Carbohydrates get a bit of a bad reputation for being the enemy when it comes to weight gain and unhealthy eating. In fact this food group is one of the most important to include into our diet in order to build a strong and heathy body.
Carbohydrates or ‘Carbs’ as we prefer to call them are fundamental to a healthy diet and whilst they are needed if you want to put on weight. Ditching them all together from your diet in order to lose weight is not the answer.
The 3 macronutrients our body needs in order to stay alive are Protein, Fat and Carbohydrate. Each being just as important as the next as they provide the body with different fuels in order for us to function, grow, repair and ultimately survive.
Cutting carbs from your diet may result in quick weight loss, however, the chances are this will not be sustainable and will often lead to weight gain in the future when carbs are introduced back into the diet which isn’t sustainable long term.
The key to losing weight steadily and to keep it off is to burn more energy than you are consuming along with, creating an active lifestyle you enjoy and can sustain.
You don’t have to do this drastically. I always like to say to my clients “I’d rather see you lose 1/2kg -1kg every week and keep it off than losing 5kgs in 3 weeks and yo-yo back and forth because they haven’t got it right by creating a balanced lifestyle.
Being mindful of which carbohydrates you choose to eat is the first place to start. Avoiding the simple carbs such as white bread, cakes, crisps, sweets etc as these generally have a higher Glycemic Index leading to a rise in blood sugar levels. The sharper the rise the sharper the drop resulting in ‘the crash’ where we look for a quick energy fix to pull us out. Repeating this several times a day is where weight gain can start to occur.
Instead choose the more complex carbs such as whole-grains, fruits, and legumes such as lentils and pulses. These foods have much less of an impact on our blood sugar and prevent it from rising too much.
That being said theres nothing wrong with eating the odd sugary food now and again. I truly believe and actively promote that a healthy lifestyle is all about balance. I look forward to eating a doughnut or a bag of chips, I just don’t do it every week. If you really want to see results my advice is to eat well 80% of the time and enjoy the other 20% whether it may be through nights out, takeaways or that rich dessert. We as humans are meant to enjoy life and the diet you are most likely to stick to is the one that you enjoy.
My top 5 tips for weight loss through nutrition are:
- Control your portions by eating your food in smaller dishes, plates or containers.
- Consume a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, lean protein and complex carbohydrates
- Drink at least 2-2.5 litres of water.
- Consume majority of carbohydrates after a workout.
- Avoid processed and high sugar foods as much as possible and stick to home cooked meals where you can control the ingredients used.