Regardless of how much you work out, the most important factor in coercing your body to use fat for energy is your diet. While carbs are essential for energy, too much is a bad bad thing....because they often turn to fat! You may think they are safe to eat because they contain no fat, but don't be fooled.
Sure, most carbs are fat-free (or at least contain little fat), but its not uncommon for up to 40% of your carb intake to be stored in your body as fat. So, consuming too many fat-free carbs can actually make you fatter. See...whether they are in the form of fresh fruit, decadent double dutch brownies or simply your favorite linguini, carbs are converted into glucose when they enter your bloodstream. So, whether is glucose from a healthy apple or glucose from your favorite cake, your body simply doesn't differentiate. And, when you eat a ton of carbs, our blood sugar rises, and your pancreas will tell your body to release more insulin. Insulin determines where in your body blood sugar is stored (instantly available energy, stored in muscles as glycogen/sugar). Problem here....your body can only store 2000 calories (from carbs) as instantly available energy. If you have consumed more than 2000 calories (and have not yet used all the energy that it offers), the remaining will be stored as fat.
Think about it. Why do people usually bonk at mile 20 of a marathon? Typically, we utilize about 100 calories/mile (whether running or walking, makes no difference). By mile marker 20, all of that readily available energy is now depleted. The only energy left in your body is the one that is stored in your fat! But, you need to teach your body how to access this fat....after all, its an almost unlimited (relatively speaking) supply of energy!
Now, when you exercise or during your day to day routines, you want to ensure that you have burned off all of that ready-to-use carb calories, so can you start accessing the fat reserves for energy...calories in/calories out does matter, but getting access to those fat stores is the key to losing the unwanted weight!
So, how do you avoid this dreaded 3-letter word? Quite simply, eat more protein and healthy fat, and less carbs. I'm really good at keeping my calories down, but I simply don't see movement on the scale, although I have seen better toned muscles and less inches. But, I want more results for my efforts. So, I'm going to start watching my diet diligently!
Here is my goal...protein throughout the day. Carbs balanced throughout the day (in other words, no major binges at one time, but rather combined mostly when I am eating adequate protein). I know its a lot of protein, but I think I can easily get that in between:
- Morning Shakeology drink (24g)
- Protein bar as a snack (15-20g)
- Yogurt as a snack (15g)
- Lunch/Dinner: Meats/Cheese
- Protein Drink as a late snack (15-20g)
By filling up on these proteins, I also should have less desire to consume large quantities of carbs. Carbs have no choice but to be a 'side item' rather than an 'entree' to me now. I also know/think that trying to consume that many carbs and stay under my calorie allowance would be hard anyway, so changes are my total carb grams will be significantly less than the chart above.
Lets just hope I can hold true to it!