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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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