I have a few disclaimers to make first, sorry, I feel like I have to get these out the way first
1. I am not a dietician, these are just tips I’ve learnt from experience and from martial artists (who need to make weight all the time).
2. I’m a meat eater, sorry if this upsets you, or some of my tips are therefore unhelpful because of that
Now that’s out the way, let’s get on with the actual post. If you watch my vlogs – which you should – then you will know that this week was the start of a new diet for me. Yes, I know, diets aren’t the most healthy way forward. But we all need to lose a bit of weight in a short space sometimes, so here are my tips and tricks to a ‘carb-free’ diet.
What is a carbohydrate?
Now, this is probably one of the things you will need to learn first. This is the definition I found online;
Carbohydrates are sugars that break down inside the body to create glucose. Glucose is moved around the body in the blood and is the primary source of energy for the brain, muscles, and other essential cells.
Carbohydrates include sugar, fibre and starch, which you’ll soon discover is in a lot!
Having excess carbs in your diet means your muscles retain more water – I could try and explain the science, but I won’t understand it. However, carbs are essentially energy, and if you eat your daily recommended intake, then you will not gain weight. However, I was eating enough carbs to feed a small army… whoops!!
What foods to avoid?
If you look at the nutritional values on the side of your food it will tell you how much carbohydrates is within that food, and then how much of that is sugar. However I’m going to list 10 of the highest foods in cabs, just for your knowledge;
- Sugars, Syrups and Sweeteners
- Most Sweets
- Most Cereals
- Cookies and Cakes
- Jams and Preserves
- Bread/Bagels/Dough (including Pizza)
- Sugary Drinks
- A Lot of Snacks (Popcorn, Pretzels, Rice Cakes)
Starch is the type of carb you are avoiding basically, and this will also include fruit, some veg, most take out/ready made food and well.. a lot!
Ok, So What Can I Eat?
Well theoretically if you are going 100 % carbohydrate free, then just meat, eggs and some vegetables…
When I realised this, I realised a completely carb free diet wasn’t for me! And so some of these tips might help you out if you continue on the path of low carb/carb free.
Water Will Become Your Best Friend
I know water gets mentioned everywhere, people talk about all its benefits for your skin, your concentration and just your general health. But also, about 99% of drinks have added sugar, so it’ll be about the only drink you can drink! AND cutting carbs out your diet will make you hungrier, and so when you feel hungry, drink water, and wait until your next meal.
Eat Regular, Small Meals
This is probably another thing you hear over and over again, but have set meals! Snacking is actually really bad for you and will soon get completely out of hand! I tend to have a large breakfast (at 8am), then a small meal at midday, then another small meal at 3, and then a relatively small dinner at 7.30. This doesn’t mean you have to cook loads and loads of food. For my midday and 3pm meal I will have the same meal but in two halves.. Essentially I’ll make what I would have made for lunch and then split it up.
But eating more meals will help! You will probably feel more tired than usual, and this isn’t purely because carbs give you slow release energy. Carbohydrates tend to make up the bulk of your diet, and so when you completely cut them out, sometimes you’re not making you daily calorie intake. So, adding a few extra meals will help in this respect.
Give Yourself a Cheat Day/Meal
I know this theoretically isn’t part of a diet, but allowing yourself to have a few carbs, maybe one meal a week will make the whole thing a lot easier – trust me. Also, if you completely cut carbs from your diet and then have a heavy carb meal, then next day you’ll have like a carb hangover.. and it’ll make you almost want to eat carbs less than normal! Haha
Eat Only When You Are Hungry
And when you are hungry, just wait a little while. Are you actually hungry or just bored? I eat all the time when I’m avoiding doing something else – mainly University work. This will be made easier by keeping to the set meals. But if you aren’t hungry, then don’t skip the meal – otherwise you’ll end up snacking later – just have something really light; e.g. carrot sticks.
However much dieting you do, you will only lose weight healthily if you exercise too. Now I’m not talking about going from doing nothing to running a marathon, just more than normal. The key to losing weight is eat less, do more. So, let’s say currently you walk to work, but that’s the extent of your exercise. Then maybe go to the gym a few times a week, go for a swim once or twice a week or cycle to work and take a longer route instead… Whatever it takes, just add more exercise to your regime and it’ll help!
Apps are an incredible invention! Whether you’re using them to game, shop, or indeed, monitor your eating! I use My Fitness Pal, and this allows you to monitor what you eat – including a break down of how much sugar, carbs, protein and everything you eat compared to how much you should do – your exercise and your water intake.
Eggs Will Be Your Second Best Friend
Eggs are possibilities nature’s perfect food. Eggs have an excellent protein to fat ratio and are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. Hard-boiled eggs make the perfect snack because you can make them in advance and store them in the fridge for easy access. When your body is craving something sweet, this often means what it actually wants is protein. So, before grabbing that chocolate bar, eat an egg and see if your cravings stop.
Also, carb free breakfasts are hard! Most breakfasty things are full of carbs, and so eggs will come in handy a lot here!
Substitute Pasta for Cauliflower
Love Macaroni Cheese? Yes? Now, do you love Cauliflower Cheese too? Your answer will probably be yes as well! Now, this will sound like a weird tip, but substituting pasta with cauliflower will decrease your carb intake to 1/5th of what it would’ve been with pasta!! And it’ll taste amazing – that is, if you like cauliflower..
Get Some Snacks Ready
Snacking is inevitably part of my day, especially when I’m revising. So, find a snack you like, that’s healthy – in my case carrot sticks and cucumber – and prepare some in advance, keep it in a tuppleware box and then you have snacks read for if you’re feeling super peckish.
I am terrible at this in terms of food, I’m one of these people who eats what they feel like as they want it. Now, this will never end well. Plan your food out, and stick to it, and you’ll be less likely to fall off the bandwagon and order yourself a Dominoes… In about a week I will be updating you with my favourite low carb/carb free recipes for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, when I’ve tried them all out!
What Is The Point of All This Then?
Carb restriction is a very effective way to lose fat fast. When people cut carbs, their appetite goes down and they lose weight. There are also studies comparing low-carb and low-fat diets, showing that low-carb diets specifically target the fat in the belly, and around the organs and liver. Low-carb diets also lead to quick reductions in water weight, which gives people near instant results… a major difference on the scale is often seen within a few days.
If you need to lose weight fast, then consider dropping your carbs down to 50 grams per day. This will put your body into ketosis, killing your appetite and making your body start burning primarily fats for fuel.
Honestly I was so darn grumpy when I tried to go completely carb free? I ended up crashing (as I tend to eat a lot of carbs and sugar in my normal diet) and I really struggled to keep going! So I actually ended up doing for the approx. 50 grams per day side of it as it allowed me eat a bit of sugar everyday.
Have you tried a no carb diet? If so, how did it go for you?