A friend of mine has lost nearly 40 pounds by eating a low carb diet, but she was feeling kind of stalled out. So when she saw a segment on TV about Choose to Lose: The 7-Day Carb Cycle Solution she asked me what I thought. I decided to read the book so I could talk to my friend about it, and because come May or so I will be interested in losing baby weight!
Up front I will say that the carb cycling idea is more complicated than simply eating low carb or just watching calories. If you don’t have a lot of background in nutrition and weight loss methods you might find the program daunting. However, if you’ve tried low carb or slow carb or South Beach, you would probably find it pretty easy to pick up.
The program alternates low carb and high(er) carb days, advocates eating every three hours, and focused muscle building and cardio. The carb cycling would probably work best for someone who is a moderator–I’m not sure how abstainers would do having to put so much thought into what they can and can’t eat every day. I think one reason abstainers tend to do well on low carb diets is that it removes the requirement to dither over every tiny choice. Either you eat it or you don’t. Moderators, on the other hand, get stressed by the idea that they can’t have something, so for them it would be better to carb cycle or do another diet that has a built in cheat day, because that removes the stress of feeling deprived. Eating habits are one of those areas where it helps to know yourself.
Even if you are an abstainer, the book has some good reminders and helpful ideas that would work no matter what sort of eating plan you’re on. For example:
- Eating every three hours, including eating your first meal within 30 minutes of waking up, is smart because it keeps your blood sugar regulated and your metabolism fueled.
- Eating protein first before carbs and vegetables is smart because it helps sustain your energy as you digest different types of foods.
- If you’re going to eat carbs, it’s wise to eat them earlier in the day rather than at dinner, and make them high fiber, high quality real foods, not processed sugary foods.
The exercise ideas in the book are also helpful, such as breaking down “shapers” that build your muscles and “shredders” that burn fat and calories, and giving you permission to do them at different times of day to fit your schedule. The portion size information also includes a helpful visual.
Overall I think Choose to Lose is a solid eating plan, not too radical or unhealthy. I found plenty of the recommendations helpful to keep in mind even though I’m not sure I’ll have the mental space to try the program myself (and wouldn’t do it while pregnant or immediately postpartum either).
If you’re a moderator or if you’re feeling like you’re at a frustrating plateau in your nutrition/weight loss progress, you’d probably find Choose to Lose helpful and I would recommend it.
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