Falling Off the Low-Carb Wagon and Gaining Weight

I didn’t think it would happen, but it did. We fell off the low-carb wagon. It all started during the holidays. Being around all those carbs and watching everyone enjoy them and saying no, was just too hard. If you remember, I was a little worried this would happen and wrote about it here. We didn’t just give up and dig in. It happened gradually. I didn’t even realize how off track we were until I stepped on the scale a couple of weeks ago. I’d gained about 5… okay more like 6 or 7 pounds in the last 4 months. Not too bad, you might say. But the truth is I can also feel the difference in my health. I’ve been having problems with digestion again and have noticed more bloating and fatigue. I’ve also noticed that I’m craving them again, and I miss not missing them.

Unfortunately, we had been eating more carbs on our meatless dinner nights. (Which we haven’t been doing every other day like I had planned, but usually 2 or 3 times a week.  When we do eat meat, we eat very little.) It’s more difficult to avoid carbs when you’re eating less meat. It takes a lot of work and planning and I’m still working on it. Some people even argue that humans shouldn’t be eating grains at all. (For more information read The Awful Truth About Eating Grains.) I’m not in that camp, but I do believe our dependence on grains (like our dependence on fuel) is excessive. I don’t believe we should be eating refined grains at all. We should only eat organic, whole grains, but still only in moderation. We should be getting the bulk of our fiber from fruits and vegetables, which are packed with lots of other nutrients, and not whole grains. (I choose organic whole grains whenever possible because they are not genetically modified and are chemical free. GMO’s and chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and additives) make over consumption of conventional whole grains even more harmful.) Enough about grains for now.

But part of me can’t help wondering if gaining weight in winter is what mother nature intended. During the winter months food is less abundant and there isn’t much variety, unless, of course, you’re at a conventional grocery store. However, if you are eating a more traditional whole foods diet –  seasonal and local – winter is not a good time for food. Traditionally, we’d have meat, grains, potatoes and other root vegetables, winter squash and greens and, if you are lucky and were thinking ahead (we weren’t) you’d have some out of season food that you had canned, dried, frozen, fermented or pickled. We did have some frozen basil and pesto, but that’s about it. So if we’re thinking in terms of how things were in simpler times (say, a hundred years ago) we’d probably be eating more carbs in winter because that’s what was in season.

We are less active in winter. It’s cold and there’s really not much to do outside. No grass to cut. No weeds to pull. Not much of a garden to tend to. Nothing to water. No bugs to hose off, knock off or pinch. It’s too cold to play outside for long. So we’re also getting less exercise. That’s not to say that it has to be that way. We can certainly go to a gym or even workout in the comfort of our own home, but generally this is what happens in nature. Winter is a time to relax before the busyness of spring comes along.

More carbs + less exercise = more fat. Maybe we should be eating less to offset the calories we’re not burning. Then again, maybe not. Fat keeps you warm. What is there to do besides hang out with family and friends and EAT! In the winter months, if you were living in a cave or had no central heating or electricity, fat might help you survive through the winter. So maybe… just maybe… this is the way it’s supposed to happen? Maybe this is the way we’ve evolved. This formula for fat may be a gift from mother nature to help us survive the cold winter months. Surviving cold winters is much easier for Americans today thanks to modern central heating. But it’s only been around, for the general population at least, for a couple of generations. Humans have likely been around for roughly 200,000 years. Americans have only had affordable access to central heat for maybe 100 years. (Heating a home uses a lot of energy, something else we consume too much of. We should be reaching for a robe or jacket instead of turning up the thermostat. Here is an interesting article about heating and cooling homes in America.)

So maybe I shouldn’t feel so bad about the 6 or 7 pounds I gained. Maybe I’m just instinctively adapting to survive the cold winter the way our ancestors did for hundreds of thousands of years. After all, when spring comes and we’re back outside doing all that work – cutting the lawn, weeding, planting, watering and playing, we should be able to burn off a few more calories.

Regardless of whether or not it’s  natural to gain weight in winter, I know that eating refined sugar and carbs is not healthy. It’s time to break the addiction (again). The past couple of weeks I’ve been weaning the family off carbs (again). I’ve already lost 2 or 3 pounds and have been feeling better. But it’s time to step it up. The first day of spring is less than week away. I’m already seeing more produce at the farmers market and soon, I’ll be harvesting food and herbs right from my own back yard. No more excuses. Goodbye carbs. Hello strawberries, spring onions, lettuce, spinach, chard, asparagus… Mmm…


About Michele
Wife and Mom of three girls doing her best to lead the family into a healthier lifestyle and evolve gracefully.

3 Responses to Falling Off the Low-Carb Wagon and Gaining Weight

  1. Mark Farmer says:

    Hi, I wanted to tell you thanks.Your blog has cost me my day. Great stuff! I agree when you know how to eat thats more than half the battle. So where is the farmers market you go to? I would appreciate any help with this. I just moved to the area six months ago, I still get a litte lost. If you can email me that would be great. Thanks, Mark


    • healthymamma says:

      Hi Mark. Thanks for the positive feedback. Matthews Farmers Market is the best in the area, in my opinion. The Charlotte Regional Farmers Market is another good one. I hear Atherton Market is good as well, but I’ve not yet visited that one. Google them for directions. : )

  2. Pingback: Stress Is Natural, Seasonal Affective Disorder Is Too « HealthyMamma's Blog

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