I’m going to preface this by stating that this is what works for me and my body and that everyone is different and has different needs. You need to figure out what works for you and listen to your body.
I do my best to stay fairly lean all year round. I don’t like ballooning up in the winter and then scrambling to lose it by the time bikini season comes, it’s too much work mentally and physically. However there are times where I like to lean out just a little bit more than usual and when I do I just change up my diet. Currently I am eating a high protein/fat and lower carb diet.
Despite all the commercials telling us to “Think Bread Instead” and all that other marketing crap, carbs from things like bread and pasta are something are bodies really don’t need to function properly, and in fact for some people consuming these foods can do more harm than good.
The only time I will now have any type of grainy carb is either first thing in the morning in the form of oatmeal or a piece of sprouted grain bread and in the two hour window following an intense workout to refuel. Other than that I stay away.
Why? Because when you consume grainy carbs later on the day you are more likely to store the energy from them to use later on. If you don’t use that energy from the carbs shortly after your body will store it as fat to be used later. Keep this up and over time you develop layers of fat from unused energy sources. When you eat carbs earlier in the morning you stand a much better chance of burning them up and utilizing them before your body has a chance to store them. This is why timing is important when it comes to carb intake.
You need to remember that carbs don’t only come from grains but can also be found in fruits in veggies. I still get plenty of carbs in during the day, I am just more particular about their source.
For example, here is what I ate yesterday (non-training day):
4:30 AM – Almond flour pancakes
– Scoop of protein powder
– Fish Oil
– Green tea
7:30 AM – Banana
10:00 AM – 1 whole egg and 1/4 cup egg whites scrambled
– 1.5 ounces cheese
– Green Tea
12:00 PM – Apple and 1/4 almond and cashew mix
2:00 PM – 1/2 can salmon
4:00 PM – Yogurt and 2 kiwi
5:45 PM – Protein shake
8:00 PM – Chicken breast with grilled eggplant and green tea
10:00 PM – Protein shake with greek yogurt and berries
– Fish Oil
All of the foods that I eat are clean, meaning that they’re not overly processed. I use to always crash mid afternoon around 1:30 or 2:00 and felt like I needed a long nap. Since I’ve limited my grainy carb intake and upped my healthy fats I’ve had way more energy and no longer get those afternoon blahs. I’m actually consuming more calories now because of the higher amounts of fat and notice that I feel full longer.
There are healthy ways to limit your carb intake and for most people this type of eating plan will work. I still eat pasta and sprouted grain bread, just not on a daily basis. I can tell that this type of clean eating works for me because I feel better and I leaned out pretty quickly doing it.
No matter what type of eating plan you choose, ensure that you are consuming enough calories and that there is still balance. Also, remember that it takes a couple of weeks to notice changes when you switch eating plans so you need to give whatever plan you’re on a chance to work.