Advertising
Advertising

Is Cutting Carbs Really The Answer To Better Health And Effective Weight Loss?

Is Cutting Carbs Really The Answer To Better Health And Effective Weight Loss?

In the modern age, people are increasingly keen to reduce their carbohydrate intake in a bid to lose weight. As a result of this, a high proportion of contemporary diet plans are focused on cutting carbs and in some instances eliminating them entirely, although this is fraught with numerous risks and potential health concerns.

Not only do studies suggest that the human body should consume a minimum of 130 grams or carbohydrates each day, but cutting your carb intake is also thought to trigger health complaints such as low heart palpitations, headaches, low energy levels and a lack of mental focus.

This highlights the dangers of reducing your carb intake, while it also hints at an insufficient understanding of carbohydrates and their role within a balanced diet. So unless you are allergic to carbs, it would be unwise to eliminate them entirely from your diet.

Is Cutting Carbs The Best Way To Lose Weight?

One of the main myths surrounding carbohydrates (and therefore the biggest source of confusion among dieters) is that they are a primary and universal trigger of obesity. This is far from the case, and there are a number of compelling reasons for including carbohydrates as a key part of your diet.

Advertising

Carbs are in fact the primary energy source for the human body, while there is also a clear distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ carbohydrates. While ‘good’ or complex carbohydrates (such as those found in whole grains and legumes) contain longer chains of sugar molecules that provide a sustained source of energy, ‘bad’ carbs are usually laced with basic sugars and trans fats that are likely to trigger sudden weight gain.

This has a significant impact on your physical well-being, as not all carbohydrates should be considered as equal within your overarching diet plan. Studies have also proven that there are a number of additional factors that impact on the human tolerance to carbohydrates, including age, daily activity levels and the balance that exists elsewhere in your diet.

These facts not only hint at the benefits of consuming good carbohydrates, but they also suggest that attributing obesity to the consumption of carbs represents a huge oversimplification of a complex topic.

Above all else, all of the scientific evidence confirms that reducing or eliminating the consumption of carbohydrates arbitrarily and for the purpose of losing weight is not to be recommended in any scenario.

Advertising

The Benefits of Controlling your Carbohydrate Intake

While it may not be advisable to eliminate carbs or minimise your consumption on an arbitrary basis, there is scientific evidence to suggest that carefully controlling your intake can deliver health benefits. Restricting your consumption according to national guidelines at the minimum threshold of 130 grams can enhance your mental performance and clarity of thought, negating the argument that eating fewer carbohydrates actually inhibits cognitive ability and the brain’s functionality.

Clearly, such an approach could have a highly positive impact at home and in the workplace, where lost productivity is thought to cost British businesses alone a staggering £29 billion ($35.1 billion) each year.

There are other benefits associated with sustaining a controlled carb intake, including a reduction of gastrointestinal stress and bloating around the abdomen. The human form can also benefit from enhanced good cholesterol levels, as typically we seek out high-fat alternatives that leave us feeling fuller when we initially eliminate carbohydrates from our diets).

The key to controlling your carb intake is to focus on consuming a predetermined amount of complex carbohydrates each day, while eliminating simple alternatives wherever possible. You must also prepare for an initial period of discomfort when you first begin to reduce your consumption to comply with health guidelines, as this may trigger a considerable change to your diet.

Advertising

This can manifest itself in numerous ways, including a brief bout of depression as the brain’s serotonin levels plunge suddenly. You may also experience constipation, but these consequences can be offset by maintaining a high fluid intake and replacing any salt that is lost from your diet.

This will relieve the symptoms, which may last for a period of two weeks as your body adjusts to its new diet and carbohydrate intake.

Further Steps Towards Managing your Carbohydrate Intake

Regardless of whether you wish to simply enhance your diet or lose weight to fit into your dream wedding outfit, you will need to follow a number of steps when reducing and managing your carb intake.

Firstly, there is a need to calculate your desired carbohydrate intake per day, taking into account the factors that we have already discussed such as your weight, height and level of tolerance to carbs. Those with an intolerance to carbohydrates or the foods that contain them will need to manage their diet carefully, as this will help them to avoid any uncomfortable, allergic reactions.

Advertising

It is also imperative that you calculate your daily number of carbohydrates in accordance with your activity levels, as carbs provide energy that the body uses throughout the day. Those who are largely inactive or work at sedentary jobs should aim for the minimum consumption level of around 130 grams, while those who partake in regular exercise should increase their intake depending on their existing level of fitness and the precise nature of the activity that they indulge in.

This is particularly true for body builders or those of you who are aiming to increase their muscle mass. Good and complex carbohydrates are crucial to achieving this goal, and it is recommended that serious athletes consume 1-3 grams of carbs for every pound that they are looking to add in muscle.

Once you have determined your daily intake, you simply need to maintain a consistent diet beyond the two week period of transition to see initial results.

Clearly, there is no single low-carbohydrate diet plan that is suitable for everyone, and arbitrarily choosing a diet plan or eliminating carbs entirely can be extremely damaging for your health. Instead, it is important to understand the function of carbohydrates within the human body, before calculating your required intake in line with a host of personal factors.

Then, you can manage your consumption to achieve desired fitness goals, while also maintaining a healthy body and mind in the process.

More by this author

10 Reasons A Long-Distance Relationship Will Work 12 iPhone 6 Tricks You Probably Don’t Know But Should We Are Often Confused Empathy With Sympathy but What’s The Difference Actually? To Make Wise Decisions, Ask Yourself These Questions Every Time No Matter What You Say, the First Thing People Pay Attention to Is Only How You Say It

Trending in Fitness

113 Pregnancy Yoga Exercises for The Last Trimester 2Yoga Benefits for Men and Women Over 40 (And How to Get Started Now) 3Science Says Screaming Is Good For You 4The Best 10 Types of Exercise for Kids Who Get Too Much Screentime 519 Fun Activities for Seniors to Stay Active Physically and Mentally

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

Advertising

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

His motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

Advertising

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • He riles up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Advertising

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

Advertising

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

Becoming the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Read Next