Updated: Aug 4, 2019
You've trained hard every day for months, watched your diet meticulously, and you feel awesome cause you just reached your goal weight. Or maybe you just completed a huge race and now you can finally relax a little and not be quite so strict when it comes to your workouts and nutrition. Since recently completing the Spartan World Championships last week, one of the main questions I got was "are you going to go out and finally eat some pizza or have a piece of cake now?". And the answer was HELL YES! I love both of those things, so I definitely celebrated and gave myself a little treat. And within an hour after I finished those delicious items, I felt sick to my stomach. And then I realized why I stopped eating those things in the first place. Yes, they are detrimental if you're training for a hard event, but if it makes you feel sick to your stomach, then how good is it for your normal every day life? Have you ever stopped to wonder what would happen to your body if you stopped eating refined carbs? It’s no secret that refined and processed carbs contribute to weight gain, and so reducing the amount of these in your diet would logically lead to a leaner, fitter you. Not only a leaner, fitter you; but a better focused, better sleeping, better mood YOU! But is it true, or is it hype? And is it really worth giving up your carboholic ways? Here’s what really goes down when you give up refined carbs… You BURN FAT When you stop eating simple carbs your body no longer has readily available calories to burn, and so it clicks over into burning stored fat as energy. This is called becoming FAT ADAPTED. Your body will learn to burn fat for fuel instead of always relying on the plentiful supply of simple carbs. You FEEL LESS HUNGRY Fat burns longer and slower than carbs and so your energy stores will take longer to deplete. This means that you’ll find yourself skipping that afternoon pick-me-up snack and powering through until mealtime without hunger pains. You’ll also notice that it takes longer to feel hunger in the mornings after waking up, once you’ve cut the simple carbohydrates and refined sugars out of your diet. You HAVE MORE ENERGY Living on a diet of simple sugars and refined carbohydrates puts your body in a continual energy roller coaster. Right after you eat your energy is high and then, whoosh, an hour later your energy levels crash. All of that changes once you cut out those simple carbs. The low carb meals that you switch to are filled with nutrient dense foods that sustain your energy levels for hours at a time, saving you from that frustrating roller coaster. Think of your simple carbs as the kindling in a fire; and the fats as the log in a fire. While the simple carbs will get that fire burning quickly, they also burn out quickly. In comparison, while it may take the log (fat) longer to get started, it will burn much more steady and for a longer period of time. So no more crash after lunch! So yes, I probably won't be quite so strict with my nutrition, and I will have the occasional dessert now; however, I will continue to eat healthy food 90% of the time. Why? Because when I eat this way, I feel way better! So try it out. I challenge you to eat healthy for two weeks, that means no sugar, no simple carbs like breads, pasta, potatoes, etc. Monitor how good you feel. Then go back to a week of eating all those sugars and carbs, and take note how you feel. Write to me and let me know how it went!