Help! I'm scared of carbs... - Reboot Fitness Coaching

Help! I’m scared of carbs…

I had this question a while ago from someone in a Facebook group I was running.

I thought I’d share the question, and my answer here…

“So, I started taking exercise seriously and clean eating about 8 months ago and despite the odd slip (like Christmas) I’m generally finding it’s a lifestyle change and most of the time manage the odd slip while maintaining weight. My question is, I’ve taken to pretty much fearing and restricting carbs and stick to maximum protein, should I be getting more carbs in? How do you even know the right balance?”.

I think a large part of the problem when people talk about “carbs” is that it covers such a big group of foods…

So if you decide you are cutting carbs, or you’re restricting carbs, it’s a huge food group that you are missing out on (as [my client] alluded to…).

This isn’t meant to sound patronising (so forgive me if it does…), but do you even know why you cut carbs in the first place? Or what it is that you “fear” about carbs?

When people tell me they are cutting carbs to lose weight, and I ask them why, the answer is something like: “I heard that was a good thing to do.”, or “my brother’s girlfriend’s mum’s friend did it once and it worked.”.

It’s rarely for a scientific reason, or something they’ve discovered from testing themselves (if you have done, again, forgive me…)

Of course, highly processed, high sugar foods should probably be avoided. They don’t do much for your body in terms of nutrition, and don’t really fill you up, so you eat more of them.

But whole food, minimally processed carbs can provide you with a lot: fibre, vits and mins, slow release energy etc.

Can a low carb diet help you lose weight/keep your weight down?: Hell yeah!

But a lot of the time this is just due to the fact removing carbs from their diet helps someone control their calorie intake.

If you’re a pretty active person, you’ll need more carbs than a sedentary person, and keeping your carbs too low can cause issues in terms of exercise output, recovery from exercises, thyroid problems, and keeping low carb for too long can also cause issues with hormones, especially in women.

Also staying low carb can sometimes lead to breakdown of your muscle for use as energy (building a bit of muscle is something I know is a goal for [my client]).

So there’s probably more to fear from NOT eating carbs than from eating them.

However, the fact you prioritise protein is definitely a good thing, so keep that up.

What I would do is start to integrate some minimally processed, whole food carb sources (some of the ones [my client] mentioned) back into your diet gradually.

Like [my client] says, it takes a bit of experimentation. The important thing would be to see how you feel with them and monitor how your body reacts… (note down how you feel after meals etc)

I’m sure you’ll find you have nothing to fear and will be able to start enjoying some of these things again… 🙂

(NB: When bringing carbs back into your diet, you’ll probably notice a little up-tick in your weight. Don’t panic! Most of this will be water weight, as carbohydrates encourage your muscles to store water. You aren’t getting fatter.)

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About the Author Alvin Nurse

Alvin runs Reboot Fitness Coaching and has been a Fitness Coach since 2010. When not helping awesome people in their 30s rejuvenate their bodies, you'll find him listening to music, chasing a ball, or avoiding runny yolks...

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