Tuesday, 2 October 2012

How To Cut Down On Carbs

I was on a Health & Fitness forum last week and someone started a thread titled, "Has anyone been able to cure their carb addiction?". I clicked on it to share my experience but not before reading through people's responses. A few of them stood out because I could relate!

Why cut down on carbs? Because excess carbohydrates consumed are converted into fat. And a lot of carbohydrates consumed (most of the time) are refined, processed, high in sugar and/or just done so in excess.

One of them went along the lines of, "Carbs are a huge staple in my home. I can't give them up". She mentioned bread and, I think, rice.

My plan is to post a video on my YouTube Channel (-->Click here to subscribe<--) but until then I decided on this write up.

Lol, an old picture from 3-4 years ago

I'm Nigerian. I grew up eating a plateful of rice with one piece of meat or chicken. I remember being told I had to finish my rice before being given my meat/chicken, which was the prize, haha! Rice, yam, eba, you name it. We love our carbs in Nigeria.

So I'm sure it's a surprise to many that I can go days without eating any of the above and not feel deprived. I won't say I don't care for carbs anymore, that would be a barefaced lie. What I can honestly say is, I don't depend on carbs and I still have the energy to work, work out and teach 4 spin classes per week (more work). FYI I eat "good" carbs during the week eg sweet potatoes, plantain (some might argue about plantain but it works for me), brown beans, etc. Watch my Food Diary series HERE for more of an idea of my eating habits. I do have days when I only crave carbs and not the good ones (which happened recently!) but now short lived, thankfully.

How Did I Get Here? 
1. Slowly Cut Down My Carb Portion and Replaced With Protein (chicken, meat, fish) And Vegetables

For example, when I made fried rice, I used less rice (half the usual portion) and more vegetables and prawns. I did the same for yam, potatoes, etc. If the meals didn't usually include veggies, I added them or had an extra piece of meat/chicken to fill the void ;) Quick Note: Protein fills you up!
I did this for close to a year before I moved on to the next step... I was very resistant to more changes but I'm glad I didn't stop here.

*I'm going to post a video on this topic where I'll share more on my experience*

2. Changed My Breakfast from High Carbs To High Protein

I used to have 5 oatcakes (oat biscuits) post workout, because "I deserved them after working so hard" (ha!) and then a huge bowl of porridge oats (!!!) for breakfast once I got to work!! And I wondered why I wasn't able to shift the little, but extra, weight around my middle!

My friend, Keris of Fitter London, challenged me to swap my oatcakes AND porridge for a protein bar. Imagine my alarm! But I rose up to the challenge ;)
I started off with having the protein bar and a banana post workout, I took out the banana after a week. I was surprised I didn't feel hungry after having the protein bar and I wasn't tired!
This wasn't the bar but it's close enough :)
The best bit was within 2 weeks, people started commenting on a difference in my physique. 2 weeks?! Now, remember I wasn't overweight at this point but there was a visible difference.
*I later changed to cooked breakfasts but again, I'll discuss more in a video.*

3. Cut Out Carbs Completely In Some MealsAt this point, I was used to eating protein rich foods so taking this step was easy. Eg I had salmon and eggs for breakfast. And sometimes, I'd have a large portion of fish or chicken for dinner, and add a little stew or soup.

Yesterday's dinner... I had one more piece of fish ;)
You must remember that I aim to eat very well on Monday through Friday. On Saturday & Sunday, I treat myself. This way I don't feel deprived and I'm able to treat myself reasonably. I've noticed that my treats have become healthier as the months and years have gone by. Once I mentioned to a friend I was treating myself and she laughed saying, "My healthy days are worse than your treat days".

So the moral of the story is: 


If I did it, you definitely can!

PS If you have any blog/video requests, send me an email: info @ adura-o.com or tweet me @Adura_O

Photo Credit: Skinny Chef


oluwakemi said...

Adura!! Thanks for this post. I have been struggling with giving up or reducing carbs for as long as I can remember. Your post has put things in perspective, so all I need do now is to change my habits one at a time.

PS: I can't believe no one has commented on this post!!

Adura said...

You're welcome :) Keep me updated!

Please share this post with friend (Twitter or Facebook) :)

Hope you're well?

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post. I will definitely take some tips from this. Question by porridge oats you mean like quaker oats? Ps do you do cereal breakfasts or regular cheese & roast beef on wholewheat sandwiches or its all bananas and bars? Tracey

Tolu said...

Hi Adura, trust you are well. So I've just started the no/minimal carb diet during the weekdays to lose some weight and increase energy. The question is it ok to include fruit and fibre cereal with partially skimmed milk to my during the week diet? ie is it carbs?

aloted said...

nice one..pls can you give more example of high protein meals for breakfast. thanks!

Adura said...

@Tracey Thanks!
Yes I mean quaker oats. Lol, I don't eat bananas or bars for breakfast. I did that for a brief period of time as it was a good way for me to ease into the idea of having protein for breakfast. Nope, I don't eat cereal for breakfast. You can start with halving your portion of bread on the roast beef sandwiches and having more roast beef, for example.

@Tolu If you have fruit and fibre for breakfast, what do you plan on having for lunch /dinner? That would give me a better idea on what to say.
But even without more info, I'd say you might as well have oats for breakfast instead of fruit and fibre.

@Aloted Lol, great video idea there ;)

- Omelette, Scrambled Eggs (with or without fish, sausages, etc)
- Sausages (you could have it with tomatoes, eg I chop 2 tomatoes, cut sausages into chunks. Roast the sausages, pan fry the tomatoes with onions and add the sausages for the last couple of minutes). Good thing about it is you can eat it cold so it can be prepared the day before.
- I sometimes have boiled chicken or meat if I'm in a rush and have nothing else to eat
- Going with the chicken idea, you can bake chicken, dice and stew chicken, or even have chicken or turkey slices.
- beef slices

The list goes on. Start with something you're comfortable with then slowly start to experiment.

Tolu said...

Hi Adura...thx for the response. If I have f and f, it will be for lunch. I have fruit for breakfast (orange, pineapple, pawpaw)...i add extra raisins to the f and f and that fills me up for the rest of the day. I will typically have no dinner or maybe salad or fish or chicken peppersoup.

Adura said...

@Aloted Even something as simple as chicken from a pot of stew :)

@Tolu Hmm... you're having a breakfast of fruits only (high in fruit sugars) and the f&f is just more sugar. Start to incorporate more protein in all your meals. I like the chicken peppersoup idea for dinner, yummy! (Please send me some!!)

Tolulope Popoola said...

Thanks for the tips Adura. I've been working on reducing my carbs too, but I've often felt that it wasn't sustainable in the long term, especially when I have to cook for guests or when I have to eat out.

Now I just have to take it one step at a time :)

Adura said...

Hi! Nice to see you here :)

Exactly, step by step. As they say, "Slow and steady wins the race"

Daisy said...

I remember being told I had to finish my rice before being given my meat/chicken, which was the prize, haha!

lol! same here it's the reason why the get trimmer challenge is so much fun for me: more meat :) yay!

Daisy said...

I remember being told I had to finish my rice before being given my meat/chicken, which was the prize, haha!

lol! same here it's the reason why the get trimmer challenge is so much fun for me: more meat :) yay!