When someone says they plan to start a diet, try eating healthy or try to lose weight the next thing I usually hear them say is that they will eliminate carbohydrates from their diet. While that may seem like a great idea at first most will quickly learn that it is a nearly unattainable goal not to mention a very unhealthy approach to weight loss.

eating healthySo- are carbohydrates the enemy? No- they are the body’s preferred source for fuel. So when you take in carbs, your body will tend to utilize them first. If you eat too many carbohydrates the body transforms those calories into fat resulting in weight gain (that is why people fear them). However if you do not give the body enough carbohydrates you may very well be harming your overall fitness more than you are helping. You may see a sudden drop in your current weight followed by a list of health problems including constipation vitamin deficiencies irritability loss of muscle mass and a drop in metabolic rate.

A rule of thumb that I try to live by is “everything in moderation.” Too much of anything is never a good thing! So rather than saying I cannot go on a diet because I refuse to give up pasta or bread look at the bright side you can eat those things – you just need to do it in moderation. By learning self-control and discipline you can ease yourself into a diet that is attainable maintainable and realistic to your fitness goals and your lifestyle.

If you are not sure how many grams of carbohydrates you are taking in daily you can use an online tool like My Calorie Counter  or My Fitness Pal to track the food that you eat. The website will give you a breakdown of your carb fat and protein intake by meal day and week. After a week of tracking everything that you eat you should get a good gauge of how much you take in on average. If you are trying to lower your carbohydrate intake to lose a few extra pounds here are my tips to help you keep your carbohydrate intake at a well balanced level.

1. Eat sandwiches open faced.

Take a slice of bread off and leave it to the side. This will save you calories and excess carbs. I also order whole wheat or whole grain for added fiber.

2. Drink a full glass of water before each meal.

The water will fill up your stomach before you even put calories in it. The quicker you feel full the less likely you will finish your meal or over-indulge. Water also aids in digestion and helps to rid your body of toxins.

3. Always pair your carbs with protein.Peanut Butter with Apples Snack Ideas from Livestrong.com

Rather than just eating an apple try to pair it with some muscle-building protein and healthy fat like natural almond butter or a handful of unsalted nuts. You will get protein and fats from this combo making it a well balanced snack. If you like ordering pasta try ordering it with meat sauce or topped with chicken steak or seafood. Focus on eating the protein before you dig in to the pasta portion. The protein as opposed to carbohydrates alone will keep you fuller longer.

4. Focus on complex carbohydrates.

Complex carbohydrates digest slower in your body and will not cause a large spike in your insulin levels. You will find complex carbohydrates in whole grain bread sweet potatoes vegetables and fruits. Simple carbohydrates are found in candies pastries syrups and products that are high in sugar.

It is important to get your carbohydrates from quality foods. Just because we need carbs to survive and remain healthy this does not mean we should get them from the wrong places like cookies donuts and candies (even though that might sound amazing). Focus on getting your carbohydrates from whole and natural food sources. This will aid in keeping that sweet tooth at bay and give you good amounts of vitamins without all the added sugar and fat. I enjoy getting my carbohydrates from vegetables fruits a slice of bread low carb whole wheat tortilla brown rice whole wheat pasta sweet potatoes and oatmeal. I eat these almost daily but in moderation.

5. Portion control. 

Don’t deprive yourself. If you know that you have a food that you are prone to overindulge in rather than torturing yourself by declaring “I am never eating that again!” (when all you can think about is having that peanut butter cup) work on controlling the portions you take in until you can eventually get over your cravings.

Pre-portion snacks. Read the label and find out the recommended servings that are in the portion and then divide it up accordingly. For example portion out each big bag of chips into several smaller ones or buy single serving portions. If you want to snack while watching the football game grab one of your small baggies for a guilt-free cheat! I always measure out the food that I like to snack on so that I do not sit around and mindlessly consume extra food that my body does not need. Ziploc baggies will become your best friend.

Reasonable restaurant portions. When you go out to eat ask for a to-go container as soon as your food is brought to the table. Place half of your meal in the to-go container for tomorrow and then eat the other half. The portions that are served in restaurants are usually plenty of food for two people or two servings. Split it down the middle before you even start so that you are not tempted to overeat.

With these tips I hope you can be on better terms with carbohydrates. Carbs really are not the arch enemy to fitness goals! Focus on getting the right kind and the right amount of carbs in your system. Do not deprive yourself because it will only set you up for failure in the long run. Incorporating these tips into your weight management efforts to begin to see a difference in how you look and feel. Stay Fit!

” Your Weight Management Partner” title=”Celsius try ordering it with meat sauce

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