How many of you have carbohydrates in your diet? I imagine if you are losing weight you are or you may have limited your carbohydrate intake to try and lose more weight? If you are doing this at the moment or have done before I want you to STOP! I am going to explain why you need carbohydrates in order to lose weight and what happens to your body when you reduce them significantly and when you cut them out completely.
The Role Of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are your primary energy source and your body needs them especially if you exercise regularly. Carbohydrates are not your enemy and you should be consuming them throughout the day. For many of you if you are losing weight you tend to cut out carbohydrates altogether in an attempt to lose more weight quickly. When you do this you will lose weight quickly but the likelihood is that it won't be body fat and you won't lose it from the areas you want to. This is because your fat that you have on your body in the areas you want to lose it from (bum, thighs, arms, stomach) are areas that have stored fat for a while and therefore will take effort and proper nutrition to rid the fat.
When your body has been used to having carbohydrates and then you suddenly drop them from your diet or seriously reduce them to 30 grams or lower per day, your body doesn't agree with it. It will go into something called 'state of alert' which ultimately puts your body into a fat storing machine. Fat lasts longer on your body than muscle and the body is doing this to protect you as it thinks it's going to starve. You need to tell your body otherwise and the only way to do this is by eating healthy, nutritious foods that contain carbohydrates. The key is not too eat too many however, as eating too many carbohydrates throughout the day release a hormone within the body called insulin. When this hormone is released the body can then store some of the carbohydrates that your body doesn't need as fat. Unfortunately there is no set amount of carbohydrates I can tell you to eat that will be adequate for your body as you are all so different and what might work for you, will work differently for someone else.
First of all do not cut out carbohydrates, this is a definite no no!! My advice to you would be to have your carbohydrates first thing in the morning for breakfast and around your workouts. Good choices for breakfast are porridge or weetabix as both these choices will give your body a steady release in energy. I then suggest that your plan your carbohydrates around your exercise for the day and good choices here are foods like sweet potato, brown rice, brown pasta etc. Be sure to eat them 2 hours before your workout and then approximately 1 hour after exercise. Like I have already mentioned before, your body is going to be different to someone else's and with this said you will need to see what works for you. To give you an idea, I have spent months assessing how many carbohydrates I need and what works best for my body. You should do the same so you can understand how your body works and how much you need.
Remember carbohydrates are your primary energy source so when you lack in this food group, your body will turn to glycogen stores and muscle as fuel. This is bad as it will weaken and lower your metabolism and the rate your body burns fat. Eat healthy foods that are slow release in energy as these foods will keep you from feeling sluggish and tired. When you feel tried, the choices you make with foods become less informative and you are more likely to pick something unhealthy and high in sugar. So keep your choices smart and make sure you have planned what you are going to eat. Finally, trial and error is how you will ultimately find out how YOUR body works and for this you will need to give yourself weeks or months to see what works best. It may seem like a lot of effort but once you know how your body works and you know how many carbohydrates you should have, you will change your body. Weight loss, weight gain, tone up or maintain, by knowing your body you will be able to change it without radical drops in food or going onto a crazy diet. Keep it simple and you will get there.