Do you know what your carbohydrate consumption looks like? Have you ever calculated your grams consumed in a day?
Many have not and many will not – and that is too bad really. But knowing more about your body, where you are now, and how the machine that is your body works will help you be more prepared to see where you are going, how to get there, and most importantly, why you are doing the work to get there.
Enter…sensible carb cutting! This all depends on where you are coming from. We’ve covered in past articles how to calculate what you eat of each macronutrient. This is important! You need a baseline. In order to know where you are going, you need to know where you are starting from. If we don’t know where we are starting from, our experimentation will be difficult to judge.
The average American consumes between 250 and 350 grams of carbohydrates per day which means many of us could be getting almost 1000 calories a day just from carbs. If this is the case, going straight to a very low carb diet could be very difficult and probably leave you feeling not the best. (Cranky cranky!)
This is why it really matters where you are starting from. If you have never been used to having less than 200 grams of carbs a day, jumping to a 30 grams of carbs a day plan right away can be rough. Can it be done? Absolutely! But you will be relying very heavily on willpower.
But if you do this strategically…taking it down something like 10% a day…200 to 180 to 160 etc…then you will get there! This is what I suggest for most of us getting started.
What you will learn throughout this process is that you will most likely find yourself eating less. It is difficult at first to get used to eating things with low to no carbs. Then, slowly, you begin to experiment…adding in a cucumber here and there or experimenting with other vegetables…and you realize that you can actually maintain a very low carb diet without too much trouble.
The point i’m trying to make here is that it’s okay to play! Experiment…enjoy the process. Practice different carb goals and levels and see what works for you. Just play with it! For those intense workout days…you can play with higher carb limits. For those sedentary days…lower carb goals can work too.
The idea is to have fun. Be sensible…know what you are eating and why…but don’t let the process drag you down or overwhelm you.
To create a good program for yourself, you have to know where you are to know where you want to go. You have to be willing to look at yourself honestly and rely on some “objective measure” to gage your success and know when or why you need to change course.
I’m not advocating that this becomes your life. None of us have that kind of time nor should we want to become obsessive about food – unless you are a figure model or a competitive athlete.
What I propose is taking some time to learn about yourself. Create an experiment, challenge your beliefs and your boundaries, make mistakes and learn from them, you are far more resilient than you think, and what’s more – “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” – who doesn’t want to be stronger. Emotionally and physically stronger – more adaptable to stress and more flexible in life.
Nothing but good can come from a well designed experiment in diet.
I used to believe diet was a dirty word – and now I believe that if you don’t diet you are not experimenting – and if you are not experimenting how the heck do you think you are going to learn anything about your body and your relationship with food?
Go out there (to the kitchen) and experiment!
-Dr. Jerome Craig