I used to be the person who thought that carbs were the enemy and that I would gain weight if I ate them. In hindsight, I had a very unhealthy relationship with food because I had adopted the mind set that certain foods (or an entire macronutrient) were “bad” for me.
When I learned about flexible dieting and was given a certain number of carbs to eat, I must admit I was afraid I was going to gain weight. After all, that is what we are all lead to believe, that carbs are the enemy, right?
I figured that whatever I was doing wasn’t working any way, ( I was simply skinny and wanted to be fit), so I would give it a shot and if it didn’t work, then I would just be right back where I started. I didn’t have anything to lose.
What I didn’t know is that carbs fuel your body. Did you ever try to drive a car with no gas? Well, that’s what happens when you try to have a great workout with no carbs.
As I started to implement weight lifting in to my workout regime (my goal along with flexible dieting was to build muscle) I began reading more and more about the diet that goes along with building muscle. I was a sponge when it came to reading the science behind dieting and nutrition – I couldn’t get enough information. My husband told me that if I read Money magazine the way I read health and fitness articles that I would be a rich woman.
Here’s what I learned and why I want YOU to eat carbs and not be afraid of gaining weight from them.
First and foremost, carbs are simply one of three macronutrients (protein and fat and the other 2 macros).
Weight loss comes from a calorie deficit. So to omit an entire macronutrient is really just cutting down on total calories. You may omit rice, pasta, bread and other carbs from your diet, but if you replace them with peanut butter, avocados, oils and nuts, you can certainly still gain weight because those food can still put you in a caloric surplus.
Yes, I know plenty of people who are overweight on a low carb diet.
Cutting carbs drastically will make your body burn muscle and store fat because it will enter a catabolic state. The LAST thing you want to do is burn muscle away. (To read about why weight lifting and building muscle is so important in changing your body click here)
Therefore, if you are trying to build strength in the gym and maximize muscle mass (which everyone can benefit from) you should NEVER go on a low carb diet.
*Carbs are your main source of energy. Yes, protein and fat can make energy as well, but carbs are certainly the most efficient way to fuel your body up.
*Carbs give you that “boost” you need for a great workout. If you cut carbs you are very likely going to be constantly sluggish, tired and lack energy.
*Carbs help you to recover after your workout. Among many reasons, the most important being that they replenish muscle glycogen (your main fuel source) that is lost when lifting weight.
*Carbs fill your muscle bellies up with water, aiding to make you look “toned” and ripped (as opposed to looking flat and not filled out).
And the best reason? (Yes I love to eat!)
*Carbs are yummy. Why deprive yourself of probably the most delicious macronutrient if you don’t have to?
My main goal is to teach my clients how to adapt a healthy lifestyle while working towards their goal of losing weight, building muscle or both. All of my clients eat carbs and as long as they follow their plan and hit their macros they yield success! Like myself, hundreds can attest that they were able to lose weight, change their body and eat carbs.
Don’t go through life depriving yourself of good food. Carbs can and should be included in your daily diet. Lose weight, build muscle, eat delicious food, YES! It CAN be done!