You’ve likely landed on this page because you made the decision to try a low carb diet. Congratulations! You’re about to start a journey that may change your life for the better. This article will walk you through the essential steps needed to get started with a low carb diet.
1. Write Down Your Goals
This may be the most important step to success. Why do you want to get started with a low carb diet? Do you want to lose weight? Get off medications? Feel better? All of the above? Take a few minutes now to really think through this. Do you have a timeline? Is it realistic? Remember to keep your goals S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. I created a worksheet you can download for free below if you need help with goal setting.
2. Define Your Strategy
Do you have an all-or-nothing personality, or do you do best when you are able to ease your way in through moderation? Think about how you’ve done things in the past — which approach has been the most successful for you? If you’re not sure, give the following article a read. Mark weighs the pros and cons of each strategy and reviews the available research on the topic.
Knowing which approach is likely to work better for you can have a huge impact on your success, especially as you’re getting started with the low carb lifestyle.
3. Keep a Low Carb Food List Handy
Familiarize yourself with what foods are low-carb (and which foods aren’t!). Do your research. I’m not saying that any food is completely off limits; but you’ll want to plan for high carb items and eat them in moderation. You can download my Low Carb Food List to get started!
In addition, there are lots of great (and free) apps to track and/or look up carb counts. My favorite app is Chronometer (it uses the USDA food database), but MyFitnessPal and MyNetDiary are great too.
4. Clear Out Your Pantry and Fridge
This may seem obvious, but you really do want to avoid temptation as much as possible, especially during the first few weeks of lowering your carb intake. Depending on how much of a sugar addiction you have, your body may initially go through withdrawal and it will help to remove all temptations you can. While this can be challenging if you have roommates or family who are not also following a low carb diet, but it can be done!
Your strategy in number two above will come in to play here. If you are an all-or-nothing person, you’ll want to clear out all the high carb foods right away. Donate what you can, give to friends or family, or simply throw away anything won’t fit into your new diet.
If you are able to ease in, I still recommend donating or giving away. This will make things easier in the long run.
5. Recruit Support
If you have friends or family joining you on your journey, count yourself lucky! Starting a low carb diet is much easier when you have someone to call upon for support and advice, or for a little extra motivation when you need it. Many people think a low carb diet is just a fad and not sustainable — believing they have to give up bread or pasta forever. While this is not true, it can be awfully hard to convince someone to try something new and you’re likely to face some pressure from those who aren’t familiar with the low carb diet.
We’ve got your back! Join the Low Carb & Tasty Facebook Group and subscribe to my monthly newsletter for support and motivation as you get started on your low carb journey.