So you have been following a healthy diet and have been hitting the gym, with utmost dedication and regularity, and now you wish to follow a low carb diet to enhance your weight loss process. In the beginning it may seem like a nightmare, as you have to cut down on a lot of your favourite foods. You must be ready to take on a new challenge as changing your eating habits isn’t going to be easy.
You must understand, carbohydrates are the building blocks of your tissues and organs. Hence following a low carb diet may cause several withdrawals and irritations. Before you get started it is essential for you to educate yourself about all the possible outcomes, so that you are able to fight the urge to quit and give your body adequate time to undergo the change.
If you are able to fight through the initial few weeks, you will emerge victorious! Over the years your body has been trained to use carbs as the primary source of energy, and by following a low carb diet, you are going to change this cycle and force your body to rely on fats. Preparation is key, the following are a few tips and tricks that are going to help you in the initial stages and beyond.
The first week: Carb Withdrawals
A feeling of acute discomfort is common during the initial few days. Experts consider it as a psychological effect, but think of it as giving up on an addiction. When a person tries to quit smoking, he will go through withdrawals as their body will crave for nicotine. Similarly your body has become accustomed to a certain amount of carbs for proper functioning. There is nothing to be worried about if you feel sick or crave for your favourite high carbohydrate foods. You just need a strong will power to push through it!
Think of your body like a machine or a computer. When you install a new software onto your computer, it takes a while to setup before running smoothly. Our bodies are no different, they too require a certain amount of time to get adjusted to the change.It is quite easy to get intimidated by all this, hence we have some tips for you, to help you through the process
Importance of water
Drinking water helps in the process of digestion, hence it will play a key in helping you digest your newly adapted low carb diet. As it is you are going to feel uneasy during this period, dehydration is the last thing you would want. Hence keep on having lots of water. We all know about the various health benefits of drinking water on both your physical and mental health, drinking more water can even reduce your appetite, hence decrease the carb cravings.
Such a massive change in your regular diet can have an effect on your mood and as a result cause stress. Believe me it can kill all your dedication and might even lead to depression. You have to train your mind and convince it to learn to deal with urges and cravings. Having a stress free life style is the key to a healthy body , not only does it keep you motivated, but helps you maintain a positive outlook.
A nutrient rich diet
Low carb diet is unlike any other diet you have ever been on in the past. Keeping yourself hungry for large periods of time is the last thing would want. Since your body is in a carbohydrate deficit, you have to account for it through fats and protein. Your body needs energy to function properly, and if you can’t resort to carbs, you have to train your body to use fats and protein instead. Plan your meals ahead of time, and follow a disciplined routine.
I can assure you all the discomfort of low carb diet will go away in a few days, and there is no need to be worried about it. But still if you want to make the process a bit easier, you can add a few high-quality carbs in your diet. But always be in control and keep a check on the amount of carbs you consume, excess carbohydrates would defeat the basic cause of a low carb diet.During this entire process make sure to consume adequate amounts of potassium and drink a cup of bouillon several times each day to help yourself through the carb withdrawals and crashes.
After the first week
So by now you successfully followed your new diet plan for an entire week and should be able to see notable changes in your body. Increased energy, improved concentration levels, controlled hunger and minimal carb cravings are few of the many benefits, people start to experience at this stage. For some people it might even seem like a life changing experience, as they have never felt more comfortable about their bodies.
But we must not generalise the process, as one might take longer to feel the health benefits than others, but in most cases if you follow the low carb diet with utmost discipline and regularity, you should begin to feel a difference by the end of week one. But don’t be ignorant and consider this the final result, as you still have a long way to go. Following a low carb diet is not everyone’s cup of tea. So, if you have made some progress, appreciate yourself and keep your motivation going!
What can you consume on a low carb diet?
So it’s decided you are going on a low carb diet and are determined to transform your body. And are prepped and informed about its pros and cons. But do you actually know what specifically can you eat and what you cannot during such a diet?
Carbohydrates are one of the three essential types of nutrients that our bodies need to function properly. The other two being protein and fats. Carbs are generally responsible for providing energy.
Advantages of a low carb diet
If you are serious about loosing those extra kilos a carb deficit diet is the way to go. Let us look at it from a basic level, the main motive behind following this diet is that, if the body is unable to receive extra carbs, it will obviously not store it in the form of extra fat. The body then has to burn some of the stored fat to produce energy, as a result promoting fat loss.
Some studies even found that the people who were on a low carb diet lost considerably more weight than the ones on a low fat diet after six months. i am not devaluing the later option by any means, but asking you to consider the far reached benefits of a low carb diet.
Most of us find it challenging to follow a low carb diet, especially at the beginning. The following are some tips from experts, to help you out in your weight loss journey.
Knowledge of which food is actually low in carbs
Carbohydrate deficit food items include:
- Lean meats such as chicken breasts or pork.
- Broccoli and cauliflower
- All leafy green veggies.
- Seeds, nuts
- Oils such as coconut oil and olive oil.
- A number of fruits such as apples and strawberries.
- Certain dairy products like plain Greek yogurt
- A proper meal plan:
One thing which is for certain is that you are going to crave for your favourite high carb foods. Having a meal plan will keep you from getting distracted from your goal and avoid cravings. A simple meal plan can do wonders for your diet. Having the knowledge of what you are going to eat for dinner or lunch can help you making any unhealthy decision that you would regret later.
Ready to go low carb snacks
You must accept the fact that cravings are absolutely natural and there is nothing to be worried about, here are some options that come in handy in such weak times
- Baby carrots
- Handful of nuts
- Controlled carb cycling
We all have cheat days, when we indulge in the food that we avoid throughout the week. A carb cycle is the same, it involves eating low carb foods for a set amount of days, which is then followed by a day of consuming high carb meals. This will ensure that your body does hit a fat burning plateau, and your weight loss journey remains hurdle less.
Be aware of your options
The easiest way to maintain a low carb diet is by replacing the high carb food with low carb foods
The following are some low carb substitutes:
- Taco shells can be replaced by lettuce leaves
- Buns can be replaced by portobello mushroom caps.
- Eggplant lasagne
- Cauliflower pizza crust