Carb Cycling - something has to eventually work

November 7, 2012

Let me start this by saying I am not a nutritionist or doctor and don't profess to be, I am just sharing my little food journey in hopes of helping another woman in my boat out. 

So yesterday I alluded to why I was having low carb and high carb days. Well let me digress a bit and then we will get back to that.

You see, women in my family are just not naturally thin. Weight is easily controlled until your mid-twenties and then it is all down hill from there. I am only 5'3'' almost 5'4'' and 120lbs is a good weight for me. I spent most of high school and college bouncing between 118 and 125. Totally normal for me. Then something happened, due to anxiety I quit working out like I was supposed to. I suppressed my aloneness with a the one pint of Ben & Jerry's I allowed myself every week and toasted marshmallows in the toaster oven constantly. I pushed negative emotions down with food. I still do it. 

If I have a bad day all I want is chocolate. I have spent many a teacher meeting with a pocket full of chocolate snacking away to relieve stress. 

Quite the opposite of healthy, mentally & physically. 

All those little stressful changes over the years has made it that much harder for me to control my weight. I haven't hit the 150lbs that I gained freshmen year of high school again, but I have been nearly 10lbs over my goal weight for most of the time I've been married. 

At one point in college I began the Ab's Diet and really watched what I ate, I had 5 meals a day and worked out like a beast. Somewhere it escaped me and I started having what I thought were "blood sugar" problems, which were really "You aren't eating often enough problems." 

There are times when I actually have the time to workout heavily again but while I feel great and look toned I haven't  lost an ounce. That ticks me off honestly. 

About 2 months ago my step-grandmother-in-law (that's a mouth full) told me she was taking Saffron Extract and she has lost 19 lbs in 3 months with it. I was amazed and immediately started researching it. Needless to say I jumped on the band wagon. I was exactly 10lbs over my "happy weight" max and couldn't lose anything to save my sanity. 

My pretty little 88.5 mg Pure Saffron Extract pills came in the mail (totally vegan and they only contain the herb by the way) and my appetite went down and I began losing weight. I actually made it to 2.2lbs from my "happy weight" max goal#1 and had the worst girl time of the month that shot me back up to 3lbs from my start weight. 

My body knows how to make fat. 

I am had been creeping back down to where I was and it is taking a lot more time than I hoped for when I saw a episode of Dr. Oz the other day that didn't seem so hokey. 

And we all know Dr. Oz can be hokey pokey!

It had Chris Powell on (a personal trainer) talking about carb cycling and it all clicked in my head. He said that high carb days give your body energy and low carb days right after burn it all off, that allows for better weight loss. Holy smokes it all made sense. 

Some weeks are very carb heavy here, while others are very low carb. I tend to get sick of carbs and want veggies after a heavy carb week. It is a "weekly" cycle. It suddenly clicked as to why I lose more weight after I have had a low carb few days and then one heavy carb day. Cycling! 

Now had the foods he listed not been what I normally eat, and had he suggested some wacky stuff I probably wouldn't have bought on to the idea. But when he showed an example of  high and low carb day meals I was totally on, literally they were what I ate when I did the 5 meals a day in college. Only difference was that he changed them up. 

I am guilty of making pasta and we eat that pasta until it is gone, or grilling chicken and eating that until it is gone too. With the carb cycling I am still going to cook the same large meals to prevent from constantly cooking, but I am going to interchange them with high or low carb days. Below I'll give you my week's meals for an example and a link to Chris Powell's grocery store list (which happens to be the only things I buy - aside from Jeremy's ice cream)

Carb Cycling Week:
Monday - High Carb
Tuesday - Low Carb
Wednesday - High Carb
Thursday - Low Carb
Friday - High Carb
Saturday - Low Carb
Sunday - Cheat Day

*eat all the low carb veggies you want
*muscle tone on low carb days
*Do a shred workout 6 days a week (I am using my 30 Day Shred DVD)
*you can have 1 cheat meal on high carb days (I'll probably only use it if I am dying for chocolate or ice cream)
*high carb days are 1500 calories and low carb are 1200 calories (for women)
* eat breakfast 30 minutes after waking up and then every 3 hours after that. 

Here is my week with times as an example:
High Carb
6:30 - whole wheat english muffin with poached egg and cheese 
9:30 - 1 c Greek yogurt, 1/2 c berries, 1/2 banana, 2 tbsp granola
12:30 - 2 quesadillas on corn tortillas with beans, salsa, and 2 tbsp shredded cheese
3:30 - Protein Shake
6:30 - Lasagna Soup (or some sort of pasta)

Low Carb
6:30 - whole wheat english muffin with poached egg and cheese 

9:30 - Peanut Butter & celery
12:30 - Salad with veggies & EVOO and balsamic dressing (homemade)
3:30 - Protein Shake
6:30 - Grilled Chicken and veggies (or any lean meat)

Chris Powell also mentioned that breakfast should always be high carb because we need the carb boost first thing to help with energy for the day. Here is a link to his shopping list, it tells what foods are veggie-high carb and what not. I watched the episode last Thursday by the way and tried it out on Friday, I didn't snack once and was full the whole day. When it came to that 3 hr mark though I was ready to eat again. 

After I am done with my first week I will let y'all know how it went. Between the 5 meals a day, being aware of my high and low carb days, and the saffron extract I think I should be able to get over this plateau. I really hate that he calls this a diet. I have eaten these foods for years now and don't consider it one. Yes I have my cheat meals and hormonal days when I can't control myself, but overall I eat well. I don't eat this way just to lose weight, because I don't have much to lose. I do this mainly to prevent health problems, I am from a family with a high rate of cancer and heart disease. We also have high blood pressure and if you become overweight for long you are diagnosed with Diabetes. I don't want that if I can stand to prevent it. Eating these foods is more of a lifestyle, plus I feel better when I do it. Fried foods just make me feel gross, that doesn't keep me from eating them...I just limit how much I eat. The only thing that I am really doing different is instead of eating all that food between 3 meals like usual I am spreading it out to 5 and alternating high carb days. 

If you have any questions about it just email me at or contact me on Twitter @LABride.