Is my Low Carbohydrate Diet stopping my weight loss?

Cardiovascular exercise requires glucose as its preferred fuel source so low carbohydrate diets may not provide enough fuel for your body to function properly with the added stress of exercise. Carbs are like the tinder that helps to ignite the fat. If you have very little carbs in your system then your body will find it very difficult to burn fat and it will rather convert your lean muscle tissue into glucose to use as energy. You definitely do not want your body to cannibalize your lean muscle tissue!

Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat does, so the more muscle your body has the more calories you can eat without putting on weight. If you want to burn fat during your workout it is important to eat enough carbohydrates to fuel your body during the workout. It really depends on what time you usually work out as to when you need to be eating more carbohydrates. If you want to eat shortly before your workout you can eat simple carbohydrates such as fruit. This won't make you feel heavy, but it will quickly provide glucose to your blood stream. It takes about 20-30 minutes for fruit to be digested. If you prefer to eat a few hours before your workout then opt for complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal or a high fibre cereal (breakfast), a wholemeal sandwich with lean protein and salad (lunch), lean protein and vegetables including pumpkin, potato, sweetcorn or peas as your carbohydrate (dinner).

It may sound scary to someone that has been on low carbs for a long time, but this may just be the key to shake you out of that weight loss plateau!

Rather than worrying about counting carbohydrates focus on calories in versus calories out. Protein generally can have quite a lot of calories because it naturally contains more fat than carbohydrate. Even if you buy the leanest meat, it will still likely have 8% fat. If you think about how foods are found in nature you will find that there are many foods which contain both carbohydrate and protein (legumes, nuts, seeds, grains, vegetables etc.). If nature put it together, why try to separate it! 

You are better off working out your weight loss calorie level and then getting yourself a calorie counter to work out a balanced menu plan. Then incorporate cardiovascular and strength training into your exercise routine to maximize fat burning. This is a much more healthy way to lose weight and keep it off. 

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