By Sherry L. Granader, CNC
Most people have spent years trying to lose weight by reducing their calories and cutting back on fat. When you start on a low-carb diet, you are going to actually increase your intake of saturated fats.
In the beginning, you might still crave some carbohydrates as your body shifts from burning carbohydrates to burning fat known as ketosis.
However, after a few days of lowering your carbohydrate intake, blood sugar stabilizes, insulin levels are reduced and cravings for carbohydrates will drop. Plus, you will notice that you are losing weight.
As you get used to your new way of eating, you will also notice that you are not as hungry, and will fee content and satisfied. You may recall always feeling hungry on a low-fat or low-calorie eating plan but that is not the case with a low-carbohydrate diet. You definitely need to prepare for a low-carb diet by doing the following:
Being prepared can help you avoid any challenges or difficulties on the road ahead. You will know what to do to adjust your diet and give your body a chance to adjust to a low-carbohydrate eating plan. The first week is usually the hardest because your body is used to carbohydrates for energy and now it has to shift to using the body fat that is on you for fuel.
Here are some tips that will help you get started on a successful low-carbohydrate eating plan:
Think Protein, Fat And Fiber For Every Meal – that includes good fats such as avocado, nuts and seeds, as well as vegetables and good quality protein (chicken, tuna). All of these foods will keep you full and satisfied. Ground flaxseeds are good to add to salads that are high in fiber and omega 3 essential fatty acids.
You Can Still Eat Fruits And Vegetables – eating low-carb means staying away from processed foods. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and nutrients. For example, one stalk of broccoli has about 8 grams of carbohydrate, however 5 grams of that is fiber. Therefore, one stalk of broccoli has only 3 grams of carbohydrate making it perfectly acceptable to eat on a low-carbohydrate diet.
Learn To Read Labels Properly – when reading labels for carbohydrate content, do not forget to subtract the fiber. The ‘net carbs’ are the total carbohydrates minus the fiber content. Fiber doesn’t count – it is a carbohydrate but you can’t digest it. Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate. It does not put sugar into your bloodstream or have an effect on insulin levels. Fiber goes right through you.
Make Gradual Changes – as you learn to eat a low-carbohydrate diet, make gradual changes by replacing a processed, unhealthy carbohydrate food with a whole, unprocessed food such as a fruit or vegetable at each meal.
Start With Eliminating Foods With Sugar And Flour – this includes pasta, breads, cakes, cookies, donuts and anything highly processed. This will cut your carbohydrate intake significantly and replace them with whole, unprocessed foods.
Keep It Simple – if you are used to eating the same lunch or dinner or do not want to alter your meals very much, substitute vegetables for the starch.
Commit To Working Through Any Difficulties – any time you make a change in your eating habits, it can be difficult. You must accept that there will be unexpected challenges that will you need to be work through for success. You can do it by planning your meals ahead for the week.
Build your meals around high quality protein, vegetables, and dairy. Avoid artificial sweeteners and get your carbohydrates from leafy greens, and vegetables such as green beans, broccoli and cauliflower. Roast vegetables with olive oil and herbs for added flavor. They will go a long way in filling you up with less calories, lots of fiber and nutrients that you need for successful weight loss without feeling hungry.
Carb Manager is the easiest and most powerful way to count carbs and live the low carb life. In this blog, we've invited experts on LCHF to contribute their views on everything low carb.