So, it’s after 11 here, and on many nights around this time, I’d be trundling up the hallway craving a bowl of Cheerios. This week, though, I’ve been avoiding carbohydrates. Haven’t had a slice of bread, a spoonful of rice, or a morsel of potato since Sunday night. And man, do I ever feel great. In fact, I wonder (as I always do at about this point into a low-carb detox) why I don’t always eat this way.

The answer is because carbs come in all kinds of utterly delicious forms, and because they’re so easy to eat. How hard is it to pour a bowl of Cheerios, or toast a slice of sourdough? You can do low-carb dieting for a while, but inevitably you backslide; a piece of chewy baguette here, a plate of pasta with pesto there, and before you know it, you’re standing over the kitchen sink at midnight shoving Cheerios down your piehole to stanch the craving.

Because I’ve been struggling for nearly four months now with mononucleosis, I haven’t been able to exercise at all, and have put on a lot of weight. Frustrated by this, I decided to go back to the only diet that’s ever worked for me: eating low-carb. Getting carb cravings out of one’s system takes a few days, and today is the first day that I feel free of them. I am always startled by how little food it takes to make me feel full and energetic (well, relatively energetic; there is the matter of mono) when I’m not eating lots of carbohydrates, and dealing with those blood sugar spikes. I don’t ever eat a lot of sugar, so staying away from sweets is not a real problem. But it’s all a real problem for the first three or four days of ridding your system of the craving for carbohydrates. Still, when you come through that induction period, it feels like a fog has lifted.