Ask someone how to lose weight quickly, and chances are, they’ll respond with “cut out carbs.” The reason behind that is the fact that cutting out carbs does cause fast weight loss. But that doesn’t mean fat loss, and cutting out carbs could be causing your health some harm. Fitness Expert Kente Bates gives you the skinny.
There’s no two ways about it, if you get rid of all the bread, pasta and potatoes from your diet, that scale will go down. Add so-called junk food to that restricted list, and the losses will be even greater. If you take it to the extremes of banning even “healthy carbs” like fruits and certain vegetables too, then you’ll drop kilos at a rate of knots.
And voila – all of a sudden you’re a weight loss guru. One guy mocked my assertion on hard work, gleefully and mockingly sneering “cutting carbs is all it boils down to”.
What most on the cutting carbs bandwagon fail to see… while cutting carbs does usually bring about weight loss, this doesn’t necessarily mean fat loss. And no carbs should cost you your good mood and high energy levels.
While there may be instances where you may need to cut down your carbs, there should never be any reason to take them out completely. Low-carb diets aren’t sustainable, and cutting them will end up making you fat.
Let’s look at why.
What are carbs?
We all know what foods contain carbs, but few of us actually know what carbs are – that is, one of the three main macronutrients, the other two being protein and and fat.
Your body uses carbohydrates as its main source of readily available energy. It can use protein and fat to make fuel, but this process takes far longer and is much less efficient. In other words, your muscles, organs and brain love the stuff.
When you eat carbs, they’re either used (more or less) immediately for energy, or they’re stored as glycogen in your muscle cells and liver.
Why a low-carb diet might seem like its working
Ninety-five per cent of us will have tried cutting carbs before, and within this 95%, almost all of us will have seen weight loss in the first week or so*. While this seems epic, don’t fret – because weight loss isn’t fat loss.
CREATING A CALORIE DEFICIT CAUSES WEIGHT LOSS, NOT THE FACT YOU’RE NOT EATING CARBS.
When you cut carbs from your diet, your body turns to its stored carbohydrates (the glycogen in the muscles and liver we mentioned earlier). At any one time, you can have as much as 500 grams of stored glycogen, and each gram of glycogen holds around three grams of water with it. This means if your body has to use up all its glycogen for energy because you’re not eating carbs, you can lose up to two kilos (0.5 kilos from glycogen and 1.5 kilos from water) within a few days. But this is not fat loss.
The general public eat a crap-ton of carbs! Think about it – your typical breakfast might include toast, cereals or juice, sandwiches, wraps or bagels at lunch, plus sugary coffees, chocolate bars and fruit throughout the day, then some kind of starch with dinner. That’s a lot of carbohydrates.
By suddenly cutting these out, you’ll put yourself into a calorie deficit where you’re consuming fewer calories than you burn – and it’s creating a calorie deficit that causes weight loss, not the fact you’re not eating carbs.
The perils of swapping bread and potatoes for butter and pistachios
Most people who cut carbs replace their starches and sugars with low-carb vegetables and proteins. That’s great. What’s not so great is when a low-carb diet turns into a high-fat diet because you’re swapping out your starches for high-fat foods such as coconut oil, nuts and seeds, avocados and full-fat cheese.
IT’S SURPRISINGLY EASY TO GAIN FAT WHEN GOING LOW-CARB, PLUS YOU’LL FEEL TIRED, IRRITABLE AND HUNGRY.
There’s nothing wrong with these foods per se, fats are far more calorie dense than carbs (containing nine calories per gram, whereas carbs have four calories per gram). So swapping out carbs for fats can be surefire way to reverse any calorie deficit and turn it into a surplus, undoing any work.
Two slices of bread, 100 grams of cereal, a medium sweet potato, a banana and a flapjack bar come in at 800 calories altogether. But the same calories from fats is a much smaller volume of food. In fact, 100 grams of mixed nuts and 1 and-a-half tablespoons of olive oil is all you’ll get for the same 800 calories.
The mistake low carbers make is to drastically ramp up their fat intake, and while it’s true you can eat a little more fat if you’re cutting carbs, it’s much easier to over-eat fat than carbs. And if you go into a surplus of calories, you’ll gain fat.
When you add in the fact that you’ll feel like crap for the first week or two of going low carb, and that low-carb diets are insanely difficult to stick to long-term, it’s safe to say that such a drastic approach is not a good one.
Why carbs are crucial
You can survive without any carbs in your diet, but there’s a difference between survival and getting what you want- results.
If you want to lose fat optimally, maintain your strength and energy, and lose weight and keep it off, carbs are critical. That doesn’t mean you can stuff your face with muesli, chips and spaghetti though. You need the right amount of carbs – and preferably at the right times.
How much should you be eating?
Your carb intake should be based on your activity level, as carbs are your main source of energy, the more active you are, the more you need. The best way to do this is to base your carbs off your total calorie intake.
For weight loss, men need roughly 24 to 30 calories per kilo of bodyweight per day, while women need 22 to 26 calories per kilo. The more active you are, the higher your multiplier, so guys training hard four or more times per week for instance should go for 28 to 30 calories per kilo. Within that, you can tweak your carbs to your total calorie intake.
While no food should ever be banned completely, it makes sense to choose more nutrient-dense carbs and ones that are higher in fiber – so whole-grains like brown rice and quinoa – as well as white and sweet potatoes, fruits and vegetables. These should make up at least 80% of your carb intake, then you can have 20% leeway for more junk-style carbs.
Carbs can be eaten at any time, but for optimal results, eat most around your workouts. Before training they’ll be used for energy so you get a better session, and post-workout they aid recovery.
Carbs: your new best friend
You will lose weight on a low-carb diet (at least in the first few days, which includes a large portion of water). But that alone doesn’t make this the best dieting approach. In fact, it’s surprisingly easy to gain fat when going low-carb, plus you’ll feel tired, irritable and hungry, all of which mean a low-carb diet isn’t only unnecessary, but potentially damaging to your long-term health and fat loss too.
Look at carbs as a macronutrient that will need manipulating from time to time, depending on your goals and activities. Don’t jump on the bandwagon of quick weight loss- always think for yourself. Get to know your body and what works best for it. Are you on the go all the time, training hard virtually every day and looking to get stronger and build muscle? Then carb up!! Carbs are not a bad thing!!
Are you on a fat loss quest, a little on the lighter side, and maybe not so active day-to-day? You can still eat carbs, you just may want to ease back on them slightly.
As always, the extreme approach doesn’t work. What works is a method that’s based on you – your goals, your body type, and your preferences. Knowing your body, label reading and hard work to achieve your goals are the way to win. These are the basics. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN!!
All credit goes to the Canadian Broadcasting Company(CBC).
Keto Diet: The Basics and free Keto Diet ebook
In the past few years, the Keto Diet, along with ketones have exploded in popularity due to the discovery and exposure of them on several health shows, such as Dr. Oz and The Doctors. Just as with anything else, some people love and swer by the Keto Diet, while others are not as trusting, souring on the diet as a whole. This article is about the basics of the Keto Diet, a few pros and cons and a free ebook link.
NOTE: This article (and this site) is not a substitute for sound medical advice. Please consult your medical care provider for any and all health-related questions.
Here are the basics of the keto diet:
This diet (and its many varieties) boasts of turning the body into a “fat burning machine. It is based on getting the body in a state of ketosis, or a survival mechanism that burns fat when food intake is low (akin to surviving starvation).
On this diet, the consumption of high-carb foods will produce glucose (easiest molecules in body to use as energy). Glucose is processed by insulin to mainline the glucose throughout the body via the bloodstream. Fats are stored as they are not needed- the glucose is the preferred energy source. Cutting carbs will induce the body into a state of ketosis, hence “Keto”.
The idea of a properly maintained Keto diet is to get the body in a constant state of ketosis or fat burning primarily through cutting carbohydrates.
BENEFITS OF THE KETO DIET
The Keto Diet in all of its forms offer quite a few health benefits. Here are a few of them listed (you can look up the rest via the links provided at the end of the article).
Brain health and brain function
Greater proportion of weight loss will come from abdominal area
Reduction of Blood Pressure
Reduction of Blood Sugars and Insulin
With its burgeoning popularity plus its benefits, the Keto diet will no doubt become more popular as time goes on. On the other hand, experts critically pan the Keto diet, citing it is unsustainable for sustained weight loss. One sticking point the experts will point to is the excessively high fat content of the diet itself (upwards of 70-plus percent) is diametrically opposed to the longstanding USDA recommendations that fat content of all food top off around 30-35%. There is no evidence that the Keto diet will lend to sustained weight loss, primarily for those battling diabetes and heart disease.
All in all, the Keto diet is not going anywhere. Please do your due diligence and determine if the Keto diet is right for you.
Is depression different amongst humans, whether they be male, female or nonbinary? In so many words, yes. As far as symptom patterns tend to play out, they will usually fall in line with the two major genders. For women, the symptoms are more readily visible (i.e. crying, overeating) as for men, the symptoms are more subdued (i.e. working to excess, drinking/abusing drugs, working out to excess). In any case, the symptoms of depression may in fact hit men harder due to lifestyle choices and extracurricular activities.
Here are the top 5 signs of depression for men:
- Self-medication (abuse of controlled substances, abuse of alcohol and abuse of medications)
- Escapism (working more, working out to excess, retreating into more ‘childlike’ pastimes such as video gaming, LARP, etc)
- Risk-taking becoming a regular part of life (reckless driving, driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol)
- Becoming controlling, violent and/or abusive
Studies show that women are 3X as likely than men to be diagnosed with depression than men are and are at least 2X as likely to seek treatment for it. Here is a list of the top 7 causes/triggers for depression in women:
- Puberty (biological and social fallout from it- not fitting in, body image, etc)
- Premenstrual difficulty
- Postpartum depression
- Trials and tribulations of life itself
- Accompanying conditions of depression (anxiety, substance abuse and/or eating disorders)
Why the differences?
Obviously with traditional gender roles for the main two genders being as they are, women are afforded more avenues to get help and to communicate their feelings. Men are taught to “man up”, to be “strong” and to shun help. For men, them seeking help is often a result of not being able to function correctly (in some cases not at all) as the symptoms of depression interfere with life itself.
What to do about it
Whether you’re male, female, nonbinary or anywhere within the gender spectrum, the treatment for depression is a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Please know that it will take some research, patience and working with your mental health provider to develop the action plan to defeat depression. You and your mental health provider will have to figure out what works and what doesn’t work moving forward. As for the side effects of the medication(s), most of the side effects will go away on their own, usually within the first 3-6 weeks of taking them. As always, listen to your body and alert your mental health provider in lieu of any complications.
Gorman, J.M. “Gender Differences in depression and response to psychotropic medication”. Gender medicine 3.2 (2006): 93-109
Winkler, Dietmar et al. “Gender-specific symptoms of depression and anger attacks”. The Journal of Men’s Health & Gender 3.1 (March 2006): 19-24
“Male Depression: Understanding the Issues”. Mayo Clinic (2013)
“Depression In Women: Understanding the Gender Gap”. Mayo Clinic (2016
Procrastination… killer of dreams. Procrastination… killer of hopes. All by simply doing nothing. Simply by what’s called “active avoidance” (doing something in the place of the thing you set out to do due to fear, etc). Procrastination is a problem in every field, killing productivity, slowing growth in companies, ending some companies. Yes, procrastination is a problem. But how do you solve it? It’s a learned trait, but how to understand and defeat it?
I have compiled a list of 8 ways to beat procrastination. Basic steps- the basics always win. Basic steps that make a big difference. Before we delve into the list of ways to defeat procrastination, we must define it. Procrastination is the practice of putting off urgent tasks in favor of more pleasureable ones, thus effectively not doing the thing you set out to do in the first place.
All in all, procrastination is not laziness. It is a way that seems to be easier for one who is under stress. In the end, procrastination costs. It costs you (depending on the situation) time, it costs you all kinds of things you value and hold dear. In a lot of ways, Procrastination is insidiously easy. It can become a mindset of putting things off. That is the wrong mindset if you consider yourself a man or woman of action. Procastination can strip you of motivation, it can strip you of effectiveness, creativity and even honesty/integrity. It is dangerous to allow procrastination in your life.
Now… here’s the good news. Procrastination can be beat. YES. But what say you.Are you willing to try? This list I compiled will no doubt help you get to where you need to go. Procrastination is a force, but nothing, and I mean NOTHING is as powerful as the force of the human spirit. Here is the list:
1. Focus on an area in which you find procrastination most problematic (getting in shape, homework, doing reports for work).
2. Begin small and progress as you experience success. Be patient. Establish your own deadlines. Be realistic in setting a timetable. Hold yourself to the deadlines.
3. Break the project into smaller parts. Chip away at it in small bites. Don’t wait for that “big chunk” of time.
4. Set a definite beginning time. Break the inertia of inactivity. If getting started is especially troublesome for you, set a time for 10 or 15 minutes. Commit yourself to doing something on the project until the timer rings. Then you can decide whether to stop or continue. Chances are you will gain momentum and continue after the timer stops. If not, try another 10 minutes later in the day.
5. Do the most important things first. Avoid the distractions of the trivial and routine tasks when a higher priority job is waiting in the wings. Examining each task in light of your goals will help you set priorities.
6. Reward yourself for completing parts of a major task. It can be anything. Contract with yourself for a big reward for completion of important tasks. A pizza, sleeping extra late on a weekend, or shopping for something may help motivate you to complete the job. Be nice to yourself.
7. Establish a “Commitment to Excellence”. Excellence is a sufficient level of performance for most things in life, and for many tasks (a new hobby, cleaning your room) adequacy is all that is necessary. Give yourself permission to be less than perfect. A good garden may have some weeds. You might double the amount of time spent typing a paper, attempting to get the spelling perfect. Could that extra time be better spent in another activity which will gt you over the hump? Maybe so.
8. Procrastination is a learned habit, and can be defeated with a more constructive habit, giving your greater control over your life. If procrastination has limited your achievements, do something about it now!
The following is an infographic I saw on HerbsInfo.com. Enjoy!
NOTE: Consult with your primary care provider before beginning any fitness regimen. The advice given here is NOT a substitute for sound medical advice/opinion.
Pregnancy- a life giving birth to another life. It’s a beautiful thing. One downside of this is the excess weight that the mother packed on carrying the child to term. This article is about ways to shed these excess pounds and possibly regain the body you once had.
In today’s society, it is all about looks. For new moms, that is magnified to the Nth degree. While I’m quite sure many of you ladies who have carried a child to term are itching to get back to the gym to shed the baby weight… do not neglect your six-week window of healing. The six-week checkup is very important. Do not neglect this- it could very well mean the difference between life and death.
Here are a few tips to get going in the direction you feel you need to go.
1) Don’t diet too soon: You are going to ned all the energy you can muster to tackle the new and awesome responsibility of being a mom. As stated earlier, please wait until your six-week postnatal checkup to start dieting. Even then, seek the advice of your care provider..
2) Be realistic about your weight loss goals. We are all eager to “get in gear”when it comes to fitness. We all have to be realistic about our goals, our intents and our bodies. This is even more the case for new moms. All of us have to accept reality at some point of our limitations- that’s perfectly fine, natural and good that you do so. With motherhood, as in life things permanently change. New moms may experience having wider hips, softer bellies, maybe even a larger waistline. Acceting limitations for most is a somber reality to take, but it must be done. Please adjust your goals accordingly.
3) Embrace exercise. The reality of fitness for postnatal women is almost exactly the same as with all people- you have to put the work in, make it fun and be patient. There is no magic pill, elixir that will ever get you where you want to go fitness-wise. Exercise, then diet. Being more active is crucial. Even if it’s just walking you new bundle of joy around the block a few times a week, it’s much better than nothing.
4)Network with others. Networking is not just for businesspeople. The camaraderie, socialization and cohesiveness that comes with support groups and activity groups is absolutely necessary. It will do wonders for your psyche, your attitude and who can’t use some new friends? Don’t forget your family, friends and your spouse. Their support is crucial, especially your spouse.
HOW TO STAY MOTIVATED
Again, I must state, though the prospect of being a new mom is challenging (and perhaps intimidating), the same problems and challenges weave their way into all situations. Motivation is definently one of those. In my opinion, the issue of motivation is one that will haunt you if you don’t answer it. For new moms… and anyone else… my opinion on staying motivated is clear. Look at what you want out of life. Now, picture your fitness regimen in it. Now imagine your life without it. Does it fit your lifestyle? Can you put all of yourself in it? Is it fun? Will you be able to see progress? It’s things like this that can spur you to action or stop you dead in your tracks. Visualization of your achieved goal is paramount. Without a clear visual conceptof your desired goals… what are you doing it for?
In closing, these pointers for those of you who are new moms (and anyone else interested in reading) should be a good starting point for new moms and their friends and families to start with. No one wins without executing a well thought out gameplan. This will hopefully help new moms get fit in a more practical, healthful manner.
Here is a sample workout for those interested.