I've been Paleo for about 2 1/2 months and it's going great. My carbs come in around 40-70 grams everyday, usually on the lower end of the scale.
My issue is I oftentimes will feel very guilty if my carbs creep up over 50 or so. As an example, tonight after dinner I had 3/4 of a cup of blueberries and a cup of strawberries for a total of about 30 carbs. Total carb intake for today was 35.
Now, as I sit here, I feel guilty thinking how much more weight I might have lost if I had just resisted the fruit and called it a night.
Is this a common feeling for folks, or am I getting a little to militant with trying to lose weight?
You ask a good question that deserves contemplation. Guilt is definitely a terribly common emotion about food, but I like to challenge it whenever it surfaces because I find it mostly destructive.
I'm interested to know if you truly feel guilt or something else. I feel guilt works best when it prevents us from doing something unethical or harmful to others, and seems less helpful in controlling our behavior when it concerns only ourselves.
I've repeated this refrain before, but we don't owe our dietary fidelity to anyone else (excepting during pregnancy/nursing, perhaps), so guilt doesn't seem the best tool for behavioral modification in terms of diet. Like most people, I do experience moments of guilt when I choose foods I find less ethical, whether from an environmental/sustainable point of view, or animal/human welfare. Having said all that, I recognize the impact of having our goals frustrated, and that's the emotion--frustration--that I experience, not guilt.
I realize this musing doesn't really help you control your eating behavior, but feel strongly that the kind of self-talk we do around food can reinforce negative emotions instead of diminishing them, and can lead to some obsessive thinking that doesn't seem helpful. This is something I'd like to see us challenge more often. (The same goes for the use of the term "cheat" regarding food.)
Even at 70 grams, your carbs seem pretty low, and if I understood correctly, they typically come from nutrient rich berries whose carbohydrate content includes fiber. I don't believe most people will get or stay fat on berries, and every vegetable or fruit one eats contains carbohydrates--even if mostly fiber. If eating some berries helps keep you sane, and prevents you from indulging in candy and other refined, nutrient-depleted foods, the overall benefit might outweigh the benefit of a faster weight loss. As usual, no black and white answer/solution exists, only shades of grey.
Most important thing I've learned: The weight will come off when it comes off. Stressing won't get you there any faster. Just keep doing what works and for god's sake, enjoy some blueberries.
Not to be offensive, but this is absolutely nonsensical. Carbohydrates are not equivalent to tiny body fat-carrying boogiemen out to sabotage your fat loss. 40-70 grams/day is already very low, so please, for the sake of all things good and holy, don't beat yourself up over some damn berries.
I know others may disagree, but I never, ever, feel guilt when I eat whole, real food like you did today. Eating berries (or any other real food containing carbohydrate) should make you feel nothing but a healthy sense of enjoyment. Carbs from whole, real food is not the enemy.
Christopher has a good point and I think your post deserves more than a knee-jerk "screw low carb" response.
I have found in my life that I've always carried guilt over some kind of forbidden food. As a kid it was guilt over the third cookie (because I was only ever allowed to have two cookies.) When low fat became the rage, I felt guilty to eat any fat. I felt guilt-free to shovel tons of fat-free cheese down my gullet! When I decided to just not eat after 6pm, anything after that time gave me guilt but nothing before did. When I went vegetarian, if I ate something that had a ham bone in it I felt guilt but I never felt guilty to eat twinkies. When I went low carb, the guilt came up with wholesome foods like berries.
My advice to you is to just stay the course. If what you are doing is working, just keep doing it. Recognize the guilt when it comes up and then let it go. Eventually this way of eating DOES heal your relationship to food. It heals the body. Your guilt will lessen. You'll eventually see that your body is more flexible than it used to be and you'll be able to not worry so much about the carbs because they will no longer have control over you or harm you. You may choose to continue to stay away from them (as I have chosen) or you may choose to eat more carbs, but you won't have to feel so vigilant or guilt-ridden about it either way.
Check out the book Diet 101 by Jenny Ruhl. Only you can find your personal best level of carbs (and type of carbs) for weight loss and this book really helps especially if you are in any way insulin resistant or have metabolic issues (and if you spent a good part of your life eating SAD, you may very well be) She recommends testing your blood sugar levels and see how different carbs affect you. You will be different than anyone else here giving advice. Once you get this information, you can plan out your weight loss without guessing. It is working for me, and I have been unable to lose weight, even though strict Paleo for over a year. Now the weight is coming off and I feel like I am in control because I know my body better. Then you can throw the guilt out the door. :)
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