We are one and a half weeks away from carnival! At this point, I’ve built as much muscle as I can from going to the gym; how toned I look on carnival day will depend on how I eat. From what I’ve read, the best way to shed some flab in two weeks is by carbohydrate cycling. Carb cycling is a low-carb diet for 5-6 days out of the week, with two high-carb meals on the other 1-2 day.
This diet is a short-term goal oriented plan. By eating this way, you supposedly manipulate the hormones in your body that control fat loss and muscle retention, namely: insulin, estrogen, testosterone, and the growth hormone. Here’s an excerpt from a book I bought called Lean Secrets:
“When high amounts of carbohydrates are eaten, the body releases glucose in the blood, which causes a rise in the insulin hormone. Insulin‘s job is to set aside excess carbohydrate in case of future famine. So, excessive insulin spikes on a daily basis cause the body to store fat, regardless of caloric intake. While a constant rise in insulin is definitely counter-productive, an occasional rise in insulin is highly beneficial. The most important benefit of an occasional insulin spike is its anabolic (muscle supporting) & anti-catabolic (catabolic=muscle deteriorating) properties.
Most people are only able to store approximately 1-2 cups (at most) worth of carbohydrate, but that little bit can last for 2-4 days. This is where carb cycling comes in. Cycling carbohydrates requires eating 2-5 days of low carb, moderate/high fat, and high protein. The alternate days require eating 1-3 days of high carb, low or no fat, and moderate/high protein. Eating in this fashion allows the body to be in a constant anabolic (muscle enhancing) and lipolytic (fat burning) state. It manipulates the hormones to secret growth hormone and insulin at the proper times, while suppressing cortisol and leveling estrogen (which is a fat storing hormone).
To start a carb cycling diet, most advise to begin with a U-Turn. This is 4-7 days of very low carbs . The goal for the initial 4-7 days is to eat plenty of protein and include adequate fats also. Cutting fats and carbs would be too drastic, and cause energy levels to dip, which is why eating plenty of fats and proteins is crucial for the first 4-7 days.
A carb load day requires that the last one or two meals consist of clean, low fat, starchy carbohydrate. Eating your carbohydrates for your last meal will allow your insulin levels to stabilize while you sleep, and you won‘t be on a glucose roller coaster for your entire day. As for the frequency of your carb loads, those wishing to lose fat should do 1-2 carb load meals per week.”
Whew! I’ve been on it just since Sunday, and I can already see some results! Brenda-Leigh Turner, the author of Lean Secrets, also has a Youtube channel (LeanSecrets) if you’re interested. I highly recommend her!