Yesterday I explained why the best time to have carbs was after a workout (check out the post on facebook).
Today I thought I would give some other general advice on dealing with those carby things!
The first thing to point out is that carbs arent inherently evil! They have a bad name at the moment just like fat did for the last 40 years (also unjustly). The reality is that its not the carb that is the problem but your ability to process it.
Put loosely, carbs are managed by the hormone insulin (dont worry, this wont be a science lecture!) and it is your body’s ability to produce the right amount of insulin to handle the carbs you just ate.
Now the normal situation in Australia, well, the western world, is to be really out of balance when it comes to carb management. This means that most people when they eat carbs send the energy to their fat cells and not their muscles cells – which means you have less muscle and more fat with every meal!
So the mindset that you need to create is that carbs are a great food source – you just need to make sure that your body deserves them.
The reason that low carb works well for so many people is that it begins to rebalance how well they can tolerate them, while also reducing calories obviously.
How can we further help carb sensitivity? Here are some other ways:
1. Earn your carbs.
Did you train today? No? Then you most likely dont need to eat high starch carbs like potatoes, rice etc. Stick to lower glycemic veggies. Same goes if you just did a 30 minute jog.
Did you just crush a 45 minute squat workout or do a big sprint session?! You can eat some delicious potatoes roasted in butter and rosemary…mmmm.
2. How much fat do you have to lose?
Generally speaking, most people with more weight to lose are poor carb processors. If you have more than 9 or 10 kg to lose then id bet you need to re-sensitise and should eat less.
If you have less than that to lose, it can be more complex. Sometimes you need more and sometimes you need less and you really need to play with it.
3. Get your fasting insulin tested.
Fasting insulin can tell you basically how messed up you are. It is a test you do with your GP and is great because you can retest periodically to see how you are improving.
4. Have them if you are stressed.
If you go through periods of high stress, this is not the best time to be low carb. Just stick to unprocessed carbs in these situations if you can.
5. Still have 1-2 meals per week where you just eat whatever.
Humans are funny creatures, if were told we cant do / have something then its likely that you want to immediately go and try that thing!
I dont use the word cheat meal because it implies you are doing something bad, but having a whatever meal I find takes that mental anguish out of it.
Is it the fastest way to lose weight? No.
Does it make you more likely to stay on track? In my experience, yes. Fat loss is a long term plan so enjoy the journey.
6. How much is a serve of carbs?
Depends! If they are the sweeter, yummy ones then imagine grabbing a small handful of whatever you are eating.
If they are the less sweet ones like broccoli etc. then think more like covering an open hand.
7. It can take 12 months to really reap the benefits of low carb eating.
This is always hard news to hear, but some studies suggest that it can take a year to get carb tolerance back (sad face, i know). Make sure you are satisfying your caloric needs during this time with fats and proteins.
8. Low carb has traps for new players.
Most people will say that low carb works when it comes to weight loss, though few people I have met get it right by themselves.
If you can, I really advise getting someone to guide you through the journey. It is easy to get disheartened when you dont know what to expect and in some cases you can mess with your hormones along the way.
Hopefully this gives some more insight into how to balance what goes in your mouth.
Pay attention to number 3 – the fasting insulin. If anyone goes to the effort of doing this test then please contact me and I will give you some help as a reward – it shows you are serious!