What I Realized When I Curbed My Carb Intake

As a fitness editor| I get asked an exorbitant amount of health questions every week. The one that pops up more than any other is not surprising: what do you do when you want to lose weight? And when I respond with my honest answer| everyone’s response is equally unsurprising.

I don’t know whether they’re expecting me to offer a magic pill or weird statistic they haven’t heard| but when I say| “I cut back on carbs|” faces drop and the subject almost immediately changes. You would be hard-pressed to find a woman who enjoys bread products as much as I do| but when I’m zapped of energy or want to feel my very best before a special event or vacation| I eat them very sparingly.

I had always considered myself to be a relatively clean eater| but it wasn’t until I went Paleo for the first time that I realized just how often I was eating grains| bread| and pasta| and how different I felt when I stopped eating these foods. Once I cut these foods out of my diet for the sake of my cavewoman project| my experience of feeling bloated after every meal went away and my energy soared. I felt like I had been lifted out of a haze where everything looked a little clearer and sharper. And there was another welcome change I wasn’t anticipating: I took off a significant amount of weight faster than I ever had before. Eliminating high-carb foods allows the body to get rid of glycogen (excess carb-stores held in the muscles) and with it| associated water weight. Whenever I cut back on carbs in my diet| the results are instant and dramatic.

Keep in mind that I would never commit to cutting out bread or grains forever. In terms of long-term and sustainable weight loss| cutting out a single food group forever is never a good idea. While cutting out carbs is what works for me when I want to take off weight quickly| it’s important to point out that once I reintroduce high-carb foods| the water weight is quick to return. The only way weight loss lasts is when you’re willing to make a real lifestyle change that includes an all-around balanced diet. That being said| cutting carbs does work when I want to jump-start my diet after an indulgent period or when I’m looking to shape up for a special event. All I have to do is keep up with my regular workout schedule and cut back on high-carb foods| and a week to 10 days later| my muscles look more defined| my clothes slide on easier| and my energy levels go through the roof. It has nothing to do with hitting a specific weight or trying to look “skinny|” but it has everything to do with feeling a little more confident in that special dress| that tiny bikini| or . . . nothing at all.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / THEM TOO