I've found that I do A LOT better on higher carb, 80-100g a day, and am trying to be aware of my calories keeping it around 1200. But I am SO confused, some people say NOT to count calories, but to rather stay low carb (which i'm not sure what that range is), in order to lose weight, while others say carbs DO NOT matter that much as long as you're not over 150g and you WATCH your calories. Which is true? Right now I'm moderate carb 80-100g per day and are trying to keep my calories in check. I feel pretty good (used to be less than 40g of carbs a day and felt miserable so it's quite the change), but I'm worried i'm not going to lose weight without the low carb. I think I will, but I've only been doing this for a few days, and I keep reading all kinds of threads advocating that you MUST BE LOW CARB to lose weight and I'm worried :/ What's the truth? Can I be moderate carb 80-100g at around 1200 cals and lose weight? Or must I lower the carbs?
5'1, 131 lbs, 16yrs old
The answer is "yes". You of course you can lose weight @ 100g a day of carbohydrate.
Ultimately you need to run at a calorie deficit to lose weight, but by reducing your dependence on carbohydrates you can begin to trust your appetite to control your calorie intake, instead of being deceived by "sugar rush" induced hunger.
Like Kurt Harris says: "Calories do count, but why bother counting?".
Here is my take: you need to eat carbs according to your activity level and your ability to use them for energy. If you have metabolic syndrome / insulin resistance you will have troubles doing so. This may or may NOT mean you have to restrict them BTW. Carbs alone will not make you fat. Taking in excess energy that you cannot use will cause fat accumulation. Perhaps eating too much too frequently, perhaps burning less than you take in, perhaps having a metabolic problem that causes you to be incapable of using a certain macro (metabolic inflexibility = metabolic syndrome).
I too do MUCH better with more carbs and that means better bg control, energy for activity, zest for life, hormonal function, and satiety. When I restricted carbs to below 40 or so grams a day I had not desire to eat, had little energy, and had a slew of UGLY physical manifestations as well.
Don't believe the zealots. Carbs for sure will not kill you and just may be the ticket to better function.
I think you have answered your own question. You have stressed how much being low carb did not agree with you. Basically, whatever you do to lose the weight, you are going to need to be able to do ongoing, or you will simply gain the weight back. It's that simple. So, if you hate being low carb, the likelihood of your continuing low carb eating after you have lost your weight is about zip. What does this mean? Regain + usually additional weight with each loss and regain. Do NOTHING during weight loss that you are not willing to continue, basically, forever. If you count calories, then you need to remain a committed calorie counter. Whatever you do NOW is not just about weight loss, unless it is your intention to regain. It is about maintenance and how you intend to live and eat for life.
You are very few days into doing your current 100carb/cal counting plan. Give it time. You'll figure it out.
Whatever works for you.
My personal experience is that it can be neither or both.
I gained 20 lbs one summer eating what I consider "maintenance calories" but at about 80% carbs. I remember my blood sugar being particularly malignant that summer.
I lost 40 lbs eating low-calorie, but at about 50-60% carbs.
I neither lost nor gained when eating low-carb, but "maintenance calories." But I was also at a healthy weight.
I've experienced weight gain caused my carbs, but I was eating an extreme amount of carbs at the time (think pastries, waffles, $1 frozen pasta meals, Sun Chips, cokes, cookies, orange juice, bagels, whole wheat bread).
I lost weight eating closer to "real food" at a lower caloric point, and my body could handle the carb load for the most part (didn't help my PCOS much, but it didn't exacerbate it either).
I eat "moderate carb" (100-200g/day) these days, lower than ever in my measured diet history. No weight loss, but my PCOS is finally under control.
Everyone's body is different. I typically go for 50grams of carbs a day, but I'm a 44 year old woman, and so a tad bit farther along in my puberty than you. ;) If you feel good, that's more important, and how your body feels.
I like to lift heavy at the gym, and I also like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. And life's a big, mean, sadistic bitch on training days if I don't eat carbohydrates. So for me, it's 60 grams of carbs about an hour before I train, with protein on the side, and then another 60 grams of carbs with protein on the side immediately after I train, followed by a meal of protein and fat- typically steak with avocado and olives on the side two hours after that, right before bed time.
I can't really function in the gym or on the mat, without those carbs.
HOWEVER- on a rest day, I barely take in 30 grams of carbs. And this doesn't affect me at all. My day on rest days consists of just walks with my dog in the morning and evening, and a few walks to break up the work day. The rest of the time it's either sitting in my cubicle doing work, or sitting on my ass on the couch with my dog watching movies or reruns on NetFlix. And so there's no need for carbs on rest days at all and I don't feel crappy or foggy at all.
At 16 years old, you need carbs! I'd encourage you to just to a small calorie deficit and loose what you want over time. A life time of fad diets has made it almost impossible for me to lose weight now at 43. If I knew then what I know now, I would have stayed away from carb restriction entirely and eaten natural foods, as much as I wanted so I wasn't hungry and likely would have set my body up for success later in life, instead of resisting giving up fat. You're young…Exercise and cut out all wheat, sugar, and processed crap. Should be all you need.
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