Well, not total fail–I lasted about 20 days. A fair effort for my first go, if I do say so myself. (See the original posts: 30-Day No Carb Challenge. And the 1 week follow up.

Saturday I cheated.  It started off simply enough, a few nuts, a few dates, and then bam, chocolate cake with all the trimmings. It was a totally unintended cheat. But despite that, when I still woke up feeling great the next day (I’ll explain how below), I thought, I’ll just confess to a cheat day and keep going.

Sunday was good. Monday was a slippery slope.

Tuesday everything came crashing down. There was ice cream, some more chocolate cake, cheese (remember I said to limit the fat?), a granola bar or 2… Need I go on? We could simply call this emotional eating or stress eating.

But take it in stride as long it is a learning experience. So here is what I learned:

  • Carbs trigger sugar cravings (sliding scale of needing increasingly sweeter satisfaction)
  • Stress triggers carb and chocolate cravings
  • Emotions trigger carb cravings
  • Hormonal cycles cause cravings, but stress and emotions are the bigger issue
  • Nuts trigger all sorts of cravings, but usually for more nuts (at least in my case)
  • Extended periods of no carbs create greater appreciation and respect but also less need for sweets
  • Extended periods of no carbs means hitting the indulgence limit faster, and the body reacts more strongly to crossing that limit
  • A single cheat meal/day can be tolerated, if well handled. Tips:
    • Consume 1 teaspoon cinnamon just before sugar
    • Include protein with the sugar
    • Exercise close to the time of carb consumption
    • Limit to 1 event per 7-14 days for most resiliency and least ill-effects

And the single best advice:

Have an alternative “healthy” plan

With my failure 10 days before the end 0f the no-carb challenge, that does not mean I’ll go back to eating carbs, grains, sweets, and large quantities of fruit willy-nilly.  In fact, I will continue largely along the same no-carb nutrition plan–it just works for me–but with less severity.

But it is always the balance that is tough. Where does easing the carb austerity turn into carb overload?

Only your own body can tell you. Are you listening?


So, challengers, how are you doing on the plan? Are you staying committed longer than I did?