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Meaningful makeovers Part III - Curbing Carb Cravings


This month I had the appointment that I've been dreading the most - the one about food. I suspected that the dietician would tell me things I didn't want to hear, things I'd already identified as my major problems.

Rob and Toni each received dietary advice based on their unique nutritional needs, but a few common themes emerged: choosing low-glycemic carbs, eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day, and ensuring adequate protein intake.

This month I had the appointment that I’ve been dreading the most–the one about food. I suspected that the dietician would tell me things I didn’t want to hear, things I’d already identified as my major problems.

I’ve already confessed to these probably quite ordinary problems: I’m a sugar addict. I eat too many carbohydrates. I don’t drink the recommended (and, to me, impossible) eight glasses of water a day.

But I went to my appointment and shook hands with the lady who was going to help change my life–Karlene Karst, a registered dietician. She didn’t look hurtful; her smile was warm and genuine. She had her latest book with her (The Metabolic Syndrome Program, Wiley, 2006), bookmarked for recommended readings. Nothing about the situation looked dangerous.

It’s About Options

She looked over the food diary I had kept, at her request, for the prior two days, and we talked about my daily eating and exercise habits. I was brutally honest with the diary, even though it had been an unusual couple of days. I confessed to my latest (and apparently misguided) health food idea–maple syrup instead of white sugar for sweetener on my morning cereal.

Although she did confirm my fears–I need to cut out the sweets, eat better carbs, and drink something other than juice all day–Karlene also dispelled one of my misgivings: instead of proposing a complete dietary turnaround, she suggested I work healthier options into my regular eating choices.

Confronting Carbs

My caloric intake isn’t restricted, and Karlene didn’t insist that I eat nothing but veggies and whole grains (thereby obliterating anything fun and sweet from my diet)–though I’ll be including more of these. The idea of a regular eating schedule became a theme in what Karlene had to tell me.

Over the next few months, I will work toward eating five times a day: three meals and two snacks. Each time I eat, I’ll include a good protein source. I’ll water down the juices to reduce sugar intake. I’ll switch to moderate- and low-glycemic carbs (that’s where whole grains and vegetables come in). I’ll check food labels to ensure that I’m not eating saturated or hydrogenated (trans) fats. And I’ll start the day with a protein shake and then have another for a snack later in the day.

Planning Ahead

All of this sounded logical, easy, and doable. Karlene ensures me that this plan will keep my insulin levels in check. I will be energized throughout the day and will have fewer cravings for those so-bad-they’re-good carbs.

In just a few months I hope to see what kind of difference this makes to my long-term health goals.

What’s a “good” Protein?

  • fish (wild, not farmed)
  • organic soybean products
  • nuts and seeds
  • beans and legumes
  • organic lean meats and poultry, in moderation
  • eggs
  • protein shakes


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