Q&A: Is a low carb diet the most effective way to lose weight?

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American’s do not have a lack of diet or healthy options. New diets pop up so often that it causes confusion as to what is healthy and what isn’t healthy. Low carb diets and carb shaming are not new, which means that you’ve probably been told that carbs are terrible for you and that in order to lose weight you need to eat low carb or no-carb diet. 

I don’t agree with this mindset for many reasons. The biggest reason is that carbs are necessary for life! I tell my clients that they can eat carbs - even “bad” carbs! However, you shouldn’t be eating as many carbs as the typical American diet suggests.

Here’s what you need to know about eating carbs and why you can eat them!

Carbs aren’t your enemy

Like I said before, carbs are necessary for you! Our bodies use carbs to give us quick bursts of energy. Carbs are responsible to fuel your brain! I truly believe that you should eat carbs because you need these macronutrients to function. 

Before I tried macro tracking and flexible dieting, I was doing the Paleo diet. I had severely restricted my calories and had basically cut out carbs. When my macro coach increased my carb intake, I had the hardest time mentally being ok with that! I had told myself for so long that carbs were bad and that I shouldn’t have them! I could not believe that I was “allowed” to eat bagels again! It was such a freeing feeling!

I don’t believe in labeling foods as good or bad, so I won’t tell you that you can’t have carbs. Have them! Enjoy your bagel when it’s appropriate. However, there are always better choices when it comes to eating carbs. 

I do advise my clients that they make carb choices that are going to fuel their bodies. The easiest way to know if you’re eating carbs that are good for you is to look at the fiber content. If you’re eating 20-25 grams of fiber for women on 30-35 grams of fiber for men, then you’re getting your carbs from whole foods or complex carbs. If you’re eating 10-12 grams of fiber, then you aren’t making good carb choices.

So yes, you can eat Cheetos once in a while and still lose weight, but maybe opt for a piece of whole-grain toast instead so that you’re fueling your body not just stuffing it. 

Your nutritional preferences are your best guidelines

The most important part of making a lifestyle change is that you understand what your nutritional needs and wants are. If you have given up white bread and are perfectly fine never eating another piece of white bread for the rest of your life, then that is 100 percent the right thing to do for you! 

However, if you are giving up white bread because you’re “supposed” to and every day you long for that piece of white bread, then I’m going to tell you to eat it! Restricting yourself is not good for your mental health. I would rather have you eat one piece of bread every day than mess up your mind and your progress because you can’t restrict that item any longer!  

This goes for any diet or restrictions you’ve tried. Paleo, Keto, low fat, they all have nuggets of wisdom in them and if you like a certain aspect of those diets, then use them! I will only tell you to stop if they are hurting your mindset! Weight loss is 80 percent mindset and 20 percent nutrition. 

A balanced diet is your best solution for weight loss

I am not a robot who eats nothing but quinoa, chicken breasts and broccoli. I love food and I believe that food is meant to be enjoyed! Instead of restricting myself and then binging, I eat a balanced diet that includes broccoli and brownies. 

My diet includes fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, fats and even sugar! But I make a plan for myself. If I want that brownie after dinner, then I’m going to eat a really lean low carb lunch! It’s all about setting boundaries for yourself and then, and this is key, sticking to those boundaries!

Like I mentioned before, in order for a lifestyle change to happen you need to know what your nutritional needs and wants are. You need to know why you eat. 

Are you an emotional eater? Emotional eating is one of the biggest reasons that people break their diets. If you know you’re an emotional eater, create a plan that will help you overcome that habit. If you know you’ll eat an entire bag of chips when you’re upset, then don’t buy chips! If they aren’t available, you can’t eat them!

A balanced diet is all about creating a plan and new habits that will lead you to your goals. It’s about protecting that plan, even when it’s hard. 

If you need a cheerleader, mentor or support system, then let’s chat! I can help you create a plan that is personalized to your nutritional personality. You can schedule a free discovery call with me and we can decide if this is the right path for you!

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Krista Moreland