Carb Cycling 101Sunday, December 15, 2013
Winter is here and I couldn't be more excited! I LOVE Christmas and everything that comes along with it. All the lights, christmas songs and mistletoe bring a huge smile to my face! Along with all those wonderful things come parties and gatherings with friends and family. In addition to Christmas it's also my birthday month, so that means the wine and spirits are flowing and yummy food is in abundance(did I mention the Football potlucks too!). I made a decision to indulge a bit this holiday season. I've been counting each gram that passes my lips for months so I've allowed myself to check out here and there to eat, drink and be merry! Although it's been fun the scale is creeping up, ugh. Can I just rant for a second and ask the universe why it's so easy to gain weight and fat and take forever to get off!?(not fair, just sayin'!).
So, after I pouted and pinched my new excess belly fat, I made a plan. I think this is the time when a lot of people give up and say well F-It, I tried and failed. NO! This is when you pull up your boot straps(as my Dad would day) and get back on that horse! Everyone is going to have set backs but it's how you react to them that determines if you reach your goals. I think what taught me to push myself to success was sports. Growing up I played competitive softball and my coaches were always testing our limits of mental and physical stamina and it taught me to never give up. You always think you can't do something until it's done! But, enough about the glory days...here's my plan!
I took out my calendar(yes, a paper calendar) and mapped out all the parties I was planning to attend. Then, I noted my high and low carb days trying to coordinate my "high" days with the parties. So, what is a high day you ask...well it's not what you're thinking! My trick to dropping fat without losing muscle is to carb cycle. This means that I eat low carb for about 5 days then have a day where I increase my carbs significantly(the "high" day). My body reacts well to low carb eating; I feel better and see results. In order to carb cycle you must count your macros(Carbs/Protein/Fat). It's not as hard as it seems but you must measure and count your food. My Fitness Pal app is what I use to track my grams and it makes it super easy! This is a technique you can use anytime you are looking to reduce your body fat(vacation, wedding, reunion etc).
Here is the breakdown I use:
Carbs on my low days will come from all vegetables. I might throw in the occasional rolled oats if I'm feeling fatigued but you will find it's challenging to stay at 20% with anything other than veggies. On the high carb days I'll try to stick to healthy carbs such as sweet potatoes, rolled oats, quinoa and brown rice(except of course at cookie decorating parties and other holiday fun!).
Keep in mind this in not for everyone and I can only say it works for me but please do your research and be safe! You can lose muscle and actually slow down your fat/weight loss if you eat too few calories and nobody wants that.
Having a plan to get through the holiday's makes me feel much more at ease that come January I won't be starting from square one. I can enjoy myself and all the lovely, amazing things happening this month which is what it's all about! So cheers to an amazing end to 2013 and I hope you all find yourselves under some mistletoe with a loved one soon!
Resources to read more about carb cycling(please read for more in depth information):