Wo(man) versus Carbs!
I’ve always been rather health conscious and have tried to eat the ‘right’ foods, drink loads of pure, clean water and stick to a moderate exercise regime. I had a blood test about 10 years ago that came back saying that I was carbohydrate intolerant. I ignored this and carried on as per usual. Nothing was going to separate me from my carbs!
“ Vegetating in front of the TV whilst snacking is not conscious consumption— it is unconscious calories!”
Recently, a close friend of mine told me he was on a wheat-free diet, this jogged my memory back to my own blood test result. I always like to follow-up on life’s little synchronicities anI decided to follow a low-carb plan — I call it a ‘plan’ because of the negative connotations that foul little four-letter word ‘diet’ has.
The difference has been quite shocking. Aside from losing about 7cm off my belly in the first 2 weeks, I am never full.
Huh? Isn’t that a bad thing?
Well, it is unusual at first, but is it actually a bad thing? I don’t think so. It is the difference between feeling saturated or satiated.
Saturate (def) — Holding as much water (substitute this for the word ‘food and drink’) as can be absorbed; thoroughly soaked (authors note: substitute for ‘full’ or ‘stuffed’…he he — sounds familiar, doesn’t it?).
Satiate (def) — Supplied (especially fed) to satisfaction (authors note: hmm, more like it).
Now do you see that vitally important difference?
Would You Rather be a Slug or a Gazelle?
I feel very sluggish when I eat a lot of heavy, starchy foods and, to be honest, it doesn’t always feel good. I mean, who wants to go around feeling like a lead weight? I never really gave myself the space to truly go into what it feels like to eat lighter foods but now that I am exploring this wheat-free world, I am literally discovering a whole new feeling and body to go with it!
There are, however, other ways of listening to our bodies needs without having to immediately cut back on wheat or gluten.
Eat With Awareness
Here are my 5 guidelines to tuning into your body and listening to its needs. Find out if these tips work for you:
- Complete Honesty — this one can be difficult — be honest about when you are truly full. Listen to your body and don’t eat everything on your plate because you feel you have to. I call this the ‘Starving Children in Africa’ Syndrome. We were told when we were young to eat everything on our plate and to think of the starving children in Africa but, unfortunately, this neither alleviates the problem for the African children nor does it do your body any good to continue eating when you are no longer hungry. Get real about what you are doing.
- The Reward System Sham— I used to do this a lot. I had a ‘reward’ system and it went something like this: If I do this or work hard at that I am going to reward myself with something nice tonight. Big mistake! Those chocolate slabs or crisp rewards end up being a major punishment for your body. Remember, everything in moderation. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to treat yourself to a favorite snack every now and then (not every day!), just be careful not to go haywire on the portion sizes.
- No TV Munchies — don’t snack in front of the box. Your food won’t miraculously gain more calories if you do, but it is the amount of food you graze on when you are unconsciously eating — hand-to-mouth continuously without ever looking down. Vegetating in front of the tube, whilst snacking, is not conscious consumption it is unconscious calories! If you must have a nibble whilst watching your favorite program, make sure you get a small controlled portion of your allotted snack. Never take the whole packet or box with you to the couch.
- Tea/Water — when you feel hungry and it is not a meal-time, try having a glass of water or a cup of tea. I have found this is astonishingly helpful. Most of the hunger signals we pick up on are actually due to dehydration — so drink lots of pure water and throw in some nice steaming cups of green tea or natural, caffeine-free rooibos (I have to plug rooibos, being South African and all).
- Conscious Eating — eat with awareness and consciousness. Enjoy your food. Chew slowly, breath in between mouthfuls, savor the taste — make it a sacred ritual not a quick fix. And most important give thanks and be grateful for your food. Gratitude never goes astray.
I hope these tips will help you honor your body and fine tune the way your system works. Remember to trust your gut instinct (pun definitely intended) and eat what feels right for you — your body will let you know what it does and doesn’t like.
Something worth looking into, wouldn’t you say?