When I first went Low Carb more than two years ago, it was a BIG transition for me.
I was very much an emotional overeater, and living on take-out and comfort foods.
I looked at various “diets” knowing I needed to change my way of eating (WOE) but also knowing I was not strong enough to stick to something too rigid – or to make a complete 180. Lifelong habits are hard to break, big changes are scary, and I was afraid I would totally fail.
That is WHY I chose the Low Carb diet. I didn’t have to change ANYthing in my everyday life to do it. I could pig out on bacon dipped in mayonnaise (lol), and top it off with a Breyer’s CarbSmart ice cream bar. And that’s exactly how I got started…
I lost 8 pounds in the first 10 days, and 25 pounds by the end of summer – in just over 90 days. It really is a great way to achieve fast, easy weight loss.
If you want to learn how to do low carb for weight loss (the easy way!), keep reading. Because you’re going to run into A LOT of information online, and it’s enough to overwhelm you and even make you “chicken out”… but I’m going to give you some candid straight-talk that will make this super easy for you.
Back to the story…
I desperately needed to lose that weight, just to start feeling better about myself so I could get off the “emotional overeating” roller coaster. To get to a point emotionally where I could even start thinking about nutrition and health. Both should be high priorities of course, but when you’re down on yourself or suffering or have tough life circumstances – they often are not.
It wasn’t until I lost some weight, got a little further into the Low Carb Lifestyle, and started feeling better about myself… that I was able to really focus on my physical health. That’s when I started making changes – and going more for a “real food” approach.
It wasn’t just the weight loss, which felt FABULOUS, it was also the sense of accomplishment – and the realization that I could change my life – and my habits.
It all starts in our head. And until your mindset gets a turnaround, it’s hard to achieve any kind of real life change – or tangible results – at all.
It’s a process. We can’t change lifelong habits overnight. None of us are perfect. Just take it one day at a time, do what’s right for you, do what YOU have to do to make this HUGE (and positive!) transition in YOUR life. Period.
When you first start eating Low Carb, just make it a point to stick to around 20 net carbs a day. Keep it that simple, and you’ll find it easy to stick to Low Carb as a way of eating, not just a diet. As you continue, you can adjust according to your own preferences or needs. Some people have health issues, some just want to lose weight, some want to eat healthier – we’re all different.
When you research online, or join Low Carb groups & communities, you’ll find that a lot of people are very adamant about what’s right and what’s wrong, or have very strong opinions. Things like “diet soda and splenda will kill you” etc. (That’s an extreme example, lol).
When you’re just starting out it can be hard to wade through all the facts and opinions. And to be honest, it can be really disheartening. Especially if you are making this change because you’re already feeling down, disappointed in yourself, afraid you’ll fail, etc (which is exactly how I felt when I first started LC).
I will be the last to judge, by the way. I smoke, and I enjoy it. My health journey is my own. I do my best to inspire and educate others along the way, that are specifically looking for that encouragement. But given my personal experience, I say:
“Do what YOU need to do to get healthy and happy!”
That’s not to say that artificial sweeteners are “good for you” or that people with strong opinions are wrong. They have those opinions from years of experience eating Low Carb. But you are not where they are, not in the beginning. And in order to really stick it out, you just need to keep it simple in the beginning. Make subtle changes – like splenda instead of sugar. Diet soda instead of regular. Heck, those are big enough changes on their own! I don’t recommend you go totally “cold turkey” and try to be a Granola Health Nut on day one if you’ve been struggling with this all your life – or for years.
One step at a time. Just stick to 20 net carbs a day to start. That’s it.
The cool thing is, a Low Carb diet is a natural appetite suppressant. And once you reach a state of ketosis (just days into eating Low Carb) you’ll find your cravings disappear too!
TIP: FORGET EVERY DIET FACT YOU’VE EVER LEARNED!
For example, you cannot go low fat AND low carb. There is actual science to the way a Low Carb Diet works. The science behind LCHF (low carb, high fat) is all about “Food Combining”. It transitions your body from burning carbs/sugar for energy – to burning fat for energy. If you try to go “low fat” you will not lose weight on the Low Carb diet, and your body will suffer. FAT IS GOOD.
There is a chemical change in your body (to a state of Ketosis) and it’s a big chemical transition – causing “Induction Flu” for most people. You may feel tired, cranky, have leg cramps, restless, headaches, etc. This only lasts a few days, but it means your Low Carb diet is working!
The bottom line is: do what’s right for you. Stick to around 20 net carbs per day. Eat plenty of fat. Let the science work for you, and let your mindset and emotional state follow suit. Once you’re in a better place, with pounds off and feeling awesome, then you can start exploring healthier options and other changes you want to make to improve your body and your life.
I’m not a health expert or a nutritionist. I was overweight and miserable, and totally turned my life around – by eating bacon and ice cream. This story is my personal experience, and the same experience I’ve heard from so many other people.
Work on a healthier you. But do it in baby steps, in your own comfort zone, in a way that you can handle – without getting overwhelmed or feeling hopeless or defeated. Because that’s a vicious cycle. (One that makes me want to EAT.)
If you’re struggling on the low carb diet, keep in mind that any “cheat” may take you out of a state of ketosis, meaning you have to start all over again. It’s just not worth it.
I also look at foods and make a conscious choice: “Do I want to wear that on my body for the rest of my life?” Or “Do I really want to go through the Induction Flu all over again?” Or “This decision will either make me feel fabulous and strong, or it will make me sick at myself – and sick to my stomach.”
If you need help doing low carb for weight loss, join us at the 90 Day Low Carb Challenge for support and recipes and easy food ideas!
Here are a few helpful links:
Low Carb Food List (Atkins reference)
(see the comments at the post above for even more great carb-journaling options!)
I realize not everyone will agree with my advice here. But the fact is, we can’t all be perfect. And we certainly can’t undo a lifetime of damage overnight. There is so much about weight gain, weight loss and dieting that is totally mental. I know I learned A LOT about myself in the process. I’m still a work in process. But in order to make the change you obviously really want in your life, you have to start somewhere. And once you’re feeling better physically, and mentally & emotionally, THEN you can make even more positive changes – and even become a total health nut if you want to!
But for now, accept where you are, know where you want to be, take it one day at a time, stick to 20 net carbs a day max, and find a supportive encouraging group to help you through it all.