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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 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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