Many people who reach out to me for coaching ask me, “Should I cut carbs to lose weight?” They ask this question because the idea of cutting carbs has become so prevalent in American culture.
Diets from Keto to South Beach claim that you will lose weight if you deprive your body of carbohydrates. The message gets trickier when you scratch beneath the surface.
In Keto, you’re supposed to cut carbs and add fats.
In South Beach, you’re supposed to cut carbs and stay away from fats.
There are many other diets, meal plans, and weight loss “gurus” that prescribe to the idea that cutting carbs will result in weight loss, but I’m mentioning these two because they seem to be the diets I hear about most.
Should I Cut Carbs To Lose Weight
Here’s the truth about carbs–cutting carbs is not a solution to losing weight and keeping it off. It has never been, and it never will be.
Sure, you might lose some water weight with this diet within the first week, but that weight will come back with a vengeance in the following weeks. Do you know why? Because our bodies weren’t meant to survive on protein and fats alone.
The more restrictions we put on ourselves regarding weight loss, the less weight we will lose.
In this article, I’ll discuss my answer to the question, “Should I cut carbs to lose weight?” I think you’ll find my response freeing and much easier to follow than all of the so-called fad diets.
Disadvantages of a Low Carb Diet
Complex carbohydrates are natural and whole. Our bodies are proven to digest these carbs slowly, and they do–according to Mayo Clinic–have a more negligible effect on blood sugar than refined carbohydrates do. They also provide fiber.
Refined carbohydrates are not quite as helpful to our bodies. These carbs include sugar and white flour, which are often added to the processed foods we eat. Foods such as white bread, cakes, candy, soda, and other grab-and-go options are good examples of refined carbohydrates.
Logically, we can intuit that complex carbohydrates are helpful to our bodies, so when someone asks, “Should I cut carbs to lose weight?” I remind them that there are good carbs.
These are textbook theories, and here’s a twist that’s going to surprise you in real life:
In my coaching, I actually give my clients full green light if they choose, say, white rice over brown rice in everyday meals. And white rice and white bread — in American diet culture — this is taboo to many people because they are defined as “refined carbohydrates.”
Why do I not care? And why are my clients able to not care while still getting steady, true weight loss results sustainably? It’s because when your body is transformed into organically losing fat vs retaining/attracting fat by default, these couple of hundreds of grams of carbohydrates you eat, refined or complicated, don’t really matter because either kind is very effectively used by the body.
Ever wondered why people in East Asia and some other cultures are eating so much white rice, without counting calories, while still easily staying slim? Eating carbohydrates or not isn’t the culprit of real weight loss. Not to mention considering what type of carbohydrates to eat — as long as your body isn’t working against you and retaining fat. To read more about equipping your body with natural fat-burning power that trumps all, read my article An Unexpected Talk On The Secret Of Real Weight Loss.
Also, if you are interested in seeing what it’s like to “get steady, true results sustainably” without caring about carbohydrates in my clients’ situation, watch the first-time one of my clients weighed herself. It was during a recorded coaching session. She just stood on the scale randomly and casually, and watched how effortlessly those pounds came off.
Did she eat carbohydrates? Absolutely, and on an everyday basis, a couple of hundreds of grams a day like a normal person would. Did she overeat carbohydrates? No, because throughout the training, her brain and body have learned to ask for the right amount.
Now coming back to the main topic for this article: why is it a bad idea to cut carbohydrates:
Our bodies use carbohydrates as their main energy source. This begins during digestion when complex carbs are broken into simple sugars and then released into our blood. This is a healthy process and one that is necessary for living an active lifestyle.
To that end, one of the disadvantages of a low-carb diet is that people who follow them tend to lose energy because they are depriving their bodies of something they need. But there is an even more dangerous disadvantage of a low-carb diet–introducing lack into your daily routine. Let me explain.
Long Term Effects of Low Carb Diet
Certain health risks are associated with a low-carb diet, namely, long-term cardiovascular safety, lipid, and renal effects (NCBI). For this discussion, however, we will focus on a more long-term, negative effect of low-carb diets.
When you demand that your body lives without carbs, you are introducing a mentality of lack or deprivation.
Deprivation does strange things to both our bodies and our minds. It can make us feel like we crave or need a certain kind of food simply by stating that we will not eat that food.
For example, if I tell you, “You will never be able to eat ice cream again,” what do you want to eat? Ice cream! If I say, “Whatever you do, don’t think about red pens!” Suddenly, you’re thinking about red pens.
So, with the suggestion that you must not eat something, your mind begins to obsess over that thing. It’s the same thing with carbs. When you deprive yourself of carbs, you will hit a threshold wherein your willpower gives way to what most people call a “binge.”
The long-term effect of low-carb diets is that you learn that carbs are “bad,” which puts them at the forefront of your mind. They’re bad or fun or delicious or so wrong they’re good. This kind of thinking elevates carbs to a status that takes them out of the realm of fuel and gives them a position akin to an enemy to be conquered. When we realize we can’t destroy it, we hang our heads in defeat, and, worse still, we decide, “If I can’t beat ‘em, I’ll join ‘em.” That’s where the binging comes in.
If you’re already feeling like you’re in binge mode on sugar, read this article about sugar addiction treatment.
Losing Weight Quickly and Permanently
Losing weight quickly and permanently has nothing to do with counting your carbs.
Doesn’t that feel nice to read? Well, it’s true! You can eat carbs if your body tells you it’d like some carbs.
Setting all these outside restrictions on our bodies breaks the natural communication with our intuition. Instead of saying, “I will restrict my carbs,” remind yourself that you don’t have to set any hard and fast rules at all.
Instead, let go of the rules. Let go of the fads. Let go of the calorie counting calculators and carb counting apps. Be like Elsa, and let it all go!
Instead of wondering how many calories a day you can eat to lose weight, simply decide to follow the instincts your body is communicating. I know this can sound daunting at first, but this is why I began coaching. It requires a total body reset.
I used to cling to weight before I removed these barriers for myself. Many of us have experienced unhealthy relationships with food. When you work with me, we’ll work on finding ultimate freedom and bringing your relationship with food back into a peaceful balance.
Here’s a quick and easy success story from one my clients:
“Every time I weigh (myself), I just (see myself) getting lighter and lighter and it keeps working again, again, and again…I’m not even dieting…and these 8 weeks have totally changed my life.” — From Janina, a very aspiring, ambitious, bright lady from Germany who previously couldn’t lose a pound no matter what she did.
Contact me today to learn more about how we can utilize my Ultimate Freedom Approach to ditch food restrictions, carb and macro counting, the 4-hour weekly meal prep sessions, shakes, diet pills, supplements, etc. Book a 1:1 session here.
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