Mistake 4: Avoiding Carbs
What is your first thought when you decide you are going to start losing weight? For most people cutting out carbs from their diet, except fruit and vegetables, is at the top of their list. But doing so can be detrimental to your results. Let’s take a look at why you shouldn’t be so quick to cut the carbs and why eating them can help you achieve your fat loss goals.
First of all, you should shift from the thought process that carbohydrates make you fat. Sure, excessive intake of carbs, especially refined sugars in the form of candy, donuts, cake, cookies, etc., will have this effect on your body. But so will any other type of food when eaten in excess.
What I am talking about here is including high quality carbohydrates in the diet such as potatoes, rice, quinoa, oats, whole grains, or any other quality, slow digesting carb source.
Your body’s primary source of energy, glucose, is derived from carbs. Your brain and central nervous system prefer glucose as an energy source, and they work best with a constant supply. The source of this glucose either comes from our dietary intake of carbs or from the glucose stored by your liver. This is why people can get an episode of brain fog when cutting out carbs and become irritable and cranky.
When on a low carb diet for an extended amount of time you will almost assuredly start to experience additional consequences. Aside from just feeling constantly tired and sluggish, low carbohydrate diets have been shown to suppress your immune system, reduce thyroid hormone output, cause sleep disruption, and increase your levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Keeping an adequate amount of carbs in your diet simply allows you to look and feel your best. And we need to feel our best in order to perform daily functions and to put in our best effort in the gym.
In my previous article, where I discussed the impact of chronic aerobic activity, I mentioned the importance of resistance training when trying to lose weight. This type of training uses our anaerobic energy system. The anaerobic energy system primarily relies on glucose to provide our body energy. This glucose comes from that immediately available in your blood or from the glycogen stored in your muscle tissue. When we workout we end up using up these glycogen stores. How much we use up depends on the intensity and length of your workout. So if we want to perform with a high intensity and last through the whole workout on a consistent basis we need to keep refilling these stores by consuming high quality carbohydrates.
Remember, quality workouts are what are going to help you achieve that fat loss goal the smart and healthy way.
In the end everything comes back to an individual approach. Exactly how many carbs you should include in your diet depends on your workout schedule, your current body fat percentage, goals, past history, etc. To see how I recommend including carbs in your diet download a free copy of my 4 Habits of a Great Nutrition Plan.
As a takeaway, remember carbs are not the enemy when it comes to losing weight. This is especially true when they come in the form of high quality, slow digesting carbs. In fact, they may be just the thing that fuels you to your weight loss goals.
If you would like help with a proper nutrition and/or workout plan that’s tailored to your current needs don’t hesitate to contact me. Or if you have further questions feel free to shoot me an email or comment below.