While you don’t want to follow a no-carb diet, you may want to follow a low-carb diet. Carbohydrates tend to get a bad reputation. While they are necessary for energy levels, they can lead to high blood sugar levels and cause problems with insulin reactions.
A low-carb diet will encourage you to eat the right types of carbs. You focus on the foods that offer a sustained level of energy. This can also help you get energy from other sources, including healthy fats and protein.
If you want to follow a low-carb diet, you’ll need to make some lifestyle changes. These will help you find the change to your diet much easier to follow. You’ll also stop feeling like you’re depriving yourself of some of your favorite foods.
Here are six lifestyle changes that you want to make to follow a low-carb diet.
Make the Focus on Your Overall Health
Many people will focus more on their weight loss efforts when they follow a low-carb diet. After all, carbs are often blamed for gaining weight or struggling to lose it.
It’s important to change your “why” for your dietary changes. Rather than focusing on your weight loss efforts, focus on the benefits to your overall health. Think about the way that you will have more sustained energy throughout the day. Focus on the way you will feel fuller sooner and for longer.
You can then focus on eating the right types of carbs. You enjoy your meals rather than constantly focusing on the foods that you’re not allowed to eat. You can also focus on the naturally sweet tastes in food, overcoming your sweet cravings much quicker and easier.
The main benefit of a low carb lifestyle is the lower risk of disease. You get rid of the refined sugars that metabolize in your blood stream quickly. You reduce the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes while helping your body use up all the calories that you consume. This naturally makes it much easier to lose weight.
Set up goals that don’t involve your weight. Stop focusing on the scales and focus on dress sizes, the way you feel, and your medical results are yearly tests. These types of results will spur you on further.
You will find it easier to create lasting habits. This will make it possible to stick to your low carb diet in the long term, instead of falling back into old habits sometime in the future. You’ll also find your new lifestyle enjoyable, rather than wishing you could eat all the refined carbs that you used to enjoy.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t focus on weight loss at all. There will be times that you want to focus on your weight loss, but it shouldn’t be your main goal. Think of it as an extra benefit of your new diet and lifestyle.
Find Other Ways to Manage Your Cravings
When you don’t follow a low carb diet, you likely give into your cravings. You may not even realize that you’re giving into them. You reach for the bar of chocolate because your mind tells you that you want it. The sugar is the first thing you grab when you have a low mood, or you feel the shakes coming on.
Following a low-carb diet isn’t going to stop you feeling the cravings. You will get the sugar cravings at times, and you will want the chocolate bars and cookies. The lifestyle change is the way that you manage and answer those cravings.
Rather than reaching for the chocolate bar for the instant sugar rush, find another way to perk your energy levels. Have different types of snacks at the ready to eat, such as nuts or seeds. Opt for quick exercises to boost your energy levels at the 3pm slump. Not only will you feel better in the long term, but you will also help your weight loss efforts. Sure, your low-carb diet isn’t just about weight loss, but it is a good perk.
There are ways to beat the cravings. Your current ways are just current habits that you’re stuck in. When you make this lifestyle change, you’ll create new habits to manage your cravings. These new habits will soon become normal ways, and you’ll forget that you even had unhealthy ways of managing your cravings.
You may even eventually find that you don’t have as many cravings as you used to have. Or your mind just doesn’t have to deal with them as much.
You will overcome withdrawal symptoms eventually. Sugar withdrawal is one of the hardest to get over, but you can with a good lifestyle change.
Overcome the Problem of Emotional Eating
Snacking because of slumped energy levels or cravings isn’t the only problem. You may have the issue of emotional eating.
Our emotions can control the type of food that we crave for. When we’re tired and bored, we want thesugar to pick us up. Bread and pizza are common for sadness, stress, or even happiness. There is always a reason to stock up on carbs.
It’s up to you to make a change to your emotional eating issue. It’s going to be worth it to follow your low-carb diet.
This is another issue with thehabit. You’ll create habits to deal with emotional eating. The downside is you eat mindlessly and consume far more calories than you need. The chances are that you’re not even hungry!
Your lifestyle change needs to be focusing on mindful eating. Before you grab anything to eat, ask yourself if you’re hungry. One problem we have is that we feel hungry when we’re thirsty, so start the process by grabbing a glass of water. You will likely find that your hunger pangs disappear.
If you’re still hungry, then asnack with something healthy and low carb. Opt for some nuts or seeds to help tide you over to your next meal.
You’ll also want to check that it’s not your emotions controlling your cravings or need for food. Check the time to make sure that you could be hungry (whether for a meal or a snack). If it’s coming up for the time for a meal, opt for that instead. Preparing and cooking will likely take you to the time for your meal, especially if you have around half an hour to wait! Snacking will just lead to you consuming more calories than you need to.
While eating, give yourself time to chew your food and savor each bite. Chew at least 10 times before you swallow. Not only does this help you eat mindfully, but you give your stomach enough time to create the acid needed to digest the food, so you get all the nutrients. You’ll also give your stomach the chance to tell your brain that you’re full, helping to limit a number of calories you eat.
Don’t eat for the sake of eating!
Create an Exercise Routine
You may be surprised to hear that your exercise routine can affect your low-carb lifestyle. If you add more exercise to your day, you could find that it’s easier to stick to your low-carb diet.
People usually think the opposite. After all, exercising makes you feel hungry, right? Well, yes, but you also know that you’re putting effort into living a healthier lifestyle. You start thinking more about the food that you eat, finding food that will sustain your energy levels throughout the day.
You also start to burn the energy that you gain, rather than conserving it for later. This will help you live a healthy lifestyle, rather than just a low-carb lifestyle. You’ll start to see better weight losses, pushing you forward with your new diet.
Make sure your new exercise routine is good for you. Opt for a mixture of strength and cardio training throughout the week. 30-60 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week is the timing that you want to aim for, but start off slow. Work your way up by doing 30 minutes 2-3 times a week until you get to the full amount.
You can also work on just moving more throughout the day. You don’t have to make it to the gym every day. Make it a goal to walk 10,000 steps or so daily. This simple process of walking more throughout the day will help your metabolism work effectively.
If you currently have an exercise regimen, you may find that your low-carb diet affects you negatively at first. This is because your body needs to start grabbing energy from other sources. Your body needs to convert the calories from the protein and healthy fats that you eat. Give your body the chance to get used to it.
Start Weighing Out Your Portion Sizes
We have this tendency to guesstimate the amount of food that we eat. We work off the look of the portion sizes, but this isn’t a good thing. More often than not we will over estimate the amount of food that we can eat, leading to us eating more calories and more carbs than we should (or than we need). This is even more common when we exercise since we think that we have more calories to burn.
It’s time to make a change in your lifestyle by weighing out your food. Grab a set of kitchen scales and put them on your counter top. Don’t have them in your drawer to pull out as and when you need them, you will forget about them.
If you’re really in a rush, there are some tips that you can follow. A portion of cheese is the size of a matchbox, while a portion of thechicken breast is about the size of your fist. A portion of pasta is just one handful (and not an overflowing handful). You’ll be surprised at just how small your portions are at first.
You can also help yourself by getting smaller plates. Plate sizes have grown considerably over the years, leading us to eat more food without initially realizing. After all, we feel the need to fill our plates, or we will still be hungry. Opt for smaller plates to make it look like you’re eating more food than you are. This will trick your brain into thinking that you should be full after your meal.
Opt for More Healthy Fats
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to stock up on more protein when you opt for a low-carb diet. You need to replace the carbs with healthy fats.
Fats will metabolize in the liver and create ketones. The ketones will then energize the body. The great news is you will continue to grab calories from the fat stores as you do this, especially if you keep your exercise regime up to help build your muscles.
The problem with this lifestyle change is we have this view that fat is bad. The media hasn’t helped with this. It’s actually about the type of fat. You want to get monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats. Look out for olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, and oily fish. These are all good sources that will help to energize your body. Avoid the fatty cuts of meat, the vegetable oils, and junk food.
Keep a food diary to help manage the amount of fat that you eat. Count the amount that you get compared to your protein, fiber, and carbs. You may be surprised that you don’t get even the healthy amount that is recommended!
If you don’t get enough healthy fats, you will feel tired. You don’t get the benefits of the low-carb diet, as your metabolism slows down to counter the lack of energy.
Are You Ready to Follow a Low-Carb Diet?
It’s time to make some switches to your lifestyle. With the above changes, you will find it much easier to stick to the low-carb diet.
Make sure you track all the food that you eat. This is something to do daily, even when you think you’ve created healthy habits. You never know when your good habits start to slip. It will take around 6 weeks to create new habits, but longer than that to completely replace the old.
With a healthy diet and good exercise routine, you will find it easier to eat fewer carbs and stick to the right carbs. You won’t feel tired. In fact, you can feel more energized and far healthier. The weight loss benefits are just a perk to the other ways that you feel.