To follow the Low Carb Lifestyle, realize that you are going to need SOME carbs for energy, nutrients and fiber, so get them from lower carb sources that are packed with nutrients, such as vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Also, keep in mind that when you go 20 grams of carbs a day or lower it will cause your body to go into ketosis, which is when your body starts burning fat to get the energy you normally would get by eating carbohydrates.
What are carbohydrates?
The two main forms of carbohydrates are: sugars such as fructose, glucose, and lactose; and starches, which are found in foods such as starchy vegetables (like potatoes or corn), grains, rice, breads, and cereals.
The different low carb diet levels:
- The Keto Diet (below 20g – 30g net carbs per day)
- The Low Carb Diet (below 50g net carbs per day
- A more moderate low carb diet (below 100g carbs per day)
Take note: 20g carbohydrate is a limit and not a goal.
You can experiment and choose what limit suits you best. Remember, each one of us is unique, with different body types, chemistries, metabolisms, tolerances and needs.
Also, we are all on different parts of our carbohydrate free journey, so one person’s sweet tooth or starch cravings, may be completely different to another’s, depending on how long you have been on the diet.
Gradually reduce the amounts you take. Eventually you will have no cravings.
The secrets to success
1. Meal planning
Remember, the secret to success is to plan your meals ahead. It is also important to prepare and/or stock up with low carb snacks for when you get hungry. That way you will avoid falling off the wagon by just grabbing anything when you feel ravenous.
If you know exactly what to eat each day it will be much easier to lose weight without hunger pangs, cravings or feeling sick. See Pantry Basics for more info. Remember, if you plan your meals ahead and stock up with the ingredients you need, you won’t run out of low carb food when you need it.
Also, aim for variety in your diet. There are many delicious low carb & recipes out there. Following a boring meal plan is just setting yourself up for failure.
2. Eat natural, real foods
Stay away from processed foods – most food that comes in a packet from the supermarket isles contains toxic additives and trans fats. A lot of people would get awesome results as long as they eat real, unprocessed foods in the low carb range.
So, try to eat only free range, grass fed animal protein and organic vegetables as much as you can.
3. Eat moderate amounts of protein
A successful low-carb diet should be well formulated: low carb, high fat and moderate protein. In general, more protein should lead to weight loss and improved body composition.
However, when low-carb dieters eat a lot of lean animal foods they can end up eating too much of it. When they eat more protein than the body needs, amino acids in the protein will be turned into glucose via a process called gluconeogenesis. This can prevent the body from going into full-blown ketosis.
Aim for eating 1.5 – 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight, or 0.7 – 0.9 grams of protein per pound.
4. Don’t be afraid to eat fat
It’s a huge mistake to think that it’s a good idea to eat low carb and low fat together, because fat is your only source of fuel.
Because we are eating low carb we are removing our energy source from the diet. We must replace it with fat, or our bodies will starve. If you don’t eat fat you will be hungry all the time, feel like crap and eventually give up on the diet.
There is no scientific reason to be afraid of eating fat. If you choose healthy fats; such as the monounsaturated (olive oil, avocado and coconut oil), saturated (animal fats such as butter and lard), and the Omega-3s (fish oils); you will be successful. Keep vegetable oils to a minimum and eliminate trans fats (fats hidden in processed, packaged foods) altogether.
Keep a strong mindset
I find that having a strong mindset is the basis of any successful diet. See our Tips and Advice to support you on your Low Carb journey. Apart from Meal Planning, there are two other factors that will help keep you on track with your Low Carb Lifestyle:
1. Physical fitness
Regular exercise and keeping active helps to stimulate your metabolism and build muscle that will help burn off fat.
2. Get rid of unconscious patterns and habits that sabotage your success.
Self sabotage is not something you can easily get rid of on your own. We all need support to become aware of our unconscious saboteurs. I recommend this app: Happy, Slim & Free. It helps improve your mindset, not only to lose unwanted weight, but also to get rid of bad habits and self sabotage.
For more info:
- Pantry Basics: A list of low carb ingredients you need to stock up on.
- What to calculate: calories, carbs or macros?
- FREE: Carb counter, checklists and app.
- How to Manage Low Carb & Keto Diet Side Effects, especially for beginners.
We will also be recommending intermittent fasting for those of you who want to amp up fat burning.
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