How To Go The Distance With A Low Carb Diet
Gearing up to start a low carb diet?
If so, you need to be prepared because while this diet plan can definitely be quite effective for reaching your goal weight, at the same time, it is a more challenging protocol.
While a few people will breeze right through a low carb diet plan, not having any issues at all, for most people, they are met with food cravings, lower energy levels, and in some cases, a relatively ‘foggy’ minded feeling.
All in all, it can be enough to cause you to fall off the plan completely.
This said, if you have a few strategies in place, you can ensure that this doesn’t happen to you.
Let’s walk you through the main points to know and remember when it comes to low carb dieting.
The very first thing that you must be doing is ensuring that you stay adequately hydrated. This is important for a couple of reasons.
First, hydration is going to help you sustain higher energy levels, which combat the typical fatigue that can come about when using a lower carb diet.
Second, your body will begin to lose excess water as you reduce your carbohydrate intake because for every gram of carbohydrate you store in the body, you’ll store around 4 grams of water.
As you can imagine, this adds up. So when you start depleting your carbohydrate intake thanks to that lower carb diet, you begin losing this water.
That in turn can lead to dehydration. Adding more water to your intake will help offset this.
This is also one big reason why many people who start cutting carbohydrates find themselves going to the bathroom quite frequently during the first week or so. This is your body flushing out that water weight.
Eat Plenty Of Vegetables
The next smart move to make when starting a lower carb diet is making sure that you eat an abundance of fresh vegetables.
While fruits may or may not be permitted depending on just how low carb that particular diet is, you must make absolutely sure that you have a good vegetable intake.
Vegetables will provide some carbs, but they’re generally so low that there’s no reason they can’t be included even on the lowest of carb diet plans.
In addition to that, vegetables will also provide the dietary fibre that will keep you feeling full and satisfied, while also providing the essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that you need to sustain good health.
Those on lower carb diets should typically eat more vegetables, not fewer as they will likely be the sole source of carbohydrates they’re taking in for the most part.
If you are allowed to have fruit on your lower carb diet, berries tend to be the best choice as they are both lowest in total sugar (and carb) count as well as highest in total antioxidant levels.
Add a serving or so per day to your diet plan and you’ll notice the dramatic difference in how you feel and function.
Don’t Cut Back On Fats
Another nutrient you need to be sure that you’re getting enough of is healthy fats.
One of the biggest mistakes many people make when going on a lower carb diet is cutting out their carbs and keeping their diet exactly as-is.
If they were using a diet that was relatively lower in fat before, this now means that they’re pretty much eating protein.
Bad move. While you might sustain this for a week or two, you won’t be able to carry on much longer as your energy level will plummet and you’ll start feeling miserable.
To combat this, bring your dietary fat intake up. While you do still need to be in the calorie deficit necessary to reach your goal body weight, you do need to find a source of fuel.
Dietary fat will provide this when your carb intake is low.
Usually on a lower carb diet plan you’ll want to aim for at least 1 gram of fat per kg of body weight, if not more.
Just do remember to select healthier sources of dietary fat in order to ensure that you are not taking away from your health status.
Great options include olive oil, flaxseed oil, coconut oil, moderate amounts of nuts and nut butter (as they do contain some carbs), along with avocados, fatty varieties of fish, and grass fed beef or butter.
Choose these and you can ensure that you keep your health in check.
Focus On Quality Food Sources
Speaking of healthy fat sources, you also need to be sure that you’re selecting healthy choices for your other foods as well.
Too many people get on a low carb diet thinking they can eat all the steaks, eggs, and bacon they want.
It doesn’t quite work that way. While you can certainly eat grass fed steak and omega enriched eggs in moderation, you do need to keep your health in mind.
The same foods that were healthy choices before are still healthy choices now, so don’t let the fact you’re low carb dieting crowd your better judgment.
Just because a cake says ‘low carb’ for instance, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. It still is cake.
Consider A Potassium Salt
The next tip to know is that you may want to consider utilising a potassium salt with your meals now.
Potassium is an important nutrient as it serves as an electrolyte in the body and helps to balance blood pressure levels.
Since you take in potassium primarily from carbohydrate sources, it’s easy to start falling short if you aren’t careful.
Fortunately, this is easily remedied with a little potassium salt (or salt replacement).
Just sprinkle a little on your vegetables when you prepare them and it’ll taste just like regular salt would.
It’ll help keep your blood pressure levels in check, which can then help ensure you sustain optimal energy.
Know Your Carb Count
It’s also important that you do know your carb counts and how your body reacts to them.
For some people, if they’re in that moderate carb range of 80-120 grams, that’s when they tend to feel that foggy minded symptom we referred to above.
For these people, they’ll need to get down to lower levels – around 30-50 grams in order to move into a state of ketosis where they won’t experience this any longer.
So for some people, if low carb dieting is to work, they need to go very low carb.
If you feel like you’re one of those, experiment by taking your carbohydrate intake lower and see if it makes you feel better.
Adjust Your Workouts
Finally, make sure that you’re also adjusting your workout sessions. You won’t have the level of muscle glycogen that you used to have, so your intensity may have to decrease.
Either that or plan to add complex carbohydrates either before the workout or immediately after it’s completed – or a very large dose of carbs once per week (as in the case of the cyclic ketogenic diet plan).
This will help ensure that you do have muscle glycogen to use during those sessions, helping you keep performance where it needs to be.
So keep these quick tips in mind as you get started with your lower carb diet plan.
If you follow them, you will find that this diet feels better and produces you the results that you’re looking for.