Sometimes just the thought of making a big lifestyle change like cutting carbs can feel so overwhelming that most of us either put it off or never even begin. Worst yet, you may have tried going low carb before but quit due to lack of variety or meal planning.
I’ve put together the top 5 low carb diet tips that helped me not only get off to a great start, but have allowed me to sustain a healthy, low carb diet for the rest of my life without feeling deprived at all.
These are easy, no sacrifice, common-sense tips that anyone can use to reach weight loss and health goals, I hope you find them useful.
1. Get the Right Mindset
“But I can’t live without bread! This was the way I used to feel before, during, and after previous (failed) attempts at cutting carbs out of my diet.
Interestingly, my attitude suddenly changed when I was diagnosed with prediabetes. It’s funny how staring down the possibility of chronic illness complete with all the dreaded health complications that comes with diabetes can do to change your mindset.
In order to be successful, I had to stop thinking about what I couldn’t eat, namely starchy carbs, and start focusing on what I could eat. Which as it turns out are a lot of the rich, satisfying foods that have been forbidden under the failed “low fat” method we’ve been indoctrinated with for all these years.
Remember where that’s gotten society: Skyrocketing obesity for both adults and kids, higher and higher rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Some scientists are even linking our high carb diets to the rising incidence of Alzheimer’s.
It’s time to ditch old beliefs that simply do not work and address the real culprit – our high carb (starchy) diets.
From now on, you’ll focus on rich, creamy foods like:
- Full fat dairy – heavy cream, grass fed butter and a variety of cheeses
- Meat and eggs (including the tasty yolk)
- Nuts, seeds and healthy oils like coconut, olive and avocado
- Dark chocolate
- Most fruits and vegetables
Establish Your ‘Whypower”
Will power only works so long, so in order to be successful, we must truly commit. We need to think about why we want to lose weight in the first place.
Is it to:
- Look and feel better in your clothes?
- Feel more energized?
- Reduce muscle or joint pain?
- Avoid chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or Alzheimer’s?
- Staying healthy and setting a good example for your family?
- Reduce the risk of “fat-loving” cancer?
Many of us have more than one reason but by focusing on the real “why” behind your new lifestyle choice, you can stay committed much easier than relying on basic willpower to keep you from eating too many starchy or sugary carbs.
With this higher goal in mind, you can make a healthy diet permanent.
2. Prep for Your New Lifestyle
Now that we’re committed, it’s time to let our friends and family know what we’re changing and why.
I was apprehensive about this at first because I’d already tried so many diet plans before, none of which lasted long, I was afraid my hubby wouldn’t take it seriously.
It turned out that a diagnosis of prediabetes from my doctor was all it took to gain his total support. Since he does most of the cooking in our house, that alone was huge.
Don’t underestimate your family and friends, they may or may not decide to join you in your food choices, but once you’ve made your “why” crystal clear to them, they will take you seriously.
You can reassure your family that even though meals will change somewhat, they will be eating lots of delicious and satisfying meals, including real desserts (not fake, low fat ones).
Fill in your co-workers and of course, be prepared for the inevitable office donuts, candy dishes and employee birthday cake that you’ll be expected to participate in. Just bring a decadent starch-free dessert, like cheesecake or dark chocolate anything, and you’ll fit right in without being tempted by the cheaper, less rich, starchy sweets.
Purge the Pantry
You knew it was coming…yes, you must clean the crappy carbs out of your kitchen so you’ll have plenty of room for your new favorites. Let’s face it, there’s probably more than one out-of-date item in there anyway. Consider this spring cleaning for your soul.
Get rid of the following:
- Regular, high carb breads or tortillas
- Oatmeal & other cereals (except All Bran)
- Fruit juice & sugary drinks
- Jams & jellies
- Low fat dairy, including reduced fat yogurt & sour cream
- Potatoes & potato chips (if I can do it, so can you :))
- Tortilla chips
Tasty, low carb foods you’re making room for:
- Low carb bread & low carb tortillas, such as Mission Carb Balance
- Heavy cream
- Healthy sugar replacements like stevia or my personal favorite, erythritol (a natural sugar alcohol that doesn’t affect blood sugar or rot teeth)
- Dark chocolate (don’t ever run out, lol)
- Peanut, almond, and other nut butters
- Non starchy vegetables
- Meats and eggs
- Olives, olive oil
- Avocados, avocado oil
- Creamy dips with low carbs such as Caesar for dips, dressings, spreads or soup & salad toppings
- Variety of cheeses, including full fat cream cheese
- Coffee, tea, water
3. The Sandwich Backup Plan
One of the toughest things about cutting starchy carbs can be the thought of giving up sandwiches. They’re handy and convenient after all, but you can do it and you may even find yourself enjoying your meal even more.
Here’s what worked for me
To replace my daily pb&j toast for breakfast, something I didn’t think possible, I use Mission Carb Balance flour tortillas, add a healthy dollop of peanut butter, sprinkle with cinnamon, fold up and go.
Initially, I started out with whole wheat which have only 4 net carbs due to the very high fiber. I’ve since switched to the white version (6 net carbs) because they aren’t bitter in the slightest and because I can (still a ton of fiber).
For hamburgers, my hubby and I skip the buns and add various toppings instead:
- Mushrooms sauteed in butter topped with Swiss cheese
- Sliced bell peppers & onions either blackened or sauteed in fajita seasoning topped with pepper jack
Neither one of us misses the bun because you can actually taste the burger and flavoring better without the bland bun drowning them out. You also don’t feel all stuffed and bloaty afterwards, leaving some room for a low carb dessert – like a dark chocolate truffle or two!
4. The Best Low Carb Snacks to Have on Hand
Always have snacks ready and conveniently located so you’re not tempted when you’re tired or hungry:
- Pre-cut veggies and creamy dips
- Fruit (eat with fat like cream cheese or nut butter)
- Popcorn (personal fave)
For more low carb snack ideas, click here
5. Always Plan Ahead
Everyone knows it’s better to plan your grocery shopping ahead of time and of course, don’t go there on an empty stomach! As busy as we are though, the week can easily get away from us if we don’t make time to plan the meals and make the list.
Make this task something you schedule in your day planner, or set up an alert on your phone so it doesn’t get blown off. You’ll not only make better food choices but you’ll probably spend less, too
Going low carb is a big change, but just by using these 5 simple low carb diet tips, you’ll be more likely to avoid the pitfalls that come to those who are not as well-prepared. Your body will thank you by shedding unwanted fat quickly, your health will improve and you may even inspire your friends and family to get healthier, too!
Do you have any low carb diet tips that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you! Please share your comments below.
To Your Success,
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