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Carb Creep: Fighting to Stay the Course on a Low-Carb Diet

Mechele R. Dillard's picture

Carb creep: The subtle enemy of the low-carb eater.

Carb creep happens, as the name indicates, slowly and quietly. You’ve been eating low-carb and you’re feeling comfortable in this new way of life. You reached a point where you were eating the right amount of everything, including good carbs, and the weight was coming off steadily. And, those things that they said would happen—more energy, not hungry between meals, better able to focus—they were happening day after day. Finally, you had found a diet that works for you and you were sticking to it.

But then you started thinking about the foods you WEREN’T eating any longer.

Having that bowl of cereal for breakfast every morning was nice; tasty and easy; you miss that. And, real sugar in your tea; that would be great to have again. You found a low-carb yogurt that you like, but you really miss that Greek yogurt you used to have as a snack every afternoon.

Could it hurt? Just once?

Just once, probably not, but nobody seems to dip back into their old way of eating “just once” and leave it there.

Creeping Carbs

It starts with just a taste of that cereal you miss eating one morning, and you realize, hey, I still feel good; maybe I am at a point where I can eat a few carby treats now and then? So, you have a cup of hot tea with honey in the afternoon, and things are good. Before you know it, however, you’re eating a little bowl of ice cream after supper, and when you wake up the next morning, you’re ravenous for the first time in weeks. But, what you really notice is that you are craving those old carb treats once again, and the more “just one bites” you have, the more you want another bite.

Carb creep can also happen unintentionally, simply because you get too comfortable and stop checking labels. So many foods have carbs that we would not expect, but unless you check that label, and actually count what you are eating, carb creep is probably in your future.

Bottom line: The more carbs you eat, the more carbs you want. The key? Recognizing what is happening and nipping it in the bud.

Now What?

Go back to basics. Yes, back to the beginning. Break the cycle of fluffy, sugary, and not-good-for-you carbs, and get back to that low-carb lifestyle at which you were excelling. And, in the future, be diligent. Remember this setback. Think before you dip into that ice cream. Recall just how drinking that sugary tea made you feel and then, you know what? Don’t do it. It really is that simple.

Is it easy? No, it is not easy. It will probably never be easy, and those temptations will always be there.

But, it really is that simple: Be diligent and keep those carbs from creeping back into your daily life.

Image: Wikimedia Commons