys!

I am officially spent and couching it for the rest of the evening!

~L

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