Your friends have been doing great on a low carb or keto diet, and you want to join them. This post will share three easy-to-do steps so you can start your low carb diet and make quick progress.
Quick Start Your Low Carb Diet At-A-Glance
- Cut refined carbs from your diet. These quick-digesting carbs spike the fat-storing hormone, insulin.
- Eat a daily salad. Leafy greens are high in hunger-satisfying volume and low in carbs and calories. Topping a salad with salmon, meat, cheese, eggs, or avocados boosts the fat content of your diet.
- Stop eating three hours before bed. You will naturally reduce the carbs you consume and keep insulin low overnight.
Quick Start Your Low Carb Diet: [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- Why you should cut refined carbs from your diet!
- Something you should eat daily when you start your low carb diet.
- Other methods to optimize weight loss success!
Step #1: Cut Refined Carbs
The first step for good health and fast weight loss is to cut refined carbohydrates out of your diet. Except for some dairy products, carbohydrates are nutrients that we get mainly from plant foods. That’s because plants make carbohydrates through a process called photosynthesis.
Therefore, if you are just getting started with the low carb way of eating, a quick trick for identifying whether or not a food has carbs is to ask yourself if it came from a plant. If it did, the answer is yes, it contains carbohydrates.
But here’s the important point, if that plant-based food makes it to your table and still looks like the plant it came from, such as a leaf of spinach, an apple, or an almond, we call it a whole carb.
If we grind down the plant and turn it into spinach-colored pasta, applesauce, or almond flour, we’ve created a refined carb. Whole carbs digest slowly, which quiets hunger and cravings. Refined carbohydrates digest quickly, so hunger and cravings return quickly.
The more refined a carb is, the more it spikes the fat-storing hormone called insulin. You may have heard a piece of advice in the past telling you to shop around the edges of the grocery store and avoid the middle aisles. What this advice is essentially preventing you from doing is buying refined carbohydrates, which include cereal, bread, chips, cookies, cakes, and candies.
That is good advice, yet I think many people instinctively know that the foods I just mentioned are not good for your waistline. Things get tricky when we are faced with products that are labeled as keto- or low-carb friendly.
One of the mistakes that many people fall into when they are trying to get off to a quick start with low-carb eating is simply swapping snacks or ingredients. For instance, they turn to snacks labeled keto-friendly or trade high-carb ingredients like white flour and sugar for “natural flours” and sugar substitutes.
You may be able to argue that these items are a step in the right direction in that they technically fit the macros you are aiming for. However, they can stand in the way of your progress. What you’ll find in common with many of these keto-friendly snacks and recipes is that they rely heavily on non-caloric sweeteners and flour.
Even though the sweetener may be free of calories and the flour might be refined from almonds or other lower-carb plants, the reality is that the treat will keep your sweet tooth alive, which makes it hard to move away from sugar. It will also digest quickly and be calorie-dense, making fat loss more challenging.
Step #2: Eat a Daily Salad
The second thing you can do to get your low carb diet off to a quick start is to eat at daily salad. One of the best low-carb veggies you can eat is leafy salad greens. These vegetables fit either a low carb or keto diet with a 3 (85g) cup serving having only 3 grams of carbohydrates, 2 of which are fiber.
A daily salad provides two wonderful advantages as you get your diet rolling. First of all, a large salad provides a lot of volume, which fills your stomach and takes a long time to digest. Because of that, you feel full, and hunger stays satisfied for a long time, preventing the desire to snack. Also, the salad is a perfect vehicle for smart carbs and healthy fats.
By smart carbs, I mean whole, non-starchy vegetables like peppers, onions, and tomatoes that provide vitamins and minerals. These micronutrients biochemically fill you up, which not only enhances health but also reduces cravings. Healthy fats like salmon, steak, cheese, avocados, and oil and vinegar dressing taste wonderful and help you absorb the fat-soluble vitamins from the vegetables.
In addition to all of these benefits, this meal-sized salad will digest very slowly, which will provide you with a steady stream of energy that keeps you feeling good. Check out this delicious low-carb, high-fat salad!
Step #3: Stop Eating 3 Hours Before Bed
When you start your low-carb diet with steps 1 and 2, you will be eating in a way that stabilizes your blood sugar. There are many benefits to this, one of which is that it keeps hunger from getting out of control.
With that advantage in your court, you’ll find step 3 easy to do. The third step to getting your low carb diet up and performing for you quickly is to stop eating three hours before bed. This is a basic step but has noticeable results. First of all, adhering to this rule prevents late-night snacking, which is typically filled with high-carb foods.
In fact, research that evaluated the eating habits of a typical person showed that we ingest more than 35% of our daily calories after 6 p.m (1).
By staying away from carbohydrates and calories before bed, you extend the benefits of your low-carb diet to the overnight hours. That is because not eating late into the evening keeps the fat-storing hormone, insulin, low overnight, which encourages the release of fat from body fat storage as you sleep.
Cutting out refined carbohydrates, eating a daily low-carb, high-fat salad, and declaring an end to your eating day 3 hours before bed will require attention and discipline. However, following these steps will pay you back with quick and noticeable results.
These steps are three of my four daily habits for weight loss. You can download a one-page sheet to help you remember the habits, and you’ll also get access to four videos that are not here on YouTube that explained how to get the most out of the strategy.
Thanks so much for reading, and have a great week!
(1) Gill, Shubhroz, and Satchidananda Panda. “A smartphone app reveals erratic diurnal eating patterns in humans that can be modulated for health benefits.” Cell metabolism 22.5 (2015): 789-798.
About the Author
Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.