If you’re like this pooping princess, despite all efforts, you are likely going to over-indulge over the holidays. Let’s be honest. That’s part of the season. But as you gear up to shed holiday pounds, you may look at cutting carbs. Don’t. Every part of you needs them but in that weight loss quest, many people view them as the Dark Side. They are wrong. In fact, very wrong. Drastically cutting carbs means you’ll miss out on the nutritional benefits of whole grains, fruit, starchy vegetables, and legumes, according to the Dietitians of Canada. And all those foods are critical in staying regular. Sure, cutting carbs might help you shed pounds in the short term, but that’s really because you are eating less food and fewer calories. Furthermore, if you cut them out, when you add them back in, which you will do eventually, stats show you will likely pack the pounds back on. So why cut them out in the first place? Just embrace them.

The REAL question is what KIND of carbs to eat because there are good carbs and there are bad carbs. An easy rule to follow is to stay away from high-sugar foods. Take a look at food labels. Anything that has a lot of sugar will have a lot of carbs. Those are the bad ones and do nothing for you. Frankly, stick to Canada’s Food Guide and you can’t go wrong.

One question that has plagued this pooping princess is how many carbs are enough? It all depends on your level of activity (if you work out a lot, you’ll need more), but for the average person, 2-3 grams of carbs per body pound ought to do the trick. So, for example, a 130-pound person should take in between 260 and 300 grams per day.

How does that convert into food choices? Well, your average pasta portion will yield roughly 65 grams of good carbs, two pieces of whole wheat toast have about 39 grams of carbs, an apple has roughly 20 grams and one cup of chick peas has 36 grams. But remember these are GOOD carbs for your butt. Compare that to a can of pop (full of sugar and bad carbs.) It weighs in with roughly 40 grams of useless carbs.

But there are times when this pooping princess craves those bad carbs. Here’s a tip. Before woofing down junk food, hit the hay. Turns out if you’re craving bad carbs, you may need more sleep. The Mayo Clinic says adults should get between 7 and 9 hours of it. When you don’t, your body looks for a caloric hit to get it through, which may make you eat more and more of the wrong foods — ie. high sugar/bad carbs — than if you were well-rested.

The bottom line here is, good carbs are your friend. Go ahead, eat that oatmeal with impunity.

Jennifer Hartley is a features writer and copy editor for Ottawa Life Magazine and writer for Ottawa Outdoors Magazine. Previously she was theatre editor for Ottawa Xpress and now defunct Metro newspaper and has written articles for a variety of magazines across the country and abroad in the United Kingdom.