Thursday, March 15, 2012

High Carbs? Low Carbs? What IS The Answer??

Well, that’s exactly why I’m writing this—I’d asked that very question for years to no avail. I’ve tried a high “healthy” carb diet, a low carb diet, a no carb diet, an evenly distributed diet, (in terms of protein, carbs and fat ratios) and on and on.

Let me say this: like many females, my body tends to respond poorly to a high (if healthy) carb diet. Now having said that, I can honestly say that I did seem to do better with a relatively high carb diet in my twenties and thirties, as long as I consumed the more benign forms like potatoes, (even potato chips if they were cooked in lard—or technically all “natural”) and I steered very clear of “sugar” in any form. 

By the time I reached my forties, however, it was different story. Now, if I ate white potatoes in any form I’d begin to see a weight gain almost immediately, but not necessarily a lot of water retention or bloat. Throughout that decade I almost constantly had to watch and reassess my carbohydrate intake—something I’d never had to do before—it was disconcerting.

Hahahahaa.. I had no idea what I was in for in my fifties; I’m currently 52. The changes to my body have been what I consider to be radical. Although in some ways it’s almost easier for me to maintain a fit body, (most likely because I’ve been at it for so long) I have water retention and inflammation issues that I couldn’t even have comprehended prior. Now I find myself battling not only my allergies almost constantly, (an inflammation reaction) but a harsh sensitivity to carbs in terms of water-weight and even swelling. (I also experience far greater water-retention from sodium than I had previously.) Even “healthy” starchy carbs can bloat me to a depressing extent if eaten late in the day, or in a somewhat larger quantity throughout the day than is the norm for me.

So what’s my point?—you may be asking. Well my point is this exceedingly important and far too commonly overlooked one. One diet clearly, does not fit all.

Having done this kind of “Health/diet consulting” for many, many years now, I can’t stress enough how contradictory my experience with clients has been to the “This is the diet that works” one size fits all mentality that saturates our culture. Is it any wonder that women, (women in particular since they’re the target market) have low self-esteem regarding their weight? How undeniably discouraging it is to try the latest surefire techniques, one after another, only to fail miserably—again.

In the spirit of reader retention, thus hopefully brief enough to be “readable” I’ll cut to the chase here and provide you my objective, as I could indeed go on (shocker).  : )

Out of necessity, I’ve researched this seemingly wide variance in diet results for some time now. After all, it’s not so easy to be touted a fitness guru of sorts, when you’re at a complete loss for answers regarding the topic of weight loss—even and especially with the traditional knowledge base. (Isn’t book learning for the birds on some topics??)  But a simple assessment of the results, (or lack thereof) in your own circle, screams that it’s no secret—no one really has “The Answer” do they? If they did, I wouldn’t be pounding out this blog at seven thirty in the morning, as it would clearly be a colossal waste of my time. But there most certainly IS an incredibly enduring need as evidenced by the multimillion dollar diet industry that continues to flourish.

The most recent conclusion I’ve reached is that a person’s insulin reaction to carbs (and eating a meal in general by the way) is highly individual. For reason’s I won’t go into now, many things occur throughout one’s life that influence current homeostasis, which may or may not be in a healthy state. If you have what seems to be an inconsistent reaction to carbs, meaning that on any given day carbs seem to make you feel better—more energized and clear headed, suddenly followed by a feeling of lethargy, body aches and brain fog, you probably have a low sensitivity to insulin (or you’re insulin resistant) and it takes more insulin being dumped into the blood stream to sense and handle the carbs in you tissues. Those individuals who are insulin sensitive handle carbs better.

In my situation, and again, unfortunately you’re going to have to do a little work to figure out exactly what your own situation is, it turns out that I need to carb up a bit before, during and after a workout, followed by almost no carbs for the rest of the day—who the heck knew?? But when I exercise my glycogen stores simply get so depleted if I don’t do this, that the next day follows with the response described above (previously unbeknownst to me).  I’m too exhausted to work out again, I’m craving carbs like crazy and I’m suffering brain fog to such an extent that I’m convinced Alzheimer’s is knock, knock, knockin on my door.  

Before you decide it’d be easier to simply shoot yourself than to deal with these complications, understand that I’ll be following up with more information to help you figure things out—a great deal of the work’s been done for you. In the meantime, you can start paying attention to how your body’s currently responding to carbs. Make notes as you notice reactions—it’ll make this process far easier in the long run and you’ll actually be able to lose weight!!

In addendum, it’s decidedly important that you pay attention to the glycemic index of the carbs your ingesting when you begin this endeavor. As has been noted for some time now, high glycemic carbs in particular inflict the most harm to your system—especially for those who are insulin resistant.

Fortunately, Shakeology continues to meet and exceed the standards required to effectively and healthfully lose weight, while sustaining good nutrition and glycogen stores. It’s by far still one of the best resources out there, beyond all doubt.
Thanks for reading guys! Until next time.. : )

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