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6 Tips to Help You Lower Your Carb Intake

6 Tips to Help You Lower Your Carb Intake

Almost all of us want to try to slim down every once in awhile, but often finding the right balance to shed a few pounds can be difficult. One way that you can shed those extra pounds is by cutting your daily intake of carbohydrates.

1. Understand how carbohydrates work.

Carbohydrates are one of the three main macronutrients in the human diet, with fat and protein being the other two. Carbohydrates are essential to a number of functions in the body, including growth and your body’s metabolism. Carbohydrates are most often found in starchy foods such as breads, pastas and rice, but they can also be found in fruits and vegetables as well.

2. Know the difference between complex and simple carbohydrates.

You may have noticed these labels on some of the food you buy, but what do they really mean? Simple carbohydrates are made from refined grains. During the refining process, much of what makes them good for you is simply stripped away. You can often find these in your white breads or any heavily processed foods. Studies have shown that eating too much of these types of carbohydrates can lead to weight gain and other health problems such as diabetes and even cardiovascular conditions.

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Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, have not been through the refining process. This means that they retain much of the fiber and other nutrients that your body really needs. These are commonly found in whole grains. Studies have shown that eating a low carb diet that is rich in complex carbohydrates will help you lose weight and improve your health.

If you want to follow a low carb diet, you should eliminate as many of the simple carbohydrates as you can from your diet while at the same time including more complex carbohydrates in your diet.

3. Find out if a low carb diet is right for you.

Low carb diets were all the rage several years ago, with many people choosing to eat more protein and eliminating carbohydrates almost completely from their diets. But is this right for you? The answer depends largely on your lifestyle

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You see, your body takes the carbohydrates you ingest and turns them into glucose, otherwise known as sugar. It takes this sugar and then uses it as fuel to provide you with the energy you need each day. If you are active, enough all this fuel will be burned and you won’t store any for later. However, if you are not, your body takes this sugar and stores it as fat in your body causing you to gain weight. Reducing your intake of carbohydrates based on your activity level is the perfect way to keep your weight in check while also making sure your body still gets the fuel it needs every day.

4. Don’t eliminate carbohydrates all-together.

Carbohydrates, especially complex carbohydrates, provides several things that your body needs every day. These include starch, which is an easily-converted form of energy for your body; fiber, which aids in the digestion process; and other vitamins and minerals you need each day in order to maintain proper health.

What this means is you shouldn’t try to completely eliminate all carbohydrates from your diet. If you do, you will be denying your body many of the nutrients that it needs in order to maintain proper health. Just be sure when you do eat carbs that you choose whole grains and other sources of complex carbohydrates so you get the proper nutrition you need and not just the wasted calories and sugar that are found in simple carbohydrates.

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5. Avoid these foods.

When planning your low carb diet, most diets recommend limiting your carb intake to 50 to 150 grams per day. There are many foods that are loaded with simple carbohydrates that you should avoid if you are trying to eat a low carb diet. A few examples of foods you should avoid are:

  • White bread
  • White rice
  • Pizza crust
  • Muffins
  • Biscuits
  • Pancakes
  • Hot dog and hamburger buns

6. Eat these foods.

Even if you are choosing a low carb diet, there are many foods that are perfectly okay for you to eat that are rich in complex carbohydrates. These include:

  • Beans
  • Whole Wheat Bread
  • Brown rice
  • Oats and other whole grains

Conclusion

Eating a diet that is low in carbs has been shown to improve your health and will help you lose weight over and over again. However, that doesn’t mean you have to eliminate carbs altogether. Instead, eat lower amounts of carbs and when you do eat carbs, choose the right ones. Avoid simple carbs that provide your body with almost no nutritional benefits and replace them with complex carbohydrates that are rich in whole grains. This will give your body both the fuel and nutrients it needs for you to live a much healthier life.

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Featured photo credit: Hot Dogs by Thomas Abbs via Flickr via flickr.com

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Brian Wu

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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