No, this isn’t quite as exciting as blowing up potatoes and turning loaves of bread into rocket fuel.
My kind of experimenting with carbs is a little more… reserved.
To get a little background on what I’m on about, I recommend checking out my full post about carb cycling on the lovely Amy Rutter’s blog – I explain exactly what I’m doing there.
This post is an update on how I’m getting along with high carb days interspersed with low carb days.
I’m going to rate my ‘success’ on three metrics, in order of importance:
Satiety (if I’m hungry the diet is a fail)
Mindset (if I’m dreaming about cheesecake all day in between sobs = fail)
Practicality (if I’m up at 3am on a Sunday cooking rice, it’s a fail)
Body composition (if I’m turning into Garfield – or if ribs are showing – it’s a fail)
So with that set out, let me share my current results…
It’s so weird: there are definitely different types of hunger. I’m not talking stomach rumbling HANGER vs. I saw an add for a Creme Egg and now I fancy one.
I’m talking the difference between carb-hunger and fat-hunger.
I notice this most from a high carb day that starts with my eggy zoats. Plenty of carbs, plenty of protein, but the fat is minimal.
Volume makes it difficult to finish – unheard of for my bucket-like stomach.
But there is a creeping emptiness that develops a few hours later. Now that’s fine – I’m usually ready for lunch then. But… more ready than I’d like.
Conversely, a high fat day that starts with a 2–3 egg omelette, oodles of nut butter and possibly some spinach, will leave me feeling peckish for ‘dessert’ for about 15 minutes, and then totally satiated for the rest of the morning. I’ll look at the clock and I’m late for my lunch break.
So… which do I prefer?
I have no idea! Both are keeping me happy and fuelled throughout the days, and the same goes for my other meals. It’s just made how different my body feels from one day to the next. Not bad different… just different.
On the point I just battered about ‘difference’ it’s worth mentioning I CRAVE change. This is something I outlined in Amy’s post: some people seem to do better than others eating the same things every day. I never have.
Yaaas, I’ll go through phases of certain ‘obsession’ foods (and FYI eggs aren’t an obsession, they are a staple!) but I really do need change to keep my stomach-brain happy.
That said, I don’t exactly want to have to think long and hard about my meals or about whether my macros are on track. Hence IIFYM would probably leave me stressed and highly unproductive.
So, I have a couple of different meal plans that I alternate between (again, all on Amy’s blog) and that’s been the perfect amount of change for me.
I’m also dedicating one weekend day to ‘EWTFYL’ (Eat Whatever the F*ck You Like) and this usually is a high-carb treat that doesn’t necessarily fit my approach to ‘clean’ eating.
Some people find this makes them a little binge-prone, but I’m the opposite. I know if something I look forward to is planned (like a holiday) it makes me feel relaxed and happy to hunker down in the meantime.
One of the reasons I was happy when I was more consistently ‘paleo’ or even just low carb, was that all my meals were speedy. I didn’t have to prepare grains or legumes, worry about burning my roast potatoes etc… I could whip up a meal in seconds (oh HI Mr Can-of-Sardines!)
But I’ve found there are plenty of quick-cook carb sources, or no-cook. Frozen sweet-potato cubes are the bomb.com, as are quick cook oats and natures’ triumph: the banana.
So, no meal prepping for me. Nothing has changed in terms of practicality: I’m still championing my efficiency in speed cooking, and waiting for it to be an Olympic Sport.
I’d had a break from working out too, and along with the carb cycling came a work out cycling…
You probably already know I’m terrible at sticking to any training regime rigidly, and I worked out that this was again because of my faux-ADD boredom.
I need change! So matching my high carb days are my high intensity training days, low carb days = (you guessed it) low intensity training days.
Combined, I’m happy to see my abs again – it had been a while! I think my muscles (as weedy as they are) enjoy getting properly replenished with glycogen, and my belly likes the break from water retention it gets on low carb days.
Basically, I feel like ‘me’ again, with what has felt like very little effort.
Phew! Hope that hasn’t bored the pants off you.
If you’ve got any q’s about all this carby nonsense, send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to help.
Questions for you!
Have you ever experimented with carb-cycling?
Do you get bored of routine easily too?