How many times have you made a plan to change your life by creating healthy habits and fell short a few days in? One of the top reasons people fall short when reaching their goals is they don’t set attainable milestones. This is especially common when it comes to diet and exercise changes.
That’s exactly why we are sharing this simple step by step guide to get you started successfully on a Keto, Paleo or any Low Carb diet of your choosing.
This step can seem very daunting at first, but you don’t have to start by cutting out sugars completely all at once. Try to reduce sugar in your diet little by little. As you get accustomed to it and more comfortable identifying what foods contain sugars, you can make the change.
One of the easiest things to cut out completely is sugary drinks. They are a top culprit of unknown added sugars that people don’t even realize they are consuming. This of course includes sodas but massive amounts of sugar is also found in fruit juice and even sports drinks like gatorade!
Drinks such as these have no nutritional value and are easy to identify, so if you are feeling overwhelmed by trying to reduce sugar in your diet, this is a great first step.
Start reading nutrition labels as this is an essential step in creating a low carb lifestyle! Sugar and “Added Sugars” can be found there and indicates whether the product is something to consider removing from your diet. The more you read nutrition labels, the easier it will be to identify what types of foods are likely to be unhealthy. If you discover that something you love, like a specialty coffee, is filled with sugar, a less sugary alternative is generally available.
If you want to learn more about reading nutrition labels and how companies can trick you into thinking that a product doesn’t have very much sugar, click here.
It can feel like you’ll never be able to eat dessert or sweet treats again, but the low carb lifestyle has plenty of delicious alternatives to satisfy your cravings.
Some low carb lifestyle treats include:
Carbohydrates are another easy to find item on nutrition labels. There are many different foods that contain carbs and some are much worse for your health than others. Fiber which is listed as a carbohydrate doesn’t generally have an impact on blood glucose the way sugars do. Once again, you don’t have to cut them out cold turkey, start wherever you can.
Some of the highest carb carrying foods are grains. This includes bread, pasta, cereals, and other foods with gluten. They are known to cause inflammation and weight gain and your body will thank you for reducing how much of them you eat.
Healthy alternatives exist for all of these items and are becoming more and more available in supermarkets.
Try to start by just noticing what you are currently eating. Writing down what carby foods you are eating each week can help give you a bigger picture. After you have this baseline data on your current diet, you can make attainable goals to cut back on carbs each week. This isn’t as complicated as counting calories, just a simple list to help bring awareness to what you are actually eating. Your ultimate keto-lifestyle goal is to get down to only eating 20 total carbs per day.
Depending on your current carb totals this can take you up to 6 months. Don’t feel like you have to rush this process. Rushing actually increases the chances of giving up or going on carb binges. If you can stop eating certain carbohydrates right away, great! but give yourself time to stop the cravings before taking the next step towards your goal.
Starting with cutting back on breads, cakes, cookies, pasta, ice cream, potatoes, and other grain products will be the easiest way to lower total carbohydrates and sugars.
Instead of feeling deprived because you are not having your crackers or chips for example, you can enjoy cheese crisps, pork rinds or keto crackers with cheese, sourcream dip or guacamole! There are so many delicious swaps that you might have been avoiding because you were worried that they would cause you to gain weight!
Now that you are reading nutrition labels, cutting back on sugars and tracking your carbs with the ultimate goal to stay below 20 net carbs a day, it’s time to dive in a little deeper; What to Eat on Low Carb Lifestyle.
Keep it simple. There is so much complication online and many conflicting opinions, but the simplest and best thing to do is eat real unprocessed foods that have few or no carbohydrates. If you have the time, aim to make your own meals and snacks. The more ingredients a product has, the more likely that it is unhealthy.
Put proteins first! Our bodies need protein to function and making sure you have a diet high in animal sourced protein is one of the most important steps. Think meat, poultry, fish, and eggs.
Add low carbohydrate vegetables in place of your grains. Leafy green veggies, summer squashes and cruciferous options are wonderful. However, there are starchy and high sugar vegetables that should be avoided including potatoes, carrots, corn, and peas.
Most importantly, eat healthy fats, including saturated fats. The subject of healthy fats is another hot topic but put simply, avoid all seed oils, corn, soybean, sunflower, canola etc. and instead enjoy butter, tallow, olive, coconut and avocado oils and any animal fats. When you are following a keto-lifestyle, fat becomes your fuel so make sure they are healthy fats.
When adopting a low carb lifestyle it is important to consume enough salt and electrolytes. The body will shed a lot of water and it is easy to become dehydrated, tired and have muscle cramps if you become electrolyte depleted.
Here is a simple list of keto-friendly / low carb lifestyle foods. As you educate yourself the options will increase and you can easily find satisfying healthy choices.