You’ve probably heard somewhere along the way in your weight loss journey about the role that the hormone insulin has on promoting fat storage. But rather that delving into the physical effects of carbohydrate for weight loss, here we are going to discuss the impact that it can have on your mindset, and therefore your eating behaviours.
It could be that the types of carbohydrates that you are consuming are impacting on your weight loss far more than you realise… but perhaps not for the reason you would think.
Fast acting carbs
When it comes to carbohydrates, all the different types will be digested at slightly different rates. For example, sweet potato takes longer to break down than regular potato, and so will offer you a good couple of hours of energy without that “sugar high” and subsequent crash.
And what does this more moderate and prolonged uptake of sugar from our digestive system into our blood mean for our mindset? Blood sugar levels have a significant impact on our mood, our decision making (and impulse control), our ability to manage stressful situations, and our concentration.
Let’s put it this way- if you aren’t feeling hungry, don’t feel stressed, are thinking clearly and have great energy levels, and are feeling pretty content, are you going to be more or less likely to make positive food choices and participate in physical activity?
But it’s natural!
Many of the so called “healthy” foods on the market are in fact no better than regular old sugar. The simplest way to make good food choices is to try and choose foods that are processed as little as possible. Think- whole grains (breads, cereals, crackers, or on their own), lentils, fresh fruit and vegetables with the skin on, and moderate amounts of no added sugar dairy products.
Want to slow that digestion down even more? Include some lean protein, fibre, lemon juice, or healthy fats in your meal. Tuna and salad on grainy crackers. Lean pork with sweet potato and steamed vegetables. Porridge made on whole oats with reduced fat milk, fresh fruit (skin on), and a sprinkling of nuts. Lentils stirred through a salad with a small amount of lean turkey and olive oil. A quinoa lunch bowl with plenty of fresh vegetables and cottage cheese.
You may find that getting creative in putting together tasty, healthy meals with minimally processed real ingredients and fresh herbs and spices could result in more delicious, and interesting meals than you would normally have… plus you will actually feel really good after your meals (goodbye post meal regret), and in a better headspace to make healthy choices on an ongoing basis.
We challenge you to give this a try for yourself. Try changing your eating habits, whether it be a week, two weeks, a month, or 6 weeks. Don’t focus on weight loss, instead just focus on how you feel eating healthier foods that are nourishing for your body. If you count it as an exercise in improving your energy levels and helping you have a clear head, who knows what kinds of brilliant plans for long term weight loss you might come up with after a few weeks!