I’ve had people describe the results they experienced after cutting carbs as life-changing. Their blood sugar got under control. They got off medications, and the weight loss success stories, well, they are seemingly everywhere.
A low carb diet is indeed a diet where, when you put the effort in, the results come. But anytime we change our eating routine, we open the door to mistakes that can knock us off course. In this post, I share four things to avoid when you start a low-carb diet.
4 Things to Avoid When You Start Low Carb At-A-Glance
- Avoid excessive snacking. Instead, fill up with hearty low-carb, high-fat meals.
- Avoid trying to go too low-carb too soon. Instead, start by reducing your carbohydrate intake to 25% of your daily calories.
- Avoid added exercise. Instead, give your body time to transition to your new way of eating. When the shift is complete, you’ll naturally want to move more.
- Avoid “taking the edge off” by eating a high-carb food. If you do, you’ll delay your body’s transition to being a better fat-burner.
4 Things to AVOID When You Start Low Carb [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- Four things to avoid when you go low-carb!
- Four ways to fix potential mistakes.
- Additional resources for success in weight loss!
#1: Avoid Excessive Snacking
Snacking is part of our culture, and it is driven by an industry that measures its profits in the billions. It doesn’t surprise me that one of the most common questions I get from people who are starting a low-carb diet is, “What can I have as a snack?”
While it’s best to limit the number of times you eat in a day, there’s nothing wrong with reaching for a good low carb snack when we are truly hungry.
However, that is the crucial part – we need to be truly hungry. Many of us have lost the ability to separate true physical hunger from false mental hunger that makes us crave a treat.
Following a low-carb diet will help you widen the gap between true and false hunger, but it won’t happen if you are eating sweetened keto snacks.
Even though these treats replace sugar with non-caloric sweeteners, the effect they have on you is that they keep your sweet tooth alive. And that makes it very easy to fall off the low-carb wagon when life throws you a challenge.
The fix is to fill up with hearty low-carb, high-fat meals at mealtime and choose savory snacks, like meat and cheese, instead of sweetened treats, as I mentioned in my blog post, Low Carb Snacks that Actually Stop Cravings.
#2: Avoid “Too Much Too Soon”
The next thing to avoid when you go low carb is what I’ll call “too much too soon.” There is no doubt that low carb and keto diets are successful, so when you’re ready to lose weight, your brain might say, “Go for it!” But your body fights back when faced with a dramatic change.
When you are getting started, “going low carb” does not mean “going no carb.” In fact, if you are coming from a typical – cereal, sandwich, pasta style – high carb lifestyle, just reducing the number of grams of carbohydrates you eat in a day by half will likely get your weight loss started.
By approaching your low-carb diet in this way, you also give your body time to get used to processing the new foods that it will have available for fuel.
The fix for “too much too soon” is to reduce your carbohydrate intake so that carbs make up 25% of your daily calories. The easiest way to do that is to make non-starchy vegetables your main carbohydrate choice.
These veggies are naturally low in calories and carbs but high in hunger-satisfying volume and fiber. If you’d like a guide to get these foods into your low carb diet, you can download my free 0,1,2,3 strategy, which is a great foundation to jumpstart your healthy diet.
#3 Avoid Exercise
The next thing to avoid when you switch to a low-carb diet is exercise, which might sound shocking or at least like a really bad idea. However, the reality is that when you cut carbohydrates out of your diet, you reduce a significant energy source for your body.
The result will be a few days of carbohydrate withdrawal, which will leave you feeling tired. If you boost your exercise level at the same time that you are reducing your carb intake, you’ll be pushing your body to the point where it pushes back.
The fix is to work with your body as it makes this transition. Exercise is a wonderful thing and something that naturally becomes easier and more desirable as you lose weight.
But give your body time to get there. You can do that by maintaining, but not increasing, your current exercise time and intensity as you reduce the carbs you consume. And, at the start, don’t be afraid to avoid exercise or back down your current level temporarily.
With no carbs to run on, your body will become more efficient at burning fat for fuel, and when that happens, you will feel comfortable adding exercise to accelerate your results.
#4: Avoid Taking the Edge Off
Another pitfall to avoid is “taking the edge off.” Sugar withdrawal and carbohydrate withdrawal are real things, and they can be really uncomfortable to experience. Fortunately, the fatigue, cravings, and brain fog that define withdrawal typically diminish within a few days, but only if you stick to your guns.
The cruel reality is that a bowl of ice cream or a candy bar can take away withdrawal symptoms in the blink of an eye. However, that short-lived treat also takes away your progress.
When you give in and eat a high-carb food, you flood your body with easily accessible energy. Your body likes easy, so it puts the challenging task of creating fat-burning enzymes and pathways on hold, which resets your transition to becoming a better fat-burner back to square one.
The fix is a simple one – don’t stop before the magic happens. The transition from high-carb to low-carb can be challenging, but there is a world of freedom on the other side of that transition.
Thank you for reading and have a great week!
About the Author
Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.