If you are like most, you thought about a new diet or lifestyle change to start the new year. Quite a few people are interested in the Low Carbohydrate diets, such as Atkins and South Beach. How do you know if they are right for you and how do you make them work. Only you and your doctor can decide which diet is best for you, but I’ve come up with some tips on how to make a low carb diet work for you.
Starting a new diet may be difficult, but it gets harder as you try to stick with it. I know from personal experience, it is a one day at a time journey and sometimes even an hour at a time. In the beginning, you get excited about what could happen and the possibilities seem endless. As time goes on, you may lose interest, or momentum. Here are some tips I’ve learned throughout my journey with diets.
1. Schedule your meal times and plan your menus in advance. This makes it easier to stick with a routine and not stray from your diet. With this, you’ll also be making out grocery lists for your menus. Shopping with this list will help you avoid impulse buying. My husband and I sit down once a month to get a “go-to list” of dinners, then we sit down once a week to plan the menu for that week using the list.
2. Ease yourself into healthier eating habits so you don’t feel deprived. Cutting out your favorite ‘bad carbs’ all at once can be stressful and leave you feeling hungry and sad. Keeping some potatoes and pasta in the house isn’t the worse thing you can do. Just make them sweet potatoes and whole grain pasta to be on the healthier side. Even having a few crackers or a cookie or two isn’t the end of the world. If this dieting ‘safety net’ is helpful, go ahead. After a while, you won’t want them around anymore.
3. If you’re craving carbs, try eating good carbs before you eat the bad carbs. Wait twenty minutes, eat more good carbs, wait, and continue. If your craving continues, go ahead and indulge in your craving. Don’t beat yourself up just because you ate a snack that’s not on your diet. Enjoy it, then let it go.
4. Make a list of ’good carbs’ and keep it with you at all times. This is especially helpful when you don’t get your menu plan written and find yourself in the grocery store and hungry! Without direction, your hungry tummy will lead you into the sweets, starch, or bakery aisle. So, be prepared. I do this and I always have my list on me at the grocery store and I keep it attached to my fridge so that I always know what to choose.
Keep in mind that if you’ve been eating a steady diet of bad carbs, breaking this old habit won’t be easy and there will be setbacks. You don’t have to make the change all at once. Take baby steps if you need to at first. Make small changes in your eating habits and soon you will see results. I’ve learned that it’s never really about a diet, but the lifestyle change that comes with it. I lost 60 pounds over a year ago, and I’ve still been able to keep it off.