Updated: Aug 2, 2022
Following a low carbohydrate (carb) lifestyle has many benefits. My favorite being the high energy levels I get. Some people think it is impossible for them to eat low carb when in reality, it can be quite easy. It just takes a bit of time and patience to get adjusted.
There is so much information out there about how to start eating a low carb diet. Many of which are super complicated and just plain unrealistic. Following a low carb lifestyle doesn't have to be overwhelming! The best part is that you can still enjoy flavors you love while staying on track! Here are four simple tips to help you down the path to a low carb life:
1. Start Small
Once you make that decision to start eating a low carb diet, the best thing you can do is start with small changes and then add more overtime. If you completely eliminate carbs from your diet you will probably feel crappy and get uncontrollable cravings that will make you break your new lifestyle plan. Start with small changes such as going one meal a day without carbs or limit your carb intake to 3-4 days per week instead.
2. Eat Lots Of Protein
One big mistake that people often make when going low carb is not eating enough protein. It is true that carbs help us feel more full because they hold onto water but protein and healthy fats can be very satiating as long as you eat enough. Protein also aids in muscle building and maintenance. Adults should consume anywhere from .8g - 1.5g protein per lean body mass per day. So for an adult female that is 140 lbs and about 30% body fat, that is around 79g - 147g of protein per day.
3. Drink Electrolytes!
For every 1g of carbs you consume you hold on to 3-4g of water, which makes sense considering carbs can be so filling. So when you don't consume as many carbs, you wont hold on to as much water, therefore you wont hold on to as many electrolytes. It is absolutely necessary to consume more electrolytes while you are eating low carb. They play a crucial role in energy, sleep, exercise, cravings and hunger. Especially if you are an athlete or avid workout person. Ever heard of "keto flu"? Lack of electrolytes is the culprit, not the lack of carbs. If you plan on eating low carb, be prepared to double your sodium intake (5000mg perday), be mindful of potassium consumption (4700 mg per day) and be sure to take a magnesium supplement (400+mg per day). There are amazing companies out there such as LMNT and Perfect Keto who sell clean, low carb electrolyte supplements that can really help with the symptoms.
4. Find Substitutes For Your Favorite Snacks
Just because you are choosing to eat low carb doesn't mean you need to give up your favorite sweet and salty treats. The best thing to do is find a substitute that curves the craving. Thankfully, for people like me who have a sweet tooth, there are many packaged snacks out there to get your fix. Companies like Quest Nutrition, Perfect Keto, Lily's and more have great products to have a quick sweet treat. For my salty craving people out there, pork rinds are a great substitute for chips. Other potato based snacks like french fries can easily be made with vegetables and seasonings to give you the same flavor and consistency. Jicama and radishes are two of my favorites to use. Some companies are even making pasta alternatives now!
Following a low carb lifestyle can be a challenge for some people, but overall it can be easy if you put your mind to it. The good news is that as "keto" and "low carb" continue to get more popular, companies are stepping up their game to make products that will work for a low carb lifestyle. In the long run, I believe that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages when it comes to longevity and overall health. I have personally seen many of the benefits through my own journey and also my clients. For me, this is a lifestyle change that I know I will stick with. Although, that doesn't mean that I won't have my favorite high carb treats every once in a while too ;).
P.S. Keep in mind that these tips won't necessarily help you lose weight if that is your only goal for going low carb. If you are consistent and stick with it in the long run, eating a low carb diet can help you lose weight in addition to all of the other great benefits that come with it. But there is a lot that goes into it if losing weight is what you are looking for. In that case, I suggest getting help from a nutrition coach whether or not from HEAT Fitness. The accountability of a coach really is a game changer. If you want to learn more about our nutrition education program, contact us on our website, social media, or call/text 520-314-7834.