By Nina Nethery
Low carbohydrate dieting, like any style of dieting, starts with a decision and a commitment. You need to say to yourself “OK, now I’m really ready, and I’m not going to cheat this time.” Some people like to pick a starting date – a Monday or the first day back from vacation. You may need a few days to clean out your refrigerator and shop for replacement foods. You may also want to have a “last big bad meal” before you start.
Your steadfast commitment will need to get you through the first few transitional days. As with any diet, your body and your brain will need a few days to adjust. Not to worry, though! With low carb dieting, your appetite will reduce quickly – it’s the carbs that make you ravenously hungry! As a bonus, you’ll feel better all over – more energy and a brighter outlook – once your sugar levels are low and stable.
Focus on what you can eat rather than what you can’t. Stock up on beef, chicken, turkey, pork, fish, eggs, cheese, green veggies (not peas), and salad fixin’s (no carrots). Visit a local health food store for protein bars and shakes. Remember – not all protein bars are created equal! You’ll need to read the labels to be sure you are buying one that’s not loaded with sugar.
Here’s what you have to give up: bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. There are other high carb foods to avoid, too, but these four “white starches” are the serious no-no’s. Of course, you can’t eat anything with sugar in it, including fruit and fruit juices.
Remember, you are not counting calories, not avoiding fat, and not trying to eat small portions on this diet. A breakfast of bacon and eggs (no toast, no home fries) is perfect! If you eat breakfast on the run, grab a protein shake. For lunch, try a chicken ceasar salad (no croutons) or a hamburger with the works (but hold the bun). For an afternoon snack, have a protein bar. For dinner, enjoy meat, poultry, or fish (no breading) and a generous serving of broccoli cauliflower medley with real butter.
The first phase of a low carbohydrate diet is called the “Induction Phase.” During this period, you must be very strict about what you put into your mouth. Induction lasts for a minimum of two weeks but can go on indefinitely. If you are pleased with your results after two weeks, you can decide to continue losing at the same rate or to “lighten up” just a bit on the level of strictness.
Some people think that dieting means trying desperately not to think about food. Not so with a low carb diet! You’ll need to be very focused on food – choosing new low carb recipes to try, planning and shopping ahead, keeping a stash of protein bars on hand, and always studying food labels before you buy! Low carb dieting is a new way of life.
Note: Much of the information for this article came from the Atkins Center website, www.Atkins.com. Please visit this site for more information. LoCarbDiner.com is a certified Atkins Retail store.