Slow on the uptake: I’m finally counting carbs. (Here’s how you can, too.)

Salvador Dali's "Basket of Bread"
Salvador Dali’s “Basket of Bread.” (For thin thighs, steer clear.)

A few years ago, Hubby became utterly besotted with two carb-bashing books by super-duper smarty-pants science writer Gary Taubes:

1. Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health

2. Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It

Oh my lordy, he would not stop banging on about those books. And about the pure evil of carbs. And about how I was such a massive loser because I hadn’t yet hopped on the anti-carb bandwagon.

(I’m exaggerating about that last bit; never in the history of our dirty-dozen years of wedded bliss has Hubby ever called me a loser.)

But here’s the punchline: Hubby rapidly lost a good 15 pounds, and has kept it off ever since. The proof is in the proverbial full-fat pudding.

Early on, in solidarity with my brainiac husband, I tried to read those books, too.

But then my Mommy Barbie gene would kick in, my eyes would glaze over, and I’d be lunging for one of my glossy, Euro-y fashion mags. Those tomes were homework, and I like to go to my happy place with my leisure-time reading.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t agree with Taubes’s core thesis; I do indeed.

And it certainly doesn’t mean I don’t need to limit my carb intake. Recently, I packed on several unwanted pounds and I’m now doubling down on my diet and exercise efforts to get rid of ’em.

In desperation, I even caved and consulted my in-house Carb Czar:

Moi to Hubby:

“I want to cut back on carbs, but I don’t want a long-winded, science-y lecture from you about it. Just tell me the basics, s’il vous plait.”

Hubby to Moi:

“No flour, no sugar. That’s really it.”

Okay, maybe that was a little too basic. In my head, I had so many Qs: What about the carbs in fruits? Veggies? Should I even be thinking about those? Does gluten-free mean carb-free? Wait, does that mean I have to say basta to my new fave snicky snack, Terra Blues? But I’ve only just discovered Terra Blues! 

Since I’m sure some of you weight-conscious Momoverettes might have similar Big Questions About Carbs, I’ve done a little Scorpio sleuthing.

I now give you:

5 Easy (Well, Not Actually Easy, But Certainly Do-Able) Ways to Cut Back on Carbs

1. Start with the two mega-baddies – bread and pasta – and pick your battles: If you cut both of these carb-fests out of your diet, you’d quickly be on your way to thinner thighs. But, hello, easier said than done, my friend. Feel me? Start by nixing the one you crave least. Then, once you’ve got your big-girl undies on, scale way back on the other one, too. For example, last night at dinner at Bonefish Grill (surprisingly yummy for a chain resty), my wild Sockeye Salmon came with a side of mushroom ravioli. Since I’d skipped the bread, I let myself have two of the raviolis. I wanted all five or so of the raviolis, but I only ate two. A small victory, but a victory nonetheless. In the pre-carb past, I surely would’ve eaten both the bread and all of the ravioli. That’s why I’m chubby right now.

2. Consider wrapping your go-to sandwich fare in lettuce: I haven’t done this yet, but I’m totally going to. Because this past week, I was kinda climbing the walls about what to do with slices of Cheddar and turkey that I wanted for lunch. Bread was off the table, and so were my fave gluten-free Crunchmaster Multi-Seed Crackers. What to do, what to do? I could’ve done lettuce, that’s what. Shopping note to self…

3. Suck it up and count stuff: Jonesing for Terra Blues or the aforementioned Crunchmasters? You can have some if you count ’em. Right now I’m looking at back of my Crunchmasters bag and it tells me that a serving size is 15 crackers and 20 grams of carbs. (As a guideline, my in-house Carb Czar, he of the 15-lb weight loss, keeps to a daily limit of 100 grams.) I’m sorry, but 15 is just way too many crackers, even for me. I could be fine with half that, and slice that carb count down to 10.

4. Try spaghetti squash. I’m thisclose to buying a spiralizer. And since I’ve had my kitchen revamped by ShelfGenie (OMG, it has completely changed my life), I actually have room for newfangled contraptions like spiralizers. When I procure one, spaghetti squash will most definitely be added to the dinner lineup. Yum.

5. Distract yourself until you get over the carb-craving hump. Right now I’m re-reading one of my fave books about Intermittent Fasting, David Zinczenko’s 8-Hour Diet, and it includes a list of 100 ways to work your way through hunger. A few of Dave’s tips are kooky (“Stand up and twirl five times!”), one is a big ol’ bummer (“Make a list of what killed your relatives.”), but most are thoroughly plausible. The running theme is that you can do this, you can outsmart those carbs that are beckoning to you. Really and truly, you can.