People have been around the block when it comes to eating right, losing the unwanted fat and getting into shape for “take your clothes of season” We hear the word diet and we run the other way due to many psychological issues, one of them that springs to mind is big limitations in not only food choices but also portion sizes. If you look at the word diet it actually means the way we eat and it has no negative connotations whatsoever but we as human beings have made it an evil word that only means hunger and aggravation wherever we go. So like we always need to do is just look at the basics and maybe go back to basics and just tweak a little bit here and there.

To just get your mind flowing a little bit, let us look at why we fail at conventional diets. It is restricting. They ask you to do mind-blowingly stupid things in the name of losing weight. Yeah, it is probably going to work, for a week or so and then the body will just rebel like any good teenager that gets too restricted. It has all to do with hormones and it does get a bit tricky if you really want to look at the nuts and bolts of it, but for the sake of simplicity today, we are only going to look at it in a very superficial way.

If we restrict the body of needed calories for too long, it will slow down your metabolic rate and will switch over to “I save everything as fat” mode. That is not good, because all your hard work just goes down the drain. In essence, your body can tolerate calorie restrictions for a while and then the hormones kick in. We need a sneaky way to get the body to believe that it is always functioning optimally and this is where carb cycling comes in.

The big thing out there these days are low carb diets. If we can throw some names in there you are looking at South Beach diet, Atkins diet and so on. People are raving about the results that they are getting on these diets but there is some serious health issues connected to these diets as well. The big thing is that people lose fat, yes, but they are also losing muscle mass when on these particular diets. If the weight on the scale goes down, then the people are happy and that has always been like a sword in the side of any fitness professional, the weight on the scale. We would like to measure in centimetres and not just a number on a scale! So you have no carbohydrates when you are on these diets, no glycogen in your muscles to supply the muscles of necessary energy and the body goes into something called ketoses. This is basically when the body digs into fat stores for energy. Good? In a sense yes, but there is also something else that happens, because there is no glucose, the body starts breaking down protein for energy and that is basically muscle breakdown. So your body is actually starting to eat itself to stay alive. And that is not such a good thing.

So how does carb cycling work?

Carb cycling is taking the dramatics out of dieting and giving you the edge. When last did a diet give you the edge? Probably never and that is why carb cycling is so cool, you are in control and as soon as you feel like falling off the wagon, a good day is around the corner. People in the professional weight loss industry is raving about the results their clients and patients get on this way of eating and does not have the negative implications of other low carb diets out there. This plan is also very simple to implement and to sustain, which is the cornerstone of any successful weight loss story, maintenance.

It basically works like this. On day one you eat high carbs, on day two you eat low carbs and then on day 3 you eat no carbs. Just when you start feeling cranky due to the no carbs, then you start cycling from the beginning again. It is that simple, but, like any effective program, you need to follow a couple of simple rules to get your weight loss ducks in a row.


High carb day:

*       Consume carbs at any or all of your meals

*       Carbs must come from your carbs approved list

*       Eat your protein and vegetables first then dig into your carbs

*       Remember, soda, sweets, pastries and junk food does not count as carbohydrates.

*       Stick to whole grains, no refined anything. You want complex carbs that digest slowly and not create an insulin spike in your bloodstream (yeah, those hormones again)

*       Remember your fruit and veggies on this day, they are carbs too! Very important carbs.

*       This is not a license to stuff your face. If you want to lose weight you need to look at your amounts.

*       Remember your proteins, they are a constant during all three days.

*       Keep your fat low on your high carb days.

Low carb days:

*       Eliminate all starchy carbs from lunch onwards.

*       Focus on protein and vegetables with a little bit of fruit during the morning.


No carb days:

*       Eliminate all starchy carbs.

*       Focus on protein, vegetables and moderate amounts of fruit.

*       Your fat intake can be slightly higher.

So you see, we need the best of both worlds to make fat loss a reality for us. We need the carbs to satisfy the body and keep us from being grumpy and falling off the healthy eating wagon and that is what the high carb days are for and we need the low and no carb days to stimulate fat loss and before the body goes into survival mode, we are back on high carb days. Brilliant.

Below is a list of approved foods you can eat on your different days. Give it a go and see how you feel, don’t expect miracles in a couple of days. Remember, we did not abuse our bodies for just a couple of days, depending on the damage, it can range from months to years, so don’t expect a turnaround in a couple of days. Be patient and resilient and last but not least, make your new habits, sustainable habits.

Carb rotation approved lists

Approved Carbohydrates:

  • Brown rice

  • Oats (Slow Cooked Preferred)

  • Sweet potatoes or Yams

  • Fiber One (All Bran) Cereal

  • Starchy Veggies (corn, peas, etc.)

  • Beans/Legumes

  • Approved Yet Limited Carbohydrates**

  • Whole-wheat pasta

  • Whole grain breads, pitas, etc.

** These may only be consumed on high carb days, and only for one meal per high carb day

Approved fats

  • (Natural) Peanut Butter

  • Flax Oil

  • Heavy Whipping Cream

  • Mayonnaise

  • Hemp Seed Oil

  • Olive Oil

Approved Lean Protein Sources (A)

  • Chicken (white meat)

  • Turkey (white meat)

  • Tuna Fish (can)

  • Fish (flounder, tuna (fatty or not), salmon, shark, etc.)

  • Shellfish (all types)

  • Protein (preferably whey post workout, and casein before bed; MRPs must be low-carb)

  • Lean beef (including lean cuts of steak)

  • Cottage Cheese (0 or 1% fat)

  • Egg whites (egg beaters)

Approved Higher-Fat Protein Sources (B)

  • Chicken (dark meat)

  • Turkey (dark meat)

  • Eggs (half whites, half whole eggs)

  • Steak and other meats (not exceptionally high fat cuts)

  • Cottage Cheese (Whole Milk