Carb Confusion

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Complex carbohydrates and healthy living - learn more at
Confused about carbs and how they fit into carb cycling? Believe me, you’re not alone! Many of my most frequently asked questions are about carbs. And yes, with all the talk of “carbs this” and “carbs that” in the media, it can get a bit confusing. It gets even more complicated when you think you need to keep track of grams of carbs per meal and per day and the “good” vs. the “bad.”

It’s time to rethink how you think about carbs, agreed?!

First, the basics: Carbs—and the roles they play in your diet—are actually pretty simple. If it comes from a plant, it’s a carb, and carbs are the preferred fuel source for your muscles and organs. Breads, beans, potatoes, table sugar, fruits, and vegetables are all carbs.

There are two categories of carbs: simple and complex. The simple, not-so-healthy ones are found in foods such as cakes, cookies, some commercially made breads, and many processed foods. Fruits are also considered simple carbs because of the type of sugar they contain, but they’re a healthy choice because they’re loaded with vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, antioxidants, and some fiber. Your body breaks down simple, not-so-healthy carbs very quickly, which spikes your blood sugar levels and stimulates the release of insulin, resulting in a craving for more simple carbs. And that is soooo not good!

Complex, healthy carbs—like those found in legumes, root vegetables, whole-grains, cereals, breads, and pastas—are typically high in fiber, which slows food digestion and the release of sugars. This keeps your blood sugar and energy levels steady (and longer lasting), so your calorie-burning furnace stays hot and burns more calories! And that is awesome!

So how do carbs fit into our carb cycling program? It’s actually pretty simple. No matter what carb cycle you choose, every breakfast of every day will contain a carb. Every breakfast, every day. Your carb can be a grain, a legume, a starchy or root veggie, or a fruit.

In the Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit Cycles, on low-carb days, your remaining four meals (spaced every three hours) consist of a portion each of protein, fat, and veggies (think fibrous green veggies, not the starchy, root kind), and on high-carb days, your remaining four meals (spaced every three hours) are made up of a portion each of protein and complex carbs (grains, legumes, starchy or root veggies, or fruits). To learn more about the new Extreme Cycle, go here. And no matter which cycle you choose, if you’re ever still hungry, you can always throw in a portion of veggies (again, the fibrous greens). Remember: With carb cycling, you can have non-root/non-starchy veggies with every single meal (starchy, root veggies, like potatoes, will fall into the carb category)! Pretty simple, right?

Here’s what it looks like, including some handy portion size helps, for the Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit Cycles:


Here’s the most important take-away about carbs: With carbs and carb cycling, it’s not about a magic number of grams of carbs to eat every day. It’s about that carb for breakfast every morning and spreading your carb intake throughout your high-carb days so your body gets the greatest benefits from those healthy carbs you eat. Carbs are amazing, and they can be an important key to achieving your transformation goals. 🙂

692 Responses

  1. Hi. Should someone really be eating 1200 calories if they are lifting heavy and trying to lose fat and recomp. That seems extremely low and old school thinking. What would be a good range for calories if you lift heavy four days a week?

    1. Hi Nicole: In Chris and Heidi’s books and basic general carb cycling program, 1200 was the calorie amount for low carb days for women. And yes, that number is low, but for the general public, it’s difficult to recommend calorie ranges since each person, their goals, and other factors are so different. As to the answer to your question, the correct range for you depends on your current biometrics, your complete workout schedule, your daily movement amounts, and other things. Our app, The Transform App (, does offer a customized calorie/macro program, and it also adjusts as you progress towards your goals. I hope this helps! 🙂

  2. I’m a bit confused. Just read extreme transformation and am following that method, but I’m wondering if I should be doing turbo cycle for weight/fat loss?

    1. Hi Shannon: The extreme cycle, which Chris and Heidi designed after working with their contestants on the show, is an amazing cycle, so if it will work for you, then go for it. You can find descriptions and links to all our carb cycles in this post: We recommend you follow the cycle that will work for you long-term, whichever cycle that might be. We wish you all the best!

  3. Hi, I am looking at new options to help lose this , hormone/thyroid related female over 60 fat accumulation.
    I’ve been doing a “Leptin Sensitivity” (KETO on steroids), diet since January 2020. Although it did aid some serious issues I have, my body seems to have gone into a metabolic slumber.
    I need to lose this fat (belly, saddle bags, lower back and arms) and help my hormones/thyroid as much as possible using diet. (I am on medications for both.)

    Do to severe disabilities, my exercise is mostly NON weight bearing. I can walk, swim and do some aerobics on treadmill and stationary bike. I do targeted exercises here at home, but all non weight bearing.
    I am a “light” exercise person. I love 30 minute aerobics, and some light weights at the gym.
    Probably 3 times a week.

    So, my question is: the visual for Carbs, Proteins and Fats, is it the size of my palm for protein, size of a fist for Carb portions and size of thumb for fats?

  4. Hi,

    I don’t do any heavy lifting. HIIT (with different body part targets) 4xweek with 2 days of light cardio. Is carb cycling something to do while doing HIIT. I was planning on doing turbo with High Carb on my 2 biggest HIIT days (Legs & full body) or should I keep HC to my off days?

    1. Hi Jamie: Yes, carb cycling can be used with any workout program! And which days (HC or LC) to do on which workout days is totally up to what works best for you. We hope you’ll love carb cycling!

  5. I started the turbo carb cycling and I?m struggling to get to 1200 calories on either day. It?s not super clear how you?re supposed to get to 1200 calories when your carbs, fats, proteins, and veggies are in 100 calorie portions. How much protein and carbs do I eat per meal so that I?m not eating too little ? I?m so confused.

    1. Hi Noel: The foods in the list are in 100 calorie portions simply to make it easy to get 100 calories at a time. You’ll need to eat as many 100 calorie portions each day as needed to reach your daily calories. I’d follow the chart in this post to help you put your meals together, and you should be good to go!

    1. Hi Lindsay: Our low carb days are not really considered keto since they include more carbs than a regular keto meal plan day. If you’re using our app, The Transform App, and are interested in keto, we do have a modified keto plan available. Hope that helps!

  6. I?m interested in starting the turbo carb cycling but I?m confused as to how many grams of carbs/fats/proteins I should be eating on a low carb day vs high carb day. Is there a calculation I should use to figure that out?

    1. Hi Jacqie: There’s a “Create Your Own Meals” chart in this post: While this post is about the Extreme Cycle, you can still use the chart to figure out your own macros. Just remember that each gram of protein and carbs has 4 calories, and each gram of fat has 9 calories. Otherwise, we use the portion chart in this “Carb Confusion” post. 🙂

    2. Hello! I’m going to start carb cyclying according your program, but I’m still wondering how many grams of protein, carbs, and fat I should be having in each meal. I know you provide the diagram with the palm, thumb, fist size portions, but shouldn’t I be tracking the macros and calories of what I’m eating? Also, it okay to eat protein and fat that have carbs in them on the days that we aren’t supposed to eat carbs at all?

    3. Hi Hannah: There?s a link to an awesome calculator in this post: This calculator won?t break down your calories into low and high carb days, but there?s a ?Create a Meal? chart in this post that can help you figure out low and high carb days: Just remember that each gram of protein and carbs = 4 calories, and each gram of fat = 9 calories. And you can eat whatever foods will fit into your macros. We also offer a customized nutrition program in our app, The Transform App (, which adjusts as you progress towards your goals. The app has several amazing workout programs too! Hope this helps! 🙂

  7. Hi,

    Carb cycling is not a new topic for me, had great results last yearwith it but I am confused about this combination for low carb days.
    I had e.g 100g of raspberries with cottage cheese and couple of walnuts for meal 3 on LC day, so I was wondering if it’s okay.
    I used to eat that on low carb days and had pretty good results. This was before even knowing about you guys 🙂
    I have chosen transform app to kickstart my new transformation as I gained back some pounds lately.

    1. Hi Ana: Since raspberries are carbs, if you’re following any of our carb cycles, you won’t want to eat them for meals 2-5 on a low carb day. Hope that helps – you got this!

  8. I just started using your app. It seems like I am on the Fit Cycling but I really want to lose weight. I am at 36% BF and weigh 168. Based on my scan at nutrishop, they said I need to lose about 28 lbs of fat. Should I be on a different carb cycling plan?

    1. Hi Bobbi: Welcome to the app! Each of the programs offer a weight loss option – the main difference between the programs is the type of workout you’ll do. You can learn more about this here: And your carb cycle is assigned to you based on your goals on all programs except the at-home program. I hope this helps, and you can totally do this! 🙂

    2. Hi,
      I don’t know if this is where to post a question. I had posted one before but cannot find it–sorry! Hope you see this. I am VERY confused about portions and protein sources (I’m a strict Vegan). I am on the TURBO cycle (or trying to–this is day three and I am struggling with what to eat.
      I read Chris’s books and I have read through all of the forum posts and replies (seriously : ) I have seen my question a few times, but the answers are still not registering.
      Please bear with me. QUestions:

      1) Chris’s chart for portions is causing me stress (lol). It is not possible to measure everything via that visual. In the book, there is a rubric that defines each portion by a ratio of 1. So 3/4 cup of oatmeal (I’m assuming cooked?) is one carb portion. (1) portion of Tofu is 4.0 oz = 1 protein. Can I use this metric on the Turbo cycle? It makes more sense to me. I am even more lost as to portion sizes and getting enough (and not too much) protein and carbs) if I use the formula conversions:
      Low Carb Day = (1200 X 40% (p)) / 4; (1200 X 20% (c)/4; 1200 X 40%)/9; Carbs & Proteins are a 1 to 4 (calorie) ratio. Fats are a 1 to 9 (calorie) ratio.

      2) On one of the Q&A’s it says that a Cliff+plus bar is a good meal replacement for high and low carb days, but the bar has 30 carbs that include 21 grams of sugar.

      3) Worst problem–which is making me feel I need to quit before I’ve really started: I’m truly struggling with what to use as proteins during the day. I cannot bring a shake with me–I have no access to a refrigerator. Plus, the protein shakes are very expensive, so eating 4 a day as a protein replacement is not possible. The Tofu packages have all different values listed as a portion size. An 8 oz package of X-tra firm tofu consists of 4 servings (as per the package), with each serving being 84 calories with 8 grams of protein. Even if I use 1/2 a package to meet the “4.0 oz” = 1 protein option on Chris’s list, I will only have 16 grams of Protein, which is low?

      As you can see, I’m very twisted on what to do-lol. I hope you see this!!
      Thank you

    3. Hi CT: No worries! Just count total carbs from here on out. Let?s get you some answers to your questions:

      1. The calorie portion chart is simply a resource, and it was easier to show 100 calorie portions than multiple portion sizes. If you need, for example, 150 cals of a certain food, then multiply what?s on the 100 calorie chart by 1.5, and you?re good to go. And that chart from this post can be used on all carb cycled:

      2. As far as protein bars, many do include fat and carbs beyond our recommendations, but they are a great option in a pinch versus choosing a less-healthy option.

      3. For any foods, just try and match the recommended macros for that meal as best you can. It can definitely be trickier on a vegan plan, but it’s doable! Here’s a post that might help: You might also be interested in checking out our app, The Transform App (, which has over 500 meals, including many vegan options.

      You got this! 🙂

      Hope that helps! ?

    4. I have a question about the statement below about the carb cycle not being assigned to you on the home program. I signed up for Turbo and I workout at home. I want to lose 10-12 pounds tops. How do I know if I am on the right plan to support those goals?

    5. Hi Shaye: You can eat non-root/non-starchy vegetables, which are considered “free.” Hope that helps! 🙂

    6. So if we are counting carbs are we going off total carbs consumed or can we subtract the fiber allowing for more carbs ? Does that make sense?

  9. Hi Heidi!

    I started with Transform (FINALLY) this week with my husband. The majority of the meals work great for ME, however, he is extremely PICKY. I want to make this as enjoyable for him and easy for me (I do all the prep right now) so that he can see the health benefits of this lifestyle.

    Are there any meals that incorporate bacon or sausage? Typically he would LIVE off of a bacon or sausage biscuit for breakfast. Unfortunately I don’t see anything close to that to help satisfy this craving for him.

    Any guidance would be MOST appreciated!!

    1. Hi Lisa: Welcome to Transform! We do have a few meals with bacon and sausage, but for the most part, we stick to leaner meats in the recipes. He can sub bacon or sausage in some of the low carb meals, but he will need to adjust the macros accordingly since they are usually higher in fat than lean meat options. Here is a quick comparison between 3.5 ounces of chicken breast and 3.5 ounces of chicken apple sausage: Chicken (109 cals, 1.2g fat, 0g carbs, 22.9g protein). Sausage (160 cals, 10g fat, 3g carbs, 14g protein). If he has difficulty with subbing, to get him started, he could total up his recommended macros for the day and then aim to hit those totals every day. That way he could include his bacon and sausage (in moderation) and still make progress towards his goals. He could then work towards matching the macros for each meal. We do recommend that every dinner is a low carb meal if at all possible, as this has produced the best results. But it really is all about helping him to make those small, simple changes at the beginning. I hope this helps! 🙂

    2. Hi,
      Thank you so much. Yes , it does help. I actually want to use your app and sign up for the plan, but I do not use a smartphone. I have my laptop, but it does not work with the program, unless I am doing something wrong in the download.
      I could certainly use help!
      Thank you!

    3. Hi CT: The app will only work on a smartphone or a tablet at this time. We’re hoping to make it available for a laptop or desktop at some point! 🙂

    4. Hi,
      I keep forgetting my very basic question:

      It looks like a meal and a snack are the same thing (i.e. we eat the same amounts for each meal on High carb days, and each meal on low carb days, but we are eating 5 rather than 3x/day). Is this correct?


    1. Hi Shawna: Welcome to Transform! It is VERY common to be surprised at the amount of food you should be eating to reach your goals! Most people have the misconception (and ?old school? mentality) that you have to starve yourself to reach your goals?this is not the case at all. For our approach, we start you at the highest calorie intake possible to boost your metabolism and prime your body, then if you EVER plateau, the program will adjust your portions in a ?step-down? manner, to maximize your results and keep you losing. This is transformation the way it SHOULD be done! Your meal plan is totally customized to you and your goals, and so you can feel confident that if you eat all of that delicious food, you will achieve your goals! 🙂

    2. Hi Team Powell,
      Thank you so much –I’ll look forward to the laptop app!

      I’m a bit concerned though, as without it, I think I may not succeed. I’m really struggling with getting enough protein without the carbs for each meal as a strict vegan.
      I actually gained a pound this first week. I’m going to give it another week, but any tips for a Vegan high protein/low carb meal that I can ‘grab & go’ would be great! I don’t mind eating the same thing over and over–it’s the thought process and trying to plan the right options that are causing the stress-lol.

      If you have any tips for what I could use as a meal for low carb day, that would be so wonderful, as I can’t afford another week of gaining.
      Thank you!

    1. Hi CT,
      I?m also Vega and I get you!
      I just started this using huge amounts of tofu, but that results in too much fat on high carb days.
      I will use Pea Protein Powder other Vegan Protein powders and defatted Peanut powder as my low fat protein source. I don?t care about the taste, will just stir it in water, maybe add some vanilla. It?s a cheap and good option for me.
      Hope this help!

    1. Hi Scott: We recommend eating within 30 minutes of waking and to schedule your first meal around your morning workout as best works for you. Fasted cardio works for some people and not for other people. Here’s a post that can help:

  10. Hey there!

    I think I have confused myself! For the snack portions, am I supposed to eat a serving of vegetables with it?


    1. Hi Rachelle: You can have veggies (the non-starchy/non-root type) with any meal or snack! 🙂

  11. What is the difference between turbo and extreme cycle? I just bought the book and I love it so far. Also had a question of what pumpkin is considered a vegetable or carb and is cloud bread allowed? I’m very excited to start this journey.
    Thank you.


    1. Hi Caroline: On the Extreme Cycle, You’ll have 4 high carb days, followed by 2 low carb days, then your reset/cheat day. On the Turbo Cycle, you’ll do 2 low carb days, 1 high carb day, 2 low carb days, 1 high carb day, then your reset/cheat day. And pumpkin is considered a vegetable. And cloud bread is allowed, and it would count as a fat. You can do this! 🙂

  12. Hey there:)
    I?ve started the turbo cycle and just have one question. For the low carb days, is there a carb gram limit to how much I can consume in a day to still be considered low carb?

    1. Hi Charity: For the Turbo Cycle, you’ll only want to eat a carb with breakfast, and then no carbs the rest of the day. There’s a great chart in this post that shows you how to put your meals together on the Turbo Cycle: We don’t have gram counts available – we’ve tried to make things as simple as possible. Simply follow the chart, and you’ll be good to go! 🙂

  13. Hey Guys!

    So I am looking to figure out what your thoughts are on my breakfast that I do. So I am a fasting workout lady! I also work out at 4:45am until about 6am mon-fri unless im too tired and can’t get up. But I never eat when I wake up I get up do my normal routine takes about 20 min. Drive to gym & drink my preworkout on the way there. Once I get home from the gym thats when I eat so Im home by 630 at the latest. Most programs I find the people dont work out early mornings and I can’t seem to find anyone that can give me some info on if what Im doing is ok or not. My schedule is busy and I do not have time in the evenings for the gym or during the day mornings are my only option. But am I ruining my plans with not eating before the gym? I have done this for 5 years now and sometimes i wake up feeling ugghhh but eating isn’t the first thing on my mind if i go to the gym if I dont I do eat breakfast as soon as I get up. Let me know what you think as I would like to know if I am hindering my progress doing this.
    Thank you


  14. Hello Heidi and Chris!

    I am on month 7 of my weight loss journey. I have managed to lose about 40 pounds. I originally started, by just cutting out junk food and introducing healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. I believe I was doing carb cycling unknowingly. I was able to lose my first 30 pounds this way before I hit a plateau. This was from January through June. As far as exercise I began by walking, progressed to trying crossfit for 3 months and now I’m working on my strength (3 days/week) and cardio (2 days/week). Since the plateau I attempted to do the Keto diet twice and always failed at about day 10-12. I even tried to do whole 30 as well. I am wondering your thoughts on me trying carb cycling. I love to eat healthy, but still like to enjoy my treats. I am currently about 35% BF and my goal is fat loss. I am not sure what my starting BF was but I was 275 lbs when I started and now I am 233. I would like to get down to at least 20% BF. I am just really trying to avoid another long plateau and hoping to find that this works for me.

    Thank you for the guide and all of the information.

    1. Hi Jenn: Congratulations on losing 40 pounds – that’s awesome! I’d definitely give carb cycling a try, and there are links to all of Chris and Heidi’s carb cycles in this post: And you can change cycles at any time too! Another option is Chris and Heidi’s new app, Transform with Chris & Heidi, and it offers you a totally customized nutrition and exercise program that changes as you progress towards your goals, which means you shouldn’t ever hit a plateau. You can learn more about their app here: No matter which option you choose, you can totally do this! 🙂

  15. Hi I am starting carb cycling and am currently training for a rim to rim Grand Canyon hike in October which means I am hiking, walking or doing some sort of weight training 6 days per week. I am a 43 year old female, 5ft 4 in and weigh 167. When I started getting ready for this hike my weigh hovered around 156-159 but no consistent meal plan or workout plan. Every day I feel as if my legs are swollen and sore so I don’t know how much is water retention and/or swelling. I believe my ideal weight should be around 135. I have tried so many different types of dieting, cutting carbs, juicing, etc and don’t want to join any of the local weigh loss centers out of desperation but I am frustrated. I want to lose about 30-35 pounds of fat and continue training at the same time. I am looking at the turbo cycle and wondered if that is the best option for me. Thoughts?

    1. Hi Jessica: Any of the cycles can work, so choose the one that will work best for your schedule and goals. And you can change cycles at any time too! The Turbo Cycle can definitely work, and if you find you need more carbs for your workouts, you can try the Fit Cycle. You can do this!

  16. I have a question! I’m just starting to get into carb cycling and I’m afraid that the 1200-1500 calorie amounts list for women are lower than a diet I can stick to long term. Do you think I would still see results if I did 1400-1700 or 1450-1800? Results would certainly be slower, but i could still get it done that way right? I am a 32 year old, 5’7″ female who weighs 145-150 lbs trying to trim down to 135-140.

    1. Hi Jessica: You might want to check out the Extreme Cycle (, or Chris and Heidi’s new app offers you a customized nutrition and workout program based on you and your goals, and you can check it out for free for one week. It’s amazing! You can learn more about their app here: Either of these options can help you achieve your goals! 🙂

  17. After years of being overweight, my top weight ended up at 256 lbs. Now with sleep apnea, high blood pressure, hypothyroidism and pre diabetes, I decided to try the Dash Diet. I lost 10 lbs and started exercising at the gym, which made me feel pretty good, but I haven’t lost or gained any more weight…I’m kind of stuck at the 10 lbs weight loss. Do y’all think that carb cycling will help my get over the plateau, and should I build some ways into my plan to change things up for the next time I hit a plateau?

    1. Hi Pat: Carb cycling could definitely be a good option for you, and we recommend you discuss any nutrition and exercise program with your healthcare team first and then follow any modifications they may recommend. And the way Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program is formulated helps prevent any plateaus. You can do this! 🙂

  18. Hi I am on extreme and I read above that you consider carrots a carb but they are listed as UNLIMITED in the extreme transformation book!

    1. Hi Marni: The information about carrots in this post you’re referring to has been changed for the new book. Carrots are technically root veggies, but they carry such a low carb impact AND they’re so full of nutrients, that Chris and Heidi changed them to veggies in the new book. 🙂

  19. Hi, I’ve just started carb cycling after reading the book choose more to lose more.

    In the book it doesn’t really specify, how often should I switch up the TYPE of excercise that I’m doing for my shredders? Also, am I able to repeat said excercises after a certain time span without my body adapting too well? I’m limited to things mainly in my neighborhood and my home.


    1. Hi Ryan: If you have an activity you really like, you can totally do that for your shredders. It is good to do some other activities also to work different muscle groups and so your body doesn’t adapt, so maybe throw in a different activity for your shredders 1-2 times a week. You can also change up the intensity and duration of your shredders as your fitness levels increases, and that can help also. Hope that helps!

  20. I have another question? If I eat the kind granola bars for snack is that only on a high carb day and counter towards my protein and carbs? Thank you

  21. Hi I have the book but confused on a few foods.
    Can I eat hard boiled eggs, turkey bacon, and turkey or chicken sausage or sausage in general? Thank you

    1. Hi Dina: In the Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit cycles, 2 egg yolks are considered 1 fat portion and 4 egg whites are considered a protein portion. Bacon and sausage are considered fats. If you’re following the Extreme Cycle in “Extreme Transformation,” there is a complete list of acceptable food ideas beginning on page 302. I hope this helps! 🙂

  22. hi! i really like carb cycling but i don’t know exactly how many calories i need. i do my diet with 1000 on low carb and 1300 on hight carb

    1. Hi Mary: If you’re following the Easy, Classic, Turbo, or Fit Cycles, you’ll eat 1200 calories on low carb days and 1500 calories on high carb days. If you’re following the Extreme Cycle, you’ll eat around 1500 calories every day. We recommend that you never go below 1200 calories a day as your body does need calories to simply function properly. I hope this helps, and we wish you the best! You can do this!

    2. Hi I am confused with “fats” some cc sider nuts as fats. But they are also protein. So how do you calculate on a low carb day the amount?

    3. Hi Nat: In carb cycling, we consider nuts as fats, and while they do have some protein and carbs, we try and keep things as simple as possible. If you’re following the Easy, Classic, Turbo, or Fit Cycles, then you’ll follow the chart in this post when putting your meals together. For the Extreme Cycle, you’d follow the chart in this post: I hope this helps! 🙂

    1. Hi J: On the Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit Cycles, you don’t consume fat on high carb days. Some foods have a bit of naturally occurring fats, but this is totally okay. 🙂

  23. Hi Team Powell-
    I have been doing the extreme carb cycling for almost 4 weeks now and have lost about 7 lbs (my goal is 20 lbs.). So far I’m quite impressed with the program and I am enjoying the carb cycling. (My weight loss has slowed down the past two weeks so will probably do a slingshot week next week).
    Some carb confusion questions I have are in regards to some veggies. I have been supplementing most of my mid-day meals (meals 2-4) with carrots, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, and sugar snap peas, among other easy finger food vegetables. Are any of those veggies considered a starchy veggie (thus a carb) or are they part of the unlimited veggie category? Also- what about butternut squash– veggie or carb?
    With the veggie/carbs questions above, do you calculate your veggies into the calorie/macro count for meals?
    Thanks for any and all assistance. And thanks for the very helpful meals on the app– love it!

    1. Hi Mary: All of the veggies you listed are considered “unlimited” except for peas and carrots. Those are considered carbs, and carrots are kind of on the fence, so eat those more sparingly. In general, any non-root/non-starchy veggies are great options for unlimited veggies. And while they are unlimited, we do recommend that you track anything that you put in your mouth – it keeps you accountable. And we’re so excited you’re loving the app!

  24. I am concerned…I am a 66 yr old woman in a wheelchair….I need to loose 100 lbs to have my knees replaced…being in a wheelchair I get little exexcise so I burn off very little calories. I’m confused whether I should start off with Turbo or go with Extreme….I have been doing Extreme for several days and can not believe how much food you have/need to eat daily….since I can not burn off much with exercise am worried with this much food I will continue to gain…fast. Please advise me…I’ve heard carb cycling is the fastest way to loose weight, and that is what I need…but do you think it can help me?

    1. Hi Janet: Since 80% of weight loss is nutrition, following a sound nutrition program like carb cycling can definitely get you closer to your goals. If you’re using the app, when you update your progress in the app, you should have an option automatically pop up asking if you want the program to auto-adjust for faster results. Please click YES, and let the program do its work! If you’re not following the app but following the Extreme Cycle as outlined in “Extreme Transformation,” you can rest assured that the program is designed for weight loss and you won’t want to decrease your calories. We wish you all the best – you can do this!

  25. I’ve been following extreme transformation for 2 months and I’m happily down 10 pounds! To lose more I’ve started turbo cycling but I’m getting bored from the same low carb meals. Are there other recipes of yours for this phase other than in the extreme transformation book? I can find a lot of random low carb ideas on line but your recipes help me with portion control and others don’t . Another question: is it okay to simply continue turbo until I reach my goal weight or do I need to throw in a few high carb days too? Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Betty, I was wondering did you find the first week or two tough where you didn’t loose any weight? Im 7 months postpartum and trying to loose my 53 lbs (now 44lbs) of baby weight. Im just starting into week two but was a little bummed I only lost 1.5lbs the first week. Just curious someone else who’s been on the program longer how you found the first few weeks 🙂

    2. Hi Shannon: You are doing awesome! Your rate of weight loss can fluctuate at the beginning of a new program while your body adjusts, but it?s really nothing to worry about. Here?s a post from Heidi?s blog that gives some reasons why this can happen as well as some awesome troubleshooting tips: And if your program ever thinks you’re plateauing, when you update your progress in the app, you should have an option automatically pop up asking if you want the program to auto-adjust for faster results. Please click YES, and let the program do its work! You got this! 🙂

  26. Hi, I would like to try this, but am concerned about the calories. I know you’ve answered questions about calories, but mine comes from a hypo hypo/hypothalim amenorrhea point of view. This is something I’ve dealt with in the past and have been super fit/marathoner, but I was within normal bmi range when diagnosed (plus found out I have hashimotos at the same time). I was able to regain my period by completely stopping workouts and eating at least 2,500+ calories a day instead of focusing on nutrition for a few months. Anyway, I want to keep my period but re-enter the fitness world, work on my nutrition, and feel good again, but am worried about losing my period again if I go under 2,000 calories since my body seems to be more sensitive than others. Have you dealt with this before?

    1. Hi Sara: With medical any issues, it’s always best to follow your healthcare team’s recommendations for both nutrition and exercise. You might discuss Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program with your team and then follow any modifications they may recommend. We wish you all the best as you work to achieve your goals – you can do this! 🙂

  27. Is butternut squash (as well as acorn & spaghetti squash) considered a starchy veggie? I’m finding mixed reviews on this one.

    1. Hi Rochelle: In Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling programs, all squash are considered veggies. 🙂

  28. hi heidi:),
    im so happy i found this article to read:), ive only recently started carb cycling and its been so hard. im 19, female 5’2 weigh 57kg. ive been at my weight loss journey for 6 months and now i feel like im hitting a plateu. my belly fat doesnt seem to be shifting, especially the lower part. i researched a lot on what diets i can do and i found carb cycling, to loose fat but maintain the muscle. so far ive been finding it hard on what to eat. i have 2 high carbs days which is leg days mon and thurs. mornings i have 2x slice wholemeal toast with almond butter avocado and fruit. 3 hrs later a snack, a protein bar paired with fruit. then lunch chicken breast with green beans and 125g of brown rice. 3 hrs later fruit with nuts. then 3 hrs later dinner chicken breast with veg and salad or lentils with salad/veg. sometimes 3 egg whites with veg and 2 wholemeal toast. 2 hrs i hit gym half a banana before i go, 2 hrs workout later protein shake and fruit with cottage cheese. low carb day same brekky, dinner just chicken salad with avocado snacks the same dinner chicken again with veg or stir fry the rest the same. i know its super long:/ , i would love if you help me out. thank you.

    1. Hi Mehz: Which carb cycle are you following? If you’re following the Easy, Classic, Turbo, or Fit Cycles, then follow the chart in this post when putting your meals together. If you’re following the Extreme Cycle, follow the information in this post: You’ll have a serving of protein for every single meal no matter which cycle you follow, then follow your cycle as outlined to add a carb, or fat, or both (again, depending on which cycle you’re following). Hope this helps! 🙂

  29. Hi ,
    I have done 6 NPC Competitions in the last 3 years, so I am use to preparing my meals but I always weigh my food. I am looking at the chart to prep my meals. Am I to add veggies to every meal on high and low carb days? Today (Sunday) will be a high carb day because today is leg day. breakfast I crushed up 2 rice cakes, mixed some strawberries and blueberries and used a cup of unsweetened almond milk with a scope of protein powder. My next meal will be a protein, probably potatoes and should I had asparagus or green beans?
    For tomorrow on low carb day, would a meal be grilled chicken, green beans and tablespoon of olive oil?

    1. Hi Rachel: Yes, you can add veggies (the non-root/non-starchy type) to every meal, both low and high carb. And your meals sound great, just make sure you’re not getting in too many carbs for those high carb meals. 🙂

  30. Heidi,

    My biggest issue is and has always been that I am a super fussy eater. I don’t really like vegetables at all and have a hard time eating. I can eat carrots, peas, potatoes and corn but that’s about it. So having a handful of veggies with each meal seems daunting to me. Any suggestions on how I can follow this plan effectively being such a fussy pants? :/

    1. Hi Jenn: How about salads? Or try new ways of cooking veggies, which can help also. Can you eat veggies grilled with a protein source? Like for fajitas, or something like that? I’d keep experimenting, and do your best! And you can also juice your veggies if you need to, and try adding a handful of spinach or other greens to a fruit smoothie also. Hope this helps!

  31. i’m super interested in carb cycling but nervous about the seemingly extremely low calorie intake. i burn around 1200 calories a day in just my workouts so if i only consume 1200 on low carb days i’ll be in a starvation state wouldn’t i? can i increase the calories and custom tailor the plan but just stick to the general idea of it?

    1. Hi Stefanie: The key to losing weight is to have a calorie deficit – burn more calories than you consume – so these recommended numbers are solid. For example, if you consume 1200 calories a day and burn 1700 through daily activities and body functions, you’ll have a 500 calorie deficit each day, which equals a pound a week weight loss. You don’t want to go below 1200 calories a day because that can put your body into starvation mode. Hope that helps! 🙂

  32. I’ve just purchased your book since after trying a ketogenic diet (which was too extreme and basically made it “easy” to eat bacon ALL the time).

    My only question is around breakfast timing. I’m up around 6 am and then it’s a half hour of getting everyone ready before we head out to daycare dropoff and then I go straight to the gym (class at 7am). There isn’t enough time for me to eat before class (and i wouldn’t want to either) so my first available time to eat breakfast is at 8:30 am when I get to work, making it harder to get 5 meals in per day and I know the book suggests eating when you first get up. Any suggestions?

  33. Hi Heidi,

    I bought your Extreme Transformation…what can I use for snacks instead of dairy products? I have developed a sensitivity and some days I’m ok and others I am not. so just looking for some non-dairy ideas…

    thank you,

    1. Hi Shelly: There are a lot of other protein and fat options besides dairy. Get a great list beginning on page page 302. 🙂

  34. You use to have a PDF document link with the approved foods list. I recently moved into a new house and mine disappeared off from the refrigerator. I can’t seem to find it anywhere. Do you have a link to it. I have the Choose more to Lose more book but wanted something I can just glimpse at when making my menus.

  35. Hi,

    First of all I want to thank you for sharing this great information.

    I told my Clients/Friends about your carb cycles and they’re ready for the challenge, so that’s great news.

    I only have one question regarding the low and high carb cycles. So on the low carb cycle days I should start with my breakfast “Proteins + Carbs” , but are these the only carbs for the whole day?

    This means that my breakfast consists of 20% carbohydrates (75 grams) ??

    75 grams Carbs
    150 grams Proteins
    150 grams Fat

    Intake Goal 1500

    Please let me know! I appreciate your help!


    1. Hi Angelo: For the carb cycles you’re talking about, it’s recommended that women eat 1200 calories on low carb days and 1500 calories on high carb days. Men will eat 1500 calories on low carb days and 2000 calories on high carb days. We really don’t have macro breakdowns for each cycle since everything is figured out for you if you follow the plan. But in case you do want to track macros, here are the recommended macro percentages for the Easy, Fit, Classic, and Turbo Cycles: High Carb Meal (including EVERY breakfast): Protein: 40%, Carbs: 40%, Fats: 20%, Low Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 20%, Fats: 40%. So even on low carb days, you will get a few carbs in your diet after breakfast, but that’s totally okay. Just follow the chart in this post as you put together your meals, and you should be good to go!

  36. Hello
    Do you recommend for me to do Fit or Turbo cycle I need to loose around 10-15 lbs I’m 5’3 , 138lbs …I workout 5-6 times a week doing insanity Max 30 or hammer n chisel strength workouts …I’ve been following Turbo as much as I could but no weight loss

    1. Hi Dina: This chart is for the Extreme Cycle, and this cycle is a bit different from the Turbo Cycle. Here’s how you can convert percentages to grams for the Turbo Cycle: Daily protein and carb grams: total daily calories (1200 for low carb days and 1500 for high carb days) X recommended percentage ? 4 = total grams for the day. For fats: total daily calories x recommended percentage ? 9 = total grams for the day. Once you have a daily total, you can divide these grams between your meals as you?d like, keeping in mind the recommendations for how to put your meals together. 🙂

  37. I started the turbo cycle, but what should I be eating for the reward day? Is it a low carb day plus a “cheat” meal?

    1. Hi Emily: On your Reward Day, you can eat anything you want up to an extra 1000 calories! 🙂

  38. Hi do I follow for Turbo cycle the calories for extreme cycle meal plan
    Breakfast same for High n low
    Protein 150 cal Carb 200 cal

    Low carb day
    protein 150 cal
    Fat 100 cal
    For all 4 meals
    High carb day
    Protein 100cal
    Carb 200 cal
    For all 4 meals

    1. Hi Dina: No, the recommendations are a bit different for the Turbo Cycle. Here are the macro percentages to aim for: High Carb Meal (including EVERY breakfast): Protein: 40%, Carbs: 40%, Fats: 20%, Low Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 20%, Fats: 40%. 🙂

  39. I am just starting. In the classic cycle, a high carb meal is protein carbs and vegetables 5 times a day?

  40. Hey Team Powell

    I started Turbo yesterday with low carb and today with high carb to stay on track with the week, and i have more questions.

    My breakfast is 2 whole organic eggs, a slice of plain ezekiel toast, and a handful of carrots. I’m confused on if i’m messing this up…is 2 whole eggs too much yolk? Is a slice of bread and a handful of carrots just two servings of carbs or a carb and a vegetable?

    And if you can give me any way to make broccoli taste better with some sort of seasoning without hurting my low carb days that would be great ? I’m working towards eating a larger variety of greens and broccoli is my go to right now. 2 cups at every meal after breakfast helped curb all of my cravings otherwise which is amazing and if i really have to tough it out and go plain, i’ll make it work!

  41. Hello– i’m going on my 2nd week of Turbo Carb Cycling & am wanting to making healthy desserts (plain greek yogurt bark) but i really want to add a bit of sweetness — Which form of stevia is best to use? Liquid Drops, Stevia in the Raw, etc? There’s so many artificial sweeteners i don’t want to end up choosing the wrong wrong thinking it’s healthy/natural.

    1. I forgot to mention— i have Truvia– but after researching i realized it’s not natural so that type is a no go for carb cycling correct?

  42. Quick question! On high carb days, if a meal that was prepared for me has one to three nuts in it … Or a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, how damaging is this? Will it throw off my whole week? I know I am supposed to be eating only a protein and carb and no added fat … But wondered if the fat in such small portions might be considered a condiment at that point?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Raquel: It’s best to not add any fats to your high carb meals since foods do have some naturally occurring fats in them. 🙂

  43. Hi! First of all, thank you for your work!
    I’m planning a new meal plan for me, and I got to know this webpage, which is awesome. I’m thinking about starting classic or fit method, as I want to increase my lean mass without gaining too much fat in the procces and I’m starting with around 15% body fat. That’s why I need to increase my calorie intake to around 3000-3200, and maybe 2600-2800 on non-training days. My doubts (some of thousands) are: should I increase protein, carbs or fat intake to get to that number? Only protein? Do I have to increase carbs and keep protein number steady? Should I to get to max-calorie even in non-training days suppling with protein?

    Well, I find carb cycling always focused on weight lose, but it seems to be a good option to increase mass without fat. The thing is there is far less information about it.

    Thank you so much
    Regards form Spain

    1. Hi Nie: You can adapt any of the carb cycles to your calorie range using these percentages: Easy, Classic, Fit, and Turbo Cycles: High Carb Meal (including EVERY breakfast): Protein: 40%, Carbs: 40%, Fats: 20%, Low Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 20%, Fats: 40%. Extreme Cycle: Breakfast (EVERY day): Protein: 30%, Carb: 40%, Fat: 30%, High Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carb: 50%, Fat: 10%, Low Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carb: 10%, Fat: 50%. And here’s another post that might help too: Hope this helps – you can do this!

  44. Hi guys!!

    I’m a big fan of your show,every Sunday I wake up at 7:55am just to watch it (I’m in M?xico).

    Since January I tried a lot of diets and I had lost 22 pounds, today my weight is 243.6, and 5’4″ height. I really need to accelerate this process so I decided to follow a Carb Cycling diet. I have been reading about in your blog and I was about to buy one of Chris’ books, But I would like you to help me to decide which plan I must follow and what book I should buy.

    I need to go from size 20 to size 16 before the end of the year, do you think this is possible and healthy?

    Thank you!!

  45. Hi, I am reading your book on extreme transformation and I am trying to figure out how I create my own meals. I travel a lot for work and need to do some easier things. How do I know the portion size for the amount of carbs I am eating? I used to do the zone and that was great but I am not so sure about portion sizes and what is appropriate for me. I currently weight 260 at 5’4″ and am looking to go for extreme or turbo plans.


  46. Hi Heidi! Thank you so much for sharing all this Information on carb cycling. I am I week 2 :).
    I have a protein shake/meal replacement that I love but it has 10 grams carbohydrates….is this okay on low carb days?

    1. Hi Tisha: For low carb days, you’ll want to use a powder with preferably 5 or less grams of carbs per serving. And welcome to carb cycling!

  47. Hi Heidi, I am going to start the turbo Cycle. How do I know which food falls into which category? For example, is cheese a fat or a protein?

    1. Hi Vickye: In general, lean meats, egg whites, low-fat cottage cheese, and nonfat plain Greek yogurt are proteins. Nuts/nut butters, oils, cheeses, avocados, and olives are fats. Fruits, whole grains, cereals, pastas, legumes, and starchy vegetables are carbs. There is an extensive list of food options in “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” so that would be helpful too. You can do this! You can find a link to purchase this book, and any of Chris and Heidi’s products, here:

  48. Hi Team,
    Quick query??Do I weigh/ measure my protein & carbs after or before cooking?

    Thank you!
    On Day 2?Felt really good bout eating clean??Meal planning for the 1st time ever! Very excited bout this!

    1. Hi Sasha: If ingredients are listed as cooked in the recipes, then measure those cooked. Otherwise, measure foods pre-cooking. You can do this!

  49. Hey guys, I am planning a carb cycle for my daughter and I was wondering if you could give me some good ideas on meal 2 which would be her snack at school before lunch. Any health bar would be an easy choice just not sure which one is the best option. I appreciate your help. Thank you!

  50. Can I use coconut oil to cook minced meat ( 1tbs for 5 meals ) for low carb days!!
    Thank you!! Iam starting tomorrow ?Wish me luck?

    1. Hi Sasha: Yes, you can use coconut oil as part of a low carb meal, and this would count as the fat portion for that meal. You can do this!

  51. Hello Powell team.First of all I have to say Im in love with you as a Family.I live in Bosnia and Herzegovina(Sarajevo) and we dont have chance to follow your program all the time , so Im catching what I can on internet.
    Im just starting Turbo Cycling Carbs , and Im pretty happy and excided.Im little bit confused about breakfast ( i dont know what to eat ) and pre workout meal.I work out 6 times per week,(around 90 min, both cardio and weight exercise).My workouts are around 7 p.m. so i really dont know what can be my snack before workout.
    Thank you so much for helping to so much people.You are real inspiration.
    i hope this way of eating will help me hit my goal (to loose fat and weight-15kg) Im struggling whole my life.
    LOVE YOU HEIDI and Chris <3 from other Continent
    p.s. sorry if I have some typing mistakes

    1. Hi Berina: Welcome to carb cycling! For breakfast, you’ll have a portion each of protein and carb, plus veggies if you’re still hungry. And here’s a post that can help you figure out the working out and eating thing: You can do this! 🙂

  52. Hi Heidi. I recently just had a baby (6 weeks ago). I am currently breastfeeding but want to start my workouts again. I am interested in doing the fit carb cycle. I weightlift and do cardio 5 days a week if not 6. I don’t want to lose anymore weight as I have lost all my pregnancy weight plus some a week after birth. I’d just like to build my muscle back up. So my question is do I stick to the calories you have posted for low carb and high carb days or should I be eating more since I breastfeed and workout? Thanks

    1. Hi Amanda: Congratulations on your new baby! Here’s a post that outlines Heidi’s breastfeeding carb cycling program: Hope it helps you figure out what will work best for you. 🙂

  53. Hey Heidi!
    Maybe you said something about this already, but I’m a little lost on how many carbs I should be eating on high carb days! 🙂 And the amount of low-carb days is scaring me a bit bec I’m recovering from extreme calorie restriction and binge eating. I am trying to lose weight because I blew up like a balloon after being so low carb low cal, and then binging on food for a good 5 months. But then extreme restriction after noticing I was gaining more weight than I wanted. My body won’t lose weight anymore bec it thinks I’m starving so it’s been storing everything as fat I guess. It’s been a complete nightmare and I am so discouraged :(… I feel like I have tried everything. My whole life I have been an athlete and I just want to get back to my old self. A friend recommended carb cycling to help with this “metabolic damage”, so yeah… Just lost ha! Thank you for all you do! A lot of my friends from Reebok know you and I hope we cross paths one day! 🙂

    1. Hi Tara: If you’re following the Extreme Cycle in “Extreme Transformation,” here’s a post that outlines several meal planning options as well as how to put your own meals together macro-wise: If you’re following one of the other cycles, here are some general macro recommendations: High Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 40%, Fats: 20%. Low Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 20%, Fats: 40%. And remember, each gram of protein or carb = 4 calories, and each gram of fat = 9 calories. And here’s another post that might help too: Hope this helps – you can do this!

  54. I’ve always been active in sports and weight lifting and have tried many diets and constantly yo-yo dieted. Every year I feel like I have improved a little when it comes to not falling off plan.. but recently I’ve really wanted something that my boyfriend and I can follow that will lead us to success and to maintain it for the rest of our lives. I don’t want to follow fad diets but more make it something that is realistic to our every day life. I’ve watched your shows and you guys look and are amazing people and are definitely an inspiration to us. I’ve done some research on carb cycling, also on 21 day fix containers ( easy way to measure ur macros.) I don’t want to lose any more weight but I want my body to stay toned and keep working on my physique without feeling fatigue after 1 week eating healthy. I feel like we under eat at times, therefore it leads us to binging for next 3-4 days and feeling exhausted…. Its a constant battle for us and i’m just looking for something that will change our lives and that we can make it a lifestyle that works for both of us and to better our bodies. I’m very interested in your transformation book as I could probably learn more about this topic.

  55. Just started carb cycling! on low carb days, 1200 calories is recommended on the chart-as well as 1500 on high crab days. I exercise pretty hard and am active throughout the day. Do you recommend eating back in the exercise calories, or sticking to these calories recommendations on the LC and HC days?

    1. Hi Cassie: If your goal is to lose weight, you don’t want to eat back any calories burned through exercising. It’s like this: calories consumed – calories burned = calorie deficit (lose weight) -or- calorie surplus (gain weight). Hope that helps!

  56. Hey there. I have 2 meal replacement shakes a day and they do have carbs in them. Are they ok on low carb day? On low carb day according to the chart we just eat carbs for breakfast? How do you know how many grams of carbs per day?

    1. Hi Teri: Which cycle are you following? Chris and Heidi recommend low-fat, whey-based protein powders with between 15-20 grams of protein and less than 5 grams of carbs per serving. This can count as the protein portion of any meal, both LC and HC.

  57. I have a question in regards to your plan. If you’re lactose intolerant, what do you recommend for your meal plans that have dairy in it? Are there other healthy alternative fats without having to eat cheese?


    1. Yes! All three books have extensive food lists with many non-lactose options for both proteins and fats. And you can put your own meals together for all 5 cycles, so that should be helpful too. 🙂

  58. I’m really excited and just started the Turbo Cycle. I read the book, and I have been reading several posts on your blog. The extreme cycle adds in fat for breakfast and takes out carbs for dinner on high carb days. Should I be doing that with the Turbo Cycle?

    1. Hi Ashley: You’ll want to follow the Turbo Cycle as it’s outlined since each cycle is formulated in a certain way for certain reasons. Welcome to carb cycling!

  59. Do you guys suggest the same eating schedule for someone who works evenings? I don’t usually wake up until about 10 or 11am & most days I work out at midnight. Thoughts? Advice?

  60. I’m just learning about carb cycling and I’m have trouble in tummy area been eating clean for 5 months now and so far only 10 pounds I have definition on my arms and legs but my pouch doesn’t go away. Still eating clean but would like to give carb cycling a change. I wanted to ask you in the morning I always drink shakes. ( whey protein, spinach, oats and natural peanut butter) is that okay to drink every morning. ( it does work for me- find it hard to eat solid in The morning) this is what I eat everyday chicken/tuna-(P) oats/sweet potato (C) broccoli/green beans (V) avocado/peanut butter (F) don’t have carbs after 4pm and eat every 3-3.5 hours.

    1. Hi Jules: You can learn about the different carb cycling programs in this post: For your outlined breakfast, this would be an option on the Extreme Cycle (link in the post) as it does have both a carb and a fat included in breakfast. As for your other meals, this post (Carb Confusion) shows you how to put your meals together for the Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit Cycles, and check out the link for the Extreme Cycle for how to put meals together on this cycle. You can do this!

  61. Hello! I am on my first week of Turbo cycling. Going well so far, but I am pretty hungry. I am looking at veggie options that I can eat on low carb days. Are carrots allowable on low-carb days? My book stated “no” but I thought I read somewhere (but can’t find it now) that the guidance for that has changed. Can you please give me some clarification on the status of carrots? 🙂 Much thanks.

    1. Hi Valerie: Yes, you can eat carrots as “veggies,” and you can have two fist fulls of veggies with any meal, both low- and high-carb! It’s pretty common for your body to take a bit of time to adjust to a new way of doing things, so stick to your cycle, and you can totally do this!

  62. I have a question about fiber intake. I have been carb cycling for a few weeks now and have seen a HUGE difference in my slim down goals. I was looking at my food diary the last couple days and noticed that I’m eating little to no fiber.
    How much fiber a day should I be consuming and what are some good, low-carb sources of fiber?

    1. Hi Jennifer: Fiber comes from carbs, so you will get some fiber in fruits and veggies as well as whole grains and legumes. For fruits and veggies, look for strings, seeds, stalks, and skins, and these types will have more fiber in them. And make sure you’re eating high fiber sources for your breakfast carb, for your veggies (which you can eat with every meal), and for high-carb meals. Hope that helps!

  63. Hi! So far I’m down 10 pounds after 3 weeks of cycling! I have a quick question…can I use shakeology shakes as snacks on low carb days or should I just use as a meal on high carb? I bought them and do t want them to go to waste!!

    1. Hi Tara: Shakeology shakes would be best for a high-carb meal as they do have a good amount of carbs, and one shake would count as both the protein and carb portion of a high-carb meal. Hope that helps!

  64. On the a turbo and extreme plans I know the difference are breakfast. Other than that can I use the meal plan ideas from extreme transformation for turbo cycle?

    Also, do Heidi and Chris recommend protein shakes for every snack?

    Thanks, Maggie

    1. Hi Maggie: You can use any high-carb meal from any of the books for a high-carb meal. and the same is true with low-carb meals. Hope that helps!

  65. Hello! Can you please clarify how many flavoring portions are allowed. I’m not sure if it’s per meal or per day. I cannot seem to find the answer in the book. Thanks ?

    1. Hi Jen: You can use flavorings throughout the day, just be sure to include them in your calorie count. Hope that helps!

  66. Hi Chris and Heidi, I am so happy I discovered you guys. I am going to try the Turbo Cycle because I need to loose weight fast well at a healthy rate while working out and then I plan to continue being healthy and active. I have a question though for our protein can we have a protein shake or a protein Bar? I was following the ideal protein diet and have lots of high protein low carb snacks left that would hate for then to go to waste. Thank You for being so inspiring.

    1. Hi Pamela: Yes, you can use protein bars. Just make sure you use the correct one for the correct type of meal. ?

  67. Thank you for your help. I am confused with how to measure fat. If it’s olive oil or almond butter I get one tablespoon. But if it is a portion of almonds, how do you measure that in ounces or how many almonds per serving. A thumb size is hard for me to measure in nuts, etc..


  68. After reading the carb confusion article I would like to clarify one point. I know veggies are a carb, but are they NOT considered a carb in the plans if they are the green leafy ones (not root veggies etc)? So when a meal class for a “carb” does that mean grains, fruit, root veggies? and veggies are considered just veggies and therefore should not be added into My fitness pal and registered as a carb?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Jen: Yes, this is correct. While veggies are technically carbs, in carb cycling they have their own category. ?

  69. Hi guys. I got your book (Extreme Transformation) at the library and really liked it. I followed it really close and lost 15# in about 5 weeks, which is good for me. Im 52 now and find I lose slower now, but on your plan I actually lost more and quicker than I usually do, so Im excited. The carb cycling seems to work for me (and I love the idea of the 5 meals a day plan because I seem to have a high metabolism because I get hungry more often than my husband, who teases me your always hungry! On your plan Im actually pretty satisfied thru the day). I only need to lose another 15# or so.. I love all the recipies and plan on incorporating many in the future in my meals. I just have 2 questions. Unfortunately as we know, eating healthy can be a lot more expensive and my grocery bill went up about $25.00 on the plan, Any suggestions on helping to do healthy eating on a budget? I love the fact were eating healthier and I want to keep eating this way. The second question is, do you weigh your meat protein before or after you cook it? Some people say before, some say after and its confusing. Which way do you do it? Thank you very much

    1. Hi Linda: Congratulations on losing all those pounds – that’s so exciting! I answered one of your questions in your other comment. ? Check out this other post for several options for putting your meals together, and these might be very helpful for you!

  70. Hello,

    Is it better to drink protein shake on high or low carb day? Also is it ok to have other natural sugars on high days like honey, dark choc etc?

    1. Hi Kim: You can have a protein shake on any day. However, you’ll only want to add a fat to it for a low-carb meal or a carb for a high-carb meal. And it’s best to leave any sugars/sweets for reward days.

  71. Hi Powells!

    I have a question. I want to get serious about carb cycling haha. I’m also a nutritionist by trade, have a BS in nutrition and exercise science.

    I am confused that on some of your high-carb day meals, you add cheese (bbq chicken pizza, etc). I thought on high-carb days, fat isn’t allowed? Or are you counting the cheese as protein?

    Also, when you say no fat on high-carb days, do you mean added fat? For example, what if I added olive oil to my homemade marinara?

    1. Hi Suzette: The BBQ Chicken Pizza recipe I believe you’re referring to is a Clean Cheat meal, so you’d eat it on a Reset Day. Since there is a bit of fat naturally in some foods, there will be some fat in meals even on high-carb days. We try and keep that fat to a minimum, so you wouldn’t want to add olive oil or any fats for high-carb meals. If there is any added cheese to any high-carb meal (as with some of the recipes in “Extreme Transformation,” it’s in such a small amount that it doesn’t add too much fat to the meal. Hope that helps!

  72. Hello,

    I was looking at the graph above, how come Chris and Heidi don’t suggest having a carb with a fat? For example having an apple with some raw almonds or an apple with almond butter?
    Thank you:)

  73. Hi Team Powell
    I’m sorry if this has been covered before but I’m struggling to find the answer…. Is pumpkin one of the veggies you can eat unlimited or would it be only for a high carb day? I ask as I’d love to make a pumpkin soup as an afternoon snack, but not sure where it fits in.
    Thank you for your help! 🙂

    1. Great question! Yes, pumpkin is considered a veggie, so it can be eaten on both low- and high-carb days.

  74. Hello, quick question for me also : i am starting carb cycling this week after a long time of plateau in my fitness journey. I am very exited about it after finishing both books!

    based on the fact that on low carb days a women should eat 1200 kcal a day on low carb days and 1500 on high carb day, should this include the fiber intake ? by this i mean the greens and non starchy vegetables ? Since i don’t feel very secure with the portion method im keeping track with my fitness pal just to get “the hang of it, So basically : Do veggies count as kcal intake or not ? or are the 1200/1500 based only on the macros : protein fat and carbs and not fiber ?

    1. Hi Jas: Welcome to carb cycling! Carbs (fruits, whole grains, legumes, etc.) and veggies contain fiber, so if you’re eating carbs and veggies, you’re also eating fiber. In the Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit Cycles, you can have two fist fulls of veggies (the non-root/non-starchy type) with every meal on both low- and high-carb days. On the Extreme Cycle, you can have pretty much unlimited amounts of these veggies. Hope this helps – you can do this!

  75. Hi, I’ve written to you a couple of times already but have many questions to ask still, especially now since I keep on not loosing weight, not even one single pound:( Is it ok to write long long questions here? Or should I contact you somewhere else?
    To make it simple in the mean time, i’ve been doing carb cycling as a vegetarian now for almost two months with the turbo cycle…and i have lost nothing!:( I track my kcals, don’t eat them back and workout ( try to do 5/week but not always able to due to work – i know I should do more, but was hoping the diet would do its part as well). I’ve been used to not loosing weight and was never easy for me (need to loose 22punds), but was really hoping this plan would work….can you give me any advice? If you need to know more info of backround, meal plan, anything that would be usefull I would be more than happy to share and listen to any advice, beeing pretty frustrated once again here 🙁 Sorry for the negativity…thank you!!!

    1. Hi, saw i didnt get an anwser, if the question was too long sorry for that. If you have read it anyways could i get any advice regarding the best cycle for my situation and any advice? Plus a question on Heidis Website in the extreme cycling Blog post. I didnt see tofu as one of the protein s listed in the chart…But is it ok to eat during the extreme cycle or should it only be eat en on hc days or not at all?thanks again!

    2. Hi Elisa: Sometimes it takes a bit longer to answer comments, but we do our best to answer all of them. Tofu is an acceptable protein.

    3. Hi Elisa: I’m sure this must be frustrating for you! If you can workout 5-6 days a week, that would definitely help you burn more calories. The way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you consume, so make sure you’re doing that. Here’s another post about calories that might help explain this: If you’re following the Turbo Cycle, aim for 1200 calories on low-carb days and 1500 calories on high-carb days. If you’re following the Extreme Cycle, you’ll aim for around 1500 calories a day on both low- and high-carb days. These calorie recommendations don’t work for a few people, so you might tweak what you’re doing a bit and see if that will help. You just don’t want to go below 1200 calories a day. You can do this!

  76. Hello,

    I’m not sure where to ask this question. What is Heidi’s and Chris’s advice on eating fruits? You hear both sides of it from people, that fruit is good, it’s a clean healthy food and it’s natural sugar and as long as you track it, so that you’re not eating hundred of calories of fruit and not realizing your consuming those calories. And you hear don’t eat too much fruit because it’s high in sugar and carbs. Is it okay to eat fruit everyday?

    1. Hi Lauren: Fruit is considered a carb in Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program, and is full of fiber, vitamins, and nutrients. There’s a graphic in this post that outlines how to put all carb cycling meals together, and on high-carb days, fruit can be the carb portion of any high-carb meal. Of course, other carbs are important also, so it’s best to eat a variety of carbs. Hope this helps!

  77. Dairy intolerant- What would So-Delicious Dairy free Yogurt be considered? Can I use it as a protein still or should I just not eat that?

    1. Hi Jennifer: From what I can find, this product doesn’t have enough protein in it to qualify as a portion of protein. And it doesn’t count as a carb serving because it does have a considerable amount of fat. I know it can get pretty confusing, and I hope this helps.

  78. Hi, my question in regards to the Classic cycle. I have the last 2 books but can’t seem to find Choose to lose. So on the graphs for the last 2 books it states on high carb days that you can eat carbs? But maybe I’m confused but I thought that on high carb days the last snack and the dinner the carbs are not allowed? Please advise. Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Cynthia: There’s an awesome graphic toward the end of this post that shows you how to put all your meals together. Basically, for a high-carb meal you eat a protein, carb, and veggies (if you’re still hungry). For low-carb meals, you eat a protein, fat, and veggies. Breakfast is always a high-carb meal whether it’s a low-or high-carb day. Hope this helps!

  79. My husband and I are following your diet. How would we serve spaghetti on the high carb day? Keep everything separate or mix it all together and eat a certain amount?

    1. Hi April: Great question! It might be easier to track your calories and make sure you’re getting the right portions sizes if you serve spaghetti and sauce separately. Hope that helps!?

    1. Hi Nancy: Chris and Heidi recommend leaner cuts of meat. I’d look at the restaurant’s website nutritional information, which can be very helpful in deciding what to eat when away from home.

  80. Question about Quest bars. I hear a lot about them being “low carb” because when you subtract the fiber grams from the carb grams it makes them a low carb option. Should I be doing this to all items, such as high fiber pasta? I thought carb grams were all created equal and a carb is a carb? Can someone clarify this for me?

    1. Hi Elise: Great question! Yes, Quest-like bars are considered low-carb, especially since they have a pretty good amount of fat. However, you’ll want to treat pastas and other grain products as carbs. Hope that helps!

  81. Hi, I didn’t see this question asked in this thread (sorry if it was and this is a repeat). You advise to eat your first meal within 30 minutes of waking, what if I work out first thing in the morning and don’t wake up in enough time to eat prior to working out (as context I do crossfit)?

  82. What a power couple! Love what you guys do for so many families!
    One question… on the turbo cycle. Can you switch the reward day and high carb day? For example, make Saturday the reward day and Sunday a high carb day? THANK YOU!!

    1. Hi Ashley: You can change your reward day, but you’ll want to keep the days of the week in the same order. So if your reward day is Saturday (day 7 of the carb cycle week), then day 1 would be Sunday, and you’d go from there. ?

  83. Hello, I just bought the choose more, lose more book and I’m ready to start the classic carb cycling. I’m confused on how many flavorings and beverages I can have per day. On low carb day, if I’m doing 1200 calories per day at 100 cal portions of each food.. That doesn’t leave me much room for the smart flavorings. Is there a set amount or guideline for this? I couldn’t find one in the book. Thanks!

    1. Hi Tamara: You can use the flavorings and beverages as you’d like, but you will want to include those calories in your daily totals. If you follow the portion size guides, you should be good to go! The foods list with calories is to help you put your meals together and give you an idea of how many calories are in certain portions sizes, and these portion sizes do not always match up with the portion size guide. You can use both to put your meals together to help you make sure you’re staying on track. Good luck – you can do this!

  84. Thanks for the quick reply. So with that information and from what I can gather in the book, would you approve this for breakfast: Protein Shake with 2 scoops protein powder, 2 cups water or unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 2 TBSP peanut butter, and 1.5 cups of oatmeal blended in? Do you recommend a certain protein powder like Optimum Nutrition, or something like what I can get at my local Wal-Mart?

    1. Hi Robert: Based on what you’ve told me, this is about 200 calories of carbs, 200 calories of fat, and 200 calories of protein. On page 72 in the book is a chart that outlines how many calories of each macro you should shoot for for each meal, and for breakfast, men eat 200 calories of protein, 150 calories of carbs, and 150 calories of fat. As far as protein powders, Chris and Heidi recommend low-fat, whey-based powders with between 15-20 grams of protein and less than 5 grams of carbs per serving. Hope this helps – you can do this!

    2. In all of the carb cycles, if you follow the portion size guidelines and/or recipes, all of your macros are taken care of for you. We try and make things as easy as possible! ?

    1. Hi Gina: There isn’t an app at this time, but keep an eye on their social media channels for any announcements of anything in the future.

  85. hey guys,

    just bought your book and excited about getting started, but I’m confused about something. I’m needing/wanting to do the Turbo cycle. The protein shake option is optimum for me as I don’t really care for eggs any longer. On p.205 it says that to make it a low carb meal add veggies + fat (no carbs listed) but on p. 273 for the Turbo Cycle Sample Weeks you have listed for breakfast a Protein + Carb (no veggies or fats). I have read almost all of the comments on here and you say multiple times that every breakfast is a high carb meal…please clarify this for me.

    1. Hi Robert: On the Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit Cycles, every breakfast on both low- and high-carb days is a high-carb meal. Beginning on page 205 are listed both breakfasts and snack recipes, so that basic protein shake can work as the protein part of any meal, depending on what you eat with it. I hope this helps – you can totally do this!

    2. Thanks for the quick reply. So with that information and from what I can gather in the book, would you approve this for breakfast: Protein Shake with 2 scoops protein powder, 2 cups water or unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 2 TBSP peanut butter, and 1.5 cups of oatmeal blended in? Do you recommend a certain protein powder like Optimum Nutrition, or something like what I can get at my local Wal-Mart?

  86. Hi! I’m 25 and would need to loose 12-20 punds…I?ve always eaten healthy and exercised a lot, but have never found a diet that would work to lose the extra kg I?ve had on since a teen. Around 6 years ago I started eating barely anything that got me to loose quite a bit, stopped after 3 months and followed by eating bit more calories with barely any carbs for a long time?and all of that for sure did not help my metabolism. I?s been two years now that I started eating more again, carbs and all and have been able to loose a little bit finally, but definitely not enough and got interested in carb cycling.
    I’ve been following Carb cycling for a while now…I did one month classic cycle before the holidays and it seamed to work ok ( 1-2 kg in a month, considering everything a good result for me). After the holidays I started again with the turbo cycle, and in 3 weeks today have not lost anything! 🙁 I understand that I?m probably not the best candidate to loose quick since I?ve already followed a lot of restrictive diets and don?t burn as fast as some ppl do, but since I?m trying very hard ( I work out 4-5 time a week and follow the plan as a vegetarian – so the options and not even that many and it?s hard) and would want to know your opinion and what to do! Thanks a lot! Elisa

    1. Hi Elisa: It sounds like you’re on the right track! I’d keep carb cycling, make sure you’re hitting the daily calorie recommendations (1200 for low-carb days and 1500 for high-carb days), and add in an extra day of exercise if you can. And cardio-type exercises you can do will burn some extra calories. If the Classic Cycle worked for you, then you might want to go back to that cycle again. It’s okay to change cycles at any time. You can do this!

    2. Hi, thanks for the anwser. I’ve been trying to loose for so long I really was hoping for something more effective this time since I read the book and it sounded so good for so many ppel. The classic cycle was ok, but not great for me…(1-2 kg in a month that wasn’t what I was hoping for!) , would the new extreme cycle be a better option? Plus isn’t the turbo supposed to be even better for shedding kg fast? I’m following a workout plan with 3 resistance training days and 3 liss ones for now, that will become 3 and 4 in the next weeks, but I will try to do more. I do count my kcals with myfitness pal so I’m quite sure about the calories..thanks again. Happy Friday!

    3. The Extreme Cycle is awesome, so give it a try. It’s really about which cycle works best for you. And make sure that your calories burned aren’t added back into your daily calories on your app. Sometimes apps do this without us realizing it. You don’t want to eat back calories burned – they go towards your daily calorie deficit, which leads to lost pounds. You got this!

  87. This infographic would have been EXTREMELY helpful to have had in the Powells new extreme makeover book. I am very frustrated that after spending $14 on a book, I had to go to their website to try and figure out this whole how many calories can I have thing. You may want to publish an adjustment for us e-readers!

    1. I’m so sorry for your frustration. The daily calorie recommendations are in the book on page 27. There’s also a chart and other info in Day 4 that shows you how to put your own meals together, which is totally okay. You can use the outlined recipes each day (where all your calories are figured out for you), put your own meals together, or a combination of the two. The plan is very flexible to fit into your schedule and goals. I hope this helps – you can do this!

  88. hi, i have a question about carb cycling, i do hiit cardio on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays along with cardio on the weekend + weight training while going no carb, and on my off days Tuesdays and Thursdays i go high carb consuming only sweet potatoes and alot of fruits which is kinda like a reffeed.

    will i have the same results as going high carb on workout days and no carb on rest days or should i switch it up?

    1. Hi Nicole: The answer to this question depends on some factors, and what works can be different for each person. Chris and Heidi recommend protein with every meal on both low- and high-carb days, and even on low-carb days, you have a carb for breakfast and then veggies all day (which are technically carbs). Carbs are an important part of good health, even though they are limited on low-carb days. In carb cycling, we never go no-carb. Please refer to the graphic in this post to see how we put all our meals together in carb cycling, and for links to each of the carb cycles. With as active as you are, you might want to start with the Fit Cycle or the Extreme Cycle. Good luck – you can do this!

  89. Hi! I have two questions : 1) would veggie Burgers with 187kcal, 8,7 g fat, 11,4 g carb, 13,8 g protein be a ok source of protein for both HC and LC days? 2) Im now switching to turbo cycle, if I do the cheat day on saturday do i necessarily ned to start the week on sunday or can i start the week with lc on Monday and just switch Sat with sunday that would now be cheat day and hc day? If not why?
    Thanks a lot!!!!!

    1. Hi Elisa: 1) These veggie burgers would be best for a low-carb meal (both the protein and fat portions) since they do have a good amount of carbs. 2) You can move your cheat day to another day, but it’s best to keep the days in the outlined order since this is the order of days that Chris and Heidi have found that works best. Hope that helps!

    2. Thanks for the anwser…But do you mean they would be better for a HIGH carb day because of their amount of carbs?:) thanks again!

  90. Hi, I have a question regarding the amount of calories I need to eat at the low- and high-carb days. I understand from the book that for women it’s 1200 for low-carb and 1500 for high-carb, which is only an estimate. Do this numbers work for every woman? I am 5’5”, weight around 147 lbs. and follow Jamie Eason workout routine (according to some . According to Eat To Perform calculator my average BMR is 1437 cal and TDEE is 2479 cal. Now, I did some calculations to obtain grams of macros for low and high carb days as well as calorie intake and this is what I got LOW-CARB: ~1719 cal and HIGH-CARB: 2043 cal.
    Do these numbers look correct? Or how can I calculate a correct calorie intake without under eating or over eating? Are there any numbers I can use to get correct macros intake in grams? I came across different ratios online, not sure who I should trust. Also, I understand measuring with the hand is the basic when eating wholes food.
    *I am planning to do the Turbo cycle and maybe later the Fit cycle depending on my results.
    I would appreciate very much your response. Thank you!?

    1. Hey Marisabel,

      I was reading this post today and got my attention, did you ended up figuring out the cals intake for the turbo plan? I am now doing this, I just started yesterday but im confused with the cals, I am 153 and 5’4 . Where did you calculate your macros?

      Thanks! 🙂

    2. Hi Yesica: On the Turbo Cycle, women eat 1200 calories on low-carb days and 1500 calories on high-carb days. As far as macros, if you follow the recipes and/or portion sizes, all your macros are figured out for you. Good luck – you can do this! ?

  91. Hi ! 🙂

    I so want to start Carb Cycling (the Fit Cycle) but that portion system is so confusing to me …
    Could you give me an equivalent in grams or calories for each portion ? Or just some clear examples please ? Like, I really don’t see how to measure 2 handsfull of veggies.

    Also, is the overall number of calories the same for everyone ??

    Thank you !

    1. Hi Sarah: Since each food has a bit of a different calorie/gram count for the same portion size, it’s very difficult to give you those counts. There is a list of approved foods broken down into calories in “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” so you could use those, or just do your best to follow the portion sizes. For the Fit Cycle, women eat 1200 calories on low-carb days and 1500 calories on high-carb days. I hope this helps – you can do this!

  92. Hi, can I know if overnight rolled oats with unsweetened almond milk and banana is a good choice for breakfast?
    Also, is cocoa powder okay to use in any meals? unsweetened cocoa powder

    1. Hi Fion: Yes, unsweetened cocoa powder is okay. As for your breakfast, you’ll only want to eat one portion of carb, so if you’d like both oats and a banana (since both are carbs), then eat 1/2 of each. And you’ll need to add a protein to your breakfast too. 🙂

  93. help! i seems to gain weight instead of losing it!
    been cooking my own meals and i don’t understand why.
    no fat on HC day, no carb on LC day. 2 clenched fist of veggies each meal
    Do you consider salmon as fat or protein?

    1. Hi Neo: Salmon would be considered a protein. How’s your working out going? That’s a huge key to weight loss. And remember that each breakfast is a high-carb meal for both low- and high-carb days. Your rate of weight loss can be slower if you don’t have a lot of weight to lose, and it can also take your body a bit of time to adjust to a new way of doing things. Double check and make sure you’re following your cycle exactly, workout as recommended, drink all your water every day, and you can do this!

  94. White, red and yellow potatoes…. ok as a carb???? Which are best?? I’m not really into sweet potatoes but LOVE others! Fingers crossed!!! 😉 THANKS!!!!

  95. I know Chris and Heidi have their own line of shakes. I have a couple questions about them. Are they the type to be drank as a meal replacement? And if so, if I were to drink one for breakfast, would I add anything to it or eat along with, or is their shake enough for a complete meal? Also, since Quest bars are carb cycle approved, does that make Quest shakes approved also?


  96. Hello! I’m on my week 1 of Classic CC, however I’m a little confused regarding HC day with no fat.
    For example, if i were to make an egg white omelet with spinach, i’ll have to use a bit of oil in order to cook it. However olive oil is counted as fat right?
    How do we cook a dish ( protein + carb + veg ) without oil?

    1. Also, can I drink dymatize elite 100 whey protein mocha during LC day? It contains 1 grams of carb. I wanna load up on my protein intake in case I’m not eating enough protein per meal.
      This is fine for HC day right?

    2. As far as protein drinks/powders in general, Chris and Heidi recommend whey-based products with between 15-20 grams of protein and less than 5 grams of carbs per serving. As long as your protein supplement falls within those guidelines, you’re good to go!

    3. Hi Fion: You might try using nonfat cooking spray or an oil spritzer, which will add almost no fat to your foods.

    4. i see. then can i check with you,
      how many almonds = 1 fat portion?
      also, is salmon counted as fat or protein? since salmon contains healthy fats

  97. Hi Heidi 🙂

    I’d just like to start by saying that this plan has been the single biggest breakthrough on my (long and previously largely unsuccessful) weight loss journey – I’m slightly evangelical about it and tell everyone I meet that it REALLY works! I had been on a plateau a long time and now am consistently (and easily) shedding weight. Thank you!!! I’m also really looking forward the new book (I’m based in the UK and it isn’t out here yet)….

    My question is about fat on the high carb days (I’m on turbo). I use myfitness pal to log everything and am still unsure what percentage my total fat consumption should be on those days. I try to keep it as low as possible without being obsessive about it – but would love some help on the macros so that I know whether I’m generally on track. So on low carb days I have 10% carb, 35% fat and 55% protein… high carb is 50% carb, 10% fat and 40% protein… does that sound right to you? Is 10% fat ok on those high carb days?

    Also, is there a better online tool I can use?


    Lucie xx

    1. Hi Lucie: I really don’t have recommended percentages to give you since we go by calories and portion sizes, but some fat will naturally be in the foods you eat no matter if you’re on a high- or low- carb day. I think your percentages look great, and as long as you’re following the portion size guides, you should be good to go! 🙂

  98. I need some clarification for low carb meals…if I have a salad with chicken and use a greek yogurt type dressing which only contains 2.5g of fat per serving can I still add some avocado to my salad for fats or does the dressing use my fat amount? if I can have avocado how much can I use of it?

    1. Great questions! You can count 30-50 calories of your dressing as a flavoring, then use the avocado as your fat. Try for a thumb-sized serving or about 1/3 cup (about 70-100 calories). Hope that helps! 🙂

  99. Hi Heidi, can you just explain the rules regarding flavorings. Is there a daily limit to the amount I use? I am mostly concerned about the higher calorie/higher fat items such as the vinaigrettes and hummus. Thanks!

    1. Hi Heather: You can use flavorings when you’d like to, just make sure to count those calories and don’t go overboard. 🙂

  100. Hello,
    I was wondering about a high carb day snack. I wanted to do 1/2 cup 2% fage greek yogurt which is the protein but I was curious about the carb component. I wanted to do granola but I also wanted to do fruit. Would I be able to do 1/4 cup granola and 1/2 an apple instead of 1/2 cup granola or 1 whole apple? Thanks

  101. I’m trying to figure out the right foods for each of my snacks, and there are times in the morning for my second meal, when I’m simply not that hungry, but I know I need to eat. So I was thinking of having greek yogurt or cottage cheese, and then add fruit and veggies for high carb day and a fat and veggies for my low carb days. But which brands of greek yogurt and cottage cheese are great ones to eat?!

    1. Hi Jenni: This is a perfect idea! As for Greek yogurts and cottage cheese, you’ll want to choose reduced fat/low-fat or non-fat kinds. Besides that, you can choose whichever ones you like the best. 🙂

  102. Hi,
    Just wondering about flavored yogurts…If they are nonfat can we count them as a protein if they are greek yogurts? Thanks

    1. Hi,
      Thank you for your quick response! I did notice the nonfat yogurts had more carbs and sugars when fruit are added or just vanilla. Are they still acceptable? Thanks again!

  103. thanks for your anwser! about portions?.i am using a calory counting app as well as the indications from chis?s book just to be sure im not exceding the calories, but like the amountts in the examples of recipes dont really seem to be the same as the ?hand portion? ones?.so just to be sure im not mistaking can you give me some advice on portions ( and this i ask because im on week 3 right now and have not lost much at all)? for example if it says 4ounces of egg whites, that is more than the palm of a hand when done like an omlet for example, or 200g of cottage cheese as wel?what should i stick to, his measurements in ounces, calories and grams of protein/carbs or hand portions? thank you so much!

    1. The portion sizes should be pretty close, but you can count calories if you like to also. 🙂

  104. I started the Turbo Cycle 4 weeks ago, today is my second day of Sling shot week..and I’m so full!! I’ve had a hard time grasping and fully understanding the thought process that I’m now eating 5 meals a day, not 3 meals and 2 snacks. There are days where I find myself hungry and anxiously watching the clock for when I can eat next, and others where I”m simply not that hungry in between meals. I’ve read, but wanted to verify because I’m so cautious and want to do this the correct way; protein bar wise, Quest bars are best for low carb days and Clif Builder bars for high carb days? I feel that maybe having the bar in the afternoon as meal #4 would be better for me since I’m typically still pretty full from lunch. Yay or nay? Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Hi Jenni: For low-carb meals, Chris and Heidi prefer bars like Quest and Kind + Protein bars. They have some carbs on the label, but since most of these carbs are dietary fiber, they are actually what we call “non-impact carbs,” and these carbs don’t count. They also have a good amount of protein and fat?perfect for low-carb meals! For high-carb meals, they recommend bars like Think Thin and Cliff Builder, even though they do have some fat content. The key to knowing which bar is best for which type of meal is to look at both the carb and fat content. If more calories come from fat than carbs, then that bar is a good option for a low-carb meal. If the reverse is true, then that bar is a good option for a high-carb meal. Chris and Heidi do recommend consuming only one protein bar a day, since it is best to eat whole foods whenever possible. Hope that helps!

  105. Hi! I have a question about protein bars….if i want to choose to eat them as snack both on HC and LC days, I understand they would need to have at least 15g of protein, but what about carbs and fats? how much should carbs and fats should there be inside to be on LC days? and on HC days? thanks a lot this would be really helpfull!!!!!

    1. Hi Elisa: The key to knowing which bar is best for which type of meal is to look at both the carb and fat content. If more calories come from fat than carbs, then that bar is a good option for a low carb meal. If the reverse is true, then that bar is a good option for a high carb meal. Chris and Heidi do recommend consuming only one protein bar a day, since it is best to eat whole foods whenever possible. Hope that helps!

    2. thanks for your anwser! about portions….i am using a calory counting app as well as the indications from chis’s book just to be sure im not exceding the calories, but like the amountts in the examples of recipes dont really seem to be the same as the “hand portion” ones….so just to be sure im not mistaking can you give me some advice on portions ( and this i ask because im on week 3 right now and have not lost much at all)? for example if it says 4ounces of egg whites, that is more than the palm of a hand when done like an omlet for example, or 200g of cottage cheese as wel…what should i stick to, his measurements in ounces, calories and grams of protein/carbs or hand portions? thank you so much!

  106. Hello,

    I have a question about the graph above, first it’s so great that Chris and Heidi put this together so helpful. For the high carb day, lets say for the dinner meal, I have chicken and whole grain pasta, because chicken is my protein and the pasta would be my carb, does that mean I can’t put anything on the pasta? In the graph is it one serving of each protein and carb? So by doing my protein (chicken) and carb (pasta) I’ve used up the serving for protein and carb?

    On a high carb day where I wouldn’t eat fat, because my protein and carb foods would have some fat in them, is there a certain amount of fat grams I should be staying under on a high carb day? And same thing for a low carb day, where I need to stay under a certain amount of carbs when I eat the protein and fat?

    If I did zero fat greek yogurt with granola for a snack on high carb day, because I used the granola as my carb and the yogurt as my protein, I couldn’t put fruit in it because that would be a carb and I used my carb for granola, is that right?

    I’m sorry for all the questions, my hubby bought me the book today, I can’t wait to start reading it tonight when I get home.

  107. Hi, I have a quick questions, the above graph that shows portion sizes, which are the same for women and men, at the bottom of the graph it says men 1500 and women 1200 for low carb day, how do they have different calorie amounts when they use the same portion sizes? Thank you for the help!

  108. Hi,

    I was looking at the above graph, I think I’m misunderstanding it, it gives the portion sizes for your low carb day and high carb day, at the bottom it says estimated calorie intake goals for women and men. If the portion size is the same for both female and male for their meals and snacks, how is there a different in calorie intake for male and female? For example if both female and male are having a palms sized amount of protein and a fist amount of carbs for breakfast on a low carb day, both male and female are consuming around the same amount of calories? How do men end up consuming around 1500 a day and women 1200? Thank you for your help!

    1. Hi Isabella: It can be a bit confusing. Remember, men’s palms, fists, fingers, etc., are larger than women’s. It doesn’t take much of a larger portion to add the extra calories men consume. These are the portion sizes in this chart, and the calorie recommendations are there as a way to double check how you’re doing (or for those who really like to count calories). Hope this helps – you can do this!

  109. Hello!
    Any tips for a diabetic. I was diagnosed in February and cant seem to get it together. I do really good, then fall off track and want to give up. I work full time and am not sure how to incorporate eating every 3 hours, then I feel like I check my blood sugar in between there too, it gets me overwhelmed at times. Id loc to reverse my diabetes of poss and I know my weight, eating habits and lack of holding my self accountable for not consistently exercising all hurt me but for some reason I get right back off of it after I start . Any ideas? Thank you for any advice. Love the powell pack ?

    1. Hi Ellie: Here’s a post about carb cycling and diabetes, and I hope it might help: And please discuss any nutrition and exercise program with your healthcare team first, and then follow their recommendations. And here’s another post that might help too – it outlines Chris and Heidi’s #1 transformation tool: You can do this!

  110. Are chia seeds allowed with the program? Can I count them as a fat with my greek yogurt or is it too many carbs?

    1. Hi Marie: Chia seeds count as fats, so you could add them as the fat portion of any low-carb meal.

  111. It seems like this is more food then I usually eat in a day– ED habits… Do you recommend just GOING for it? or building to that amount slowly?

    1. Hi Megan: You can just go for it, and if it’s too much at first, then work up gradually. You can do this – it’s all about taking those baby steps. 🙂

  112. Hi I’m a vegetarian and am planning to start with CC right away! But I have a couple questions:
    – are ALL legumes ( so not only beans I have read i the book about) to be considered carbs and never protein? So when I eat any legumes I must eat protein as well?
    – As a protein source in the morning could I have soy milk/lactose-free milk together with my carbs? I only see almond milk among the drinks but would like to have e liquid protein source with oatmeal for example for breakfast….
    Thanks a lot!!!!

    1. Hi Elisa: 1). Yes, all legumes are considered carbs, so you’ll need to add a protein for a high-carb meal. 2). Soy milk/lactose-free milk are not on the plan as protein sources because they do not have enough protein/serving to qualify as a protein. And milk has carbs, also. Unsweetened almond milk is not counted as a protein or a carb, it’s counted as a beverage, so that’s why it’s a great option to use with cereal, oatmeal, protein shakes, etc. I hope that helps! 🙂

    2. Hi thanks a lot for your anwser, just another little thing. As snacks, would soy yogurt/fat free yogurt counts as protein instead ( in replacement for the greek yogurt) or same deal as for the milk meaning its not enough protein?

    3. It probably wouldn’t have enough protein. A protein serving needs to have around 15 grams. And watch the carb content on non-Greek yogurts too.

    4. Hi again,sorry for all The questions…But need help for The protein part! can a soy Burger (150 kcal, 6g of carbs and 16g of protein for 100g) be an ok protein source for both days especially a low carb day? We dont get tvp here in italy so it turns out i dont have many vegetarian protein alternatives…or you do u have any other suggestioni apart ? gg Whites, tofu and cottage cheese? Thank u so much!

  113. I’m also wondering about dark meat chicken- like chicken drumsticks. Are those alright as a protein source on the plan??

  114. Hi! I have another question about meats that may contain some fat. I recently bought uncooked buffalo (bison) burgers at trader joes. I went to have one with dinner the other night on a low carb day and realized that they are not as lean as I thought. One patty has 28 grams of protein and 29 grams of fat! When I saw this, I was uncertain as to whether or not to pair a healthy fat like avocado with the burger (as I would have if I were certain it was a lean enough protein). Since the burger was higher in fat than I thought, I chose to just eat it with veggies and no additional fat source. Can you help with this confusion?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Jen: I thought I’d replied to Jenn’s comment, but I hadn’t, so I just did. Here’s what I told her: You?d probably not want to eat these bison burgers on any day except for a reward day because of the extremely high fat content. This burger is okay protein wise (and actually has more protein than 1 protein portion), but even if it served as both your protein and fat, there?s still too much fat. Hope that helps!

    2. So sorry! I thought I’d replied to your comment. You’d probably not want to eat these bison burgers on any day except for a reward day because of the extremely high fat content. This burger is okay protein wise (and actually has more protein than 1 protein portion), but even if it served as both your protein and fat, there’s still too much fat. Hope that helps!

  115. Does this mean that I can never have a fat and a carb together? No more peanut butter on a piece of whole grain bread?

    1. Hi Joanne: Peanut butter on bread would be a great option for a reward meal/reward day depending on which cycle you choose. 🙂

  116. Hi,
    Just wanted to know if cliff builder bars are ok to have on high carb days? The carbs on the chocolate chip are 29 grams, but they have 8 grams of fat and 21 grams of sugar.
    Thanks so much, this is the best diet plan ever!!!!

  117. What is the flavorings we can have on high fat? Nuts are a fat but hard to measure a thumb of nuts I usually do a 1oz serving is that too much? Is butter aloud?

    1. Hi Monica: A one ounce serving of nuts is great! As far as butter, try and stick to spray butter instead of butter. Hope that helps!

  118. I’m a little confused about beans on the carb cycling plan. I understand they count as carbs, so to eat them only on high carb days. But, do they count as a complete protein – or would I want to pair them with some other protein? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Jenn: Yes, you are correct – beans count as carbs, so you’ll only want to eat them on high-carb days. And you will still add a protein portion to any meal where beans are your carb portion. You’ll have a portion of protein as the foundation of every meal – both low- and high-carb. Good luck! 🙂

  119. I’m a little confused how can I eat as many veggies as I want but they still have carbs? For instance carrots, I want to eat them for dinner but 1 carrot has 8 carbs; I don’t want to exceed my carb intake.

  120. Hi,
    I love carb cycling!! I am at my goal I have a BMI of 1344 and have started the maintenance plan, my question is, do I still eat 1500 calories on HC days, even if I cannot be as active as I usually am?
    I don’t know if we can eat anything off the list when it is not a reward meal even though it’s healthy, ex. figs, my neighbor has a fig tree and likes to share!!
    Regards and thanks for everything..I got this!!!!!

  121. Last question I think. I know beans and whole wheat tortilla is both carbs but is it ok to have the tortilla and 1/4 cup of beans for lunch on a high carb since it is a high carb.

  122. Ok so Chris on Dr. Oz had a snack example for low carb day was celery peanut butter and cheese stick what from that would be a protein? Can you have cheese on high carb day or is it too much fat? Can you have fruit on low carb? Any approved snack for a 6th? I eat dinner at 630 and sometimes get extra hungry how much time before bed to not eat.the hand sizing is weird for carb because one tortilla is bigger is there a idea of what grams our high carb should be.

    1. Hi Monica: The peanut butter and cheese sticks would be fats, although sometimes reduced cheese can count as proteins. You’ll only have cheese as the fat part of a low-carb meal, and fruits are carbs, so they can be the carb portion of a high-carb meal. And no 6th meal for the day – we only recommend 5 meals a day, spaced every 3 hours. If you do get hungry, try doing another activity, make sure you’re not thirsty, and try chewing some minty gum or a sugar-free mint. You can do this!

  123. After reading Chris’s-book I still feel lost – i feel like all I’m doing is counting grams etc. And getting overwhelmed, I don’t want to quit, I want to be successful. Are you telling me if I choose the foods on the approved list and just use my hands to portion it out I don’t need to count?
    What if it’s not on the approved list and or I make a recipe?
    Is there a contestant or someone I can get more help?

    1. Hi Abbey: You can totally choose your foods from the approved foods list and use the portion guides. Chris and Heidi have tried to make things as easy as possible. And you’re welcome to ask any questions right here, and I’ll do my best to help you. You can do this!

  124. is it ok to have something else other than veggies, if I get those hunger pains after dinner, can we incorporate a third snack??, so far my intake with all meals included is 1097?? what should that late snack consist of??

  125. hi, sorry I have so many questions, one last thing for today, this is my first day of doing the classic cycle, and I’m feeling abit tired, low energy, I know it’s just withdrawl, but should I push thru and do cardio today, or give it a few days so my body can adjust?? thanks

  126. hi team Powell, is it okay to split proteins, for example, in the morning, can I have half a serving of turkey, and half a serving of egg beaters, and the same for carbs and fats?? thanks

    1. Hi Tina: You can put your meals together however you’d like to as long as you’re following the portion size guides, so yes, you can have 1/2 of one protein and 1/2 of another, as long as the total equals one portion. The same goes for carbs and fats too. 🙂

  127. My apologies i posted this question in a blog and can’t find where I wrote it. Anyways after reading the book I’m still slightly confused. Away from your lists you made, how can I determine or calculate if something is a high carb or low carb?
    How do I use the nutrition facts to determine what category it belongs to fat , carbs, protein..etc

  128. Hi Guys!

    I will be starting carb cycling today! I am determined but have some questions 🙂

    First off.. If I workout first thing in the morning should I eat my breakfast? Usually I fast until after I workout.

    How do I incorporate my shakes? Can I have them for snack and then include a portion of fat to that meal? Or can I have just the protein shake?

    Im sure I will have a lot of questions but these are the most pressing ones right now. Thank you in advance for your help! 🙂

    1. Hi Tina: It should say on the label, but usually 1/4 cup equals 1 egg. Remember: Egg whites are considered proteins (4 egg whites = 1 protein portion) and yolks are considered fats (2 yolks = 1 fat portion). Hope that helps!

  129. Hello! Im 22 years old, in pretty good shape, a dedicated ashtanga practitioner, but I cant seem to lost that extra 7-10 pounds that is over my sculpted muscles! Every part of me thats thinner (chest, shoulders, abdominals) has distinct visible muscle tone. The parts not so thin, hips thighs arms, are very strong but have a layer of fat over the muscle. I just know there is beautiful muscle under there!!! I am considering starting the turbo cycling. Will it help me lose that stubborn fat???

    1. Yes, the turbo cycle could work for you! Follow the portion size guidelines in this post, and since you don’t have much weight to lose, you might also want to count calories since you don’t have that much wiggle room in your daily calorie amount. You can totally do this!

  130. I’m 2 months post pregnancy and I want to get back on track with my weight loss. I’m interested in what tests you preform to determine the best weight loss track. I know my BMI and Fat, I want to go deeper in knowing my body comp.
    Also I workout throughout the week (both cardio and weights) but I’m curious to know if there was one exercise that is the best what would it be?

    1. Hi Abbey: Congratulations on your new baby – that’s so exciting! As far as what body comp-related testing you should have, I’d chat with your healthcare team and see what they recommend. And there are so many different forms of cardio, and it’s great to include a variety in your workout routine so that you’re working different muscles in different ways. It also helps alleviate workout boredom too. And one of the most important things is to do activities that you like so that you’ll continue to work out. As long as you’re getting your heart rate up, it’s a great form of cardio.

    2. I have a question about “movement” (BM)
      I think I may not be getting enough fiber, any suggestions?

    3. Hi Karen: You’ll find fiber in whole grains, legumes, fruits (especially berries), and veggies – any carbs really. Be sure your whole grain products and cereals contain as much fiber as possible, and look for strings, stalks, and seeds (not nuts – seeds like in kiwi, for example) in other carbs because these are definitely fiber-related. And make sure you’re drinking all your water too (1/2 your body weight in ounces every day. 150 lbs = 75 ounces, for example). Hope that helps!

  131. hi to you .. my name is Erica i lost a good amount on paleo it had begun my journey with good eating and hard core workouts , i have plateaued and thinking of trying your carb cycling even though this and these foods will be non paleo… should i buy your books to help me come up with foods for the day whether its high or low carb day?


    1. Hi Erica: There is an awesome list of foods and a lot of recipes in “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” so that book can be a very helpful tool as you begin your transformation journey.

  132. I’ve read the whole book & a few of these websites & just when I think I’ve got it, I get confused again. Forgive me if you’ve answered this a hundred times, but I need help with protein shakes!
    The vegan powder my husband uses has 15 grams of carbs per serving, so I need to find a different one that I can use every day.
    The info about Powel Perfect Protein shakes days they have protein, fat & carbs, so I can’t use this every day, right?
    What’s the best protein powder that I can use every single day, adding either carbs or fats, depending on which day I’m on?

    1. Hi Deanne: For protein powders in general, Chris and Heidi recommend whey-based powders with between 15-20 grams of protein and less than 5 grams of carbs per serving. This serves as the protein-only portion of any meal. And please feel free to ask any other questions – I’m here to help!

  133. Hi Heidi!!
    Thanks for all this info and help! a couple quick questions!

    1. Are quest bars okay to have on lo-carb days as a snack w/ some veggies??
    2. On hi-carb days, you say no fat… is it okay to have low fat and just stay away from hi fat foods such as nuts, avocado, nut butter? Would low-fat quest bars be okay in the hi-carb days?? How do you stay away from fats on hi carb days??

    Ginamarie 🙂

    1. Hi Ginamarie: Let’s get you some answers! 1. Yes, Quest bars are good options for low carb days, and they do count as both the protein and fat portions of those meals, so you’re right – you’ll just need to add veggies. 2. On high carb days, you won’t eat any fat whatsoever except for the flavorings (low fat/reduced fat dressings, for example). And you won’t want to eat Quest bars for high carb meals because of the fat content. The key to knowing which bar is best for which type of meal is to look at both the carb and fat content. If more calories come from fat than carbs, then that bar is a good option for a low carb meal. If the reverse is true, then that bar is a good option for a high carb meal. And to stay away from fats, on high carb days, you’ll only be eating proteins, carbs, and veggies. Hope that helps!

  134. My doctor recently recommended a low carb, high protein diet. I have been reading about Carb cycling and I think I would like to give it a try. How is it different than what my Doctor suggests? I want to adopt a healthier lifestyle and not look at it as so much of a diet. My main vice right now is iced mochas. I’ve developed my own recipe that satisfies my sweet tooth, but I’m looking for a healthier milk alternative and a sugar alternative as well. Thank you for any help you may provide!

    1. Hi Kris: To correctly answer your question, it depends on what your doctor means by low carb. In Chris and Heidi’s program, there are both low and high carb days, protein is the foundation of all 5 daily meals, and fats are included as well. The graphic in this post outlines how to put those days together, so you might chat with your doctor about carb cycling and see what he/she thinks. As far as sweeteners, Chris and Heidi recommend Stevia and xylitol, and unsweetened almond or soy milk as alternatives to milk. Hope that helps!

    2. How meticulous do you need to be watching your macros? And is there some type of formula to know how much of each you should be eating? Loving carb cycling….

    3. Hi Karen: The graphic in this post outlines how to put all your meals together, so as long as you’re following the guidelines, your macros should be right in line. We don’t count grams of anything in carb cycling – just portion sizes (and calories if you wish), which makes things so much easier!

  135. Do you have a real life sample of a low carb/high carb meal?

    Would this work?

    A typical low-carb day:
    7 a.m: two scrambled eggs with 1/2 red bell pepper
    10 a.m:?protein shake with berries
    1 p.m: 3 ounces grilled chicken with 1 cup asparagus
    4 p.m: 1/3 cup oatmeal with 10 almonds
    7 p.m: 3 ounces steak with 2 cups steamed broccoli and cauliflower

    A typical high-carb day:
    7 a.m: 1/2 cup oatmeal with walnuts and berries
    10 a.m: apple with 2 tablespoons peanut or almond butter
    1 p.m: half turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread
    4 p.m: 1 cup three-bean salad with 1 cup quinoa
    7 p.m: 3 ounces grilled chicken with 1 cup whole-wheat pasta and pesto

    1. Hi Brienne: I’ve copied part of your post below for easier answering:

      A typical low-carb day:
      7 a.m: two scrambled eggs with 1/2 red bell pepper (egg whites only – yolks count as fats – need 4 egg whites for a complete protein, need to add a carb – every breakfast is a high carb meal)
      10 a.m: protein shake with berries (no berries, berries are carbs – no carbs on low carb days, need to add a fat)
      1 p.m: 3 ounces grilled chicken with 1 cup asparagus (need to add a fat)
      4 p.m: 1/3 cup oatmeal with 10 almonds (need to add a protein, no oatmeal since oatmeal is a carb)
      7 p.m: 3 ounces steak with 2 cups steamed broccoli and cauliflower (need to add a fat)

      A typical high-carb day:
      7 a.m: 1/2 cup oatmeal with walnuts and berries (no nuts/fats, need to add a protein, make sure your oatmeal + berries isn’t more than 1 portion of carbs)
      10 a.m: apple with 2 tablespoons peanut or almond butter (no nuts/nut butters on high carb days, need to add a protein)
      1 p.m: half turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread (make sure your turkey = a whole protein portion, can add a veggie)
      4 p.m: 1 cup three-bean salad with 1 cup quinoa (need a protein, and too many carbs – both beans and quinoa count as carbs)
      7 p.m: 3 ounces grilled chicken with 1 cup whole-wheat pasta and pesto (can add a veggie if you’d like)

      Here’s how to put together your meals:

      Low carb meal: protein + fat + veggies (non-root/non-starchy type)
      High carb meal: protein + carb + veggies (if you’re still hungry)

      Hope this helps – it’s a bit confusing at the beginning, but you’ll get it! 🙂

  136. HIGH carb day dressing: It is my understanding you can’t have fat on a high carb day but I see that you can have vinaigrettes but they have oil which is a fat so which ones can I have.

    1. Hi Scott: Salad dressings (fat-free/reduced fat/low fat) are considered flavorings, so you can have them with any meal. The serving size is 2TBSP, and be sure to count those calories because they can add up pretty quickly. Hope that helps!

  137. Hello,

    I have been looking into this for a while and would like to start Monday. I like to do all my grocery shopping for the week on one day. So in trying to get my list together and to plan my meals, is there anywhere I can find an approved foods list?

    1. Hi Kristin: There’s an approved foods list in Chris and Heidi’s book, “Choose More, Lose More for Life.” Here’s a post that will give you some ideas on protein sources:, as well as the info in this post for carbs. As for fats, think cheese/reduced fat cheeses, nuts, nut spreads, avocado, olives, etc. Good luck!

  138. I love love EWL and Heidi’s blog!!! Heidi and Chris inspire me to be healthier. I am confused on how many calories my husband and I should eat. We are doing cardio 3-5 times a week and lifting weights 5 times a week. If we are working out that much do we need more calories then the amounts in Choose to Lose? Also how many protein shakes do you recommend daily? I am close to my goal weight, but really want to be more muscular, any advice?! Thanks for all u both do ?

    1. Hi Heather: The answer to your question depends on how close you are to your goal weights and how intensely you work out. Try following the calorie recommendations (women: 1200 on low carb days and 1500 on high carb days / men: 1500 on low carb days and 2000 on high carb days), and if you need to, you can adjust your calories to support your workouts. Doing so could slow down your rate of weight loss, so please keep that in mind. As for protein shakes, try to stick to one a day to make sure you’re getting enough whole foods in your diet. And the best way to build muscle is to eat healthy and work those muscles, so you’re definitely on the right track!

  139. If I?m doing a Powell Perfect shake for breakfast on low carb day, do I still add some fat like peanut butter? Also, can I add a green super food powder as well- will that count as a serving as veggies?

    1. Since every breakfast is a high carb meal, you won’t want to add any fats, and your Powell shake counts as both the protein and carb portions of that meal. You can add the green super food powder if you’d like to, but make sure you’re getting some whole veggies in your diet too. Hope that helps!

  140. I’m intrigued by this plan and thinking about trying it. I exercise 6 days a week and I am a distance runner. I run my long runs on M, W, S and run a 4-5mile tempo run on T, Th followed by strength training, and a 5-6mile run F followed by strength training. I’ve never been overweight and I am fit now but looking for ways to get even more lean. My first question is: do I need to figure out how many calories I need to support my training and fit that into the carb cycling plan? Second: you guys say to eat breakfast within 30min of waking up. I get up really early to exercise so I can do it while my kids are still sleeping (they are 3 and 1). I can’t eat a meal that large right before I exercise. I normally eat half a protein bar or a small bowl of cereal with almond milk before I workout and then breakfast after. Can I do that if I allow 3 hours between those meals? Does that pre-workout snack count as a meal?

    1. Hi Brie: Let’s get you some answers to your questions! 1. With your intense workout plan, I’d start with the Fit Cycle (, and if you need to, adjust your calorie intake to allow you to be able to workout as you’d like to. If you do adjust your calories, make sure one thing you add is more lean protein. 2. Here’s a post that will help you with your eating and working out question: Welcome to carb cycling!

  141. Hi There! I just started carb cycling this week, still getting the hang of things! And I think I may have made a protein powder mistake! I spent $30 on a powder (Natureade vegan smart all-in-one), when I got it home I realized that it has a lot of different proteins/ nutrition stuff in it. Bottom line, I don’t think it’s 100% protein, it has 20 g protein a serving, but also 14 grams of carbs?! I already opened it, so I cannot return it. Is it okay to use? Maybe just on high carb days or would it work for low carb too? Or should I scrap it, and call it a $30 mistake?

    1. Hi Alene: No! No need to throw it away. You can use it for high carb meals, and it equals a protein and 1/2 (ish) a carb serving, so just add a 1/2 a carb, and you’re good to go! For a powder that counts only as a protein portion, choose one with between 15-20 grams of protein and less than 5 grams of carbs per serving. Welcome to carb cycling!

  142. Hi! We’re just starting out on our carb cycling journey and I had a question. Is it okay to skip the flavor portion of a meal? Like if on a low carb day if I have a meal of cottage cheese, almonds, and carrots, will this be complete? Or are the amount of calories in the flavorings necessary in the weight loss process? Thanks!

    1. Hi Heather: Yes, you can skip the flavorings whenever you’d like. They are totally optional. Welcome to carb cycling!

  143. If I’m doing a Powell Perfect shake for breakfast on low carb day, do I still add some fat like peanut butter? Also, can I add a green super food powder as well- will that count as a serving as veggies?

  144. Love you guys! Can’t wait to begin! Bought your second book and have looked around for “Sample” menus but can’t find any. The instructions for what to eat are easy to follow, but I always like to see some ideas laid out and to see what a day could look like, especially for snacks, etc. It helps for those of us who need inspiration. Thank you!!

    1. We really don’t have sample meal plans, but here are some meal ideas for low and high carb days (all recipes are from Chris and Heidi’s books: “Choose to Lose” and “Choose More, Lose More for Life”).

      Low carb day:
      Breakfast (within 30 minutes of waking): Basic Omelet with a corn tortilla to make it a wrap.
      Snack (3 hours later): A protein shake with a portion of a healthy fat, like peanut butter, mixed in.
      Lunch (3 hours later): Tomato Basil and Garlic Chicken with a portion of olive oil drizzled on top.
      Snack (3 hours later): Sonora Cottage Cheese with a portion of avocado.
      Dinner: (3 hours later): Lemon Chicken drizzled with salad dressing.
      High carb day:
      Breakfast (within 30 minutes of waking): Denver Omelet with a portion of your favorite fruit or oatmeal on the side.
      Snack (3 hours later): Greek Yogurt Parfait with a portion of low fat granola.
      Lunch: (3 hours later): Caribbean Jerk Chicken with a portion of brown rice.
      Snack (3 hours later): Protein shake with a portion of oatmeal mixed in.
      Dinner (3 hours later): Apple Cider Chicken.

      And remember, you can have veggies (the non-root/non-starchy type) with every single meal, and you can use any of the foods on Chris and Heidi’s approved foods list – in the proper proportions – to create meals to fit your needs. Hope this helps!

  145. hi guys! So just to be sure (sorry if you’ve answered this already)…do low carb cycle on my cardio days and high carb cycle on my weight days? Off the carb cycling topic but it would play into my cycling…Is it alright to do kettle bells and barbell exercises two days in a row? Either way, kettle bells would be considered a high carb day, right? You’re the experts! Thank you!!

    1. Hi Jenn: In carb cycling, for all four cycles, you’ll do strength training (9-Minute Mission) and cardio (Shredders) Monday-Friday. If you want to do your own strength training program, you totally can, just make sure you don’t work out the same muscle groups two days in a row. Your muscles need 48 hours to recover and get stronger in between workouts. And all four cycles follow an alternating schedule of low and high carb days, but each cycle has a different arrangement of these days throughout the week. The low and high carb days are associated with the foods you’ll eat, not what exercises you’ll do. Hope that helps!

  146. If I have cottage cheese and a handful of cherry tomatoes for my afternoon snack on a low carb day, is this complete? Does the low fat cottage cheese count for both the protein and fat?

    1. Hi Erin: Your cottage cheese counts as a protein only, so you’ll need to add a fat. 🙂

  147. Hello! I just started the carb cycling program and I have a question about string cheese. How many pieces can I have on low carb days? Thank you!

    1. Hi Sandy: One piece of string cheese would count as the fat portion of a low carb meal. Happy carb cycling!

  148. I’m currently doing crossfit 3x per week. Would it be better to do that on high or low carb days, or does it not matter? Also, would pb2 be considered a protein? Or carbs? Or neither…

    1. Hi Kayla: You can do CrossFit on whichever days works best for you. And for PB2, It really doesn’t count as a whole portion of anything in its 2 TBSP serving size. Maybe count it as a flavoring but keep track of those calories.

  149. I began the classic plan on June 21. I feel better and know I’m eating so much healthier…and have lost 7.5 pounds. Does that amount of weight loss sound on target? I’m 58, and I have to remind myself that everyone loses at a different rate. I want to lose 14 more pounds. Should I try the turbo plan or keep doing what I’m doing? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Diana: Congrats on those 7.5 pounds gone – that’s awesome! A person’s rate of weight loss depends on starting weight, muscle mass, and some other factors, and it can be different for every person. And the closer you get to your goal, the slower the pounds will come off. You can change cycles at any time, so do what works best for you! You’re definitely on the right track!

  150. Hello! I’m carb cycling. Using the fundamentals in the Choose to Lose book. I supplement with a lot of leafy vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. Should I be adding these carbs to my daily count?

    1. Broccoli and cauliflower are considered veggies in carb cycling, and you can have two fist fulls of veggies with every meal. These types of veggies are counted separately from other carbs. Good luck!

  151. Hi! My friends and I are starting carb cycling this week. Can we eat non-fat plain greek yogurt on both high and low carb days because it’s considered a protein? What about cottage cheese? Any day?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Amanda: Welcome to carb cycling! Yes, you can eat nonfat plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese as the protein part of any meal – both low and high carb. You can do this!

  152. Hello! I just have a quick question about breakfast on low carb days. I’ve been taking a “Premier Protein Shake”, with 5g of carbs. Is that enough carbs or should I also have some oatmeal? Thanks!

    1. Hi Chris: Your protein shake would count as the protein part of your high carb meal (breakfast), so you’ll still need to add a carb portion. And remember, every breakfast is a high carb meal (protein + carb + veggies), no matter if you’re on a low or high carb day. Good luck!

  153. I am trying to prepare my meal plan for the week to start with the classic cycle. But I am having trouble figuring out low carb day. For veggies I love cucumbers, carrots, salad, tomatoes, mushrooms,and potatos. But the book has potatoes and carrots as carbs, so I dont understand if this means I shouldn’t have those on low carb days? But I don’t want to Just eat salad all the time either. ..I know need to learn to like more veggies as I have always been fruit person. I want to be successful at this buy even with the book I still feel a little lost!

    1. Hi Sarah: Since the book was printed, carrots are now considered veggies in carb cycling, so those are an option for any meal. And since potatoes are considered carbs, you’ll only want to eat them as the carb portion of a high carb meal. You can do this!

  154. I’m sorry I’m not quite getting it. I’ve looked up several sites with lists of “non-starchy” vegetables but each list has different things on it. For example are carrots ok on the low-carb days? What about sugar snap peas? Can you suggest a reference list of the types of veggies to choose from on low -carb days?


    1. Hi Julie: Both carrots and sugar snap peas are considered veggies. There’s a complete foods list in Chris and Heidi’s book, “Choose More, Lose More for Life.” It’s awesome!

  155. Hi there!! I’ve been reading through all of the comments & haven’t seen anyone post this – so here’s my question:

    On Page 72 where it breaks down what to eat with each meal on high or low carb days…for breakfast On low-carb days, it says to eat protein, carbs & veggies. However, on page 206 where it gives examples of the meals for breakfast – it doesn’t include any carbs in the recipes given – yet it includes fats (which wasn’t listed as a part of our required breakfast on page 72). Does this mean we would just add a carb such as a piece of Ezekiel bread or a whole grain tortilla with our meal for every breakfast of the week – both on low & high carb days?

    Just wanted to be clear as in starting my first carb-cycle tomorrow morning! I’m excited :)) thanks for all of your help! xoxo

    1. Hi Chandra: So sorry for your confusion. The spritz of olive oil used in the omelet recipe on page 206 isn’t enough of a fat to count as a fat, it’s simply enough to make cooking the omelet possible. On page 207 are the options to make this either a low carb meal (for a meal after breakfast on a low carb day) or a high carb meal (which you could use for breakfast or any high carb meal). And you’re right – you’d add a carb to this omelet to make it a high carb meal. Just a reminder: Every breakfast – on both low and high carb days – is a high carb meal: protein + carb + veggies. And happy carb cycling – you’re going to love it!

    2. Hello,
      I’m starting Turbo this morning and want to clarify where all natural peanut butter with Coconut oil would be…protein or fat. I don’t have time in the mornings to make omelettes, and need something quick in the mornings. I started the morning off with a protein shake which has the following: 0 carb,0 sugar,22 protein. I also had 1 piece of eK bread with a tsp of peanut putter on it instead of eating it dry.Thanks

    3. Hi Shelly: Any type of nuts, nut butter, and oils are considered fats in carb cycling. One other thing: Since very breakfast in carb cycling is a high carb meal (protein + carb + veggies), you’ll want to skip the peanut butter. Otherwise, this is a great high carb meal! You can do this!

  156. I am confused about the number of carbs I should be taking in on low carb days. On atkins, it was simple. I adjusted to 20 g for 2 weeks and increased up to 40 there after. Now, with the high carb breakfast, even low carb days seem like high carb days when I look at my carb count for the day on MyFitnessPal. Also, what is the limit on fat carbs on highcarb days. I had a peach the other day, and never knew there was fat in it until I looked at my fitness pal that evening, so I am guessing other things have fat that I may not realize.

    1. In carb cycling, we don’t count grams of anything, we count portion sizes. It makes it so simple! There’s an awesome graphic in this post that shows you how to put together all your carb cycling meals, so that should be very helpful. Happy carb cycling!

  157. Hi! I am 6 weeks in and have lost 24lbs. I could probably lose another 30 lbs or so. Should I be losing weight during the slingshot week? I did lose 2lbs…is that ok to lose weight during that week 4? I followed the plan from the book and worked out like I normally do. Thanks

    1. During your slingshot week, it’s okay to lose weight, but you also might not, and that’s okay too. Congrats on those 24 pounds gone!

  158. Hi Heidi,
    i want to try carb cycling but i have a doubt.
    – Is it ok for breastfeeding mother to be on this ”diet” and is it enough 1200kcal on low/ 1500kcal on high day?
    – Also can we drink milk ( under 1% of milk fat) bc i don’t see it on any list?

    1. Hi Jelena: Here’s a post from this blog that outlines Heidi’s breastfeeding nutrition program: And milk is not on the approved foods list because it contains both fat and carbs. However, since a breastfeeding mom does not follow carb cycling exactly, you could drink 1% milk while breastfeeding. Good luck!

    2. What if it is fat-free milk? Could we count it as the carb for that meal (breakfast or on high carb days)?

  159. Just finish week #1 of Turbo and it is going well (lost almost 5lbs). However mostly because of my schedule is really hard to me to have a big breakfast (ham omelet on low days and Muffin/egg whites on high carb day) So I was wondering what is your take on protein shakes with oatmeal for breakfast. Currently I am doing the omelet at 6am and the shake at 10am but it will actually a LOT easier for me to do it backwards.
    This is the shake I was thinking for 6am:
    1.5 scoops of protein powder (26g)
    1.5 cups of kale
    1.5 cups of spinach
    1 cup of oatmeal
    10 almonds.

    Thank you and you guys rock 🙂

    1. Congrats on those 5 lbs gone – that’s awesome! You’ll want to skip the almonds since they are a fat and each breakfast is a high carb meal (no fats). And make sure your protein powder has less than 5 grams of carbs or you could have a double carb with the oatmeal. Hope that helps!

  160. do the rotation of the carbs have to be every other day, or can i start with two high carb days, one low, two high and two low? or two high, two low, two high, one low?

    1. Each cycle has a different rotation of low and high carb days. You can get links to all four cycles in this post: Choose the one that works best for you, and get started!

  161. Hi, I have a question. I was wondering if there were some sample meal plans anywhere in Chris’ book? I’d like to start meal prepping on Sundays and I’d love a simple meal plan to follow. Thank you!!

    1. I’m so sorry but there aren’t. There’s an awesome graphic in this post that shows you how to put together every meal in carb cycling, and the recipes in both books are broken out into low and high carb as well, so you can either choose foods from the list to put your meals together, and/or choose recipes from the books. You have lots of options so you can put together meals that fit your taste and schedule! Happy carb cycling!

  162. Thank you so much for your reply! I just wanted to make sure I hadn’t misunderstood 🙂 I just completed my 1st weigh in and lost 4.2lbs!!! It was actually just shy of a week but wanted to follow the Saturday weigh in guideline. 40 lbs to go:)

  163. I am starting the turbo cycling on Monday but I am confused. On my low carbs days I am eating the ham omelet from your book which has tomatoes and mushrooms in it. Do I still have to add 2 portions of veggies, and if so, what veggies? I feel like it would be a huge meal for a 6am breakfast. Also, at night I am eating chicken salad with lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers so I have to add veggies as well? and can you guys recommend a good dressing that I can use?

    Thank you so much.

    1. I am sorry but forgot to ask something else. Because work schedule it is impossible for me to eat every 3 hours, but I can do every 4 hours (except for pm snack). Is that acceptable? Thanks again.
      6:30 bf
      10:30 snack
      2:30 lunch
      5:30 snack
      8:30 dinner

    2. Sometimes, if you have a crazy schedule, you’ll have to adjust your eating times. Just do the best you can, and you’re good to go!

  164. Thanks so much for answering. It was real helpful. Two more questions of you don’t mind.

    I know under the carb cycle plan you don’t count grams just portions and calories – I am wondering though about carbs. If something has 10 carbs and 8 are fiber would that be considered a low carb (net 2 carbs). I was wondering how Heidi and Chris felt about the whole net carbs being carbs minus fiber.

    Also today was my 1st low carb day and I feel great!!! I can only seem to get about 1100 calories though. How do I get the cals up to 1200??

  165. I recently got the book- love it. Two questions. 1) I am starting a 16 week prep for a bikini competition. I’m currently at 15.7% body fat and hoping to lose another 7-9 pounds and achieve a body fat of 10-12%. Would you recommend your carb cycling plan for this purpose and which plan? (Turbo?) 2) Would I still do the slingshot week? Thanks in advance! It would be so much easier to not count grams!

    1. Yes, carb cycling could work for you, and the Turbo Cycle would be a great place to start. And yes, you’ll still want to do the Reward Days and Slingshot Weeks. They are truly a key to achieving your goals. Good luck on your competition!

  166. Hi! I am just starting carb cycling – today is my first day of the turbo cycle. I have logged all of my meals into MyFitnessPal, and I am unable to reach 1200 calories while following the portion sizes as directed.

    Today is low carb, so I’ve eaten the following:
    B – 4 egg whites (70 calories), 1 whole wheat sandwich thin (100 calories), broccoli, peppers, mushrooms and onions (35 calories)
    S – 3 slices low sodium ham (45 calories), 1/4 cup sharp cheddar (110 calories – I know this is larger than my thumb but was trying to get more calories in there), bell peppers and cucumbers (32 calories)
    L – 4 oz chicken (100 calories), 1/4 of a small avocado (31 calories), snap peas (35 calories)
    S – 2 hard boiled eggs (protein & fat, 140 calories), broccoli (31 calories)
    D – Romaine lettuce, cucumber, onions (31 calories), 4 oz grilled chicken (100 calories), 1 tbsp cheddar (33 calories)

    The total for all of that is 922 calories. I am not sure what else to add in – that would be a LOT of extra veggies if I filled in the deficit with 278 calories of veggies, and I don’t think I can eat that much anyway.

    Any ideas on how to get to 1200 while sticking with the plan? I don’t want to only eat 900 and stall my weight loss.

    Please help!

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Megan: You’re definitely on the right track! For your first snack, make sure the ham equals a protein serving (around 15+ grams of protein). For lunch, up your avocado serving to 1/3 cup (that equals a complete fat serving). For snack #2, add in a bit more protein – 4 egg whites = 1 protein serving. For dinner, you can up your cheese serving to 1 oz too. All of these should add some calories into what you’re doing. If you have “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” there’s an awesome food guide (with serving sizes and calorie amounts) beginning on page 192. This could really help you! Good luck!

  167. Hi. I’m 46 and about 129 and 26%bf. I want to be 120 and 20%. I have been able to take the weight off before by just restricting calories and fat but now it seems it is not coming off no matter how hard I workout everyday. I am going to start the turbo carb cycling. I have a couple questions
    1. How do I count quest bars?
    2. Can I eat a bar that is high fat and low carb (5g) and high protein (20g) on my low carb days.
    3. I have a great meal replacement shake for high carb days – do you recommend one for the low carb days?
    4. Veggies have carbs but we don’t need to worry about those carbs as long as they are not starchy veggies correct??
    5. Based on my stats above is 1200 cals a day about right??
    6. What veggies can I eat at b fast? Can’t imagine any veggies that I would have for b fast????
    7. What is a reasonable time goal for me to get to where I want to be?
    Thanks in advance for the answers

    1. Hi Shannon: Great questions – let’s get you some answers:

      1. Quest bars are a great low carb meal replacement. You can still add the veggies too.
      2. Yes, the key to knowing which bar is best for which type of meal is to look at both the carb and fat content. If more calories come from fat than carbs, then that bar is a good option for a low carb meal. If the reverse is true, then that bar is a good option for a high carb meal. Chris and Heidi do recommend consuming only one protein bar a day, since it is best to eat whole foods whenever possible.
      3. Look for a whey-based powder with between 15-20 grams of protein and less than 5 grams of carbs per serving. With this powder you can also still have your fat and veggie portions for a low carb meal.
      4. Yes, non-root/non-starchy veggies, while technically carbs, are counted as veggies in carb cycling.
      5. You’ll want to eat 1200 calories on low carb days and 1500 calories on high carb days.
      6. You can eat any veggies for breakfast! Try adding spinach or kale to a smoothie, or veggies to an omelet.
      7. Chris and Heidi recommend aiming for a 10% weight loss in the first 90 days. This number does depend on how many pounds you want to lose too. The less pounds you have to lose, the longer it can take. Since you don’t have too many pounds you want to lose, a 1-2 pounds/week loss is awesome! And remember, you could be replacing fat with muscle as you’re working out, so there are other ways to gauge success than that number on the scale.

      Hope that helps!

  168. I am so excited to try this! My apologies if you have already answered this, but how many grams of carbs should a woman shoot for on a high carb day vs. a low carb day?

    1. Hi Heidi: In carb cycling, we don’t count grams of anything, only portion sizes (and calories, if you’d like). That makes it easy! Happy carb cycling!

  169. I’ve been looking over the carb cycling diet plan and have seen several references to Chris Powell’s enewsletter with a link to his website where you can sign up, but when I click the link it only takes me to the home page of website. I have been unable to find any reference to the enewsletter in any of the website sections/pages or a way to sign up for it. Could you please provide a direct link to the sign up option? Thank you.

    1. I’m so sorry, that newsletter option has been removed for the time being. Hopefully this option will be available in the future. In the meantime, feel free to keep an eye on this blog for great tips, recipes, and other health-related information.

  170. I love your show and Chris’s books! You’re both so very inspiring and down to earth! I’m ready to start my carb cycling journey this week, but had one last question. In many of the recipes in the book and online, it seems that there are a mix of carbs and fats in the same meals. Are those recipes more for the maintenance time or is there a certain amount of fats allowed on carb days, and carbs on fat days? Thank you so much for explaining everything so thoroughly, you guys and your team rock!!

    1. Most recipes in the book are broken down into low and high carb days. Which specific recipes are you talking about? And yes, there are several recipes on this blog that contain both – not everyone follows Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program, so we try to offer healthy options that anyone can use. If any recipes on this blog do have both fats and carbs, then those would be best for reward days/meals.

  171. I just finished reading the Chris Powell’s choose More, Lose More for life book and I am getting ready to start next week with the turbo cycle.
    I made a menu with portions and I would love your insight, however I haven’t find a way to paste it here. Is there an e-mail where I can send it? i just want to make sure I am doing things right.
    Thank you, Hellen

    1. Hi Hellen!! I would like to start the turbo cycle as well. Do you mind sharing your menu? I am at a standstill as of now and with twin boys it’s almost impossible to make any type of menu lol.

    2. Thank you, I am going to try to copy and paste here the thing is I made it on excel so, I don’t know if it going to work.
      Low Carb
      Stack’em up-9 minutes no stop (Squats Thrusts 5 reps, Swing-ups 10 reps & Marching Soldiers 15 reps)
      Breakfast 7:30am Classic Ham Omelet with 1 slice of wg bread
      Snack 10:30am Protein Shake (spinach, kale and carrots), Almonds
      Lunch 1:30pm Steak, veggies
      Snack 4:30pm Chocolate Peanut butter Shake
      Dinner 7:30pm Chicken Salad

  172. I am 34 years old, 5’5″ and 109lbs. I am athletic. I do 1-2 short but intense workouts a day of either HIIT, kettle bell, body weight, jump rope or moderate dumbbells. I have been following a low carb high fat plan b/c I am carb intolerant. Too much will make me sleepy but I am getting too thin. I want to keep growing my muscles but I still have a tiny bit of fat on my butt/thighs. I do have 4 kids with my youngest being 17 months so I know its jus time and consistency. I’d like to try the Fit cycle? But I’m afraid of the high carb days making me tired. Any advice?

    1. By being carb intolerant, are you meaning fruits and starchy/root-type veggies too? You can try the Fit Cycle, and then change to another cycle if you need to. Give it a try! Carb cycling is meant to be a program you can follow for life, and here’s a post about how to use carb cycling to maintain your ideal weight range: Good luck!

  173. Heidi I can’t find chris’s news letter to get more information on food for carb cycling? please help.
    Thxs Hugs

    1. Chris’ site has been redone, and the list has been removed. We’re working on getting it on this site. There is a complete list of approved foods in “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” and it’s more extensive than the one that was on Chris’ site. Happy carb cycling!

  174. The flavorings listed in the book, are they still considered fats? Don’t know whether to count them as the fat portion of my meals or to eat another fat with it?

    1. They are counted as “extras,” and you’ll want to make sure and include their calories in your daily calorie count.

  175. Couple questions,
    – Are banana peppers bad to add to meals?
    – Can we eat veggies between meals if we’re hungry or do we only add it to our meals?
    – I’m on the turbo cycle. Week one I lost 6 lbs. But week 2 and 3 I barely lost anything. If i keep losing weight this slowly I won’t even lose 10 lbs this month. I haven’t cheated once and I have stuck with the plan exactly how Chris says to do it. I workout for an hour almost every day too. Suggestions???

    1. Let’s get you some answers to these questions! 1. Since peppers are considered veggies, you can add them to any meal. 2. It’s best not to eat between meals. 3. It’s very common for your rate of weight loss to fluctuate as your body adjusts to a new way of doing things, and your rate of weight loss can also be affected by how many pounds you want to lose. Are you drinking all your water? Are you changing up/varying your workouts? Are you working out Monday thru Friday as recommended? Are you able to work in extra movement throughout your day to burn even more calories? And please don’t get discouraged. Even a 1-2 pound/week rate of weight loss is awesome, and means you’re developing healthy habits that will benefit you throughout your life. You got this!

  176. Hi, I just purchased Choose More, Lose More and I?m excited to give this a try. But I’m a bit confused about where fruits fit in, or if they fit in at all. On the “What Can I Eat” list, the carb list has all the sub-categories broken up into grains, legumes, pasta, root & starch vegetables. Then Fruits are listed separately under the “Fruits” list, not the carb list. However, the only categories you show for meals are Protein, Carbs and Veggies. So just where does fruit fit in? Did the publisher make the Fruit list separate when it should be part of the carb list? Or is all fruit just bad and should be avoided completely not part of any meal plan except on the “guilt free day”? Thanks!

    1. Great question! Fruit is definitely counted as a carb in carb cycling, and all carbs – fruits included – are an important part of carb cycling success. I hope this helps!

  177. Quick question…none of these carb cycling websites really tell you this…are we supposed to be counting the total amount of carbs OR net carbs (carbs – fiber) ? Thanks!

    1. No, in carb cycling there’s no gram counting, we use portion sizes instead. It makes it pretty easy! The graphic in this post is really helpful in helping you know how to put together your carb cycling meals. Good luck!

  178. I just finished Choose to Lose, and I’ve made a list of all the recommended foods that I like to eat (I’m not picky, so it’s pretty long!) I did notice there are no pork products in the recommendations. Is this just a personal religious choice of Chris and Heidi, or is there actually something that makes pork undesirable as a protein option? Thanks!

    1. Pork tenderloin was added to the approved foods list in Chris and Heidi’s second book, “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” so that is an approved pork food. Happy carb cycling!

  179. I just started carb cycling this week thanks to your Choose to Lose book! Question: I’m doing a pretty intense lifting/cardio routine and burning a ton of calories. I’m starting to feel weak and tired. 1200-1500 doesn’t seem like a lot of calories. Should I be increasing that if my workouts are intense? Thanks!

  180. Hello,
    Hope you are still giving some advise on this site
    I’ve seen you guys on Dr. Oz, some show are about Monday, Tuesday, Thursday Friday low carb days. Wednesday & Saturday high carb days. Sunday, somewhat free.
    Then I’ve seen every other day, high carb, low carb. Which is it? Where can we get a list of the high/low carb foods?
    Thanks so much.

    1. How your low and high carb days are arranged depends on which carb cycling you’re following. Learn more about all the carb cycles here: You can find Chris and Heidi’s complete carb cycling program, along with an extensive list of approved foods, in their book, “Choose More, Lose More for Life.” Hope that helps!

    1. Up to 2 1/2 cups of unsweetened almond milk can be counted as a beverage – it doesn’t really fit into any category so it can be used with any meal. Just keep an eye on your overall calorie count as this amount does have some calories.

  181. Do I need to count calorie of veggies?
    I count calories everything except veggies.

    In the 4th week, I do not get the free day just high carb day. Correct?

    I love carb cycling!!

    Thank you!

    1. If you’re counting calories, then you will also count the calories of any veggies you’re eating. And you will have a reward day during your slingshot week every 4th week too. We’re excited you’re loving carb cycling!

  182. Hi,
    I am trying to figure out how many grams of protein I am sappose to be eating. Based on research it is 1 gr per pound. I am almost 50 grams off per day. I love protein, drink protein shakes that contain 30 g and cannot hit this amount.

    1. In carb cycling, we don’t count grams of anything, we count portion sizes. The graphic in this post will show you how to put together every meal in carb cycling – it’s so easy! As far as protein powders/shakes, Chris and Heidi recommend whey-based ones that have between 15-20 grams of protein and less than 5 grams of carbs per serving.

  183. I hope you still get notified of comments on this old entry, I plan to start my carb cycling on Sunday and normally on week days, I eat 1/2 cup of plain oatmeal with a little cinnamon and stevia for breakfast (made with water) but that would just cover the carb portion of my breakfast, without doing eggs, what would be a good source of protein and veggies to have with the oatmeal? I’ve seen plain greek yogurt as a protein option but not sure how 2 servings of veggies would fit in with oatmeal and yogurt? any suggestions?

    all the breakfast recipes in the book seem to be eggs with veggies… I really like my oatmeal breakfast and am willing to switch it up some days but not all of them 🙂

    1. There are several protein options for your breakfast. You could drink a protein shake with your oatmeal, have some Greek yogurt (low carb type) on the side, have some eggs on the side, and others. And you only have 1 serving of veggies with every meal, not two. 😉 You can have any veggies you’d like, and with high carb meals, if you’re full, you can skip the veggies for these meals if you’d like to.

  184. Such a big fan of the Powell pack! I am wanting to try carb cycling and plan to buy Chris’ book ‘choose more, lose more’ and preorder their new one coming! I just had a question that I’m not finding the answer too. What would you recommend for someone wanting to stay away from grains? I have a gluten tolerance and prefer to not eat grains all around except occasional oat meal. On a high carb day would I just mainly stick to vegetable and fruit carbs? Thanks!

    1. Hi Chelsea: On a high carb day, you can choose fruits, legumes, and root/starchy veggies. Happy carb cycling!

  185. Assuming that a salad consists of leafy greens, veggies & a low fat protein, that then leaves the dressing as that meal’s “fat”. Do you have a recommended salad dressing for salads on low carb days? I’m never quite sure how much fat is too much fat for each meal (some dressings have 7 grams per 2 TBS, others have 12 grams per 2 TBS, etc.). Looking to lose weight, so just want to make sure I’m not choosing something incorrectly! Thanks so much!

    1. If you have “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” on page 198 is listed the acceptable fats. For salad dressings, you can have 2 tablespoons of low fat creamy dressings, and 1 tablespoon of regular dressings (these servings are between 70-100 calories). I hope this helps – happy carb cycling!

  186. I usually drink a natural isolate whey protein as snacks since it is quick and easy while chasing my toddler around. It has 25g protein and is naturally sweetened with stevia, but has 2g of carbs. Is this a no-go on low carb days after breakfast?

    1. This shake would work as the protein portion of any carb cycling meal. You’re good to go!

  187. Question about calories – I am 5’7″ 149. I am not looking to lose weight; goal is for fat loss and clean bulk. In one of the other responses, I saw a comment that a man should eat 1500 low carb days and 2000 high carb days. If I look at that as gross, net of exercise and daily caloric need, I would be well into a deficit; this would cause further weight loss and possible muscle depletion. What should I do?

  188. Hi- Can you switch carb cycling plans weekly : week 1 fit, week 2 turbo, etc. or is it best to stick to one plan over a longer period of time?

    Also, I complete my workouts in the morning prior to breakfast. What are my best options when cycling that will not mess with my 5 meals a day plan and keep me on track?

    Thank you!

  189. Hey so i was wanting to start carb cycling doing the turbo carb cycle. I understand the days and whats a carb and protein and fat. Wht im confused about is in the one picture where it shows what to have for breakfast on a LC day and HC day to the side it says add 2 handfuls of veggies to each meal..would each meal be just breakfast lunch and dinner or snack time as well? Thanks in advance

    1. I’d suggest you discuss Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program with your healthcare team, and then follow any modifications – if any – they suggest. We wish you the best!

  190. Thank you for providing this valuable info. I you don’t necessarily count macronutrients, but roughly, how many grams of carb do you consider low vs high. Thanks again!

    1. In carb cycling, we really don’t count grams of carbs, we count portion sizes as shown in the graphic in this post. Hope that helps!

  191. I am looking forward to starting the Carb cycle, but I love air popped popcorn. Can I have this on high carb day or would I need to limit it to only once a week on reward day? Thanks

    1. Air popped popcorn is an awesome option as the carb part of high carb meal. Happy carb cycling!

  192. I just finished your book 2wks ago but am confused about the calories allocated for reward meals . I am a past binger so I don’t want a full day of treats but cannot go a full week wIthout either. I tried the easy but now want to cut back to 3 HC days with reward meals. Wed/sat/sunday but how do I determine the calories for just a reward meal? I like to count my macros and have been aiming for under 50carbs on LC days. I do feel more in control of my food than I have in 10years so thank you for that. I have 30lbs I want to lose and I like how I can slowly build up my LC days as I improve with food choices. Kind regards.

    1. We’re so excited you’re liking carb cycling! Reward meals have around an extra 250 calories, and you can eat anything you want – both healthy and more treat-type foods. If you have a cycle with a reward day, then you eat up to 1000 extra calories for that day. Happy carb cycling!

  193. Hi! I just started carb cycling (doing the Turbo Cycle) a couple of days ago and so far I’m loving it! I’m just wondering… today I’m on a “low carb” day. Would it be okay to have some fresh strawberries with my string cheese and raw almond snack? Or should I stay away from strawberries on low carb days?

    Thanks so much! Team Powell is awesome!

    1. Welcome to carb cycling, and I’m so happy you’re loving it! On low carb days, you’re only supposed to have fruits (carbs) as the carb part of your high carb breakfast (every breakfast is a high carb meal). And remember to add a protein to the snack you’ve described – both string cheese and almonds are considered fats in carb cycling, so you’ll only want one portion of fat for your low carb snack. 🙂

    1. Any veggies and fruits, and as dressings you can have the fat-free type, lemon juice, vinegar, low fat Italian, and balsamic vinaigrette.

  194. Hi (:

    What does a reward day look like as far as eating goes?
    Is it rewards all day, or just for one meal of that day?

    Thank you 😀

    1. If you have an entire reward day, you can eat anything you want, any time you want, up to 1000 extra calories. It can be healthy foods, “reward” foods, or a mix of both – it’s totally up to you!

  195. do you eat veggies with your meal on he high carb day? if i want to loose fast can i do 3 low carb days with 1 high carb day then repeat the cycle/

    1. You can if you’re still hungry. But they’re not optional on low carb days. Happy carb cycling!

  196. I’ve read the choose more lose more book but I’m confused about the calories…. I’m not an average size woman and everything lists calories at 1200 which seems very low. How do I figure out how many calories I should be eating on a low carb day vs a high carb day?

    1. The daily calorie amounts listed in the book (1200 calories on low carb days and 1500 calories on high carb days) are recommendations for everyone to follow, no matter how many pounds you’d like to lose. (For men, it’s 1500 on low carb days and 2000 on high carb days.) Chris and Heidi have done a lot of research, and through their many years of experience helping people transform their lives, these are the recommendations they’ve found that work, and these calorie recommendations, when combined with their exercise program, can help people achieve their transformation goals. Happy carb cycling!

  197. Hi. I have a quick question. I plan to start carb cycling and I do a boot camp 3-4 times a week and burn around 600-700 calories. 1200 to 1500 calories seem very low for the exercise I do. Would it be okay to increase the calorie intake? If so by how much?

    Thank you very much!

    1. How long is your bootcamp? Chris and Heidi recommend doing their 9-Minute Missions Monday-Friday, and up to an hour of cardio (Shredders) Monday-Friday too. If you’re worried, start with the Fit Cycle. You can change cycles at any time! Happy carb cycling!

  198. Hi there! I have a question about morning workouts. I’m excited to do the Turbo cycling and tend to do a morning workout a few days a week at 7am. For awhile I’ve been doing it fasted. Do I need to eat my high carb breakfast before this workout? Or is it okay to keep it fasted and then do my high carb breakfast at 8am? Also, I’m assuming no fats in my breakfast ever? (i.e. cooking oils, butter, avocado) even on low carb days? Thanks so much!

  199. Hey Chris and Heidi,

    I just started this week and this is my plan. Please let me know what you’re thinking. I use Myfitnesspal to track my food and such and it tracks in g’s. So I just want to know if should count the carb grams from vegetables on low days? My stats are below. Please help!

    5’7” female – 147lbs

    Sunday – Low
    Monday – High
    Tuesday – Low
    Wednesday – Low
    Thursday – No
    Friday – Low/Weigh in
    Saturday – High

    No Carb – 140-150G protein, 60-70G fat, carbs from greens only
    Low Carb – 60-80g of Carbs, 140-150g of Protein, 40-45g of Fat
    High Carb – 140g of Carbs, 140-150g of Protein, 20-25g of Fat

    1. First of all, we don’t count grams of anything in carb cycling, we count portion sizes (please refer to the graphic in this post), which makes things much simpler. You can also count calories if you’d like. As for your weekly schedule, it doesn’t look like you’re following one of the four carb cycles as far as how you’ve arranged your low/high carb days. Chris and Heidi’s plan is designed for maximum weight loss and fat burn, so you might want to choose one of their four carb cycles to follow. You can change cycles at any time, so you should definitely be able to find one that will work for you and your goals!

  200. Another question. I’ve been doing it for a month and feel like nothing has changed. I think my proportions are a little off….for low carb days and when using fat for example quacamole ontop of lettuce tacos what would the equivalent of my thumb be in tablespoons? I’ve been using like a whole wholly guacamole mini cup ontop or half the cup. Is a thumb like a tablespoon or 2? Or salad dressing be how many tablespoons on top? Thanks so much! I just don’t want to be using too much fat in things 🙂 and on high carb days for a snack is like an apple and some turkey ok?

    1. Hopefully this will help: 1/3 cup of avocado is 1 fat serving. The serving size for low fat/no fat dressings is 2 T, and for regular fat dressings the serving size is 1 T. I’m not sure which book you have, but in “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” there’s an awesome foods list (with serving sizes and calorie counts) that begins on page 192. And yes, for a high carb day an apple and some turkey for a meal/snack is great! Happy carb cycling!

    1. Great question! 4 egg whites are considered a protein serving, and they would work for any meal. 2 egg yolks are considered a fat serving and would only be eaten for a low carb meal.

  201. Thank you for explaining this so I can finally understand how it works! So, on high carb days we should NOT be eating any fats?

  202. Question about pre-workout and long days. My days are very long i wake up at 515am, workout 6-7 am work 830-530, then night class from 6-10 pm then in bed by 11. I like to have a small snack before i workout, usually almonds and some blueberries or a piece of toast with peanut butter, I usually don’t count that as a meal since I burn it off during the workout. Then 730 am usually eat breakfast if I follow your plan of every 3 hours that would put my next 4 meals at 1030, 130, 430 & 730. That would leave 3.5 hrs between my last meal and bedtime. I’m afraid I’m going to get hungry in this time. Any suggestions on meal spacing so I don’t starve since my days are ridiculously long.

    1. It’s best to space your meals like you’ve outlined – every 3 hours. If you follow the portion sizes and make up of each meal, you should be able to go from your last meal to bedtime. If you do get hungry or get cravings, sometimes simply drinking some water can help, or try chewing a sugar free piece of minty gum. If you are following the meals as they’re outlined, you’re getting all your calories for the day in those 5 meals, so you’ll not want to eat anything else or your weight loss could be affected. Try making and keeping a promise to yourself that you won’t eat after that last meal – promises are a tool Chris and Heidi use with every person they work with. Learn more here: You can do this!

  203. Hi Heidi! If it wouldn’t be to much trouble can you name some snacks and meals you eat? That is always the frustrating part of any program for me. I printed out Chris’ poster with all the foods just need suggestions for meals. I’m starting a cycle soon. Either fit or turbo. Thank you!!

    1. There are lots of great recipes in both Chris and Heidi’s books (“Choose to Lose” and “Choose More, Lose More for Life”). And for each meal, simply choose a protein, carb, and veggie (the non-root/non-starchy type) for high carb meals, and a protein, fat, and veggie (non-root/non-starchy type) for low carb meals. The possibilities are almost endless! Happy carb cycling!

  204. Hi, I am going to give carb cycling a go to achieve my goals. Is there a way to access a meal plan? Is this in the book? Thanks

    1. We really don’t have meal plans, you’ll just choose foods and/or recipes from the lists and recipes in the books to put together your meals. Happy carb cycling!

  205. how about dairy? I tend to eat the 100 calorie greek yogurt (vanilla flavored) with some chia seeds and pom seeds and blueberries.
    how is this counted in the “carb” arena? simple or complex?
    the carb grams are usually around 12g with sugars being 7 of them.
    your advice would be great. I am one of those that can tolerate dairy, I dont eat it everyday but at least 2 x’s a week as a snack.


    1. Great question! We really don’t count grams in carb cycling, just portion sizes. The Greek yogurt would be counted as a protein, the seeds as a fat, and the blueberries as carbs. In carb cycling, you wouldn’t want to eat both the seeds and fruit together, except for a reward meal/day option. You’d eat the seeds as part of a low carb meal, and the blueberries as part of a high carb meal. Happy carb cycling!

  206. Hi! I’ve been trying to research on the Powell’s fitness plan in order to help my husband and I get into shape. My question is, how do protein shakes fit into the plan? I saw a recipe on Chris’s page for chocolate almond protein shake, would that be an entire meal? Or how is it considered?

    Thank you!

    1. That depends. Some protein powders are full meal replacement powders and others are not. Chris and Heidi love their Vemma Powell Perfect Protein Powder, and you can learn more about it by contacting Bob Brenner (one of our amazing season 3 transformations) at [email protected]. It is a full high carb meal replacement shake. In general, Chris and Heidi recommend whey protein powders with between 15-20 grams of protein and less than 5 grams of carbs per serving. Hope that helps!

  207. You said in carb cycling you don’t count grams when it comes to carbs only the portion size; however, some foods are higher in carbs and can be the same poriton size. So how would someone know what an acceptable amount of carbs on high carb is good compared to low carb days?

    1. On low carb days you only eat carbs for breakfast, and none the rest of the day. If you’ll follow the portion size guide for low and high carb days, you will be fine. Chris and Heidi designed the program to be as easy as possible to follow, and their portion guide works. You can do this!

  208. I am reading my kindle book and looking at the websites and I have one question: coconut. Is coconut oil not an ok fat? What about coconut milk, flakes, or four? I use these as replacements for dairy and white flour when cooking. Is everything coconut against the rules?

  209. Hi,
    I have a question and I’m hoping Team Powell can help. I’m 5’4, 120lb (give or take).. I don’t need to lose weight, but I’d like to lose body fat. I started carb cycling for the first time with the classic cycle. I feel like I’m eating so much but I’m hungry ALL the time. Nothing seems to be filling even when I follow the recommendations. Do you have any suggestions for those just wanted to burn fat, not necessarily lose a lot of weight? I like the idea of carb cycling, but I think I need to change something..


    1. You might switch to the Fit Cycle – you can change cycles at any time. What is your workout routine like? The best way to replace body fat with muscle is to work those muscles as often as you can. The Fit Cycle will give you what you need for those workouts, and since you’ll have extra high carb days, you should feel fuller. One other thing: are you eating the two fist fulls of veggies (the non-root/non-starchy type) with every meal? Are you drinking all your water (60 oz/day for you) every day? Both of those could also help you feel fuller. Let me know if these don’t work, and we’ll go from there. 🙂

    2. hi team powell,
      thanks for responding so quickly ! I think I’ll try switching to the fit cycle.. I workout about 4-5x a week, about 35-45 min on weekdays, a little longer on weekends. mostly strength training and weights.. cardio once or twice a week . I do drink my recommended amount of water but I’ll admit, my veggies fall short.. I stated with the classic cycle to get into the swing of things and get it all figured out (or try to anyway), so I’ll take the advice with the fit cycle. thanks so much!

  210. Hi Team Powell, I have another question regarding the recipes in the book, Choose More, Lose More for Life. There are no calorie information for each of the recipes. Is there somewhere I can get that information other than doing the math for each recipe? Being on the Turbo Cycle (1200/1500 cal), I’m having a hard time finding recipes that are low in calorie for all 5 meals and STILL include the recommended portions. Thanks!

    1. Hi Meme (again): Yes, there is no calorie information available because each recipe is based on the guidelines for the 5 meals a day as outlined in the graphic in this post. If you’d like to figure out the calories for the recipes, sites like and are very helpful. Or you can use the calorie/measurement amounts in the approved foods list in the book. Happy carb cycling!

  211. I want to start turbo plan but I am really confused because I 21 year old woman having impaired glucose intolerantance (pre-diabetic) having pcos. Right now I am following a low glycemic diet and I am seeing results………I am wondering if turbo carb cycling plan is right for me>
    I am morbidly obese and dohigh intensity interval training everyday! PLEASE HELP PLEASE REPLY!!!!

    1. I’d suggest showing Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program to your healthcare team and see what modifications, if any, they would make to the program for your medical issues. Chris and Heidi have used their program with both pre-diabetic and PCOS clients after consultation with their clients’ healthcare teams, but again, please follow the recommendations of your healthcare team.

  212. Hello Heidi,

    I want to start the turbo carb cycling and just wanted to make sure i don’t count carbs just my calories. Last year in 2014 I lost 77 pounds on my own but now my body doesn’t want to lose any more for some reason. So I am jumping on board and trying this because you Chris are a HUGE inspiration to me. I watch all of his shows:)

    1. You are correct – you don’t need to count carbs in carb cycling. Follow the outlines in this post to put together your meals, and you can also count calories if you’d like. You can do this! And congrats on those 77 pounds gone – that’s awesome!

  213. Hi! I have read your whole book twice and have the gist of it down. However, I am having a hard time getting 10 cups of veggies, 2 cups per meal, in each day. I have tried to do actual meals that include veggies, like taco salad, wraps, spinach in smoothies, but I don’t have many more ideas. Any tips on fitting in all the veggies per day?

    Also, on LC days, if I add a little cheese on my taco salad, for example, as my fat, could I add some fat free cheese to get a little more flavor? Since it is fat free, what does it count as?


    1. That is a lot of veggies! And if it makes a little bit of a difference, it’s two fist fulls of veggies, not two cups per meal. 😉 On high carb days, the veggies are optional if you’re full. Cheese – whether full fat, reduced fat, or fat free – is considered a fat in carb cycling. Just watch the serving size that’s in the book. You got this!

    2. Fist fulls? I was thinking that was also about 1 cup per fist. In the foods list in the book some of the veggies that are portioned by 100 calories are a lot more than 2 fist fulls. For example in the smart foods list for Broccoli the serving size is 4 cups. So should we be eating 2 fist fulls or whats in the list? Can you please clarify on this topic a little more?

    3. “Two fist fulls” is a very visual way for people to know how much to eat. You can either follow the visual guidelines in this post, or count calories, or both. The important thing is to get the proteins, carbs, veggies, and fats for each meal (depending on if it’s a high or low carb day) and meet the suggested calorie totals each day.

  214. I just started today and I only have about 10 lbs I’d like to lose (from having 4 kids!). My metabolism slowed down after I weaned my last child from nursing and I noticed my metabolism is no longer what it use to be and I’ve gained back about some weight in the last 6 months (my youngest is 2 1/2 years now). I was at my lowest weight ever while I nursed my 4th until he was 18 months old. I regularly workout and monitor my hr and calorie burn during these workouts. I can sometimes burn about 800 calories in a given day. Do I need to eat back those calories burned (I’m on the 1200/1500 cal for the Turbo Cycle)? Or do those calories just become part of total deficit? Thanks!!!

    1. No, you don’t eat back calories burned – they become part of your calorie deficit, which leads to lost pounds. Happy carb cycling!

  215. As a vegetarian, our protein does come from things such as kidney beans and black beans . for low carb days, for our lunch/dinner, can kidney beans, chicpeas, black beans, be put in as our protein source sometimes? Een though they have carbs but i cant always eat tofu everyday as soy is not generally good to have so much. I prefer putting the beans in my salad to get my veggies

    1. The reason beans are considered carbs is because the carb vs protein count is not favorable for carb cycling. In order to get enough protein for beans to be counted as a protein serving, you’d have to eat more than a regular serving, which also adds too many carbs.

  216. I didn’t see anything in the books about workout supplements. I am just starting your carb cycling program, but follow a weight lifting workout routine in which I take workout supplements (protein powder before and after workouts, among others). How do those fall into carb cycling? Do I need to count them as a meal or snack?

    Also, I am seeking a little clarification on the calories and portion sizes. I see that in the book it has a section on portion sizes for smart foods. If I am putting foods together that are on the list based on portion sizes, do I need to calculate the calories for everything to stay within the 1200-1500 range or will the calories fall within that range if I follow the portion sizes? What if I choose foods that aren’t on the list, is priority on portion size or calories?

    1. Yes, protein powder is approved in carb cycling. Whether or not it counts as the protein part of a snack/meal or a complete meal/snack replacement depends on the ingredients. Heidi and Chris’ Vemma Powell Perfect Protein Shakes are complete high carb meal replacements, and you can get more info by contacting Bob Brenner (one of our amazing season 3 transformations) at [email protected]. In general, Heidi and Chris recommend whey protein powders with 15-20 grams or protein and less than 5 grams of carbs per serving. For portions sizes/calories, you can follow the portion size recommendations (we try to make it as easy as possible), if you want to double check your portions sizes to make sure you’re getting in your calories for the day (or not too many), you can also use the calorie counts in the food lists as a backup. If you choose foods that aren’t on the lists, follow the portion size guidelines, and double check the calorie counts also, just in case. Happy carb cycling!

  217. I’m confused on what and how much to eat on my reward day. It is a high carb day. Can I still eat anything? Or is it just more of what I usually eat on a hick carb day? Is there a calorie or portion limit?

    1. On your Reward Day you can eat anything you’d like to up to 1,000 extra calories.

  218. I have both books, Kindle version, is there a sample menu, not just high carb day or low carb day that I can look at. I may be missing it in books.

    1. Here are some meal ideas for low and high carb days: Low carb day: Breakfast (within 30 minutes of waking): Basic Omelet with a corn tortilla to make it a wrap. Snack (3 hours later): A protein shake with a portion of a healthy fat, like peanut butter, mixed in.
      Lunch (3 hours later): Tomato Basil and Garlic Chicken with a portion of olive oil drizzled on top. Snack (3 hours later): Sonora Cottage Cheese with a portion of avocado. Dinner: (3 hours later): Lemon Chicken drizzled with salad dressing. High carb day: Breakfast (within 30 minutes of waking): Denver Omelet with a portion of your favorite fruit or oatmeal on the side. Snack (3 hours later): Greek Yogurt Parfait with a portion of low fat granola. Lunch: (3 hours later): Caribbean Jerk Chicken with a portion of brown rice. Snack (3 hours later): Protein shake with a portion of oatmeal mixed in. Dinner (3 hours later): Apple Cider Chicken. And remember, you can have veggies (the non-root/non-starchy type) with every single meal, and you can use any of the foods on Chris and Heidi’s approved foods list – in the proper proportions – to create meals to fit your needs.

    2. Thanks, I thought I was doing low carb every day, but in reality, I was probably doing high carb each day. Now to change my routine and that may not be as easy as I hope but I’m willing to give it a try.
      I joined your DietBet and plan on smashing that 4%.

    1. In carb cycling, we don’t count grams, we count portion sizes. If you’ll follow the portions sizes in the graphic in this post, you’ll be good to go!

  219. Hello,
    I’m probably reading way to far into this… But I’m confused on if I can have a portion of fat with my snack, how do I measure out a portion (thumb size) of cheese? PB is measureable in that sense, but not a fat that is whole.

    1. Great question! For all cheeses except low fat/sliced, 1 oz is a fat portion. For sliced, low fat cheeses, 2 oz is a fat portion. Happy carb cycling!

  220. How much fat is too much for a high carb day? Clearly you want to stay as low as possible, but could I have 1 whole egg + 2 egg whites? Or should whole eggs be strictly for low carb days?

    1. We don’t eat any fats on high carb days/meals. Follow the guidelines on how to put a meal together that are in this post, and you’ll be good to go on your fats. For eggs, 2 egg yolks count as a fat serving, and 4 egg whites count as a protein serving, so whole eggs should be reserved for low carb meals. If you don’t have either of the books (which have extensive approved foods lists as well as measurements), you can get a free abbreviated list at Enter your email address in the “Join the Transformation” section, and when you hit “Join,” the next page will have the link to download the list. Happy carb cycling!

    2. Thanks for the reply. However, you clearly get some fat even on high carb days, even if you aren’t eating servings of healthy fat. There is fat in lean meats, protein powder, etc. It would be impossible to avoid fat entirely. I was curious if there was a “threshold” we should be trying to stick under. For example, 20g? 30g? Thanks again.

  221. Ok. I was just looking at my meal plan for my high carb day:

    Cereal/almond milk. 190 cals
    4 egg whites. 70 cals

    Greek yogurt 130 cal
    Banana 100 cal

    2oz Cube steak 100 cal
    2 slices whole grain bread. 120 cal
    Broccoli. 50 cals

    Almonds 15 100 cals
    Strawberries 1 cup 50 cal

    2oz cube steak. 100
    Baked potato. 170

    Total 1180 calories

    And my low cab day I was only about 870 cals.

    Is this too low. Should I add more of anything.

    1. You do want to make sure you’re eating 1200 calories on low carb days and 1500 calories on high carb days – that’s really important. Just looking through your high carb day, you’ll want to save the almonds for a low carb day and add a protein with your strawberries for that meal/snack, otherwise you’re making great choices! You can add veggies to every meal no matter if it’s a low or high carb day, so that will add some calories too. You got this!

  222. Hi, I’ve been successfully carb cycling with a differnt “plan” that had exact numbers. After reading you and your husbands blog post as well as anything other articles I could find I’m more than excited to start my journey with you. I’ve downloaded the app and plan on purchasing the books. However, I do have a question as to which cycle I want to complete. I’m 5ft3in and 136 pounds, currently I do moderate weight training (anywhere from 20lbs-35lbs/3-4 sets per muscle group/8-15 reps) 3 days a week and the other three I do cardio. Unfortunately on Monday I’m having my 2nd knee surgery (first doc didn’t do what he was supposed to). Anyways, I will not be able to I cardio for four-six weeks but I will continue to weight train as I do now. My goal is to drop these last 8-10 pounds and build nice lean muscle. Should I start the turbo or fit cycle? Thank you so much, and I hope you and your beautiful family have a great new year!

    1. Oh and I should add that I’ve already gotten my health advisors blessing to continue working out other areas of my body after the surgery. 🙂

    2. Which cycle you choose depends on your overall goals. The Turbo Cycle will drop pounds the fastest, and the Fit Cycle will drop pounds a bit slower, but will give you some extra carbs to fuel your workouts. And remember, you can change cycles at any time. I hope you recover quickly from your knee surgery!

  223. Hi. I have a question about cereal… I picked up a box of Kashi Heart to Heart Blueberry clusters…and I noticed it has 210 calories per serving…isn’t this a lot? And if I eat it with unsweetened Almond milk, how much milk do I use and does the milk count as anything .
    Also, what meal/snack bars do u recommend? I am a nurse and really can’t leave the Emergency room every 3 hrs for a snack or shake….

    1. As long a you stay within the calorie guidelines (1200 for low carb days and 1500 for high carb days), you can split those calories between your 5 meals as you’d like, but try to keep them as even as possible so you don’t get overly full or too hungry in between meals. Also make sure you’re following the guidelines as to how to put together each meal as outlined in this post. You can use up to 2 1/2 cups of unsweetened almond milk and it counts as a flavoring. For low carb meals, Chris and Heidi prefer Quest and Kind + Protein bars. They have some carbs on the label, but since most of these carbs are dietary fiber, they are actually what we call “non-impact carbs,” and these carbs don’t count. They also have a good amount of protein and fat?perfect for low carb meals! For high carb days, they recommend Think Thin and Cliff Builder, even though they do have some fat content. The key to knowing which bar is best for which type of meal is to look at both the carb and fat content. If more calories come from fat than carbs, then that bar is a good option for a low carb meal. If the reverse is true, then that bar is a good option for a high carb meal. Chris and Heidi do recommend consuming only one protein bar a day, since it is best to eat whole foods whenever possible. Happy carb cycling! 🙂

    1. Fruits are considered smart carbs in carb cycling, so you can have a portion of fruit as the carb part of any high carb meal.

  224. I just joined Chris’ site to get the download, but I thought it was going to be emailed & I didn’t even look for the link. Will I still be able to access it? I also just bought the book Choose to Lose: The 7-Day Carb Cycle Solution – I assume that probably has the food list as well? Thanks!

    1. Yes, the book has that food list and more. The list on Chris’ site is an abbreviated one, so you’re good to go! Happy carb cycling!

  225. Besides cheese, dressings, avocados, and oils, are there any other smart fats I can eat on low carb days? I would prefer not to consume nuts and seeds due to their high arginine/low lysine levels (and side effects on my body).


    1. There is an extensive approved foods list in “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” and you can get an abbreviated version for free on Chris’ site. Go to, enter your email address in “Join the Transformation,” and when you hit “Join,” the next page will have the link to download the list. In addition to those you already listed, olives (13) and egg yolks (2) are also on the list. Happy carb cycling!

  226. If I was to choose a protein shake to help lose weight… what should I look for? or choose? do I eat that with my breakfast? or lunch? or by its self as a meal replacement shake?

    1. Chris and Heidi love their Powell Perfect Protein Shakes, and each one his a total high carb replacement meal. To learn more about these shakes, please contact Bob Brenner (one of our amazing season 3 transformations) and he’ll be happy to help you: [email protected]. For protein powders in general, Chris and Heidi recommend whey powders with less than 5 grams of carbs and 15-20 grams of protein per serving. If your powder falls within these guidelines, it can be the protein part of any meal — both low and high carb.

  227. Im just starting to get into exercising… and I tried to do a pull up today… cannot. any good ways to help build arm muscles and to have a goal to complete a pull up? I have 2, 5, 8 lbs weights and a kettle bell. also push u