WARNING: This post is about carbs and is long but that’s because there’s a lot to this and I took the time to do the research and I want to share it with you all since this is one of the biggest topics I have been asked to write about on this blog. Ready, set GO!
I was asked last week by one of the young ladies in my FREE online private fitness group to please share how she can cut carbs to lose weight. Wait, hold up – I don’t believe in cutting out any food group to lose weight or for health reasons and I definitely don’t believe in no-carb diets.
I think just the opposite, you NEED carbs so your body can function properly throughout the day and night. I told her I would write up this post and share it with her and discuss how to lose weight eating carbs.
Let’s get into the discussion.
Why do you need carbs in your life?
Carbs = energy. Cut them out you will have low to no energy to perform your daily functions like walking, running, sitting, and even thinking, etc. Here are some other major ways carbs benefits you:
- It helps with moods
- It helps your brain to think and memory
- It gives you energy to workout and burn fat
So as you can see, eating carbs is an extremely important part of your daily nutrition plan.
There are 3 key areas one should keep in mind when consuming carbs though.
- The quality of the carb
- When you are eating the carb
- How much of carbs are you eating
The Quality Of Carbs
Everyone has heard to stay away from white carbs because it will make you gain weight, blah blah blah. I have also had friends go to the extreme and completely cut out carbs from their diet and yes they lost weight because they cut out an entire food group.
When they reintroduced carbs back into their diet, in my observation, they gained back more weight than what they lost. So it counteracted all of their effort.
You want to pay attention to the quality of carbs you are eating. Low quality carbs are generally carbs that are highly processed such as:
- White sugar
- White flour
- Soft drinks
- Packaged oatmeal
- White rice
- Baked goods (i.e. cookies, pie, cake, brownies, etc.)
These foods tend to spike your blood sugar so you feel good when you eat them but an hour later you are starving and ready to eat everything in sight. Plus they have low to no nutritional value. Your body doesn’t need it for energy because it doesn’t supply enough for a period of time to help keep you going.
High quality carbs are:
- Sweet potato
- Regular potato (don’t add a bunch of unnecessary fat to it or fry it to death)
- Vegetable pasta
- Steel-cut oatmeal
- Brown rice
- Fruit and vegetables
Why are they considered high quality carbs? Because they are complex and your body is fueled by them over time. They also help stabilize blood sugar levels so you don’t crash and your body is left feeling depleted.
This is a very important point. Plainly put – you should eat the majority of your carbs during the time of day you are most active. That’s because you will burn it off with your activity.
As you wind down later on in the day, you should also taper the amount of carbs you eat with your meal or as a snack since you are expending less energy.
This actually goes hand-in-hand with timing. For those meals you eat during your most active time of day, depending on your plan, perhaps you are eating up to 50% carbs at that meal. As your day progresses and you become more sedentary and move less, you should reduce the portion size of your carbs during your later meals (mid-afternoon snack and dinner).
I’ve seen people have excellent weight-loss success from not eating any type of carb after 4 pm or 5 pm. The later it gets, the less carbs they eat and they have amazing results.
So when you come home after a long day at work and you are sitting around watching your favorite television show, don’t go reaching for the potato chips, brownies, cakes or ice cream and then fall asleep.
This snacking habit leaves folks frustrated because you are banging it out at the gym and getting in your cardio but still not seeing results. That’s because you are eating your carbs, not burning them right away, going to sleep and your body is storing it.
Stop that cycle NOW and you will begin to see the results you want. A trimmer you.
Sample Meal Plan
Here’s a sample meal plan to give you an idea of how to taper your carbs later on in the day. This assumes high activity is in the morning.
In addition here’s a quick video on how to make a baked sweet potato which is an excellent complex carb. It’s filling, fueling and delicious.
Tools of the Trade
The great thing is there are several tools available that can help you manage how much you are eating in general to support your weight loss goals. These are the items I highly recommend.
- My Fitness Pal app – this app helps you track your macros, calories, water intake, exercise, etc. It’s really powerful.
- Portion plate – helps you weigh your food to help with portion control
- Portion plate – this is a great visual indicator of how much food to put on your plate
There you have it. I hope this answers the majority of your questions related to how you can lose weight while still eating carbs. If there are other questions please leave a comment below.
Have you ever tried a no carb diet?
Do you have a love/hate relationship with carbs?
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Disclaimer: I am not a certified nutritionist or personal trainer. I researched and you should too to determine what’s best for you. This post contains affiliate links.