What is carb cycling & could it help you lose weight…
Have you heard of carb cycling? What about calories cycling? As I talk to people that know I am a fitness and nutrition professional they often think healthy eating is just something they could never achieve. It could be that they and you are looking at calories differently than others. Think about how you view each new day in terms of “healthy eating”. If I had a dollar for every person that tells me they “eat healthy” then I would be retired right now but sadly I am not.
I recently visited a family member and took a cooler filled with fish and turkey as well as veggies. I also had food that did not need to be in the fridge such as tortilla rounds, protein shake powder, rice cakes, almond nut butter, blue diamond round rice crackers and some flax and grain gluten free crackers I picked up from Costco. Of course for my higher carb days I had packed with me gluten free graham crackers and other sugary treats like honey flavored chex cereal, marshmellows and some dairy free chocolate chips because I love sugar as do my kids.
So back to carb cycling and how it can help you lose weight and/or finally see those abs. I aim to break your line of thinking on this topic. Just think of how body builders easily manipulate their weight up and down. It’s really just meal timing, supplements and changing up the way you give your body energy. Hopefully the statements below can start getting in your brain and accounts for different personality types thinking.
Think of carbs (carbohydrates) as pasta, bread, cereal, pastries, candy, sugar, potatoes (root veggies) & fruits. A carbohydrate is the bodies preferred source of fuel and provides 4 calories per every 1 gram. If you have carbs available and keep re-feeding your body with them then that is what your body will burn…not fat. Those phone apps are great but if weight loss is your goal then try changing your line of thinking to things like this:
- I need to look at my diet in weekly terms instead of I want this today. This way I can look forward to my cheat days.
- I will go NO more than two days eating whatever carbs I want. (This is a good motto!)
- I will notice how my body starts dumping water (frequent urination) when I cut back on carbs.
- Is my body deficient in bread? If you are hooked on bread sub for tortilla, lettuce, cabbage or seaweed, rice crackers, or rice cakes.
- Is this food I am about to eat supporting my nutrition goal for the day and for the week overall?
- I will notice that I may need to actually add sodium/potassium to my food if my eyes are puffy and my urine is clear (loss of electrolytes which can make you have foggy brain, fatigue and irritability).
- I will try amino acids in pill or powder form before workouts as I don’t know what to eat before working out! If you are doing more intense weight training you may want to try either a boiled egg or rice cake with nut butter.
- I will learn to shop for foods with nutrient value in mind. I need protein, green leafy veggies, good fats (avocados, nuts, healthy oils), fiber.
- If I hate to drink water then I will consume some easy veggies that don’t need to be cooked such as cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and sweet peppers.
- I will at least look at nutrition labels to start learning what low carb really means. A low carb diet is 150 carbs per day. A very low carb diet is 75-100 carbs per day. A very very low (induction phase lasting 2-3 weeks) is 25-74 carbs per day.
- I may be willing to try counting carbs every day using the method of adding 20 grams of carbs each day leading up to cheat day (usually consume 3 times the amount of carbs that you have been consuming).
- I am just willing to watch my portions size. Example: Man at 200 lbs., 150grams of protein is equal to 600 calories, 60 grams of carbs is equal to 240 calories.
- Tell myself “It´s a fairly simple diet actually! Eat when I’m hungry and until I’m are satisfied remembering that I don’t need as much food as I think I do.”
- If I deplete my body of the several thousand calories of carbs stored in my body then my body will burn fat for fuel.
- If I eat a lot one day or two days in a row then the next day I will be in the mindset of consuming minimal high quality calories and think of it as detox.
- On my cheat days I can have these without going hog-wild crazy: Alcohol-Dry wine (regular red wine & dry white), whiskey, brandy, vodka, drinks without sugar and/or sweetener. Dark chocolate – Minimum of 70% cacao (everyday just a tiny piece if needed)
By cutting back on carbs and then having a re-feed, binge, re-fuel, cheat day you are telling your body that you are not in starvation mode and not to store fat. Now go out there and use this info to be your best self, cheesy but helpful we hope.
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