Last year I was on a high protein, very low carb diet (about 20 grams per day) and I lost 15 pounds. However, I gained the weight back because I felt deprived of carbs and I was overeating them as a result. It’s just too hard to maintain that type of diet. What type of diet can I follow to lose weight and maintain it? Help! Please explain what is happening and give me some advice on how to turn my situation around and still lose weight. – Yvonne
You are at quite a crossroad, Yvonne. If you eat no carbs, you feel deprived, and keeping up with a no-carb diet is too hard. When you try to include carbs in your diet, you regain weight and feel bloated. Overeating carbohydrates is the key issue. What you need is a consistent intake of healthy foods in the right amounts, which should energize you while you lose weight without water or gas retention.
It seems that you need a moderately reduced carbohydrate approach to encourage weight loss, without the deprivation that you may feel from eliminating carbohydrates altogether. Here’s how to achieve that:
- Avoid added sugars in any form, such as corn syrup, concentrated fruit juice & cane sugar. Avoid artificial sweeteners as well.
- Include whole grains or beans at each meal — but limit them to 1 cup total. Think oatmeal, corn on the cob, red potatoes, quinoa and brown rice. Avoid white flour products like muffins, rolls, buns, crusts & pasta. Also, avoid breaded meats or fried foods.
- Eat as many vegetables as you possibly can! Whether you cook them, eat them fresh or blend them into a smoothie/juice, fill up on them.
- Eat lean protein, but only to the point of satisfaction without overeating. Avoid forcing yourself to finish a large serving.
- When hungry, eat filling snacks such as celery & hummus, edamame, whole grain rye crisp crackers & tuna salad, or plain greek yogurt with chia seeds & dry shredded coconut (yes, it is sweetened).
- Have protein (e.g. nuts, cheese, egg) with your snacks.
- Drink a full glass of water (or sugar-free and artificial sweetener-free beverage) with each meal and between meals — at least 5-6 total glasses daily.
By including moderate amounts of the previously ‘forbidden’ complex carbohydrates, you’ll get enough sustained energy to feed your brain appropriately without blood sugar lulls that cause cravings. Keep us posted on your progress, please.
– Debbie J., MS, RD
Debbie James is a registered dietitian. Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or recommendations of Fitness International, LLC.
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