How to Lose Weight and Keep Healthy
Hey! It’s Monique here. As a weight loss and wellness ‘talker’ (it’s the only word I can think of to describe what I do in the arena) I’m always looking at the bigger picture of what I’m trying to achieve my own weigh loss goals and simply share insights into what may help others. I’ve lost over 40 kilos in weight and I’ve tried almost every diet in the market. Low carb has worked really well for me over the last couple of years, but there is a profound difference between keto, low carb and other calorie controlled diet plans.
If you’re new to keto and low carb, keto promotes a higher intake of fatty foods, particularly plant and animal fats and oils. However, most low-carb diets are focused on a higher intake of protein and fibre, including many plant products such as raw or cooked leafy greens and vegetables, many nuts and seeds, and even some fruit. Most people crave to have a well-balanced diet that allows them to eat a wide variety of foods without damaging their health and others thrive on the higher fat diets.
Low carb and the glycemic diet
A new way to approach this style of eating is more of a top-down approach linked to understanding your Glycemic Index, known to trigger change in eating behaviours, mood and wellness. It’s not a change in the amount of food you eat, but changes the way your body digests and metabolizes foods, so that you lose fat not muscle.
The method of achieving this fat weight loss is introduced by Dr. David Ludwig, a professor of Nutrition and differs from traditional diets in the sense that it focuses on one food item, in this case carbohydrates, as an important influence on your weight gain or weight loss. Dieting by restricting calories alone, he points out, will lead to short-term weight loss, but long-term weight gain.
For most people who are non-obese, the recommended daily consumption of carbohydrates should be somewhere around 100 grams per day. Medical experts have, for a long time, suggested this amount of carbohydrate for good health, especially fat loss, however during the last decade, a study has shown that a restriction in carbohydrates causes substantial weight loss without a corresponding loss in muscle, a result that has not been generalised to other studies.
Should we just avoid carbs?
Ludwig suggests liberal amounts of carbohydrates should be avoided in non-endurance sports athletes, because they can lead to both increased hunger and reduced performance. In endurance sports, high carbohydrate levels can be good, because the muscles are nourished with blood-rich carbohydrates that help them repair quickly and wake up quickly.
On the other hand, in cases of non-endurance athletes, high carbohydrate diets may reduce performance because the adaptations the body has to make to consume and metabolize blood-rich carbohydrates become too complicated for the body to execute efficiently. In fact, this specific diet can even lower your endurance level as well and may lead to decreased muscle mass, development of ketone deposits (ferment of fat into ketones), osteoporosis, and heart disease in endurance athletes. If you’ve ever had a carb-coma after a high carbohydrate lunch, then you’re experiencing exactly this.
Is low carb the best diet?
To be honest, there is no such thing as the perfect diet. All fats, carbohydrates, and proteins result in a different number of calories, and your diet should depend on your ability to maximise the number of calories you get. It’s also important to understand your genetics and what your own genetic makeup requires for fuel. If you’re thinking low carb is the way to go, consider reducing your carbohydrates by approximately 75%, but still ensuring you get essential nutrients to keep your body nourished. It’s also important to remember that when you only consume one food group, you make it more difficult for your body to obtain enough vitamins, minerals, and fibre to function optimally, so don’t just live off low carb cakes and treats! A reduction in carbohydrates is effective only with adequate nutrition.
Before considering any kind of diet program for fat loss, it’s important to speak to a health professional as well as trying a few options and really looking at your current health situation. A health professional, naturopath or nutritionist can perform a general physical check up and determine your base metabolic rate or BMR, then, establish your nutrient needs. It is necessary to know what vitamins and minerals you are going to take and which food groups will support your objectives. A failure to achieve these objectives will leave you without adequate energy and nutrients to live well, and you may start to notice a variety of unusual symptoms as a result of deficiency of some vitamins and minerals that are essential to keep you healthy.
Moreover, because of our hectic modern lifestyles, many people are only aware of calories and calorie content! While people on a low carb diet know very well about the importance of good nutritions for the body, the average person does not understand the significance of adequate consumption of key vitamins, minerals and fibre and their role in maintaining health and stamina.
Keto flu: is it real?
For most people the reason why they fall ill when they try keto or low carb is because they do not have the necessary surplus of a certain minerals and nutrients essential in the control of blood sugar levels, or are lacking in electrolytes or even hydration!
If you’ve spent most of your life filling up on carbs and starches, you have to remember that reducing carbs can result in effectively re-training your body to search for other fuel sources. In this instance, you’re encouraging your body to use it’s own fat stores for fuel and this may result in hormonal changes particularly because the control of blood sugar comes into play affecting insulin and cortisol levels.
It is crucial that you check in daily and become more aware of your health and nutritional consciousness to enable you to understand these changes and at the early stages of trying low carb, it’s worth using a food tracker or food diary to track exactly what you’re eating, why and how you felt. This will enable you to get through what some refer to as ‘The Keto Flu’, which presents similarly to traditional flu symptoms.
By being present with your body and what it’s telling you, you’ll learn what to do and notice you start to recover quicker from your health challenges…..well that’s my experience!
The most important thing I really want the world to understand is that low carb is no longer a diet. It’s a lifestyle.