Carbs or Protein? Do They Even Matter?

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We’re all out there searching.

Searching for the perfect diet, supplement, or ratio of carbs to protein that will flip the switch and make it finally feel easy to stay on track to lose the weight and improve our health.

You know how it goes…

You heard about your sister-in-law losing 25lbs doing keto, or you read about that celebrity who lost all her baby weight in two weeks with intermittent fasting, and you wonder if that might be the answer you’re looking for.

Or, you find yourself constantly pinning “quick and healthy recipes” on Pinterest or clipping them out of magazines or filling your cupboards with the latest protein shake or bar in the hopes that if you just have enough of these tools on hand, the healthy choices will come easier and you’ll finally stick with it.

This is what so many of us are doing. We have wonderful intentions of finding the right tools and putting them to use… but it doesn’t work.

And why not?

Well, to illustrate why this doesn’t work, I want you to imagine walking into your bathroom at home and finding your bathtub overflowing, the tap on full blast and someone in your family on their hands and needs frantically trying to mop up the water with, what looks like, every towel you own.

You’re confused. You look around and ask, “Is the tap broken??” 

To which they respond, “Oh, I didn’t think of trying the tap. I’m trying to clean up all this water!!!”

I like this analogy because it illustrates what so many of us are doing when it comes to our efforts to stay on track with healthy eating.

We’re frantically trying to mop up the water, searching for more towels, bigger towels, more absorbent towels, instead of turning off the tap!!

This is what we’re doing when we’re constantly hunting for quicker, healthier recipes, or the right diet, or the latest low-carb protein bar.

Yes, just like towels are going to be necessary if your bathtub overflows, recipes, meal plans and information about nutrition are going to be important tools for you, but unless you turn off the tap FIRST they are NEVER going to solve the problem.

And what’s the tap when it comes to your food choices? It’s the deeply ingrained wiring in your BRAIN – what I like to call your old “operating system.”

When you put all your energy into trying to implement new food choices without first updating the old operating system in your brain, it’s like trying to deal with an overflowing bathtub by searching for the right towels instead of first turning off the tap!

We’re starting at the wrong place. And it’s leading us in circles!

Everyone who signs up for my Change Your Brain – Change Your Body program has a goal of either weight loss, improved health, or both. But in the entire 8-week program, we don’t talk about what to eat at all!


That’s right. The program has helped hundreds of people lose weight and improve what they eat without ever talking about food.  Instead, we go deeper. Our students learn about:

  • How their current “operating system” around food functions and simple techniques to start rewiring the parts that are no longer serving them;
  • Where cravings and habits come from inside the brain and how to effectively reprogram them;
  • Managing feelings like stress, boredom, sadness and anxiety without food;
  • Cultivating true, deep self love so that they actually want to treat themselves better


See, no mention of carbs, protein or recipes at all!

Because, the honest truth is that it doesn’t matter what diet or eating approach you choose if you don’t first do the work to update your old operating system. Without doing that work first, you won’t ultimately stick with any of it.

You know this!

See, if the answer was recipes or diets or carbs or protein alone, we wouldn’t be having this conversation because we’ve all tried a million of those and, what we know is that a lot of them work wonderfully…if you stick with them consistently. 

But, we don’t stick with them – do we? Why? 

Are we weak? Not committed enough? Lacking in willpower? Too disorganized? 

Nope. We don’t stick with them because we’re trying to run new behaviors on top of an old, outdated operating system in our brains, without first updating that operating system so that it matches the new behaviors.

It’s like trying to play a new DVD in an old VHS player. There’s nothing wrong with the DVD. It might be perfectly new and it might be the best movie ever. But it will never work in a VHS player, will it?

Tools like meal plans, point systems, crock pot recipes and healthy snack ideas are great. We all need tools! But unless you do the work to reprogram and rewire what’s going on in your head first, none of it will ever stick long term.

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Sara Best

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