While low carb everything is all the rage, the lifestyle itself can be quite challenging to live when starting out. I do not believe solely in a low carb diet day in/day out, because I love me some cupcakes! Many of my clients (myself included) do cycle through low carb and refeed/high carb days. The area that my clients struggle with most, is by far, low carb days.
If you’re nervous about implementing carb cycling because you think it means you’ll be hungry all day or have no energy to workout, let me assure you those are valid concerns. Those were my questions too when I began a healthy carb depletion/cycling routine a few years ago. But don’t stress, I’ve nailed down 3 ways to make carb cycling easier!
By implementing these strategies, your low carb days will be a breeze! Your hunger will be kept at to a minimum between meals and you’ll time your carbs adequately to fuel your workouts.
ENTER YOUR MEALS INTO MY FITNESS PAL IN THE MORNING.
Plan your meals the night before. Take 10-15 minutes before bed, planning what meals will fit your low carb macros. Make sure you have those meals ready for the next day or that they’re easy to prepare. This extra time guarantees you’ll feel less stressed and more likely you’ll hit your goals. This will help to ensure you stay within your limits and see where you might need to make adjustments, before you start your day.
HAVE SOME SIMPLE, GO-TO SNACKS ON HAND.
Snacking is where the carbs can creep in and take over! Be sure to have plenty of low carb snacks on hand for your low carb days. Nuts, raw veggies, beef jerky and hard boiled eggs are all great snacks. Having these ready to go so you don’t have to think about what to eat between meals is super important. While my some of my clients practice Intermittent Fasting and typically only do 2-3 larger meals, the need to snack in between can still be prevalent. Surviving low carb day is all about being prepared!
DRINK LOTS OF WATER.
Instead of reaching for something carby grab a glass of water. This goes a long way to helping you staving off cravings and will do its job keeping you hydrated.
VARY YOUR PROTEINS.
Low carb days can get boring if you don’t try new things. Instead of always going the grilled chicken route, add in some different kinds of fish, pork, beef, and sausage. This will help you keep things interesting while keeping those carbs in check!
FOCUS ON HEALTHY FATS.
During low carb days, focus on healthy fats. They will keep you feeling full longer and will help you reach your calorie goal for the day (1 gram of fat has more calories than 1 gram of protein or carbs). Fish, nuts, avocados and healthy oils will help keep you satiated while keeping carbs low.
Low carb days are an essential part of a successful fat loss program because they help deplete the glycogen stored in your body, and require you to burn fat. When paired with higher carb days and strategic workouts, the results are truly incredible!