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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

Health Writer, Author

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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