Carb cycling

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Would love to hear your experience with it !
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  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,680 Member
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    It seems to me that decreasing and increasing significantly the carbs you eat would lead to big swings in water weight, which isn't the same as actually losing fat. i.e. very low carb could cause a temporary drop of 5-10 lbs. which would return as soon as you add carbs back in your diet.
  • neanderthin
    neanderthin Posts: 9,965 Member
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    An old concept that really has no credible evidence for weight loss per se, it's still about TDEE. I do however consume more carbs pre workout and the reason I do that is, I consume a diet lower in carbs and find the extra carbs help fuel my workouts especially if I've been very low leading up to working out or suspect I've used up most of my glycogen.

    My ground breaking advice would be to consume enough protein from mostly high quality ingredients to support muscle recovery and growth which is important regardless of any actual goals and over the course of your feeding window with 2 or more better than 1 feeding and I'm consuming protein over 3 meals. Carbs and fat to make up the balance of your calories can be any combination that suits your eating style that promotes compliance and pleasure, imo. Cheers.
  • tomcustombuilder
    tomcustombuilder Posts: 1,732 Member
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    It doesn’t achieve anything. When you’re low on glycogen on the low carb days it can have a negative effect on your workout program or just a more lethargic overall energy level. Many people use it because they hear that bodybuilders and fitness models use it when they’re extremely lean however for a more normal bodyfat level there is no advantage

    If you are going low carb then there is an advantage with carb TIMING as ingesting your carbs a couple hours before going to the gym will allow for better energy for your workout.
  • noodlesno
    noodlesno Posts: 113 Member
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    I started this journey with a friend we both started at 210 and wanted to get to 165. I still have at least another 10 weeks to get to that. I have been doing kcal counting and losing 1.5 - 2 lbs a week. She did the Body Blitz by Chloe Madeley (which is carb cycling) for 4 weeks and then kcal counting after that and hit her goal last week.

    So I really worked for her she lost 30 lbs in those 4 weeks of doing the carb cycling, She then went to 1lb a week with kcal counting. It was unbelievable to watch how fast she lost weight. She said she never felt hungry but did miss the booze and social occasions.

    Losing weight that fast is not something I would want to do although tempting as I know I still have 3 months of hard work and grit to go. However, it worked for her so fair play.
  • tomcustombuilder
    tomcustombuilder Posts: 1,732 Member
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    noodlesno wrote: »
    I started this journey with a friend we both started at 210 and wanted to get to 165. I still have at least another 10 weeks to get to that. I have been doing kcal counting and losing 1.5 - 2 lbs a week. She did the Body Blitz by Chloe Madeley (which is carb cycling) for 4 weeks and then kcal counting after that and hit her goal last week.

    So I really worked for her she lost 30 lbs in those 4 weeks of doing the carb cycling, She then went to 1lb a week with kcal counting. It was unbelievable to watch how fast she lost weight. She said she never felt hungry but did miss the booze and social occasions.

    Losing weight that fast is not something I would want to do although tempting as I know I still have 3 months of hard work and grit to go. However, it worked for her so fair play.
    it worked for her because she was taking in fewer overall weekly calories. Losing 7 lbs a week will be mostly water.

  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 9,436 Member
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    noodlesno wrote: »
    I started this journey with a friend we both started at 210 and wanted to get to 165. I still have at least another 10 weeks to get to that. I have been doing kcal counting and losing 1.5 - 2 lbs a week. She did the Body Blitz by Chloe Madeley (which is carb cycling) for 4 weeks and then kcal counting after that and hit her goal last week.

    So I really worked for her she lost 30 lbs in those 4 weeks of doing the carb cycling, She then went to 1lb a week with kcal counting. It was unbelievable to watch how fast she lost weight. She said she never felt hungry but did miss the booze and social occasions.

    Losing weight that fast is not something I would want to do although tempting as I know I still have 3 months of hard work and grit to go. However, it worked for her so fair play.

    Your friend lost 7lbs per week? That would be a daily calorie deficit of 3500 calories. Something really is off here.
  • cmriverside
    cmriverside Posts: 34,015 Member
    edited April 2023
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    noodlesno wrote: »
    I started this journey with a friend we both started at 210 and wanted to get to 165. I still have at least another 10 weeks to get to that. I have been doing kcal counting and losing 1.5 - 2 lbs a week. She did the Body Blitz by Chloe Madeley (which is carb cycling) for 4 weeks and then kcal counting after that and hit her goal last week.

    So I really worked for her she lost 30 lbs in those 4 weeks of doing the carb cycling, She then went to 1lb a week with kcal counting. It was unbelievable to watch how fast she lost weight. She said she never felt hungry but did miss the booze and social occasions.

    Losing weight that fast is not something I would want to do although tempting as I know I still have 3 months of hard work and grit to go. However, it worked for her so fair play.
    A few things...first, how do you know she wasn't eating some ridiculously low amount of food in general? She wasn't counting calories. If she was eating sub-1000 and low carb then she would definitely drop a bunch of weight in that initial four weeks. I put my money on that, especially since she combined it with an organized exercise routine.

    Also, for a lot of people carbs are a problem (pointing at myself here,) which adds to the allure of a carb-cycling plan. "Hm, I can still have cake but only on Wednesday and Saturday? Done." Once I start eating a lot of processed carbs, it's hard to stay in calories. I can easily go over my calories by having an extra biscuit, cookie, small handful of chips, too much granola, AND that is if I can stick to *a* biscuit or one cookie. Usually when I'm eating processed carbs I'm going over my calories. So carb cycling just takes those foods off the table on certain days and makes it a whole lot easier to stay in calories. I'd rather abstain for five days than never have ice cream. It has a certain appeal to people like me - but I'm not a rule follower so I never even tried it. Too complicated!

    Then, fats and protein are satiating. Eating low carb means for most people they feel fuller on fewer calories in general. Refer back to paragraph one.

    Finally, weight loss and water loss are not the same thing. You know that, so I hesitate to post it, but several pounds are lost just in water when you go low carb.

    Let's wait and see where she is at in ten weeks when you reach Goal and have a good nutrition plan as part of your routine. I wonder if she's going to struggle with the keeping-it-off bit.
  • sarabushby
    sarabushby Posts: 784 Member
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    I had a PT draw up carb cycling menu plans for me a few years back but I never stuck to it for very long: it was unsustainable in terms of the prep needed, rigid rules, multiple small meals a day not fitting with social activity/work etc and didn’t make me feel more energy for my workouts or lose weight especially.

    I find eating whatever I want and logging CICO on MFP more practical
  • noodlesno
    noodlesno Posts: 113 Member
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    A few things...first, how do you know she wasn't eating some ridiculously low amount of food in general? She wasn't counting calories. If she was eating sub-1000 and low carb then she would definitely drop a bunch of weight in that initial four weeks. I put my money on that, especially since she combined it with an organized exercise routine.

    Also, for a lot of people carbs are a problem (pointing at myself here,) which adds to the allure of a carb-cycling plan. "Hm, I can still have cake but only on Wednesday and Saturday? Done." Once I start eating a lot of processed carbs, it's hard to stay in calories. I can easily go over my calories by having an extra biscuit, cookie, small handful of chips, too much granola, AND that is if I can stick to *a* biscuit or one cookie. Usually when I'm eating processed carbs I'm going over my calories. So carb cycling just takes those foods off the table on certain days and makes it a whole lot easier to stay in calories. I'd rather abstain for five days than never have ice cream. It has a certain appeal to people like me - but I'm not a rule follower so I never even tried it. Too complicated!

    Then, fats and protein are satiating. Eating low carb means for most people they feel fuller on fewer calories in general. Refer back to paragraph one.

    Finally, weight loss and water loss are not the same things. You know that, so I hesitate to post it, but several pounds are lost just in water when you go low carb.

    Let's wait and see where she is at in ten weeks when you reach Goal and have a good nutrition plan as part of your routine. I wonder if she's going to struggle with the keeping-it-off bit.


    Oh, there is no doubt that she was in a very low kcal deficit during the point of carb cycling. Carb cycling, like Keto or intermittent fasting etc is just a tool to keep your calorie balance low. It works for some it doesn't for others. There is no magic bullet to losing weight if there was then everyone would do it and never have to do it again. So it really is whatever works for you.

    Although without doubt some of the weight loss was water there is no way that +30lbs and at least 2 dress sizes is just water. So I want to give her credit where credit is due. I would not have been able to stick to such a regimented and low diet for that time but she did and she got what she wanted from it. She then spent 2 months tracking in order to build a healthy understanding of her needs.

    Just because she didn't do it the way I have chosen doesn't mean I don't want to celebrate her success or even worse wish to see it unravel overtime to prove me right. I am super proud of her and hope with all my soul that this is something that she can maintain if that is what she is looking for.