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Why Eating Sufficient Carbs Is a Must

Why Eating Sufficient Carbs Is a Must

In a world where it seems like everyone is on a diet to lose weight as quickly as possible, we see more and more people cutting out their carbs as rapidly as they can while trying to achieve this goal.

But, should you banish all carbs from your diet entirely?

It’s important to realize that some carbohydrates are going to be necessary to help assist with proper bodily functioning, not to mention for health reasons.

Cutting them out of your diet entirely would be a mistake for a number of reasons, so taking some time to learn what these reasons are and why you must be taking them in will help you make sure that you are providing your body with the right amount of nourishment that it needs.

Let’s go over the main reasons why eating sufficient carbs in your diet is a must for success.

Carbohydrates and Thyroid Function

The first place where carbohydrates are going to be needed is in your thyroid function. If you’re on a strict low-carb diet plan, this is going to in turn decrease the circulating levels of thyroid hormone in the body, which can cause hypothyroidism-like symptoms to set in.

If you go low-carb long enough, you may actually start to experience hypothyroidism altogether, so then you’ll have an actual clinical problem on your hands.

Some of the key symptoms to be on the lookout for that would indicate you may not be eating enough carbs is feeling incredibly cold all the time, feeling tired and lethargic, and experiencing weight gain.

In other words, what you originally started doing to help you with your weight loss results may actually turn the tables and cause you to gain weight instead.

Carbohydrates and Metabolic Rate

The next thing that you need to be highly aware of when it comes to your diet and cutting carbohydrates is that carbohydrates are also highly correlated with the metabolic rate.

If you start cutting out too many carbohydrates, this will have negative implications on how fast you are burning calories on a day-to-day basis, which then influences how quickly the fat-loss process moves along as well.

This is in part due to the impact that carbs have on the thyroid, as we just noted above, but it’s also going to have to do with the fact that low carb diets shift leptin levels, which is a key regulation hormone in the body that influences your hunger level as well as your rate of fat burning.

Higher carbohydrate diets tend to keep leptin at a more optimal level, so this can assist with helping you along with your weight loss goals.

Carbohydrates and Energy Levels

Next, don’t overlook the influence that carbs will have on your energy levels. If you’ve ever cut all carbs out of your diet plan, you know very well how this makes you feel.

You’re tired. You’re sluggish.

And, you hardly want to move, never mind actually doing a workout session.

Carbohydrates are the first source of fuel for the body and what it prefers, so when levels start dropping, it’s normal to start to feel some fatigue.

To add to this, carbohydrates are the only source of fuel that the body can use when you’re doing intense workout sessions, so if you’re not eating carbohydrates before or after your workouts, you really won’t be seeing the results that you’re looking for.

Carbohydrates must be consumed at some point if you hope to keep your weight-lifting workouts up. If they aren’t, you can kiss all progress in the gym good-bye.

Carbohydrates and Mood

The next area that carbohydrates and low-carb diets will impact you is in terms of the mood that you experience day to day.

Many people overlook this factor entirely but if you aren’t taking in many carbohydrates at all, this is going to cause a decline in the release of serotonin in the body, which is the key neurotransmitter that impacts your mood and how you feel.

If you notice that when you start low carb dieting you feel a lot more depressed, irritable and angry than when you’re on a higher carb diet, this isn’t just because you’re mad that you can’t have your bread (as some of you may truly feel is the case).

There are actually changes in your brain chemistry that are taking place that are causing this shift in your mood to occur, so that cannot be discounted.

It’s also why when you eat a carbohydrate-rich meal, especially after using a lower carb approach for a while, you instantly start feeling better. It’s like it’s a mood-booster that makes you feel energized, happy and calm.

This isn’t just the food doing this, it’s brain chemicals.

There’s more to the story

What you must realize is that more important than whether or not you’re eating carbohydrates is how much of them you’re eating and the varieties you choose to eat.

At the end of the day, it’s your calorie balance that will establish whether you gain or lose body fat, so if you can maintain the proper calorie balance, you won’t need to worry about the fact that you are eating carbohydrates.

If you choose the wrong carbs, however, sustaining the right calorie balance will feel incredibly trying, so that’s where the problems tend to occur.

So make wise choices and you can ensure that you avoid this from ever becoming a problem in your diet plan. Choose unprocessed carbohydrates that come straight from the ground such as whole grains, vegetables and fruits, and you will be setting yourself up for success.

Featured photo credit: Dog Welder via flickr.com

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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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