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!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The next event will be....

Try a tri?  I want to do a triathlon, ok not a whole one, maybe a half.  Actually, maybe I should start with a mini (are they called sprints?).  But no matter which, I need to find one in the area.  I've only found one in Colorado, about 6 hours away, in June of 2014 - so maybe that'll be the one.  Although, I'm not far from NM or AZ, so I might have to cross over to a border state to find something that matches my needs (and skill level).

Until I find something, I'm thinking about re-upping my gym membership and practicing some indoor triathlon training - 10-minute swim, 30-minute bike, 20-minute run.  That's one sweet one-hour workout.  I think I'll have to work up to it though.

I also need to learn to swim correctly.  My current style of swimming basically involves me keeping my head above water and I know that's not a very efficient use of energy or good form.  But every time I try to put my head in the water, and attempt to breathe to the side every other stroke, I choke on water when I turn my head.  There has to be a trick to this.

I think getting some swim coaching will help.  However, I don't have the extra $$ to get the swim lesson hook-up.  So, I'll do the next best thing - look it up online!

Wow, here's something!!

This is soooo cool and so is he with those slick shades, right? (Like I'm one to talk - have you seen my blog pic LOL!)  But anyway, I learned a lot just by watching this video.  I can't wait to try it!

Anyone else got any swimming/biking/running tips?  I'm very open to suggestion.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Walking Donut Example

Now that I've been doing this weight loss thing for some time, I thought I'd really dig into the calorie thing.  Like does it really make THAT much of a difference if I use fat free and/or sugar free creamer in my coffee?  I mean, the regular stuff is only like 35 calories per tablespoon, right?

Let's see...

I've been skipping the weekly donut day at work for many weeks now and if you add that up, it gets interesting (at least to me and the geeky side of my brain).  So if you hate math, please forgive me for the following:

Average calories for a donut w/chocolate frosting is around 300. (From my research, they range between 200-380 calories depending on how they're made, so 300 seems like a good number.)

This week marks my 24th donut-free week.

300 x 24 = 7,200  (300 calories times 24 weeks equals 7,200 calories)

There are about 3500 calories in a pound.

7200 / 3500 = 2.057

By skipping just one donut a week for 24 weeks, I've avoided 2 pounds.

What if I skip the donut for a whole year?

300 x 52 = 15,600

15,600 / 3500 = 4.457

By skipping just one donut a week for 52 weeks, I'll avoid almost 4 1/2 pounds!

That's just ONE food choice.  A m a z i n g.

So, imagine if I cut out some of (not all - let's not get crazy) the fat and sugar in my current food choices?  Wow, right?

Ok, just stay with me a little longer now, I promise to be quick...

Well, I'd better use a chart because this stuff can vary.  But yay!  A CHART!!  I get points for using a chart, right?!?
Chart from

If I exercise by simply taking a walk for 30 minutes, 3 times/week...

Let's say I weigh around 200 pounds and walk 3.0 miles per hour (or 1.5 miles per half hour).

According to the chart above, I burn 106 calories per mile.

That's 1.5 miles each day or 4.5 miles per week of walking...

106 x 4.5 = 477

After 24 weeks (may as well use the donut time frame)...

477 x 24 = 11,448 calories burned

11,448 / 3500 = 3.271

I would keep off or lose over 3 pounds.

What if I do it for one year?

477 x 52 = 24,804

24,804 / 3500 = 7.087

If I walked a 3 times a week for one year, I would keep off or lose over 7 pounds!

The math is crazy, right?  Could this possibly be true?  Obviously, this technically would only be a sure thing if we eat EXACTLY what we need to function and ALWAYS consume/burn the exact same amount of calories each day.

No one does that.

We all have our "busy" days where we're more active and we rarely eat the same number of calories two days in a row much less every day of the week.  BUT the Walking/Donut example still proves a point...

If I don't walk that extra 30 minutes 3 times a week and I don't skip the donut, by the end of one year's time, I'll probably have GAINED that 11 pounds!

So, to answer my original question, yes, I believe it does make a difference.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Menu, Weigh-in & Troubleshooting

Poo.  Gained.
Lost no weight this past week, in fact, I gained 2 pounds.  I don't know what happened, but it was weird.  I weighed in Monday, then again two days later, and finally on Saturday again, and the scale just wouldn't budge.  The good thing is I checked again this morning and I'm already down a pound - whew!  I hate losing ground.

I know I didn't drink enough water last week, so that's one of the things I'll be focusing on this week.  I also didn't track food due to the WW site issue.

My solution is to eat pretty much the same menu from last week and increase my water intake.  I'm also decreasing the amount of fruit I've been consuming for snacks.  I think it might have been too much sugar (I was getting up to 4 servings a day =o).

More effort into exercise will be an additional thing - that was a bit lacking last week.  Of course, there was the 3.2 miles I walked on Sunday.  Good thing I did that.

Since working out in the afternoons isn't panning out, I've rearranged my schedule.  I'm going to try becoming a morning person and work out before work - crazy right?  It just seems that I'm too sleepy to do it in the afternoons.

Looking forward to the workout energy to last me the whole day!  Plus, I'll be going to be earlier so that means more sleep!  I'll let you know how it goes...

Monday, October 28, 2013

The WaldoWaldo 5K

Mission accomplished!  Completed my first 5K yesterday.  Ran a little bit, but mostly walked.  It was a slow start because of the bottleneck of people, but eventually it all evened out and we were able to go at our own pace.  But, I'm getting ahead of myself a bit...

Night before:
Even though I didn't plan on running the whole thing, I still wanted to be prepared in case I needed something afterwards.  I packed some homemade trail mix, cereal fruit bars, fresh orange slices, water and Gatorade.

Photo op - me and my bestest race bud "J"
Day of:
We grabbed breakfast on the way and arrived early to find parking.  It was free, a couple blocks away, but free - yay!  We walked to the park and followed the directions of lots of volunteers to the registration area and got our bibs.

It wasn't too long before we gathered in the center of the park for the world record attempt photo.  And no, we didn't make the record books this year - missed it by that much (about 1000 shy), but it sure was fun trying!

Yep, I'm in there. Got the "barrier" under my arm while waving and sunglasses on.
Between the Waldo in gray pants on the phone and the lady in jeans and pink shirt.
See me?
Then finally, the countdown started and we were off!  It took some time to reach the start line.  The bottleneck of people, some walking and some running, stayed pretty tight until about a half mile in.  I did't realize that the trail wouldn't be concrete the whole time and ended up getting tiny pebbles in my shoes - not fun for walking or running.  Three times I had stop and dump them out of my shoes.

We removed our hats at this point because it was getting a bit toasty!

Finally, I wised up and tied my shoes a bit tighter in the hopes of keeping out the unwanted little buggers.  It worked, but each stop would've killed time if this had been a timed event.  Guess it's good I learn these things now.

Here's the entire route.

Anyway, to make up time, I decided to run across all the bridges - I think there were three bridges - and we crossed one of them twice.  I'm guessing the bridges are 50ft long?  Anyway, it seemed to work - we did the first mile, with bottleneck and rocky-shoe problems, at 17:35.  The next mile was 16:03 (w/the final rocky-shoe problem) and for the final mile, we made it in 14:39.  Then for the final .28 miles, we ran across the last bridge and a few hundred yards later, we sprinted to the finish line - woo hoooooooo!

This was a lot of fun.  All the people were super nice and the volunteers were awesome.  I can't wait for the next event!  I'll cover what that's going to be in a future post.

'Nite all and have a great week!!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...