Light Carb

I haven’t been around here much lately and there are a few reasons for that. First, (broken record time), I was sick! Yep…mid-February I got a cold that turned into strep throat, then pink eye again (thank you daycare), then another cold that turned into bronchitis and a sinus infection. On top of that I’ve been dealing with a nagging hip injury that I’m doing PT for. So I’ve been crabby and not in the best of moods. Thankfully Logan and Michael haven’t really been that sick lately. I’m finally on the mend (after yet another round of antibiotics, sigh).

Second, last time I really wrote a post about my weight loss efforts I said that I was buddying up with a friend to try and lost those 20 pounds that I’ve been battling for the last year. (I can no longer use the excuse I just had a baby!)

Sadly, I gained and lost the same 4 or so pounds since starting in the end of February. Same old story that it’s been since I had Logan. The same 5 pounds I gain and lose over and over and over again.

My friend Debby has been steadily losing weight, which is fantastic! She’s doing Weight Watchers and she swears by it. She says any time she needs to lose weight she goes back to WW and it always works. As she put it–weight loss is about food for her, not exercise. The old adage “You can’t out exercise a bad diet” is very true. Even if I don’t want to admit it!

So recently, once I was feeling better from my plague, I decided to try something different.

I cut out bread, pasta, rice, etc. I decided that I would give this a try and see if it worked.



*I’m not doing a Low Carb diet.

Not really, anyways. But I can easily cut out worthless carbs like bread. Pasta? I rarely eat pasta. The only time I ever eat pasta is in a frozen meal that I’d eat for lunch and I’ve decided to stop doing those. Even though they are quick and easy for work, they aren’t exactly healthy. So for the last month I’ve stopped buying the frozen lunches.

What carbs am I eating? 

Sweet potatoes on occasion, fruit, my plain Greek yogurt, beans and hummus. There are carbs in most foods, but I’m really trying hard to keep it to a minimum.

Typical day of food:

Breakfast: two scrambled eggs with turkey sausage or bacon, coffee with cream. 

Snack: fruit, usually an apple or whatever is in season.

Lunch: Salad with a protein and roasted veggies.

Snack: Hummus with veggies, usually carrots or cucumbers.

Dinner: Protein and veggies and salad, for example: chicken thigh, sauteed brussels sprouts with bacon, salad. 

Dessert: Depends on what we have, trying hard not to eat it every day.

The first week was kind of hard. I crashed a few times because I didn’t have enough calories for the day and had a headache and was cranky and hungry. But after that it was ok.

Here is an example of two days:


Right now I’m just paying attention to carbs and calories. In a few weeks I’ll focus on lowering my sugar count. It’s a gradual process.

The hardest part is taking a moment to think what can I have? Sometimes you want a quick and easy dinner and you think, hmmm how about a burrito? But then you realize the tortilla has a lot of carbs. Damn. Ok…burrito bowl salad instead!

It also takes time to prep everything. Today I had the typical breakfast:

…and then packed a lunch for work that was kind of labor-intensive. Strawberries for a morning snack; black bean hummus and cucumbers for an afternoon snack; lunch was slices of ham and roast beef rolled up with a piece of pepper jack cheese, olives and pickles. Doesn’t sound like much but it took time to put everything together! Tomorrow I’m going to roast some veggies to take to work–that also takes time!

I had one “cheat” meal last week.

Michael made lamb burgers with feta and olives in it and I had it on a bun! With a beer! The beer was amazing. Lots of carbs, yes, but worth it for one day out of the week. The next day I was back on track with low carb.

The results? I lose 2 pounds last week. I’m slightly encouraged–enough to keep trying this diet and see where it goes. But I’m also not that excited about it because like I said, I’ve been gaining and losing the same 5 pounds for a year. So until I see myself lose a few more, I’m not getting too excited yet.

It’s funny…I was talking to Michael about how much easier it was to lose weight the first time…I lost 75 pounds fairly easily. It was slow and steady and took effort and time, but I was really only counting my calories and exercising. I wasn’t TOO restrictive and still had some treats here and there. Then when I got to about where I am at now, the weight loss got REALLY hard. And once again, it’s hard. I don’t know why those last 20-25 pounds or so is the hardest to lose, but it is. It’s so frustrating!

Anyways, that’s the update for now.

QUESTION: If you’ve done a low carb diet before, what were your go-to low carb foods?

Author: Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and

20 thoughts on “Light Carb”

  1. I use green beans, broccoli, cauliflower as a substitute for noodles. I personally use organic, frozen so they are very quick. And I do not over cook them. I heat enough to unfreeze and that is it. I also use FRESH zucchini. Super careful not to overlook. With both the frozen veggies and fresh zucchini, if I am adding to a big batch of something, I turn off heat and add them at end so they warm while they cool down the batch.

    My husband and I both eat lunches from home. Every day. I cook dinner, divide into four, and that is dinner one day and lunch another day. I package in individual containers. So I literally divide dinner in four. I package in glass bowls that can go in microwave.

    It is not that the last 20 lbs is hard. In my opinion. It is that habits are set to a level that holds one at a certain weight. So the 5 lbs that you see as weightloss efforts, are actually maintenance efforts. Your habits are set to maintain in that 5 lb range. And note that what you see as “weight loss” is what is holding you in maintenance. That might sound like wordplay, but it is the fact of what is happening. Those habits = maintenance. I see this a lot. And when people switch to what they think is “maintenance”, they often add back too much food and change their habits and then regain. The difference between weight loss and maintenance is very slight. One more piece of fruit might be the only difference, literally. They need to continue to do what they saw as “weight loss” to maintain. It is the habits. It is always the habits.

    You hit the nails all on the head in not looking at what you are now doing (dropping heavy carb food) as low carb. And realizing carbs are in most every food. BALANCED carbs are seen as low carb by a lot of people (who are actually eating a huge percentage of their food intake in the form of carbs and do not examine that fact realistically). I personally eat with my protein and carbs nearly balanced. (Some days my fat is a little higher, some days a little lower.) and it is amazing how closely I have to watch my carbs and focus on protein to get those two balanced.

    I am wondering if it would help with your illness trend to strip your son the minute you walk in the door with him from daycare, and give him a bath then, washing his hands very carefully with soap. My daughter who is a teacher does this herself. Strips and showers the minute she walks in the door every day. Your sickness is clearing coming off of him, probably mostly his hands touching your face.

    1. You make a lot of excellent points! I agree. I’ve been doing “maintenance” because that’s what I’ve been doing for 10 years. I maintained my weight loss for 10 years (give or take 5-10 pounds) and it very easy to be stuck in maintenance habit.

      We also try to take leftovers for lunch. It’s often a salad with leftover chicken or steak from the night before.

      A few months ago we started giving Logan a bath when we picked him up from daycare because we thought the same thing. Wash all the daycare off of him! Anything that helps…not sure if it’s helped us really. I mean, we had 2 months this winter where no one was sick, and that was awesome, but this most recent bout for me is going on 7 weeks and I just couldn’t shake any of it for some reason. 🙁

      I always forget about frozen veggies…thanks for the tip!

  2. Kids are just cesspools of grossness and germs. They really are. And pink eye is the worst. Wait until they get hand-food-and-mouth, then you wish you’d have pink eye. My boys are 3 and 5 and the first year of daycare of sick-city. But not, they are hardly sick, except for damn pink eye…once one kid gets it, it moves through the class like wildfire. And then eventually one of the parents gets it (I blame bedtime snuggles). I honestly don’t think there is anything you can do to prevent it…try and think of it as building up his immune system so when he starts school he will hardly ever be sick. As for the diet, have you ever tried Whole 30? What an experience. You basically have a diet of meat/fish/chicken, fruits, veggies and fat. You cut out processed/added sugar, alcohol, legumes, dairy and grains for 30 days. And slowly re-introduce the foods after 30 days. The premise is that often people have certain intolerance to foods or addictions to sugar and this is supposed to help uncover that and/or “give yourself a re-set” and it’s not meant to be long-term, only for 30 days. I have done it a couple times and each time has had some wonderful non-scale (and scale) victories!

    1. That’s what everyone keeps saying…hang in there, the first year is rough and then they won’t be sick much. I am crossing my fingers! Because this sucks! 🙁

      I am actually writing a post now for next week that talks about Whole 30. That’s great that it worked for you!

      1. I don’t know how much it “worked” per say…but it did highlight how processed foods can really impact my health and that I possibly have a intolerance to dairy (or gluten…but really can’t say as I sucked at the re-introduction process)..but I noticed the bloat and puffiness went away from my middle….so really, that’s probably my reason for coming back to it (in small increments, not really 30-days…)…all that to say, it really makes me look like I was a lazy whole-30-er.

        1. I totally agree. Processed foods are horrible. Doing a light carb diet right now has made me be more conscious of what has carbs and how many and how bad processed foods are…

  3. Yes, you will get sick a ton as a new parent. Yes it sucks so bad, but it will eventually stop.

    I think it’s great that you are trying low carb. It’s a really healthy way to eat and I find it to be something I can do for the rest of my life. I’ve lost 50 pounds and kept it off for a few years now. I also think the appetite suppression of low carb is helpful to me.

    There are so many low carb resources but my recent new find is to use steamed cabbage as a pasta replacement. For some reason, steamed cabbage (not stir fried) has a great texture.

    1. I also forgot to mention that age also makes your body not respond how it used to in terms of weight loss, so keep experimenting.

      1. True. And not every method works for everyone. I have a friend who never loses on WW. She keeps trying but going vegan is what helped her. And then I have another friend who didn’t lose weight with a vegan diet. So it all depends on the individual.

    2. Oh I hope it stops eventually….!

      I think low carb is ok. I don’t really feel like I’m denying myself TOO much. I mean, I don’t eat a ton of pasta these days so I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. If we crave spaghetti we do spaghetti squash. As I’ve experienced in the past, once I get over the initial hardship of giving up bread products, I am usually ok and stop craving them.

      I’ve never thought about cabbage. Thanks for the tip!

  4. Well, since you mentioned Weight Watchers, allow me to sing its praises! I rejoined in January after, oh, 4 years of false starts (MyFitnessPal, Lose It, just tracking my food on my own, etc., etc.) Down 10 lbs in 10 weeks. Nothing crazy- just portion control and following the guidelines. Yay me! The difference between WW and my other attempts is the weekly meeting. Caloric deficit is caloric deficit, no matter how you obtain it, and that’s key to losing weight. But when you show up once a week and get on the scale, it makes you accountable, which is essential to stick with the program. Also, no food groups are eliminated. Eliminating food groups arbitrarily without clear medical indication doesn’t make sense to me, and I’m interested in long-term sustainability in my food plan. I know there are many many different programs out there, but this works for me.

    1. Nice job on the weight loss! Slow and steady is what works, that’s what worked for me 10+ years ago…It’s hard and frustrating but as long as the scale keeps moving in that direction you can keep at it.

  5. I go through periods where I eat lower carb, but I never cut them out completely. Bagels and all that! Your body has changed now, too. Not just from losing a large amount of weight, but having a baby. Okay, and getting older – not to sound depressing LOL! It’s just gets harder to lose since a calorie deficit when you weigh less doesn’t mean as much and it also doesn’t take much to undo all that work with a dinner out or whatnot.
    Lori recently posted..April Goals

    1. I definitely don’t cut carbs out entirely. I mean, I think that would be near impossible! But so far, almost 2 weeks in, I’m doing ok cutting out bread. Sometimes I crave it…but overall I don’t think about it too much!

  6. I gained a lot of weight around my birthday drinking Space Dust. Love that beer! I steadily lost 15 pounds over 3 months doing Whole 30 without ever feeling deprived (except no wine of course) because you can eat sweet potatoes, white potatoes and fruit. I just maintain by loosely following it now and it’s a breeze! Good luck!

  7. I think I remember that you started, originally/long ago, with a fairly high daily caloric count. And then you adjusted at some point. I am always interested the scientific part of it. And I think a lot of people get stuck in long term plateaus, because they do not adjust. I am curious at what points you have had to adjust (looking back long term) and what those numbers were. So what years/stages and what calorie levels?

    And I also think macros help a lot. Sometimes the calorie level can stay the same if the macros are adjusted. Which is what you are doing now I think. Did you originally look at your macros or were you just looking at total calories? (I have had to look at macros since the beginning which was 2005. And that saved me so much time in the weightloss stages, long ago.)

    Great questions!

    1. Yes. When I originally started losing weight, 2000 calories was my daily goal. Then I’d periodically reduce it by 100 or so when I hit a plateau. I stayed at 1500-1600 for a really long time. I don’t know that I ever went lower than 1400 or 1500 though.

      Back then I also did not pay attention to macros at all. I wrote down my food/calories and exercise every day in a journal and looked up the calories in a book I had. Then later I used the internet. I rarely weighed my food, but I also ate a lot of portion-controlled processed foods, so I knew I was eating the “right” portions. Later as I got away from processed foods, I did start weighing my foods once in awhile to check the portions!

      1. Thanks for answering my questions.

        My advice to newbies (not you) is always along the lines of start with as high a food level as you can, because you have to leave yourself room for adjustments. Have to leave yourself “somewhere to go”. And yes, at some point in the process, for most of us, food is two categories – calorie level and macros.

        And my exercise advice (newbies) is the opposite, start with moderate exercise that is good for your body and you can maintain long term. So do exercise, but at a lower level, again so you leave yourself “somewhere to go”. Of course as we loose weight we learn more efficient exercise so the amount of time often stays the same but the quality increases. So, no, I do not agree with a biggest loser approach. It sets them up for unsustainable levels.

        My personal opinion – Do not add back food based on exercise. I think that gets people into sort of permanent plateaus. Do exercise because it is good for your body (balance, bone destiny, range of motion, flexibility, strength, cardiac health, etc). Food levels are a separate thing. Do not mix the two.

        1. Agreed. One of my complaints about Weight Watchers (I don’t know much about the new point systems) is that if you converted the points to calories, it was like 1300 calories! That is WAY too low. I agree that you need to start a little high and then step down as you hit the plateaus. Eating the same, low calorie, amount for long periods you’re going to get stuck.

          I also agree with the exercise. I think a lot of people new to working out go super hard when they aren’t ready for it and it can lead to a lot of pain and possible injury…which makes them miserable and not wanting to stick with it. Even if you just start with a daily walk, that’s better! A daily walk can turn into a jog. After I had my baby and wasn’t quite ready to get back into hard core working out, I went for walks with him. As I built my endurance and strength back up, the walks got longer, then I started jogging, then running. It’s a slow process but it works.

          I appreciate your comments!

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