I've found personally that one of the quickest ways to feel better and lose weight is to cut out your simple carbohydrates. The two places that these sneak into your diet is in the form of sugar or processed grains. I have pretty much eliminated these from my diet and have seen some amazing changes. When I do eat them now, it's amazing how they make me feel. I usually end up getting a headache and feel an energy crash within about 2 hours. I'm not a trained nutritionist but I'm pretty certain this happens due to a massive spike in my blood sugar, which then causes spikes in insulin. In the long term, this can lead to what is called insulin resistance...which in a lot of people will lead to weight gain and possibly type 2 diabetes.
So here are my top 5 tips for reducing your intake of sweets and those simple carbs that come in the form or pizza, pasta, and breads.
1. If you struggle with a sweet tooth, the first solution is to just flat out go cold turkey and get all things sweet out of the house or work setting. Knowing when these cravings typically come on is key to knowing when you need to distance yourself from sweets. Do you enjoy something sweet after meals or late at night? These two used to be my triggers and ice cream was my solution. Going cold turkey was my method when I first cut sweets out of my diet. Now I can regulate much better because I know to listen to my body. My sweets now are usually dark chocolate, so a much healthier alternative. If you are like me and struggle with the will power to say no, going cold turkey and eliminating these simple carbs from your pantry is probably the best way to avoid them.
2. If the cold turkey method isn't doable due to family or coworkers that aren't on the same journey as you then my second solution is to substitute. If you know you crave something sweet after a meal, and the candy dish at work is close by, bring a piece of fruit with you. Fruit is a great natural sugar, and although it still needs to be consumed in moderation, if the option is a chocolate chip cookie or an apple, well that this a pretty easy choice. I'm even a fan of dark chocolate, but make sure it is at least 70% cacao.
3. The substitution path also works great with your refined grains, pizza, pasta, white rice. Making substitutions to whole wheat pizza dough or a cauliflower crust, using whole wheat pasta, brown rice instead of white, or even better would be quinoa instead of rice. If you like your baked goods you can even go as far as using almond or coconut flour. These flours usually tend to be easier on a person's digestive system.
4. PLAN, duh you knew this one was going to be in here right. We talk about this so much....not because we can't think of better things but because we truly know this is the best way to stay on track and not be thrown off by temptations. When planning your day or week out, actually decide ahead of time where you will have that cookie or ice cream. Plan your meals out so that you don't get caught off guard. When we get caught off guard we usually resort to something easy and quick like a drive thru or picking up a pizza. This also goes for when you know you are going to be in tempting situations. If you are going out to eat with friends or happy hour with coworkers, do a little research beforehand! Pick out the dish you know you should get so that you aren't tempted to order other options when you scanning the menu for the first time in the restaurant.
5. Give in! Yeah you heard that right. I think one of the best ways to stay sane while living a healthier lifestyle is to indulge. By indulge, I don't mean that you should go on a massive sugar/carb binge. I mean go ahead and have something from time to time that would normally be a little off limits. You better make it GOOD too, don't just grab a Snickers bar, pick a nice dessert at a restaurant, go to Coldstone and get some ice cream, but keep it to the smallest size. The first half of a treat always tastes better than the second half anyways. If you don't believe me on that, consciously think about that next time you eat some sweats. Have some pizza, but go out for some nice fancy pizza, wood-fired, thin crust style pizza. If you are thinking, didn't he just say that we should go cold turkey? Then how does this fit in? The key here is making the decision to indulge a planned one and also one that is not convenient. So in order to get that ice you need to hop in the car, drive 2 miles, and wait in line to get it. If will power is an issue the key is to keep these things at an inconvenient distance from you.
I hope you can put at least one of these strategies into place immediately if you are one to struggle with simple carbs. Honestly I believe if people were to greatly limit these types of food, we wouldn't have the obesity epidemic that we do in this country!
The Cook & The Coach
Healthy is a LIFESTYLE.