Is Low Carb Really The Answer?
The other day I almost put my fist through the wall because I couldn’t figure out how to put together a simple piece of furniture from IKEA. On my fifth attempt, which means that I had to disassemble and start over four times, I decided to do what I should have done in the first place; I followed the directions. Believe it or not, this step-by-step process started off very simple and, as I went along, the more complex steps were much easier. Start by laying out all the nuts and bolts and counting to make sure that all the pieces are there. Do this on a flat surface with plenty of space to work. Ok, you get it... My point is there is a process just like anything else. You don’t walk into the gym and load a 400 lb bar on your back and squat. First we teach you a plank for core stabilization, then an air squat, then a squat jump, and then, once you have mastered everything, we can start to load you lightly with a barbell on your back.
Well, nutrition is the same. There is no point in eating low carb unless you have mastered the simple skills that come before this more complex strategy for weight loss. Ask yourself these 3 simple questions:
Do I eat mostly minimally processed whole foods?
Do I eat slowly and pay attention to how I feel and think about what I’m eating?
Do I stop eating at 80% full rather than until I’m stuffed?
If you answered no to any of these questions, you may want to consider focusing on these three skills before diving into any carb limiting or, for that matter, any other diet.
If, however, you've mastered these skills, then limiting carbs in a certain way, can help with weight loss. It’s best not to consistently limit carbs; rather, you should cycle through days where you are limiting your carbs.
Harder training days should have more carbs.
Less intense days in the gym could have less overall calories, lower carb, and more fat as this will help promote fat burning.
Other days, that are maybe off days, you could limit fat, carbs, and calories.
How much? How many days? When exactly should I be eating what? This depends on many factors. Age, gender, goals, training level, lifestyle, and many more factors can affect carb intake and weight loss. Overall, low carb cycling can be effective, but only for a short period of time. Two to three months is usually the limit. After that, it really isn’t sustainable to limit carbs below 100g per day and it can lead to some disordered eating.
There is a safe and effective way to limit carbs once you've mastered the basics of nutrition. Do you need helping figuring out where to start with all this? Let me know and I can get you started on the right path for you.