Have you ever tried a low carb diet? In theory, it would be healthy for you. But in reality, most women can’t maintain it. Especially for women over 40, it is hard to maintain any type of energy. In the beginning it is easy to “just cut out sugar” and you will be encouraged because you will start losing weight. But after a week or two, the mood swings and cravings start to kick in and you return to your previous lifestyle.
You are not to blame, there is a biological cause for this backslide. There is a natural drive to boost the serotonin level. We all want to go for the comfort foods that are full of carbs and sugar to make us just feel normal. At this time in life the hormones are influx and emotions can run rampant if you get rid of all carbohydrates.
There is a new plan that allows you to lose unwanted weight but still maintain energy. It is called carb cycling. It came out of a breakthrough study in 2011. This study found that by cutting carbs just two days a week is better than dieting everyday. This strategy burns fat and increases serotonin. On top of losing weight the study participants were happy and free of cravings. They were energized, but most importantly they were able to stay on the plan. This eating plan works for all ages–it just seems that women over 40 find it much more difficult to lose weight.
But the best part of this diet is not weight loss, it seems to help women in two long term areas of concern: diabetes and breast cancer.
Diabetes: This plan helps to enhance the insulin sensitivity factor. “ When cells are more responsive to the fat-storing hormone insulin, less is needed to control blood sugar.When insulin levels are normalized, the body breaks out of fat-storage mode. Fat is then liberated from cells and burned for energy. You produce less insulin in response to the carbs you do eat, so even though you relax on a diet 5 days a week, your body continues to burn fat.
Breast Cancer: Researchers in South Manchester, UK at the Genesis Prevention Centre found that a low-carb diet, 2 days a week, was shown to induce blood changes linked to reduced cancer risk. There was a decrease in the hormone leptin. This hormone is believed to promote the growth of breast tumors. They also found that it reduced the levels of insulin by up to 30%. Elevated insulin levels have also been linked to a higher risk of breast cancer by 46%.
This plan also works extremely well for men. It is the first step in building a muscular body. Most men think they just need to exercise to build rippled muscles, but the reality of the situation is that food is 75% of the muscle building regime. Carb recycling helps maintain the energy for the workouts.
There are three different plans that help you with controlling carbs. They are all explained at the end of this post. Here is the basics of the 2 day cutting carbs plan:
Mark on the calendar the two days of the week you are going to be low carb.
Limit sugar intake to 100 sugar calories . To calculate sugar calories from packaged foods multiply the total carbs by 4. This will give you the sugar calories in that food. Realize that is not the sugar calories in the prepared food–it is per serving (big difference).
Stay clear of refined foods, such as packaged baked goods and snacks.
Stay clear of starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and squash.
Stay clear of grains such as pasta, bread, and rice. Experiment with coconut, flax, or flours.
Stay clear of beans, such as kidney and navy.
Limit apples, apricots, bananas and berries to two servings a day.
Plan your snack and meals on these two days. Plan on some treats that you normally wouldn’t have. You can have some low sugar desserts with a bit of dark chocolate to help you get through these two days.
Helpful Tips for Day Three through Seven:
To increase your serotonin levels on these days you can have up to 500 sugar calories a day.
You can have the carbs that were eliminated on day one and two. Try choosing from the top of the following list first and then eat less at the bottom of the list:
There are three plans recommended to help you follow this program:
Happy Hormones, Slim Belly – This is a 2 day cutting carb plan.
Metabolic Cooking – This is an overall plan with good results and highly recommended by those that have used it.
The Seven Day Carb Cycle Solution – This is a plan where you are on a low carb plan every other day.
I have given three different recommendation because different lifestyles will dictate different plans. Research these three and then choose the one you think you can work with and will fit into your lifestyle. You are sure to choose one that will give you results.
Please let me know if you have had experience with any of these plans and what you results were. Would love to hear from you.