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5 Rules of Thumb for Carb Lovers: How to Lose Weight Without Restriction

Updated: May 18

Weightloss Low Carb Diet


Carbs are the ultimate comfort food. Think of a warm bowl of pasta or freshly baked bread. Hard to resist when it is there calling for you to tuck in!

But why do we often try to eliminate this food group altogether?


We “try to be good” and heavily restrict our intake of carbs. But that makes us a little miserable and likely to “yo-yo diet” because it is unsustainable.

As a carb lover myself, a meal is not the same without carbs. I needed to find the right approaches to keep on a path of wellness and recovery from cancer (long story!), without taking away the joy of living.


Low-hassle and joyful health is my approach of coaching busy parents to get stronger, regain energy, and prevent chronic illnesses. I help busy parents put in place a balanced and sustainable system that reduces overwhelm and restriction.


Is it possible to lose weight without restriction?

In this blog, I’ll show you how you can be metabolically healthy, and even lose weight (especially lose fat), while still consuming some carbs.


The Issue with Carbs


Carbs are an entire macronutrient that sits alongside protein and fats. While carbs are not “essential” like some proteins and fats, we do need them still! So much so that when we don’t consume enough carbs or we are fasting, our body has the ability to make glucose using a process called “gluconeogenesis”.


We use the glucose found in carbohydrates to fuel our daily energy needs, our intensive exercise routines, to get the fiber needed for good gut health, and many micronutrients and minerals.


When these carbohydrates break down into glucose in the bloodstream, insulin is released to clear it away into the cells, bringing the blood sugar levels back to balance.

The issue is that repeated spikes and troughs in glucose levels can lead undesirable health outcomes including: excess fat storage, energy dips, and ultimately lead to insulin resistance, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes.


To maintain good metabolic health, keeping balanced blood sugar levels is absolutely key. This does not require unilaterally restriction of carbs.

Proactively managing blood sugar is one of the simplest ways to protecting your health against a whole host of chronic diseases that start to emerge in mid-life.


Good and bad carbohydrates
Not All Carbs Are Created Equal


Let’s all agree that we should be minimising our intake of carbs (and sugars) from processed sources.

Carbs are plentiful in nature. You can find them in whole foods, like fruit, vegetables, grains, beans, lentils, dairy products, and the list goes on. All these foods can be part of a healthy and balanced Mediterranean-style diet.


intermittent fasting only black coffee

5 Rules of Thumb for Carb Lovers


To simplify the approach to better food choices, I like to use rules of thumb which help take away the decision fatigue, especially for people on busy schedules.

Here are the 5 rules of thumb for carb lovers who want to lose weight and be metabolically healthier, without restriction and without compromising on enjoyment.


1.     Avoid Empty Carbs: Always go for nutrient dense whole foods over empty carbs from ultra processed foods (ditch the packets!). This here is a no brainer for me and a relatively easy shift to make.


2.     Choose Complex Carbs: Whole grains have more fibre and take longer to break down and by the same token, longer to have an impact on blood sugar. My personal favourites are freekeh, buckwheat, bulghur, red rice, rye, and quinoa.

For some, it can be daunting to try new ingredients, but you can shortcut this process using tried-and-tested recipes and meal plans, like I use with my clients.

Subscribe to my newsletter to get access to weekly meal inspiration and recipes.


3.     Make Carbs the Supporting Act: Carbs should not be the star on the plate, rather the supporting act (<25% of the plate) where the stars are the colourful vegetables.

Check out this short post for a visual guide on how to construct a more balanced plate.


4.     Give Carbs Some Company: When consuming carbs, add a protein or a healthy fat alongside it to help dampen the impact on blood sugar.

This applies to all meals and snacks. For example, when consuming a piece of fruit, add a few nuts alongside it for better blood sugar balance.


5.     Timing, Timing, Timing: Keep your carb intake mostly to the daytime, when you tend to be more physically active. Make it a habit to go for a post-lunch walk.

Eating carbs later in the day then sleeping, or just leading a sedentary life, means all the excess glucose you don’t use immediately will be stored as fat!


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I hope that these rules of thumb provide a logical and balanced way to think about making better food choices, especially for busy parents who are seeking a realistic approach to weight-loss that they can keep for life.

I am a huge believer in the need for balance and moderation when it comes to sustaining healthy food habits for the long term. Crash diets are a thing of the past. Eating can and should be joyful and healthy at the same time!


Let’s stop “demonising carbs” as a whole food group. Carbs provide us with energy, nutrients, and much needed fiber.


However, I agree that not all carbs are created equal. Whole grains are better than refined grains. Nature's carbs are better than carbs that come in a packet. Eating carbs and exercising is better than eating carbs and being sedentary.

The full picture matters!


I help my coaching clients fix their metabolism and feel more reassured about their health by working with their food preferences, and sharing swaps, recipes, and strategies that don't feel restrictive or overwhelming.


If you are ready to achieve more balance and consistency with your health for the long-term, you can now explore my health coaching programmes, using this link.


certified health coach in London nada soubra

More About Nada


I am a Certified Resilience & Metabolic Health Coach.

I empower busy parents to take more control of their health, get stronger, and prevent chronic disease using realistic approaches that create consistency, without overwhelm.


My approach is rooted in tried-and-tested nutrition and lifestyle methodology rooted in metabolic health.

I want to make early mid-life a chapter in which parents can feel reassured about their health and thrive in all aspects of their life.


Previously, a Partner in strategy consulting, I pivoted into health coaching and founded The Healthy Chain, after a personal experience with ovarian cancer, which prompted me to make health my top priority.


I am a mum of three and I know how hard it can be to prioritise health when you are juggling a career and family. I focus on realistic tweaks and swaps that slot easily into busy schedules.

You can now schedule a free “Ask Me Anything” call with me to get going with a lot more clarity and confidence with your food choices. Use this link to book.

Get in touch – I love hearing from you!

Thank you,

Nada Soubra

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