Low Carbs Or Low Calories – What is Better ?
In ‘The Wasteland’, T S Eliot wrote – “April is the cruelest month” and how right he was when I hit a terrible plateau in April 2013 which blew my mind off. I was low carbing with a vengeance and despite everything the scales weren’t moving. This was the worst period as we were about to relocate from Bhubaneswar to Noida. I was fighting a stall and along with that was a terrible worry about my Low carb diet without fish. 😛 (A kg of Rohu costs Rs 120 in Bhubaneswar being coastal area while in NCR its Rs 450 for the same.) 🙁
End of July I left Bhubaneswar with 72 kg weight and a heavier heart (fish factor you see). We were driving down and as there were hardly any low carb options available on the way, I was eating a little bit of everything (Dal Makhani and Aloo gobhi at the dhabas for lunch and dinner and idli and dosas for breakfast.)
After settling down when I checked my weight— OMG— I couldn’t believe my eyes so stepped down the scale and climbed up again…. Yesss !!! I was 67 kg that meant 5kg reduced in just one month. Now what did that mean… Did my low carb diet fail??? Was I done with my low carb diet?? Should I have tried low calorie diet from the beginning only???
After analysis, I realized that it’s always better to keep shifting from one diet to other because eating one type of food our bodies become complacent and so used to it that it goes into a sleep mode. Another thing is that because I was consuming 1200 calories on low carb diet and burning more than half of it I think my body had gone into starvation mode (a MyFitnessPal friend of mine had suggested.) While travelling I started eating normally in limit which in any ways wasn’t not more than 1200 calories and without burning anything (since I couldn’t run or jog with the car running on the national highway. ) 😛 as a result I started losing again.
The long story cut short, the moral was that you can lose weight on any kind of diet but you need to eat minimum 1200 calories for a stable and healthy weight loss. Low carb dieters restrict foods which are starchy and eat foods that are usually high in protein and fat. Here lies the biggest danger as I experienced that on a low carb diet. Most of the times I was eating calories more than what is required to reduce weight or while controlling excesses, I was getting scared of eating food which was a dangerous situation.
I went on like that till I started using MFP (MyFitnessPal). Finally I had to draw a balance between counting calories and eating carbs the right way. As experts suggest that counting calories is the more reliable method to lose weight but counting carbs is important too. When it comes to reducing weight, magic lies in ‘Calories in and Calories out’ formula.
Eat fewer calories and burn more calories through daily exercise but take a sensible approach and not consume too few. Over-restricting calories calls for binge eating and slows down metabolism resulting in weight loss stall.
On a low-carb diet, weight loss mainly happens in the same way as on low–calorie diet; basically it’s by creating a calorie deficit that is consuming fewer calories than you expend. The difference is that a low-calorie dieter imposes on self the calorie limit while, carbohydrate reduction works on the appetite system of information about hunger and satiety in our body. I can personally vouch for low carb diet as I feel normal around food with lesser cravings, while on a low calorie diet I have to control my cravings.
The bottom line is no matter what diet plan you chose, your ultimate goal should be to get into a healthy lifestyle. That means adopting a healthy eating plan that you can follow long term. Personally speaking a cycle of low carb and low calorie lifestyle is the best deal but yes if you have to lose a lot of weight, to jumpstart there is nothing to beat a low carb diet. Whenever I face a weight stall, I go very low carb and it does the trick.
So, Love Life, Live Life.
P.S – Read why all calories are not same here. 1200 calorie intake that Kanan has mentioned is as per her body. You need to eat calories as per your Basal Metabolic Rate(BMR). My BMR remains between 1350-1450, so I eat accordingly. Read about BMR here. – Tarun