To eat carbs or not to eat carbs? That is the question.

The strangest thing happened while I was training for my marathon – I gained weight.  Four months of run training three to four times per week in addition to the fitness classes I teach and personally take, and I come off the marathon weighing more than I have in years.  How did that happen?

Unfortunately, the more I trained, the hungrier I seemed to become.  No matter what I was eating, I was feeling exhausted.  This caused me to increase my carb intake and the form of carbs I chose? Whole wheat bagels, multi grain bread, multi grain pasta, potatoes AND a new one for me – sweet tea.  Sweet tea is the interesting one in this equation because I have never been a sweet tea drinker.  Yet when I would come off running the trail, my body was craving sweet tea – oh and those large fries that I also earned while running.

Fast forward to the week after the marathon and my stomach is beyond bloated and I cannot zip my jeans!  I knew right then and there that although my body may have needed me to increase my fuel intake for the training, it did NOT like the processed carbs and simple sugary fixes such as sweet tea that I was feeding it.

You may have heard that there are “good” carbs and there are some not so good or “bad” carbs.  You are probably aware of what the not so good carbs are but they would include sugary treats like cookies or donuts, anything processed such as white bread, flour or pasta, and of course anything with sugar in it.  Our bodies burn through sugar very quickly and then requires more fuel and we in turn grab more sugary snacks which is a slippery slope – all the way to not being able to fit in our jeans!  The really bad part of the sugar fix is that we never seem to get enough no matter how much simple carbs /sugar we consume.

Good carbs are carbs that are absorbed slowly into our bodies. In addition, they don’t cause an increase in sugar levels. Plus complex carbs do not cause a crash in sugar levels which when it happens, make us feel tired.  Good carbs include vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains.

Less than two weeks after adjusting and correcting my nutrition,  I’m able to zip my jeans up again – YAY! The moral of the story? Our bodies need carbs for fuel, however, choosing to fuel with complex carbs such as vegetables, fruit and whole grains benefits us much more than reaching for a candy bar. One more thing I learned? To put my jeans on every week!

To your health,