My Body on a Carb Cycle
My Full Disclosure Policy
Carb Cycling, some consider it a Diet Fad others consider it a weight loss secret and some see it for Body Builders and Bikini Competitors. When I first heard of it I totally dismissed it because to take away my carbs seemed like cruel and unusual punishment. After trying it I am considering adopting it as a new lifestyle change. As you know I am apart of a workout program called Beyond Fit Life with the workout and my own workout routines. I have been able to lose over 55 pounds in less than 10 months. I even came to a point where I had plateaued which is when I incorporated my own workout routines and began to see progress again. Then, I got to the point where I was starting to see results but I really wanted to make a huge difference and impact on my body. Around that time Carb Cycling was reintroduced to me. So, I tried it and the results that I found was nothing less than amazing but were they sustainable?
What is Carb Cycling?
A very basic definition of carb cycling is a meal/nutrition plan that is based on your carbohydrate intake. It is usually used to prevent a fat loss plateau and maintain a functional metabolism. It is an addition to a workout or exercise program not an lieu of a workout performance. What? Basically you alter how many carbs you eat from day to day. So, an example of a Carb Cycle meal plan may be:
Saturday- Low Carbs
Sunday- No Carbs
It can be repeated for several weeks, the schedule varying from week to week.
So week 2:
Thursday- No Carb
Is their a methodology to the No Carb, Low Carb, High Carb days. Some would say yes and others would say no. I did variations every week to see if it produced greater results. One week I would intentionally schedule my no carb days on a HIIT workout day and a Low Carb day on a Sprint day. Did I see greater inches or weight loss than the week that I did No Carbs on Rest Days and Low Carb on Workout days. I did but it was very little difference less than 2 inch loss or pound weight loss. From my own experience I would say no the days do not matter. How your body feels is the most important thing and what you are eating to fuel your body optimally.
I encountered a “Certified Nutritionist,” (which after looking at her credentials she paid $200 for a online certification so that she could call herself a Certified Nutritionist.) I was in a facebook group and she was telling us of the dangers of Carb Cycling. She claimed that Carb Cycling resulted in Ketonic Failure and Carb Cycling caused your body refuel on muscle. She said it was very dangerous, did not have sustainable results and was basically “a dumb way to eat”. Now, these were very serious accusations for someone who had minimal qualifications to diagnose anyone with any type of disease or disorder. I am currently studying and getting my certification for Fitness and Weight loss nutrition and a self proclaimed fitness and nutrition geek. I like to do research on most things that I come across. Whether it be the Bible, Workouts, or Food I am going to take more than someone’s opinion for face value. That’s just me! I had to breakdown some of her fancy scare tactics.
Ketosis– is a normal metabolic process that your bodies goes through when it has lower levels of glucose or carbohydrates to process. When your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to burn energy it starts to burn fat. Then, and only then if it does not have enough fat then it will start working on your lean muscle. It is normal for your body to make keotones and to use them accordingly. Ketosis, usually does not take place in the body until you have eaten less than 50 grams of Carbohydrates for 3 to 4 days. Ketosis is also know to help\ you to feel less hungry and also helps you maintain muscles. All of this is dependent on if you are “Normal” don’t suffer from diabetes, dehydrated or have high levels of lead in your system. Ketogenic and low carbs diets are also used to treat a number of disorders and diseases. With that being said, I have found that Carb Cycling done correctly can be a great way to lose weight but is it sustainable?
What did I eat?
I was really anxious before my first week. I overthought my meal plan and didn’t think I could withstand from Carbohydrates. I also was overwhelmed with the list of produce that was High in Carbohydrates. Say what? Yes, produce contains carbohydrates its not just bread and pasta. Similar to when I did the Sugar Detox and found that sugar is in almost everything. So are carbs. They are found naturally in fruits and vegetables, some veggies and fruits have more than others but when trying to get under 50 grams of carbs per day. Those carbs cannot be taken for granted.
I ate a lot of food. I was eating about every 2 hours meals that included lots of produce and lots of protein. I also drank the recommended gallon of water to stay hydrated. On No Carb days I drank Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) twice a day instead of one time. I ate well and was full and felt amazing while Carb Cycling especially on No Carb days. I carb cycled for three weeks out of the month and I ate really well each day. I think if I wasn’t able to eat well then the diet wouldn’t have lasted very long.
Here are 7 Carb Cycle Meals Days. I didn’t include the snacks but they were usually a Protein Shake in the afternoon and the morning would be a carb free snack that had high fat, protein and produce. Some favorites were Lettuce Roll-ups with Turkey, Fresh Salsa and Avocado, Apples/Celery with Peanut Butter, Hard Boiled Eggs, just to name a few. I was able to stay full and carb or lower carb free all day long.
Did I get results?
I had few fears when I was starting. That I would be hungry, have cravings, feel awful. I thought that it would be like the Sugar Detox and have some withdrawal symptoms. I was pleasantly surprised. I was able to maintain the entire 21 days with only a carrot slip up on the first week (I could have done worse). I was full all the time, I did not have cravings, I had energy and felt amazing on it. I had really great physical results too. I would say that sacrificing for 21 days brought me great results but I don’t feel like I had to sacrifice anything. I lost over 13 inches (I rarely get on the scale but I am sure that I lost some pounds too).
I would definitely recommend this to someone trying to reach a goal quickly for example a wedding. It could also be a lifestyle change but it takes a lot of planning and prepping. I would have continued through the following month but I needed a break from the planning and the prepping. That was a key factor to my success with this. I plan on doing it again starting next week but the last few weeks I wasn’t able to prep and plan and after two days of trying to wing it I had to put it on hold for a week. Some people do better without carbs and I am finding that I am one of them. I prefer how I felt without carbs to how I feel with them and think that I will be making this lifestyle change for myself this could possibly be a sustainable lifestyle change. With a little of the 80/20 rule like with all things!
Have you heard of carb cycling? Tried it?