At first the thought of a lower carb diet was somewhat scary for me. Initially, I was nervous I wouldn’t have the energy needed during the day. I was scared I’d miss all my favorite foods. However after about 3 months of a lower carb plan and carb cycling, I couldn’t be more wrong.
Low carb diets have many health benefits including weight loss, and reducing risk factors for diabetes.
Your body uses carbs as your main source of fuel and energy.
Starches as well as sugars are broken down and absorbed into your body – this is your blood sugar. High levels of blood sugar will trigger your body to release insulin. This is where your fuel and energy come from, however extra blood sugar is stored in your muscles, liver and cells or is CONVERTED TO FAT.
By decreasing your carb levels, you can decrease your insulin levels, therefore causing your body to burn the stored fat.
Fruits and Veggies, Nuts and Seeds, and Grains
FOODS for a LOW CARB diet:
Meat, Fish, Poultry and Eggs
I plan to do a full day of eating blog at some point, so stay tuned if you are interested on starting a lower carb plan.
Tricks of the Trade
Over the past few months I’ve kept my carb intake between 75 grams and 120 grams a day. I’ve seen a major difference in my body composition, even while my weight on the scale has stayed the same. I also haven’t felt like I lack energy either which was my biggest concern.
Here are some tips I’ve learned and encountered since beginning,
FATS – Make the fats in your diet last. And save your fats for flavor.
This mean make sure your protein and carb sources are low in fat, allowing you to use the fats else where. Would you rather cook your food in oil ( you won’t even taste )? or Add avocado to your meal? exactly.
VOLUME – Eat foods that are more filling. I find myself eating more salads and more veggies to help keep myself full. Find carb sources that also keep you full as well. An example here – eating oatmeal for breakfast or grits. Grits tend to full when cooked, so for the same serving size, you’ll feel more satisfied.
SNACKS – I try to find snacks that wont hinter my macronutrient totals. Sugar Free Jello is a savor of mine. Many are 0 carb, about 5 calories. Just keep an eye out for artificial sweeteners.
DRINKS – Crystal Light, Flavored BCAAs ( Branched Chain Amino Acids ) or Sparkling water will now be your drinks of choice. On my lowest carb days, I drink Sparkling water at lunch. The carbonation will help me feel full and I will not overeat.
FOOD SUBSTITUTES – Find recipes that substitute your favorite foods. If you love pasta, try cooking spaghetti squash, or with shirataki noodles.
Current progress since carb cycling –