Eating a low carb diet is an effective way to lose weight, but we live in a high-carb world that is filled with fast food temptations, grab-n-go pastries, and endless pizza commercials. In this post, I share 17 quick tips for low carb dieting.
If you’re just getting started, this list will carry you all the way to your goal. If you’re an established low carb dieter, keep track to see how many of these tips you’ve already mastered.
Tips for Low Carb Dieting At-A-Glance
- Carb addiction is real.
- You’ll feel better with electrolytes.
- Don’t take the edge off withdrawal symptoms by eating carbs.
- Your cravings will pass. Stick with your plan.
- If you get off track, get right back on track with the next meal (not the next day).
- Foods that combine refined carbs and fat cause body fat storage.
- Avoid eating a low-carb AND low-fat diet. The combination leads to fatigue and cravings.
- Simplify your carb choices by focusing on eating non-starchy vegetables and avoiding sugar.
- Fill up at mealtime to limit snacking.
- Eat a high-fat, low-carb dinner to avoid snacking at night.
- Cook at home so you know what is in your food.
- If you go to a restaurant, use the restaurant’s website to choose your meal before you go.
- Keep track of your carb intake to avoid “carb creep.”
- A food should taste good and leave you feeling good after you eat it. If it doesn’t meet those two criteria, don’t eat it.
- Don’t compare your results with those of others. Stick with your plan, and you’ll reach your goal.
- Others may judge you for changing your diet. Let your results speak for themselves.
- Don’t stop before the magic happens!
17 Quick Tips for Low Carb Dieting in the Real World [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- 17 tips for low carb dieting!
- Why it is hard for your body to give up carbs.
- Things to keep in mind when you’re feeling discouraged.
Tip #1: Carb Addiction is Real
One of the first things to realize when you go low carb is that carb addiction is real. When you eat refined carbohydrates, like cookies, cakes, candies, cereal, and bread, your brain releases a chemical called dopamine, which is nicknamed the “feel-good chemical” because it makes you feel good.
Did you ever eat a stale piece of chocolate or a dry pasty and think, “yuck, this doesn’t even taste good” only to go on and eat the whole thing? That’s thanks to the stimulation of dopamine. It might not taste good in your mouth, but your brain is loving it.
Tip #2: Feel Better with Electrolytes
The only way to break free of carb addiction is to cut the carbs. However, like other addictive substances, when you give it up, you’re faced with a few days of withdrawal symptoms.
To feel better, follow tip #2, which is to take an electrolyte supplement.
Carbohydrates cause your body to retain water. When you cut the carbs, water, along with electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium, are flushed out, which adds to the fatigue, cravings, and headaches of withdrawal.
Tip #3: Don’t Take the Edge Off
Do you know what else will make you feel better? Eating a refined carbohydrate, but if you try to take the edge off of carb withdrawal by sneaking a high-carb snack, you’ll set your progress back. Be patient and allow your body time to transition from being a good sugar burner to being a good fat burner.
Tip #4: All Cravings Pass
And to help avoid giving into temptation, live by the 4th tip for low carb dieting, which shares the truth that all cravings pass. Whether you give in and eat junk food or not, the desire will go away. As I like to say, the only thing that chocolate does for me is make me want more chocolate.
Tip #5: Get Right Back on Track
Of course, anyone can be caught off guard by a weak moment. So, if you have an unplanned splurge, follow tip #5 and get right back on track with your next meal, not the next day. The quicker you get back on course, the better you’ll feel and the less work you make for yourself in the future.
Tip #6: Refined Carbs and Fat Don’t Mix
Tip #6 is that refined carbs and fat don’t mix. The reality is that sometimes it stinks to be a low carb dieter because the real world is not set up for your success. We use high-carb treats like cake to celebrate happy occasions, and pizza is the ultimate quick dinner.
But if we break these foods down, we see that they are a mix of refined carbohydrates and dietary fat, which is the best combination to gain body fat. The refined carbs in these calorie-dense foods spike insulin, which is the hormone that shuttles the unneeded calories into fat storage.
Tip # 7 Low Carb and Low Fat Don’t Mix
While eating carbs and fats together is not good, doing the opposite should also be avoided. So, tip #7 is to avoid eating a diet that is low in both carbohydrates and dietary fat.
When you do so, you rob your body of both of its primary energy sources, and you feel drained and hungry. The formula for a low-carb or keto diet is to keep your carb intake low, your fat intake high, and your protein intake in a moderate range.
Tip #8: Simplify Your Carb Choices
The 8th tip for low carb dieting is to simplify your diet by focusing on the best carbs and avoiding the worst. The best option is non-starchy vegetables, and the worst is sugar. So, for the most success, think salad greens, broccoli, and cauliflower and skip the sugary snacks and desserts. If you want a complete list of acceptable low-carb foods, you can download a list on my blog.
Tip #9: Fill Up at Mealtime to Limit Snacking
Tip #9, you’ll be happiest with your results if you fill up at mealtime and limit snacking. The time off between meals allows your insulin level to drop, which promotes the release of fat from your fat cells.
Tip #10: Eat A High-Fat, Low-Carb Dinner
To help you avoid snacking at night, follow tip #10, which is to eat a high-fat, low-carb dinner. This combination will help you feel full until bedtime and keep insulin low, making it easier for your body to burn fat overnight.
Tip #11: Cook at Home
The best way to stay in control of your dinner is through our next tip, which is to cook at home. When you cook at home, you know what’s in your food.
Cooking at home also allows you to gather some favorite recipes, which makes long-term success easier. A couple of high-fat/low-carb meals that are easy to prepare include grilling meat and vegetables and having breakfast for dinner.
Tip #12: Pick Your Meal Before Entering the Restaurant
If you find yourself at a restaurant, go prepared with tip #12, which is to pick your meal before you enter the restaurant.
Most restaurants have online menus with the nutritional facts listed. Take 10 minutes before you go out to eat to choose what you’d like to eat. When you get to the restaurant, don’t even bother opening the menu, you’ve already made the best choice.
Tip #13: Avoid Carb Creep
When you cook at home and pre-pick your restaurant meals, you find it easier to follow tip #13, which is to avoid “carb creep”. Carb creep is the term I use to describe the tendency to loosen the rules on your low carb diet, allowing your daily carb intake to creep up.
If you’re just getting started, it’s a good idea to track your carb intake daily. If you’re an experienced low-carb dieter, you may not need to track your intake every day, but by doing so every week or two, you can avoid carb creep.
Tip #14: Judge if a Food is Worth Eating
To make sure you’re not going down a slippery slope with your food choices, follow tip #14 to determine if the item is worth eating. To do this, make sure your intended meal meets two criteria.
- You want the food to taste good
- You want the food to leave you feeling good after you eat it.
If it doesn’t pass the test, don’t eat it.
Tip # 15: Comparisons are Dangerous Things
As you get into your low carb journey, you must guard against discouragement. One of the best things to keep in mind is our 15th tip for low carb dieting, which shares that comparisons are dangerous things.
Your body is the one you’ve got, and it is doing the best it can with the resources it has available to it. Others might be able to eat more carbs than you or get faster results, but as long as you stick to your diet and keep your focus, you will reach your goal.
Tip #16: Others will Always Have Questions
Another thing to guard against is the judgment of others, which brings us to tip #16. Others will always question why you’ve changed your eating habits, but there is no need to defend something that works. Results speak loudly, stick with your diet, and in the future, some of those naysayers might just come to you for diet advice.
Tip #17: Don’t Stop before The Magic Happens
And this ties into our 17th and final tip, don’t stop before the magic happens!
Whether you have 10 pounds to lose or 100s of pounds to lose, the transition will take time. Accept that the best things in life are worth working for and keep your focus on your goal.
There is nothing better for your joints, heart, immune system, and sense of satisfaction than freeing yourself from the burden of excess weight. Your low-carb diet can get you where you want to be as long as you don’t give up.
There you go! 17 ways for you to stay low carb in a high-carb world. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week!
About the Author:
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.