Friday, November 1, 2013

Carb Cycling in a Nutshell

I came across carb cycling in Chris Powell's book called "Choose to Lose" and thought it was confusing at first, but now, I think I get it.  Much of the following info is from either Chris Powell's site or from his book.  I don't know Chris, but I support what he does by helping so many folks lose massive amounts of weight.

Carb cycling alternates high-carb days and low-carb days.  It sounds great, right?  But understand that the high carb days aren't like chips and pasta high carb days, it's more wheat bread and brown rice.  Low carbs days are just that - low carb days.  But here's the basic plan (from Chris' website):

  • Eat five meals - no more, no less
  • Eat a high-carb breakfast that includes both protein and carbs within 30 minutes of waking
  • Eat remaining four meals every three hours
  • Choose only approved foods (more on that in a minute)
  • Drink a gallon of water each day

The idea is that our bodies are calorie-burning furnaces that, if given the right fuel, will burn lots of fat.  In the mornings, the furnace is lit with that first meal.  The metabolic furnace burns all day every day - either on low heat or red hot. The back and forth between high calorie/high carb days and low calorie/low carb days revs up the metabolic furnace.  High carb days really get the fire going and it keeps burning for awhile, even while the switch is made to a low carb day.  By the time the body realizes it didn't get the high carb day's amount of calories on the low carb day, it's a high carb day again and the furnace just keeps burning hot.

Clear as mud?  Well, I guess that's why I don't have my own TV show.  Apparently, this is the method Chris uses with all his clients including those from Extreme Weight Loss.

There are 4 different carb cycling plans:  Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit advertised on his website.  "Easy" has back to back high carb days at the end of the week while the "Classic" has a "reward" day at the end of the week.  "Turbo" is a faster plan because it has two low carb days pitted against every high carb day for faster weight loss.  Finally, the "Fit" cycle is for folks who just want to "lean up" without sacrificing athletic performance.  This plan pits two high carb days against on low carb day

There are simple workouts included in his book "Choose to Lose" as well.  There are also some very simple yet tasty recipes - I love that part!

Here's a look at the "Easy Cycle" week

Classic Plan for carb cycling

So, where do I stand with this plan?  I don't know yet.  There's a reward day involved, so I think I could do just about anything for a week at a time.  It's not unsafe - he advises the number of minimum number of calories for both men and women and to NOT go below those minimums.

Here is a list of just some of the approved foods to be eaten in appropriate portions (I'm just calling out the ones I like, there are several more in the book):

Dairy - Yogurt (nonfat plain Greek), Eggs were mentioned, but I'm allergic
Poultry - Lean Chicken breast (can be ground), Chicken Thighs, Lean ground Turkey
Powders - Soy, Whey
Red Meat - Beef - extra lean ground, Roast beef - low sodium deli, Steak - cube, flank, round
Seafood - Tuna, Salmon (canned in water), White-flesh fish
Veg Protein - None listed I like.  Tofu? Eww.

Bread - whole grain bread, Ezekiel breads, Tortillas (brown rice), Tortillas (corn)
Breakfast Cereal - All Bran, Granola, Kashi GOLEAN, Oatmeal (steel-cut or old fashioned)
Fruit - Apples, Bananas, Berries, Grapes, Kiwi, Melons, Oranges, Peaches, Pineapple, Plums
Grain - Barley, Couscous, popcorn, quinoa, long-grain rice, wild rice, spelt
Pasta - Whole grain pasta, Brown rice pasta
Root veggies - Potatoes (russet, red, gold; small 1.5" diameter), sweet potatoes/yams (small 2" dia.)
Starchy veg - Corn, peas
Legumes - beans, lentils

Asparagus, carrots, green beans, peppers, celery, lettuce, spinach, zucchini, broccoli, cabbage, cucumber, eggplant, mushrooms, cauliflower, onions, tomatoes

Dairy - Low fat cheese, mozzarella
Dressings - Balsamic vinaigrette, mayo (regular), salad dressing (low fat creamy)
Fruit - Avocado
Nuts & Seeds - Almond butter, almonds, peanut butter (natural), peanuts, pecans (raw, chopped), sunflower seeds, walnuts (raw, chopped)
Oils - Canola oil, olive oil

Basically, all white foods are bad - white sugar, white bread, white rice, white flour, etc.  Anything with sugar in it, soda, wine, even honey and maple syrup.  I guess that's where my problem is.  I don't mind giving up sugar, white bread or soda, but I don't want to live without honey and maple syrup. There's more stuff that I don't want to give up and that's what we do when we diet - we give up stuff, we sacrifice.  Well, whatever it is that I need to eat to be healthy is what I want to do forever - not just for weightless.  Otherwise, when I meet my goal, I'll say WHEW!!  Glad that's over, now I can eat all the crap again.  And they pounds will start piling back on.

I have no doubt that carb cycling probably works and that many people are probably quite successful in losing weight with this program - I'm just not sure if it's for me, or at the very least, it's not a permanent solution, and that's what I'm looking for...

Have a great weekend and if you live in the US (except AZ & HI), don't forget to turn your clocks back tomorrow night!

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