If done properly and consistently, low carb diets do work good for weight loss. The problem is, they are not easy to consistently stick with. More often than not when do you slip and eat carbs, it’s not normally just one doughnut and the rest of the day is meat and veggies only. It’s more like a couple of doughnuts, a caramel macchiato with whipped cream, and a few doughnut holes. Since you blew breakfast, might as well get a double cheese burger and fries with a large Coke. Breakfast and lunch was a bust, so might as well go out with a bang. Pizza and Wings night and what the heck, let’s get some cheese cake.
That’s the problem with restricting one type of food, it normally doesn’t work. Can it work? Of course, but unless you have superhuman willpower then it’s not sustainable. It’s a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Sure, it can help you quote on quote kick start your new diet and you will lose a few pounds by doing it, but what happens when you start eating carbs again?
Instead of restricting carbs it’s more important to eat smart carbs. Smart carbs are wholesome, nutritious, and provide important vitamins, nutrients and minerals. Our body loves carbs and prefers to use carbs first for energy. When you walk it takes energy to move your legs one step in front of the other. Our body gets this energy from the food that we eat, if we don’t immediately use the energy it gets stored in our body as fat to use later. Carbs gets broken down the easiest and quickest for energy, hence, this is why our body loves carbs for energy. This is why it’s important to fuel your body with smart carbs because your body will be more sufficient, and you will feel better.
What is a smart carb? Whole nutritious minimally processed fruits, vegetables, and grains. Look for items that are in their original form or very close to it. The less processed it is, the better. Read labels and try to pick items that has very few or only one ingredient. A good trick at the grocery store is to shop the perimeter and avoid the middle isles. For carbs, most of what you need is in the produce isle.
Where things get tricky, is the processed carbs. These are carbs that have added sugar, sodium, fat, and stripped of their nutrients to make them taste delicious and addicting. Who can only eat one potato chip? They also have added preservatives to keep them on the shelf longer so the inventory doesn’t go bad before you and I purchase them. These are the carbs that you should eat less of. Think of these are your 10% (special occasion) foods. I like to stick to the 90/10 rule. 90% of the time I try to eat whole nutritious minimally processed single ingredient foods as much as possible. The other 10% is left to eat whatever I want to eat whenever I want to eat it. Like birthdays, holidays, get together's, social events, night outs, weekends, family cooking, etc etc. Diets restrict what you can and cannot eat, going to a birthday party on a diet sucks, it’s no fun being that person who passes on the pizza and cake. If you eat smart carbs most of the time, then you can enjoy the pizza and cake instead of feeling deprived and alone.
A little hack I have been trying to do lately is use my 10% on home cooked sweets and treats instead of store bought packaged items. You only get to eat whatever you want a limited number of times, so if you’re going eat something sweet then make it worth it. I would much rather have a slice of grandma’s cake that she has perfected over the years instead of a packaged bag of cookies from the gas station. Make your 10% count!
Instead of thinking low carb or no carb, focus on eating smart carbs most of the time. If weight loss is really important to you then stick to mainly fruits, veggies and high fiber content carbs. You can still eat grains and starchy vegetables, but these should be the ones you eat fewer of.
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