For over a year and a half I was living a primarily low-carb lifestyle. I ate a diet low in carbohydrates the majority of the time, however, it was a very inconsistent journey. I had some success, and I had some struggles. I will never bash a low-carb diet because it has some great benefits medically and I believe we should do what makes us happiest, and if that’s low-carb, then that’s awesome!
MY LOW-CARB JOURNEY IN A NUTSHELL
I first heard of a low-carb diet several years ago. It’s funny thinking back on that time now because I was about 20 lbs. lighter then and I wanted to lose weight! My current “ideal weight” is actually 10 lbs heavier than what I weighed back then! Lol! So I had heard of Atkins from my father I believe. I decided to give it a shot. I lasted for a week or so, but I didn’t really have any desire to keep up with it. I was way too unhealthy at that point in my life.
So fast forward a few years to February 2018. I was 3 months postpartum and considering my options for how I would lose the postpartum weight and get healthy. A woman I follow on Instagram posted about losing 15 lbs. in 3 weeks on keto and I ended up messaging her about it. She explained to me that it is basically a vamped up Atkins diet. She told me it was a very low-carb way of eating that ultimately leads to ketosis, and fat burn. I was intrigued. I did my research and I knew keto/low-carb was what I wanted to do. The food choices seemed so unlike your typical “eat fruit and veggies” advice. I loved the bacon, cheese, butter, peanut butter, and other delicious fats!
As time went on I saw some great success when I was consistent. However, I ultimately chose to end my low-carb lifestyle once and for all in August 2018.
I immediately found success on a low-carb diet. I lost about 10 pounds in the first week. When I finally committed to low-carb and learned the ins and outs, I maintained a 21 day streak and I lost a total of 13 pounds during that time. I also felt much more energized, and happier overall. My stomach seemed to be deflating rapidly with this way of eating, but as I would later learn, that deflation was primarily a decrease in water weight. Living a low-carb lifestyle truly became a part of me. It helped me feel great when I was consistent with it. It improved my energy, my mood, my acne, and my physical appearance overall. I felt much slimmer, much less bloated, and like I was finally getting my body back after giving birth.
Since starting low-carb in February 2018, I lost about 20 lbs. That is a pretty significant amount to lose. However, it all came off in chunks. I would lose 3-4 pounds, hover at that weight for a few months, then lose a few more pounds.
As quickly as I found success with low-carb living, I found the struggles. I realized that I had a hard time staying strict with the diet. One important thing I learned from living a low-carb lifestyle is that for in order for you to reap the benefits, you have to be consistent! In fact, that is true for any lifestyle change in my opinion!
I was very inconsistent the entire time. If you follow me on my FoodbyIva Instagram, you may have seen that I was “restarting” low-carb weekly! The one exception was the 21 day streak. Other than that I don’t believe I ever went longer than a week without eating over my carb limit for the day.
At some point I began implementing exercise into my daily life. I never did it super consistently, but I still made a basic effort with it. I tried my best to not only live low-carb, but to live healthier in general. Get outside more, drink more water, etc. It honestly became somewhat of an obsession. What I was consuming was taking up so much of my mind! I’ve realized now, that not worrying about the exact macros of everything is a lot less stressful!
Those are the two main reasons why I decided to quit a low-carb lifestyle once and for all: Because I realized that it just wasn’t possible for me to live low-carb consistently with my passion for food, and it became too much of a mental burden to constantly worry about what I was eating and not enjoy certain foods that I knew were healthy but “couldn’t eat”.
At the end of my low-carb journey I began to realize that exercise was showing me amazing results. The results were so amazing in fact, that it’s part of the reason I ultimately quit. I felt much more toned than I had ever felt before, I could feel my body getting stronger during workouts, and I had so much energy!
Then I made the decision to quit the low-carb lifestyle. I started eating more and it was okay because the exercise helped balance everything. I tried to make healthier choices though. Shortly after quitting low-carb and vamping up my exercise, I went to El Salvador where I did not exercise or eat very well at all. It set me off track a little bit, but after returning I have gone back to my workout routine and continued to see results. Weight loss might not be as immediate, but it is steady, and I am eating the things I love, and truly reaping the benefits of exercise. Now I judge my health on how I feel mentally and physically, not how I look or how much I weigh.
Living a low-carb lifestyle was just a small part of my never ending health journey. I am thankful for that time because I learned so much about food and nutrition in general and it really pushed me to pursue my love for nutrition. It taught me that different things work for different people, and it taught me that without consistency, you won’t be seeing the results you want.
My advice to anybody on their health journey is to stay consistent with whatever you choose to do. If you can’t stay consistent then you aren’t going to see results. If you are consistent with low-carb then so be it, if you are consistent with exercise, so be it. Figure out what works for you and what you can maintain, and go from there!