The Hemp Connection + weight

Is Your Weight-ing Game Interfering With Your Success? Part 1

I've had this conversation with two different clients recently and it occurred to me it's a phenomenon likely to be more common in women with PCOS, because of their focus on carbohydrates, than even the average dieter. Figured a blog post would be helpful to others.

Both of these clients shared with me that they went on low carbohydrate diets and did very well on them, until a few weeks into it, when, for whatever reason, they"fell off" the plan and started eating carbohydrates. And within a few days they'd gained a few pounds and felt more than a little discouraged…not to mention bloated.

Here's a little fact you don't often hear in weight loss advice or discussions. Not all weight that you gain, or lose, is fat. Some of it is water. Some of it can even be bone, if you severely restrict your intake for long periods of time, as with an eating disorder.

And some of that weight…can be your own body's carbohydrate stores.

When you are eating enough food to meet your daily needs, your body stores some of it as carbohydrate, in liver and in muscles. The function of this stored carbohydrate, is to help keep your blood sugar levels high at times when no food is directly coming into the system. Your brain relies almost entirely on carbohydrates to function, and the body has evolved with this"storage tank", so to speak, to be sure the brain never, ever runs out of energy.

Carbohydrate that is stored for this purpose is called glycogen. The body uses water to help store glycogen. And for every gram of carbohydrate you store, there are 3 grams of water alongside of it.

So what do you think happens when you suddenly switch to a low-to-non carbohydrate diet? All of the carbohydrate you've stored in your liver and muscles has to break down in order to keep your brain running. The weight loss is rapid, because you're losing 3 times as much water as you are other weight. It feels good when you look on the scales, because we're so cultured to believe that all weight shifts are coming from fat.

And what do you think happens when you eat carbohydrate again? The weight shift moves in the opposite direction, and 3/4 of what you gain is actually water. But again, because you're likely focused on fat if you're dieting…you visualize that what you've gained is more of that stuff.

Have you ever heard of carbohydrate loading, that athletes do before an endurance event? When you diet and bounce back with a high carb binge, that's exactly what you're doing! Here's a description off of the Internet that describes a carbohydrate loading protocol, from the Mayo Clinic website:
■Step 1. About a week before the event, reduce or maintain your carbohydrate intake at about 50 to 55 percent of your total calories. Increase protein and fat intake to compensate for any decrease in carbohydrates. Continue training at your normal level. This helps deplete your carbohydrate stores and make room for the loading that comes next.

■Step 2. Three to four days before the event, increase your carbohydrate intake to 70 percent of your daily calories — or about 4.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight. Cut back on foods higher in fat to compensate for the extra carbohydrate-rich foods. Also scale back your training to avoid depleting your glycogen stores. Rest completely for a day before the event. And…no big surprise…here, farther down the page, are the potential risks associated with this protocol:

■Weight gain. Much of this weight is extra water — but if it hampers your performance, you're probably better off skipping the extra carbs.

■Digestive discomfort. You may need to avoid or limit some high-fiber foods one or two days before your event. Beans, bran and broccoli can cause gassy cramps, bloating and loose stools when you're loading up on carbohydrates.

■Blood sugar changes. Carbohydrate loading can affect your blood sugar levels. It's a good idea to consult your doctor or a registered dietitian before you start carbohydrate loading, especially if you have diabetes I remember when I was working on my master's degree in exercise science, we were taught that the bloating and weight gain from carbohydrate loading could be so extreme and uncomfortable, that athletes should not even attempt to use it for a crucial race if they had not tested it out prior to know how their body would react.

So see, it's not your body, your PCOS, or anything weird about YOU that causes you to gain weight when you eat after restricting. It's exactly how ANYONE's body will react when pushed to extremes.

Try living somewhere in the middle, with a moderate, healthy carbohydrate intake…and see what it does for your weight, your body, and the bloating.

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Is Your Weight-ing Game Interfering With Your Success? Part 1 + weight