One of the RSS feeds I subscribe to is a message board/ virtual support group for those following an extremely low carb diet (many of them are cycling between high and low calorie (<500) days as well). I initially signed on so that I find some new recipes or hear about new products, as I eat relatively low carb. What I found was something else entirely.
In reading the posts the last several weeks, a few patterns became immediately apparent.
First, no one seemed to be a long-timer. Everyone was new to the low carb, calorie restricted world or they talked about how they tried it in the past, regained the weight, and now are back for a second (or third, or fourth…) go-round. It was obvious that this way of eating could not be sustained for long. Eventually, their willpower won over and they reverted back to their typical diet (which, in most cases I would assume is the Standard American Diet, often abbreviated S.A.D.). This would lead to the weight being regained in a short time frame, often with additional pounds piling on.
I also noticed how harsh people were on themselves. It seems this diet is doomed to fail, yet people internalized their failures. These negative emotions in turn seemed to make them feel like they are not worth a healthy lifestyle or a healthy weight. Instead of the Up-Day, Down-Day of calories they are trying to follow, it seems as though most cycle through “good” days (not “cheating”) and “bad” days (rampant “cheating”).
Finally, exercise is not only seen as an optional component of the plan, it is often discouraged. Exercise can make you gain weight. In the form of muscle. That’s a good thing, but only if you are looking at a picture larger than the bathroom scale. I would also assume that it is rather difficult to muster up the energy to move at all, much less vigorously, when you’re subsisting on fewer than 500 calories a day.
When I read comments from people like the above, it makes me sad. I wish that they would realize their worth and fuel their bodies with real foods in appropriate amounts, rather then alternate between starvation and binging, pride and shame, and self-control and self-hate.
As I have said before, what we choose to eat is a deeply personal matter, but, please, show your body that you care.