The transition to a low-carb lifestyle is not a simple one. You need to re-train your body and your mind to break bad habits and seek out healthier alternatives.
With consistent commitment to better health, you WILL see results. The very first day eating low-carb, your insulin needs will decrease. As you refine your insulin needs (for a Type 1 Diabetic requiring insulin) and your food, you will see improved blood glucose numbers. Your clothes will start to fit better and you will no longer have to fear surprise high or low blood glucose levels.
There are steps that you can take that will help you achieve long-term success with the Low-Carb way of eating:
- Clean out your cupboards and refrigerator. Give away or throw out all of the pasta, breads, sweets, sugar, rice, legumes and fruit. If you live alone, this is easier than in a shared household. For the first few weeks, when cravings are strongest and your body is transitioning away from your previous high-carb diet, this is a crucial step.
- Research/plan/make low-carb recipes: There are many recipe books online and in print form. Research low-carb and/or Ketogenic recipes or browse our growing list of recipes.
- Stock your fridge with healthier alternatives: Go shopping (or shop online) and buy some of the healthier alternatives: Grass fed (whenever possible) meats, wild-caught fish, eggs, coconut oil, coconut flour, almond flour, vegetables (fresh if possible) such as cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, spinach , chard, lettuce, red and green peppers, just to name a few. Add walnuts, almonds, pistachios and full fat dairy such as heavy whipping cream (HWC), cheese, cream cheese, ricotta and grass-fed butter. Sam's Club and Costco in the USA, as well as retailers Aldi and Trader Joe's are great for stocking up on these staple items without breaking the bank. Thrive Market is also a great option (membership site with a philanthropic mission) for specialty non-perishable items.
- Prepare meals and snacks ahead of time: Any preparation you can do before the temptation hits will save you from eating something you shouldn't. Divide nuts and cheese into serving-size containers. Pack your lunch for work every day. Pre-cook ingredients such as meat and veggies to store in your fridge so you can throw together quick, healthy, low-carb meals when you're pressed for time.
- DON'T put yourself in tempting situations: Attending social functions and eating out are two of the hardest times to stick with a healthy way of eating. Particularly during the transition period (the first few weeks on the plan when your body is transitioning to low-carb and you still might have strong carb cravings), avoid eating out completely. Go back to #2. If you must attend a social function, talk to the hostess ahead of time to see what your food options might be, or prepare a low-carb dish or two that you can bring. Prepare, prepare, prepare to avoid temptation. This gets easier over time when you are not suffering from carb cravings. Yes, the cravings do go away!
- Water and sleep: Two of the largest factors in success are drinking plenty of water (2.5 to 3 liters per day) and getting adequate sleep every night (7+ hours. This is one of my personal struggles). Your body's hormones and metabolism are adjusting from what it's always known. Be kind to your body and respect the adjustment that needs to be made. You are transitioning from a sugar-burner to a fat-burner.
- Exercise every day: Get out in the sunshine and walk, go to the gym, pop in a fitness DVD, search YouTube for an exercise program, or get on the floor to do some crunches/push-ups. Whatever it is, just move your body. Once you have a habit established, step up your activity/intensity level. Walk faster. Do a few extra reps, increase the weight or do 15 minutes more. Exercise produces endorphins, and endorphins make you feel good. If you feel good about yourself, your more likely to continue with the habits you're creating.
- Consider bone broth: Bone broth contains several things that will make your transition to low-carb easier: fat, protein, salts and collagen/gelatin, Bone broth also contains amino acids (glycine, proline and glutamine) and minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus). Magnesium and potassium can help alleviate initial muscle cramping, as well as eliminate brain fog. Try our recipe for Beef-shank bone broth (coming soon).
- Add more healthy fats: Avocado, eggs, fatty fish (anchovies, herring, salmon, sardines), flaxseed, nuts (almonds, pistachios, walnuts), seeds (hemp, pumpkin, sunflower), coconut oil and olive oil (for non-heated uses). Eating more healthy fats while reducing carbs will help you feel full and will keep your blood glucose steady (nuts and seeds might require a small bolus, depending on your serving size and your body. Please test, adjust insulin levels as needed and eat a consistent amount at each serving).
- Seek your Tribe: Surround yourself with people who are as passionate about this way of eating as you are. Who do you want in your corner? Who will help?? We all need support, especially when making a big life change. Find supportive friends, family members, or look online. There are really excellent Low-Carb, LCHF (low-carb, high fat) and Ketogenic groups on Facebook (My favorite is the TYPEONEGRIT Community and Group on FB. They're my people).