If you eat more carbs, do you think you’ll balloon up like Violet in Willy Wonka?
Or is that just me?
One of the most important things I learned from reading THE METABOLIC EFFECT DIET and from following their blog and Metabolic Effect trainer Jill’s blog (JillFit), is that there is no “one” best way to eat to lose weight (or fat).
So when my weight won’t budge or my waist size doesn’t change for several weeks, I put on my trusty Sherlock Holmes-esque thinking cap to see if I can figure out what is causing the problem.
Last month, I was stuck at the same weight for a few weeks. At the same time, I was working out quite a bit (training for a couple half marathons and a triathlon) and increasing my endurance training. So what was the problem?
I decided I needed more information. Maybe there was something I didn’t know.
Carbs and Racing Weight
A few weeks ago, I read RACING WEIGHT by Matt Fitzgerald. A lot of what Matt had to say (especially about eating carbs) went against what I learned in Metabolic Effect’s book.
As you may know from my post about getting lean with Metabolic Effect, the authors suggest a 20- to 25-minute high-intensity weights routine 3 times per week with extensive easy walking on the other days. Running a lot/doing a lot of endurance work can be stressful on the body and can cause some people to hold on to fat (depending on a person’s hormones).
The Metabolic Effect authors also suggest eating fewer carbs for someone like me (my body more easily burns sugar instead of fat). This all makes sense to me.
Here are some important things Matt Fitzgerald, a runner, triathlete and author, says in RACING WEIGHT:
“You will perform best and attain your racing weight quickest by maintaining a high training volume relative to your personal limits, and by doing most of your training at lower intensities.”
Me: This has not been MY experience!
“Whatever you do–whether it’s cycle, run, swim, or engage in all three–you need to do it a lot.”
Me: That didn’t work for ME!
Matt also advocates endurance athletes eat more carbs to help fuel all this training. Healthy carbs, such as sweet potatoes and whole grains, of course. (RACING WEIGHT focuses on eating whole foods, as does THE METABOLIC EFFECT DIET.)
My first thought after reading RACING WEIGHT was: Shenanigans!
But, wait a second. Last fall, when I was focusing on Metabolic Effect, I wasn’t doing much endurance training. Annndddd…let’s think back to before that, when I was doing endurance training. Was I eating whole foods? Or was I negating all my training with high-calorie junk foods. (I think I was doing a little of both.)
And let’s think about this: The books are written for two different audiences!
THE METABOLIC EFFECT DIET is written for people who are solely dedicated to losing fat. They aren’t running marathons. They aren’t doing triathlons. They are mainly interested in body composition.
RACING WEIGHT is written for endurance athletes; for people interested in improving their performance. They want to get to their best weight for performance reasons.
What I Did
My conclusion after reading RACING WEIGHT and THE METABOLIC EFFECT DIET: Neither philosophy is exactly right for me.
But…a combination of the two might be.
So, since I’d added more training, I started eating more carbs. I didn’t go crazy. I just added a little more than I was already eating (which wasn’t a whole lot).
And guess what? I lost the pesky couple of pounds I’d been stuck at.
RACING WEIGHT also has some helpful information on figuring out what your ideal “racing weight” actually is.
I also liked his thoughts on the “off season.” The off season is the time to focus on weight and fat loss (for some, that means eating fewer carbs than when in training). That’s how the elites do it.
In light of my new education, I will continue eating plenty of real foods (lean proteins and veggies), but I will also EAT MORE CARBS (aiming for real foods like sweet potatoes or brown rice, not potato chips) according to my training load.
What makes sense for you? Are you doing a lot of endurance training? Could you possible need to eat MORE carbs?