Most people get started on low-carb for one of two reasons, either they need to improve their health or they flat out just want to lose weight to look good. A low-carb lifestyle is a great vehicle to accomplish both!
Personally I have gone from a mousie, overweight post-menopausal woman to one that has more self confidence, looks and feels better than I have in years. I was busting out of size 10 (I refused to buy a 12) and now maintain at a 4/6. I lost 30# and 3 full dress sizes in my first 90 days! That’s a great motivator that encourages most low-carb “dieters” to stick with it until they reach their goals!
My husband Michael has had a heart condition since he had open heart surgery at the age of 33. Carrying around 240# on a 5’10” body wasn’t helping his health. Since I do most of the shopping and cooking he had no choice but to join me in my low-carb lifestyle and now maintains at 185#, looks and feels the best he has in years! He also had spine surgery at the beginning of 2014. His surgeon felt that his now much smaller frame will help prevent recurrence of the disk problems he had for years.
No matter the reason that brought you here, once you decide that a low-carb lifestyle is for you there are some fundamentals you’ll want to consider and things you’ll want to do.
HOW DOES LOW CARB WORK?
First off let me say that the word “diet” makes me cringe. This really isn’t about dieting, it’s about adopting a new lifestyle. Most people have a negative connotation when they hear the word diet, and rightfully so. I know how they feel, I all but starved myself counting calories and never lost a pound! If anything the scale and my dress sizes kept inching up year after year! With a low-carb lifestyle you are never hungry, you can eat a huge variety of food and the pounds will melt off. It’s all in education, allocation and moderation.
Over the past decades we were all told to eat less fat while the food industry introduced lots of high-carb foods into our diets. Our bodies crave it when deprived. So it created a cycle of eat, get hungry and craving more carbs just hours later. All that contributed to our getting and staying overweight.
Low carb eliminates all but a core (less than 20 net carbs per day when actively looking to drop weight) amount of carbohydrates, with the majority of them coming from vegetables. When our bodies are deprived of those carbs it is thrown into what is known as ketosis. While in ketosis our bodies switch from burning carbs for fuel to burning fat for the energy we need! Burning fat results in sustained weight loss.
If you want more info in simple terms I have a whole article devoted to explaining how the low carb high fat diet works that you can read too!
BEST WAY TO GET STARTED ON LOW CARB
- Educate yourself! Peruse this website, read my article that explains the low carb high fat lifestyle in simple terms. Buy yourself a copy of the Atkins book and use it! Cannot afford it? Borrow it from your local library. But if you have your own copy, use it! Read it and then read it again! Highlight it! If you opt for a physical book dogear important parts! You can’t safely break the rules if you don’t know what they are to begin with.
- If you are just starting out the absolute best way to get into and stay in ketosis is with the induction phase for at least two weeks. During this time you will eat a highly regimented diet, avoiding everything that is not on the list of approved induction foods while staying under 20 net carbs per day. Long story short, if it’s not on the list don’t eat or drink it! This serves to not only get you into ketosis so your body starts to burn its fat reserves but it also helps eliminate the cravings you will have for sweets, etc. Believe me, it works!
RESEARCH CARB COUNTS
- Know the carb count of anything before you put it in your grocery cart or mouth. Learn to calculate net carbs when there is a nutritional label and make good use of the carb charts here in the site to make good decisions.
- Record everything, food, drink, spices, condiments, medications, etc. Use MyFitnessPal to journal your progress and record your daily intake, including water. It is available across all platforms, your PC and all mobile devices. You can very easily tweak the free version to record net carbs automatically and I show you how!
KEEP IT SIMPLE!
- K.I.S.S. Keep it simple so you can maintain this lifestyle for the long haul. My husband and I only counted net carbs the entire time we lost all our weight. I highly advocate starting out just counting carbs. I always advise my readers, members and clients to KISS, Keep it SUPER Simper!! Just count carbs. Keep them under 20 net per day. Eat only when hungry not bored and stop when full not stuffed. Wash it all down with plenty of water …repeat …repeat …repeat.
SET UP MY FITNESS PAL APP
- If you find you need or want to track more set your MyFitnessPal to 5% carbs, 25% protein and 70% good fats. This balance will help result in quicker and sustained weight loss if simply counting carbs doesn’t seem to be giving you the results you crave. At a loss as to how to get the required good fats? Consider having a bulletproof coffee every morning.
- Ignore calories. Yes, I said that. When first starting off ignore them. If you are taking in 70% of your daily food as good healthy fats the calorie count will be higher than what you are probably used to. You will soon discover that same fat will fill you up so much that you will naturally start to eat less! As your body adjusts to low-carb high fat you will just start to eat less because you won’t be as hungry and the calories will just follow suit.
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
- Drink enough water to flush the toxins from your body! You will be amazed at the difference drinking 1/2 your body weight in fluid ounces of water a day will make in your progress!
- VISUALIZE! I cannot stress that enough! SEE yourself as you want to be. Post pictures where you can see them, buy that “little black dress” or “swimsuit” in the size you want to wear and place any and all of them in places you will see them every day, multiple times a day! In the meantime don’t just rely on your scale (I like the EatSmart brand for both the bathroom and kitchen scales), measure yourself and take pictures too!
DEALING WITH FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS
- During induction, as your body makes the change to burning fat for energy, some people experience what is known as Atkins Flu. Drinking salty broth, the saltier the better, as the broth will help replenish your sodium & electrolytes and get you back in balance.
CLEAN OUT YOUR CUPBOARDS
- Only buy food that fits your low-carb lifestyle and find low-carb alternatives for all the high-carb foods you used to love to eat. I am a firm believer that for anyone to live this lifestyle for any length of time this is a necessity. To that end you will find thousands of certified low-carb delicious recipes on this website. Pop whatever it is that you are looking for in the search box or stroll through our “Recipe Box” located at the top of each page. I guarantee you you’ll be amazed at how great the food is! I feed it to my friends and family all the time and only I know it’s low carb! You can even have a cocktail! Just be aware of the net carb count before you indulge!
- Check the Menus link at the top of the page for lots of ideas of how much great tasting food you can eat and still stay under 20 net carbs a day! You’ll find even more if you pop “menu” into the search box on our Facebook group. If you have difficulty finding low-carb ingredients locally, I know I do, you can find some great ones reviewed in our low carb products tab. I am always looking for the best bang for my buck and am thrilled to pass along the savings.
- Buy lots of low-carb snacks and keep them on hand for when the mood to snack hits you. If they are at home and you are stuck in the car, in a meeting or movie they aren’t going to help. I buy what I can in my local stores but find some other great alternatives at the Netrition online store. They stock lots of low-carb items and are very reasonably priced.
EVALUATE AND REEVALUATE
- If you are starting over or feel like you aren’t progressing as quickly as you’d like evaluate where you might have gone off track and make adjustments as necessary.
- Consider incorporating exercise into your routine. We have a lot of great low-stress exercises catalogued that even the most out of shape person can do.
- Subscribe to this website using the form below so you never miss a new recipe or tip. As I continue to learn, research continues to roll out, recipes continue to be developed I continue to add to the already burgeoning store of information available on the site.
JOIN OUR CHALLENGE!
- Join our Low Carb Challenge closed (that means none of your friends will ever see what you post unless they belong too) Facebook group for accountability, new recipes, tips and encouragement from thousands of wonderful members that are doing exactly the same thing as you!
To paraphrase a recent article “the #1 Habit You Should Have to Lose Weight is not what you think… it’s Finding people to share your journey!” That will help you stay inspired! If the initial weight loss alone doesn’t keep you motivated our supportive community will. You can leave a comment and ask any questions you have below or on our group wall. It makes a big difference when you join a group of people on the same mission!
- If you prefer a Facebook page over a group we have that too! It’s called Get Fit and Look Fab and you saw a sample of things we share in the free ebook graphic above. We are also on Google+, Twitter and Tumblr! Share your low-carb food with us on Instagram!
- Be sure to check out the free low-carb ebooks image in the righthand sidebar regularly! It lists the most most up-to-date low-carb books available in Kindle form at any one time and continually updates! Don’t have a Kindle? That’s not a problem, I don’t either. Just download their FREE app for just about any mobile device or PC and get started for free! Because it really starts with education; that’s why you’re here!
Most of all I love hearing from you! Be sure to “weigh” in and let me know how you’re doing and how I might be able to help! It’s because of you that I am here!
“Encourage yourself, believe in yourself, and love yourself. Never doubt who you are.” ~ Stephanie Lahart
p.s. if you haven’t picked up your Atkins book now’s the time to do it!
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Always consult your healthcare professional if you are currently taking medication, pregnant, trying to get pregnant, nursing, or if you have any other health condition before taking any products mentioned or applying any information contained herein.