A favourite, much-discussed topic is now coming your way – carbs! Let me introduce this below:
Are carbs bad?
Quick answer – no! Carbs are our fuel – without them, we will struggle to function. The media has hugely bashed them over the past 10 years, so we’re seeing all sorts of low carb diets springing up. However, if you cut your carbs dramatically, or even eat none, your body will enter a state called ketosis, which can be seriously dangerous and can even kill. Amazingly, the keto diet is designed to do exactly that (don’t get me started!)
As we learn to love our bodies, we learn to give them what they need and one of the things they need is carbs to fuel. If I do a really intense training session, and don’t eat sufficient carbs before or after, I will be hanging, I will be useless and we’re all here to get productive and be present in our lives!
Some carbs are better than others, so here’s a little list:
Brown/ wild rice
Rye/ sourdough bread
Any potato, including sweet
Anything excessively processed
To label a food a ‘carb’ is also somewhat unrealistic, as everything is made up of lots of bits. There are very few foods which contain zero carbs.
So choose wisely. I hate labelling anything as bad but I would never eat white bread – following the LOVE OR USEFUL PRINCIPLE – I don’t love it and it’s not useful. But you need to decide where foods sit on this scale for yourself.
How many carbs do I need?
There is no one answer unfortunately – all our bodies are different and our activity levels vary.
As a starting point, aim for 5-6g of carbs per kilo of bodyweight per day. A 60kg person will require 300-360g per day of carbs if exercising steadily. Higher intensity excess will increase the amount needed and wanting to lose weight will mean it needs to reduce. It’s very much a trial and error, measuring your results and how you’re feeling.
An example of how to eat your carbs:
Low carb breakfast – eggs and/or protein smoothie – depending on how much you’re doing in the morning and when you’re likely to next eat (the fruit is the carbs here)
Lunch – lots of veg and perhaps sweet potato or a portion of rice
Dinner – Two wholewheat wraps or a portion of wholewheat pasta
So how do I find this out for me?
Trial and error is the only way, so be prepared to go through a process.
Pay attention to signs like bloating, tiredness, hyperactivity – this may mean you’re eating too many carbs.
If you feel weak, listless, low in energy and drained, you may be eating too little or too many sugary carbs.
(sugary ones taste sweet and starchy ones taste savoury, as a very general rule.)
Can I eat carbs if I want to lose weight?
Yes! Indeed some Warriors that I have worked with, who were trying to lose weight, needed to increase their intake, as if it’s too low, your body will be in starvation mode.
How do I know if that’s me?
The guidelines on the packets tend to be a pretty good guide of general portion sizes – I would encourage you for one week to weigh our your carbs as per the packet and see how you feel and how this looks compared to your normal portions. Try My Fitness Pal, it’s really good for this.
If you start to lose weight and you feel good, this is working for you. This is now your baseline, you can play around with this depending on hunger and to speed up your results. However, if you’re an addictive personality type (like me!), don’t take this as a challenge to get as low as possible – your training will suffer if you do this.
If this doesn’t work for you i.e. you feel crap and you’re not losing weight, you may need less or more carbs.
If you feel weak and you’re not losing weight, eat more.
If you’re gaining weight or staying the same, eat less.
Another long one for you today Warriors – I’d recommend you come back tomorrow and have a read again of this. Any questions, struggles or achievements, please post them in the Warriors group.
Your Head Warrior