Keeping a resolution to eat a low carb diet isn’t easy. Here are a few tips to help make it more manageable.
Have you made a New Year’s resolution to start a low carb diet?
Have you broken it already? 🙂
No worries. Making such a major diet change is not easy, and the best way to stick with a such a change is to make it manageable.
Here are a few useful tips for making a low carb diet mangeable:
1. Start slow. It’s easy to jump into a low carb diet filled with enthusiasm. Easy, that is, until the low carb flu sets in, or until you get bored. While some believe that jumping into a very low carb diet is the best approach, I believe that easing into it is better.
So start slow. Replace one meal with a low carb meal. The easiest, in my opinion, is dinner. We tend to have a meat or fish, a starch and a veggie. Simply replace the starch with a second veggie, or double the amount of vegetables. Easy!
If you normally have dessert after dinner, try two squares of very dark chocolate, such as Lindt 90% cacao. It’s an acquired taste, but once you get used to it, you will love it, and sweeter chocolates will seem too sweet.
2. Break your resolution into smaller goals. This is actually a good tip for resolutions in general, not just for a low carb diet. Breaking a big, daunting resolution into smaller, more attainable goals can be very helpful in keeping that resolution.
For example: instead of “eat low carb” as your resolution, go with the following list:
Stop drinking soda
Replace dinner starch with veggie
Replace dessert with dark chocolate
Replace sugar in coffee with stevia
Have dessert just once a week, not every day
3. Find low carb foods that you enjoy. I recently visited a forum, where someone complained that she’s tired of eating chicken breasts and steamed veggies every night.
Whaat! Why would you eat that on a low carb diet? This is how you would eat on a low fat diet, which is partly why those diets fail – they lack taste and pleasure.
On a low carb diet, you can enjoy fat. So eat ribs, crispy chicken thighs with skin, steak. And please, roast your vegetables – they are so much better when roasted.
It’s impossible to stay long term on a diet if you don’t enjoy what you eat. So make sure you do.
4. Use sugar substitutes sparingly. It’s OK to use sugar substitutes. Personally, I am partial to stevia, and especially stevia glycerite, which lacks the bitter aftertaste typical to other stevia products.
Using sugar substitutes on a low carb diet allows you to avoid feeling deprived. You can still sweeten your coffee. You can enjoy low carb desserts.
However, try not to fall into the trap of constantly eating sweet things. Your sweet tooth is what got you into trouble in the first place. If you can wean yourself off the “need” to finish every meal with something sweet, you will be able to choose healthier foods rather than waste precious calories on empty foods – after all, even low carb desserts are not the most nutritious choices you can make.
5. Remove temptation. If it’s not in the house, you can’t eat it. So remove as many high-carb temptations as you can. Even if you live with your family, try to get them used to eating as low carb as possible. Certainly try to get them used to low carb snacks and desserts. Believe me, they don’t need cheetos and Skittles!
6. Forgive yourself. You WILL be tempted to eat high carb foods, and once in awhile, you will cave in. That’s OK. It happens to all of us, and it’s no reason to make it a “free day” or a free week. Just get back to eating low carb at the very next meal.
Sticking with a New Year’s resolution to eat a low carb diet is a big challenge. We live in a high carb world, and the temptations are abundant. But if you follow the tips outlined here, ease into the low carb diet, find foods that you love, remove temptations and forgive yourself when you stray, there’s a good chance that come January of next year, the low carb diet will have become an easy, sustainable and enjoyable lifestyle.