There is no macronutrient more vilified then the carbohydrate. With the emergence of low carb diets such as South Beach and Atkins or the no carb approaches like Keto, many people think that the carb is what will make or break their dieting success. The answer on this one is……. it depends. Not because carbs are inherently bad. Adding them back into my diet has been life changing for my energy, performance in Crossfit and overall happiness. I will never be low carb or no carb again.
I say it depends because it is about what fits your lifestyle, activity level and allows for overall life fulfillment. In the end, it is about what you can do consistently over a period of time that will make you successful. When I say a period of time I am talking years not months. Are you just going low-carb to drop the weight as you dream of french-fries? If so, low carb might not be for you.
Where people often go wrong is that they think that all carbs are inherently bad instead of looking at the quality carbs that they are actually eating. Where are your carbs coming from? Are a majority of them coming from a box or a bag?
Yes, eating a large amount of carbs from bags/box/wrappers will add to your waistline and result in less than optimal health.
Trading out carbs from a box or a bag for those that come from real food sources such as fruits, veggies, oats, rice and potatoes would be a great first step for many people rather then just cutting carbs out of their life like a bad friend.
This step alone will result in higher energy, better mood and decreased inches from the waist line.
Don’t think a bulk of your carbs come from processed sources…..prove it! Write out everything you eat for three days and see where your carbs are coming from. If it doesn’t rot then it is processed. This might be an eye opening activity for you.
While carbohydrates are not an essential nutrient like protein and fats they have been shown to have a large influence on the health of your hormones, recovery and metabolism which ensures health, happiness and weight-loss.
Do you often feel tired or sluggish? Do you have a spare tire around your middle? Do you lack or have an irregular menstrual cycle? Have you struggled with sex drive or infertility? Are you often cold? Do you suffer from anxiety? Depression? Chronic pain and inflammation? Chronic fatigue or disrupted sleep? Mood swings? These and other symptoms are signs that your body may not be functioning as well as it could be and it might be a sign that you need to switch your carb sources or add more in.
No one wants to reach their aesthetic goals and feel like shit in the process and hate their life when they get there. People want to not only look great, they want to feel great. In a world where we can instantly have whatever we want whenever we want it, they often dread the process and time it takes to make real change. Yes, this will take time. No, it won’t be easy. Wouldn’t you rather happily make many small but lifelong changes in your life over the next year rather than unhappily crash dieting upward of four times a year never feeling good about yourself or the process more than a week at a time?
The amount of carbs that you need to function and look your best is dependent on the individual. There are a lot of factors to consider such as your activity level, job, life stress and more. Not sure where to start check out these tips!
Track your food. See how many carbohydrates that you are consuming and how many are coming from a box.
If you have a lot of carbohydrate coming from a box/bag see where you can trade them out for whole foods like rice/potatoes/veggies and fruits. Do this gradually over a period of weeks and months. Remember anything this is sustainable takes time to ingrain into your life. Baby steps are the best steps.
Not eating any carbs and you are totally scared of them: start by adding in a fist full of veggies to each meal and see how you feel. They are generally low calorie nutrient dense choices. There are nothing but benefits to be gained by eating veggies.
After that add a cup full (however much your hand can hold cupped) of dense carbs to each meal. These include things like fruit, rice, potatoes and oats.
Too often people make too many changes all at once and it becomes unsustainable plus you don’t know what is working when you change multiple things at a time. Try to make small changes every other week. If you eat fast food once a week try getting a smaller size or leaving a bite or two on the plate. Each week challenge yourself just a little bit more.
Want more individualized guidance, looking for accountability or have some specific questions that I can answer for you. Please email me at Theresa.Worley@icloud.com