May 19 2014
I hear this all the time from guys I meet – I’m going on holiday in a couple of weeks and I want to look good on the beach, shall I just cut out my carbs? Now, there are a few ways I could respond to this question, and I’ll go through each one separately in just a minute.
Firstly, you should ask yourself, do you simply want to look better? Or are you concerned about your health and wellbeing as well? Because looking better doesn’t always equate to being healthier on the inside. In fact, in can sometimes be completely at odds. So when it comes to carbs, heres the low down….should I or shouldn’t I cut carbs before my holiday?
I understand that some people just want the ‘quick fix’ right before holiday season. Who wouldn’t want to look that little bit better without a shirt on if we could? Dropping the carbs for a couple of weeks will do a couple of things:
1. You will drop a lot of water weight, because carbohydrate in your body holds water. You take the carbs away, you lose the water. This can help get rid of any bloating you might have if your diet is high in carbs and it’ll certainly flatten out your stomach area.
2. You will lose fat quite quickly for a week or two because you have taken away your bodies other sources of fuel
The result? Yes you will definitely look better on your holiday! But, you might suffer from very low energy levels, you may even feel ill if you are used to living off a diet high in carbohydrates or processed food (it’s your bodies ‘withdrawl’ process) and you are heading straight for a plateau in your weight loss after just two weeks. If your primary concern is your holiday then this wont matter, but if this is a much longer term project for you, you may stall your progress over the long run. Also, if you go back to eating carbs whilst you are on holiday, the water weight will come back, and you may find you bloat up and feel very uncomfortable.
Lets face it, not eating carbs for a couple of weeks wont do you any harm, but if you try it long term then it certainly will.
The logical side of our brains should say what’s the point in looking good for just one week a year?! Surely, feeling good about our physique, and being happy with the way we look is not isolated to the summer period? It has such an influence on how we behave and feel day to day that we should be investing in feeling great all year round.
Cutting carbs is simply another type of ‘diet’ – it’s not sustainable and it’s not healthy. If you keep the carbs in your diet but follow a balanced approach – plenty of protein, vegetables, and wholegrain carbohydrates, then you will lose weight steadily, safely, and in a way the weight stays off forever. You might not drop weight as quick, but it sure wont come back!
You will have more energy, you will be able to hit the gym hard, build muscle and increase your metabolism.
This is the long term, sustainable approach to weight loss, but it might require you thinking about your physique a little earlier than two weeks before your holiday!