I’ve written a lot about low carb diets lately and for a good reason; I think they’re one of the best ways to lose weight and keep it off.
I don’t necessarily mean you have to stop eating carbs altogether; just that cutting down on bread, rice, pasta, potatoes and processed junk food will help you lose weight no mess and no fuss.
But how do you go about starting a low carb diet? Many people aren’t really sure.
In this article I want to provide you with a simple step-by-step guide to starting what I think is one of the best weight loss plans around!
1. Ease into your new diet
Changing from your current diet to a low carb diet overnight can be a big shock to the system and the bigger the shock, the more likely you are to revert to old habits. Make the transition from old diet to new easier by making just one meal a day low carb. Do this for a few days and then add another meal. Take a week or two to make the full transition to low carb dieting. The result? Less shock and easier compliance.
2. Seek out lower carb alternatives to your favorite foods
If you are lover of bread, rice, pasta and potatoes, you need to find some lower carb alternatives to these high carb foods. You should avoid just cutting these foods out and leaving big gaps on your plate! Instead, find similar tasting foods that are much lower in carbs. For example, in place of French-fried potatoes, try oven-baked rutabaga, instead of pasta, use spiralized vegetables. There are lots more food tips in my article “Low Carb Replacements for Common High Carb Foods”.
3. Prepare your low carb meals in advance
The more low carb meals you can prepare in advance, the easier you will find it to stick to your low carb diet. From washing and preparing tomorrow’s vegetables the night before to cooking batches of meals for freezing, prior preparation means you will be less tempted to break your diet, “Why You Should Be Planning Your Meals”.
Preparing meals in advance means you will not need to put much effort into eating healthily – the hard work is already done. When you get home from work feeling hungry and tired, the fact you have a meal ready and waiting for you means you are much less likely to dial up a pizza delivery and derail your diet.
4. Think about what you can eat rather than what you can’t
Cutting back on carbs means you’ll need to eat less of certain foods but you can eat lots and lots of other great-tasting foods instead. In fact, there are probably more alternatives than foods you’ll need to cut back on. Think of your low carb diet as an opportunity to eat new and interesting foods and don’t dwell on the fact you won’t eat as much bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes as normal. Going low carb will broaden your menu and not restrict it!
5. Learn to read food labels
Bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes are the most obvious sources of carbohydrate in the standard American diet but unless you take a moment to read your food labels, you could easily end up consuming hidden carbs too. Hidden carbs are lurking in many processed foods, often in the form of refined sugar. Make sure you know how to spot hidden carbs. Find “How to Identify Sugar on Nutrition Labels“.
6. Don’t fear fat
If you cut back on carbs, you need to provide your body with an alternative source of fuel – fat. A low carb AND low fat diet will leave you hungry and lacking energy; you need more than just protein to eat. Make sure you eat plenty of healthy fats to replace the carbs you are not eating. Good choices include nut oils and butters, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, fish oil, butter, lard and any other natural fats and oils.
7. Eat real food and not junk
Many commercially-produced low carb and carb-free foods contain unhealthy ingredients such as sugar alcohols, trans fats, and artificial sweeteners. Eating low carb versions of the unhealthy foods that caused you to gain weight in the first place makes no sense! A low carb cookie is still a cookie and is the opposite of what constitutes a healthy food. Rather than eat low carb versions of unhealthy foods, just eat the regular version of those foods in accordance to the 10% rule discussed earlier.
Starting any new diet can be hard but you’ll make the entire process easier if you start it right! Use these tried-and-tested tips to make sure you get off on the right foot with your new low carb diet. That way, you will enjoy an easier transition, are more likely to stick to your new diet and you’ll get much better results too.