What Happened When I Stopped Restricting

I've talked a lot about my nutrition and how I used to have certain "rules" for myself to follow. For example, I could only have carbs around workouts and no carbs at night, I couldn't have "too many" grains, and I had to eat very low carb the day before and after a cheat meal. I truly thought if I didn't adhere to those things that I would gain fat.  It got to the point where I was afraid of every thing I put into my mouth, and I was forcing myself to eat things I really didn't even like! I would rarely have any "treats" or "bad" food throughout the week-only my one weekly treat meal.

One day I was talking with the owner of the gym where I work about carb backloading, something he had recently started doing. He gave me the suggestion of adding in carbs later in the day. I was like, "So you mean I can eat a bun on my burger? I can have rice with my ground turkey?" I thought I'd give it a try and just see what would happen. I told myself I was doing it to gain muscle, and if I gained some fat in the process, then oh well! So I added in carbs to my dinner every single night, as well as the addition of fun post workout treats, like Skinny Cows and cereal a couple times during the week.

Well, it's been a year and a half now...and here's what happened:

*I didn't gain weight. 
I am at the same weight now as I was when I was not allowing carbs at night or any treats throughout the week. I actually got a tad leaner without trying to, with my calories and training being pretty much the same! Imagine that. Carbs didn't make me fat! I now go to bed feeling full and satisfied, instead of making myself choke down chicken and nasty cauliflower. I used to literally dread eating dinner. Now I love my dinners because I get to have rice and potatoes, or even cereal if  feel like it!

*Better self control. 
Back when I was restricting carbs, I had NO self control when certain foods were put in front of me. My cheat meals were basically "stuff your face until you're sick" ...because I knew I wouldn't get any anything like that for another whole week. Now that I allow myself all my favorite foods on a daily basis, like bread, potatoes, rice, cereal, and waffles, I have much better self control when I am around foods I don't normally eat. Don't get me wrong-I still have my weekly "free/treat meal" and am not gonna give that up(I know many people are against the whole cheat meal thing but whatev)...BUT I am now able to eat a decent sized( aka BIG) meal and dessert until I'm full, but not to the point of wanting to throw up. I can now take a bite of a roll at a restaurant without wanting to inhale the whole basket, or have an oreo after dinner during the week without wanting to devour the whole bag.

*Less irritability and anxiety.
When I was finally able to relax and not stress about food, I found that I had much less anxiety and irritability. My husband and I had started getting into arguments about food(really?!) and I'd find myself snapping at him. I believe it stemmed from my inner turmoil of not being able to eat foods that I liked and just being controlled by thoughts of food and what I "could" or "couldn't" eat. Now that my mindset about food has changed drastically, I don't worry and stress about food near as much as I used to. I no longer think of any food as "off limits", and I don't think of any certain food or food group as "bad". There are just foods I eat more of and foods I try to eat less of.

Yes, I still prep and plan out my meals, but now I actually enjoy all of my meals(with the exception of the broccoli that I do make myself eat every now and then). ;-) Is my eating perfect? No, and I don't care. Do I still sometimes think too much about food and what I'm going to eat for my next meal? Probably. Am I still very meticulous with my eating? Most of the time, yes. But I've come a long way from where I was. And I do think there is a BIG difference between being careful about what you eat and being obsessive about it.
I hope that sharing my story about finding balance with my nutrition will help someone else who is struggling with this. I know that it's a process and that it can be scary giving up habits that you've gotten into or eating foods that were previously "forbidden"...but it is possible. You just have to start small, take it one step at a time, and you'll get there.


  1. Amen to this, Lindsay! (I left a recent comment applauding the fact that you eat bread) and could not agree more! When everyone started becoming carb and grain phobic, I did too. I tried paleo for a hot minute and ended up a hot mess! I never felt so weak, hungry and tired in my whole life (I'm sorry but fat, protein and sweet potatoes do not fill me up - I could eat these all day long and still feel ravenous!) An average day for me currently consists of 3 slices of toast with breakfast, a large bowl of jasmine rice or cereal with my protein post workout/lunch, and some kind of rice/potato/pasta with dinner and a small desert treat. I feel if more women embraced diets like this they would be much more successful at sticking to plan because they would feel SATISFIED. Completely eliminating certain foods or making them "bad" or "forbidden" (unless you have a true clinical issue) just seems a recipe for disaster. Thanks so much for sharing this philosophy - hopefully more women will embrace it and free themselves from fearful eating :)

    1. Thanks! And you are SO right. I was miserable and anxious all the time when I ate more strict and had "forbidden" foods. Now I can relax and enjoy life and enjoy what I eat!! Your meals sound great!


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