If you’re anything like me then just the phrase ‘low carb’ makes you want to run for the hills, preferably hills that have pizza places, burger joints and pancake houses. Yep we all love carbs and to be fair they are not completely evil, we need them to keep our brains and bodies functioning properly.
But overdoing it isn’t good for our bodies, and there is a way of cutting down on the starch without losing the will to live! I know because I’ve found the perfect balance. I’ve found the happy medium where I’ve cut down on carbs but don’t feel deprived and have already started to feel the benefits. I’ll explain how in a moment.
Whether you want to lose a bit of weight, get leaner or just feel less bloated, there’s no doubt that decreasing the carbs is a big step in the right direction. Carbohydrates, especially the high GI kind (e.g. pizza, white bread, white pasta, white rice, cakes etc) are turned into sugar when they are processed in the body, so that’s why they are good for a short burst of energy. Not great for much else though, because sugar spikes our insulin levels and can cause us to put on weight.
A lot of fitness fanatics talk about something called ketosis and ketosis is a process where the body actually uses our fat stores as energy, so that we burn fat and get leaner. If we eat starchy carbs regularly, for example with every meal, then it means that even when we come to exercise our body uses up the sugar from the carbs first and often it won’t get to the point where it can start burning the actual fat stores. But when we have a small amount of carbs in our diet, our body doesn’t have enough sugar to use as energy so it starts to use fat. Hurrah!
Although it’s well known that in order to see quick results you need to eat less than 20g of starchy carbs a day (which really isn’t very much at all), it’s not a good idea to do this if you want to stick to a low carb lifestyle like the one I’m currently embarking on. From my own experience I have found that having one meal with carbohydrates per day has helped me feel less bloated and lighter. The longer I keep it up I am sure I will start to feel leaner in no time. But the way to keep it up as a lifestyle, rather than a diet, is this: eat foods that taste good and are filling.
To help you out I’ll give you an example of what I eat on an average day…
I used to have porridge for breakfast which, don’t get me wrong is healthy, is still a carb which I felt was sticking to my body and stopping me from burning fat, so I swapped it for the equally filling chia pudding. Chia pudding is just chia seeds mixed with milk of your choice (three tbsp chia seeds to half cup of milk is a great consistency) and I top mine with banana, blueberries and Meridian peanut butter for extra protein. It keeps me full for four hours, but has no starchy carbs. Chia seeds are so good for you as they are high in protein, omega 3s and fibre.
I have a salad for lunch but I put in all of my favourite salad vegetables including spinach, tomatoes, peppers, spring onions and I add chicken or chickpeas for extra protein. Protein is the key to feeling full so don’t forget to have your dose of it with each meal. Have some dressing with the salad otherwise it will be bland and you’ll end up hating it. My favourite dressing is the delicious ranch dressing from Marks and Spencer, or their low fat ceaser dressing. Mmm!
In between breakfast and lunch I have an apple and a Trek bar, as Trek bars are high in protein and keep me feeling full until lunch. Another snack during the day that is carb-free is the thick and creamy beauty that is Total greek yogurt, paired with fruit such as strawberries.
This way I can enjoy my carbs at dinner time (though it is up to you which meal you would prefer to have carbs for), and as long as you have a small portion of it and don’t binge on junk food, you should find the perfect balance like I have which makes you feel great.
I never thought I could keep up a low carb lifestyle, but by eating foods that are tasty and filling (and high in protein) I am finding it easy to stick to one carb meal a day. I barely ever get bloated, I feel lighter and with a good amount of exercise it’ll help me to get leaner. Oh and don’t forget sugar is a big reason why people can’t lose the weight they want to lose, so if that’s your goal it’s a good idea to cut back on the chocolate and cakes. Trust me you’ll feel so amazing once you do this.
If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below 🙂