There are a lot of fad diets out there, and the low carb diet is no exception. It’s popularity comes and goes, and it’s definitely a hot topic these days.
But fad or not, that doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. The key is in treating it like a “new way of eating” instead of just a “way to lose weight quickly.”
Meaning it’s not a fad to YOU, but a true and lasting change in your diet, in your daily choices and in your lifestyle.
Does this mean that you’ll never eat a piece of cake again at a birthday party, or forever give up your favorite holiday pie? Nah. But it does mean that you’ll choose to make dramatic long-term changes to your diet both for your health, and for losing unhealthy weight – and keeping that weight off.
I’ve had GREAT success with the low carb diet, but like many people I’ve had trouble from time to time sticking to it and maintaining my new way of eating. Or not “falling off the wagon” so to speak. So I thought I’d share five ways that I have personally found helpful along the way…
Five Keys to Maintaining Your Low Carb Diet
1. Understand How & Why The Low Carb Diet Works
It’s important to understand how the low carb diet works, because “cheating” can actually cause you to gain weight – not just *not* lose weight.
During the initial “induction phase” you want to be super strict, counting your net carbs closely. And since it is a High Fat diet (which is why it’s often called LCHF – for Low Carb High Fat), sneaking in bad carbs can really backfire on you.
2. Make Sure You’re Eating Enough GOOD Carbs
It’s a LOW carb diet, not a NO carb diet. I stick to 20 net carbs per day or less, and “spend” those carbs on good foods such as romaine lettuce, cheeses, broccoli, spinach and other favorite non-starchy vegetables.
If you’re struggling with cravings, or having a hard time sleeping, save the majority of your carbs for your evening meal. This tends to help.
3. Self Discipline: Make Conscious Food Choices
Prior to starting the low carb diet I was barely aware of what I was eating or when. I might grab a random snack, hungry or not, and didn’t pay a lot of attention to what it was or why I was eating it.
Becoming more aware of my eating habits was the first step to mastering the low carb diet. From that point forward I started making deliberate decisions about eating and my food choices.
4. Avoid the Carb Relapse!
It’s been about 16 months now since I started eating low carb. In that time I’ve had several relapses. Most of the time it was simply to indulge – a means of pleasure or enjoyment. Particularly when going through a rough phase or feeling a bit down (or just bored, even).
The key is to find other ways to indulge. Other things you ENJOY as much as you enjoy food, or more. I’ve started new activities, including fun workouts to burn off negative energy, but definitely seek out things that count as a pleasurable “indulgence” to you personally.
Staying busy helps, as most of us will easily snack or “cheat” out of pure boredom.
Vacations, traveling, nights out with friends, etc are not a good reason to “cheat” – which could result in a long-term total relapse. It’s not worth it, considering how disappointed you’ll be with the weight gain, and with yourself.
Besides, there are great low carb restaurant options everywhere you go!
5. Accept Low Carb as a Lifestyle Choice, Not a Diet
Just like working out and building muscle, or toning, when you stop… you lose everything you gained. Except with the low carb diet, when you stop, you gain back everything you lost.
While you can easily eat low carb for rapid weight loss in a pinch (I lose 8 pounds the first 10 days, for example), if you want to get healthy and keep the weight off then you need to make a long-term lifestyle change. Going back to the way you ate before will just get you back to the shape you were before.
Consider it a “way of eating” instead of a diet. If people comment on your weight loss, just say “yes, I started eating healthier.” In fact, try not to use the word diet at all but rather focus on making smart food choices and simply changing bad habits into good habits.
Using the word diet eludes to a short term method of losing weight. Eating low carb, or just “eating healthy”, is a long term choice with extremely positive results!