I have tried many different diets. Many of them were fad diets that were quick, temporary eating plans to kick start weight loss. The Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet was the first long-term eating plan that helped me reach my goal weight and to stay on plan for almost 3 years. I was very strict for around 2 1/2 years.
After 2 1/2 years I started straying a bit, figuring it was “maintenance,” not having to be 100%. But IMO, CAD is one of those eating plans that is not just 100% calories in, calories out. It is eating in a way that doesn’t cause unnecessary insulin spikes. You can probably find one of the books in your nearest library, or buy one online.
The diet was stumbled upon by a female doctor, Mrs. Dr. Heller. She shared it with her husband, Mr. Dr. Heller. They devised CAD and tried to figure out the reason it worked. I purchased the original book which was a bit less strict than the follow-up. My 2 1/2-3 years on CAD was based on the original version.
You need to read the book to read all the rules and regulations, and it was very interesting to read the explanation of eating and insulin. But here are the basics from the first book:
- Eat only 2 to 3 meals a day – no in-between snacking
- 1 meal can be a Reward Meal, where you can eat pretty much whatever you want. You cannot eat anything after an hour after starting your meal.
- The other meal(s) need to be kept as low carb as possible. Meat and protein plus veggies that stay around 4 carbs per serving, meaning non-starch vegetables. If you have a salad you need to use salad dressing with 0-1 carb per serving.
I always ate my 3 meals a day, which was difficult at first because I was mainly a grazer and ate up to 6 times a day. So reducing to 3 meals was a challenge at first. But I got used to it.
In the beginning, my Reward Meals were ridiculous! I would eat whatever I wanted to for lunch that I couldn’t have in my other meals. Dessert was pastries and ice cream and candy and chips – whatever I could take in. It was fun at first and I started losing weight immediately. How could that be? I was truly pigging out one meal a day and eating full fat salad dressing and cream in my coffee, and I was losing! This felt too good to be true.
As time went on, I didn’t desire as much junk food with my Reward Meal. I learned how to dine out (I would wait to eat my soup once my salad arrived and I would order any alcoholic drinks within my 1 hour time frame). Most of the time my Reward Meal was lunch but I would change it for social events. Although I could find some low-carb foods online, they weren’t easy to find in local stores.
The 2nd CAD Book
The Hellers wrote several books and followed up the original CAD eating plan with a more strict version. I guess some people were not successful with the first book so they changed a few things, or maybe explained them better.
Everything was pretty much the same except for the Reward Meal. They suggested starting your meal with a salad. Then you prepared your plate with 1/3 meat/protein, 1/3 low-carb veggies and 1/3 carbs. Based on the new plan, I took it that if you were going to have dessert then that was your 1/3 carbs. Not half as fun as the original plan! I didn’t like it and never followed it. I lost almost 20 pounds and kept it off for a long time.
Some of the Foods I Ate
Breakfast was a switch off of eggs & bacon or sausage or some kind of meat or low carb pancakes (I had several different recipes) with a fruit syrup made with jam and water. The recipe was in the first CAD book. However, the 2nd book got rid of that fruit syrup as I guess they felt it wasn’t low carb enough or it caused an insulin spike that wasn’t needed with a low carb meal. Those pancakes were my salvation and I ended up disliking eggs after years of eating them. I made crustless quiches with cream and they were so rich I could only eat a few bites. The richness of foods (fattiness) would get to me.
As stated above, my Reward Meals were whatever I wanted. A meal with pasta or potatoes or bread or chips followed by some kind of sweet treat(s). I never drank alcohol out of my Reward Meal, at least for around 2 1/2 years.
Dinner was usually pretty simple, meat and a salad or low carb veggie.
Did Calories Count?
I lost weight starting the first week and did well for quite some time. My appetite settled down after a week or two and my 3 meals were all I needed. Eating low carb (LC) helped me with my binge mentality, making it easier to not have the urge to snack in between meals.
Towards the end of my weight loss, those last 5 or more pounds, I had to take it easy with the Reward Meals. But by that time I was in control of the plan and my appetite was satiated with what I was eating. There was no calorie counting so I didn’t bother, although I figure I was eating anywhere from 1200 – 2000+ calories a day, depending on what I ate for my Reward Meal.
Oatmeal Made Me Quit
After being happy on the plan for years I started having a hankering for oatmeal for breakfast. But if I had something as innocuous as a bowl of oatmeal, that made it my Reward Meal. I had a few breakfasts as my Reward Meal over the years, but I wasn’t crazy about doing that. That’s when I started going off plan, allowing myself to have oatmeal for breakfast and still have a Reward Meal.
I was able to keep my weight off for more than a year, even after pretty much getting off plan. CAD was one of two of the best eating plans that I had, allowing me to reach goal and to keep it off for a long time period after stopping the plan.