I was in the dark about this for a long time myself. You might think that “low carb” means under 15-20 grams of net carbs per day. This is actually ultra low carb. Regular low carb is in the range of 40-60 net carbs per day, which could be 50-100 grams of total carbs. Let that sink in.
Why do we care about this? After all only insane people would eat more than 20g of carbs on a low carb diet right? :)-
Before you run away right now screaming “Rayzel’s nuts!!! 15g of carbs is the ONLY safe thing to do!!” Let me tell you why it’s better to consume more like 40-60 net carbs per day in the form of vegetables and small amounts of fruit(in combination with MODERATE fat, not high fat), for maintenance, but ESPECIALLY for stabilization.
Here's an example of a low carb meal from Week 2 of the P3toLife program with just meat, veggies, and fat - it has ingredients that I think we would all agree are low carb - steak, butter, mashed cauliflower, tomatoes, and pepperocini peppers.
GUESS HOW MANY CARBS THIS MEAL HAS?
Twenty one. 21 grams of carbs.
And guess what? This is OK. This is not only okay, it's a SUPER GOOD CHOICE. This is an ideal P3 dinner. Vegetables have carbs, end of story. If you eat this P3 dinner, your carbs will be more than 21 for the day if there are more than ZERO carbs in your breakfast and lunch- which there will be. So you can see how the day's end tally for Week 2 here can easily be more like 40-50g of carbs.
This is not bad. The idea about what is proper when it comes to low carb eating has gotten really muddled in recent years. As a result, sometimes we find ourselves once we see these numbers thinking that we are better off passing this meal over for something we found that has 2 net carbs but it's either a packaged protein bar of some sort that isn't filling or satisfying at all, or it's like 900 calories for a decent sized meal and we choose it because it's "keto" and therefore ultra low carb.
We will be discussing in strategy 5 that having sufficient volume for the calories (the actual size of your meal) is important to feeling satisfied and full. To have larger meals, you must put calories from fat at a medium level, so that you have some extra calories for macros with more volume (protein and low-carb carbs).
Advanced Tip: Have you wondered what is the proper way to add fats back into your diet after P2? In P3toLife, the diet is 45% fat on average. So not super high like keto, but not lowfat either. We find this percentage to work excellently- it's plenty of fat to make the meals really taste good, while not being so much that it causes weight gain.
We are finding in practice, when you put your fat calories at about 45% of your calories during P3 (so this is not low fat ladies, just not high fat. Let's call it mama-bear sized fat grams) the women stabilize and maintain very well on this, even when they have said in the past they were unable to eat any carbs without gaining. Also consider this - many times when a person has gone very low carb, and then tries to reintroduce carbs, they may still be eating very high fat "low carb" calorie dense foods at the same time - this could easily get out of hand because the calories will just be too high too easily.
So let me reiterate- this is not a lowfat diet - it's just not a HIGH fat diet. Make sense? 45% of your calories fat means that almost half your diet will be good healthy fats (whereas a keto diet is typically more like 65-80% fat). 45% fat, 25% low-carb carbs is the approximate ratio we have seen to work the best.
Back to carbs.
Here is the carb range we utilize in Weeks 1-3 of P3toLife, that makes up the 25% carbs:
|Total Carbs: 55-75g||Total Carbs: 50-70g||Total Carbs: 55-100g|
|Net Carbs: 35-55g||Net Carbs: 30-45g||Net Carbs: 40-70g|
Why is the net carbs so much lower than the total carbs? Net carbs are simply total carbs minus the fiber in whatever veggies or fruit you are eating.
This is one reason why our carbs coming not from grains but from vegetables and small amounts of fruit also seems to work well especially for stabilization in P3 because there is a lot of fiber in those carbs which pass through you in a way that technically your body does not digest as "calories" and this is often the reason that diets don't count them - yet this fiber contributes greatly to the size of your meal and to making you feel full!
You might be thinking:
"Yeah but does this really work? I'm pretty darn sure I'd gain weight on carbs like that."
I will let the ladies in the P3toLife program speak to that in a second, but first 2 thoughts:
But More Carbs Doesn't Work For Me!: Many ladies may have experienced trying to add more grams of carbs past 15 or 20 only to gain weight in the past.
There are 2 scenarios why this could happen and both can be addressed:
1. When a person adds more carbs to their diet, without adjusting anything else (ie. continues to eat the same amount of calorie-dense low carb foods as well) this can mean they are now overconsuming food. The answer is to balance the amount of each type of macro you are consuming. When one goes up, another one may need to come down to compensate. In real terms: To have more carbs, a person may need to eat a little less nuts and cheese than they were eating. This trade is often totally the tasty and worth-it thing to do.
2. If a lady has been eating super low carb (under 20g per day) for quite some time, the normal water (scientific term= glycogen stores) that is stored in your liver and muscles is currently lost - as SOON as you eat enough carbs, your glycogen stores come back- and this weighs something. Our bodies only hold a small amount of glycogen, the amount doesn't go up and up so once those "water" stores are filled, you're good. That is why sometimes a person might experience a small amount of initial weight gain at the start of adding some carbs back to their diet, but then it will level off.
In P3tolife, point 1 is a non-issue since the amounts and ratios of food are all pre-determined for you to prevent that from happening. Point 2, this CAN happen, but we find it to be rare in P3toLife because the calories are also being raised slowly during this time.
The ladies in my program are just like you- there are women in the 30-50 age range, and 50-70 years age range - women in either childbearing years, perimenopause, or menopause. As you know, just about every woman on the planet these days has dieted for much of her life and eaten low carb. So why don't I let the other ladies like you share how following P3toLife, which includes this carb pattern I've outlined here, has worked for them:
I'd like to mention something here. I NEVER promise weight loss in Phase 3 on my program. But you will notice that a couple of these ladies LOST weight during this time, while on the carb counts we discussed. Just sayin!
ADVANCED TIP: Common concern/question: "Is it bad to lose weight in P3? Aren't we supposed to stabilize within 2 lbs?"
Very good question! I see this all the time- the shock and alarm when someone posts in a forum that they are losing in P3 and many people jump in and say "no that's bad!!! You'll ruin everything!!" Here's my input on that: What I've seen both within myself and the experiences of other ladies is that it doesn't matter WHEN you stabilize, but that once you are ready to stop losing weight, at THAT time you make sure to be eating P3 style.
What this means: Say you keep losing in P3 for 3 weeks. And in Week 4 your weight is starting to stay the same. During the next couple weeks, while you stabilize, you want to continue eating fairly clean/P3 style until you see your weight remain fairly stable for a couple of weeks. So again, whether this is in Week 1 after you finish the hCG Diet, or 2 months later, it really doesn't matter. You just need to be sure once you get to the point where you stop losing weight that you eat clean to solidify/lock in your new weight. Make sense?
Here's a post from our members social app - notice the ladies' responses:
I hope that puts you more at ease- important to address, because weight loss is actually common for many P3toLifer members following our strategies for P3.