Simple Plan to Follow a Low Carb Diet for Those Who Don't Know How To Get Started
Overeating carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates like sugar and flour are a contributing factor in the increase in obesity and metabolic syndrome over the last several decades. The recommended dietary allowance for total carbohydrates is 130 grams daily, or 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories, according to the Institute of Medicine.  However, the average American diet consists of 600-1000 grams of carbohydrates daily which is about 5 – 8 times higher than recommended. Eating more carbs than your body can handle or not getting enough exercise to counter a diet high in carbs causes excess carbs to be stored as fat.
Did you know the majority of Americans skip breakfast and consume the greatest amount of their calories after 7 pm - usually empty calories?
Instead we should be consuming a large breakfast which will start your day by increasing your metabolism, increasing calorie burn and fat loss. Eating protein and healthy fat will also balance blood sugar and prevent overeating. You should consume a medium lunch and small dinner and include a morning and afternoon snack.
It’s a good idea to rid your home of processed junk food before you begin any diet. Prepare healthy snacks ahead of time so you don’t run to the candy machine because you’re starving. Your stomach will shrink when dieting, so it’s important not to overeat at any meal. Also it’s a good idea to eat BEFORE a shopping trip because invariably you will overbuy and be tempted by things you are not supposed to have on this plan. NEVER SHOP HUNGRY! It’s too easy to drift over to the deli, Starbuck’s or the McDonald’s at WalMart. Take a list with you to the grocery store and stick to the list! Also purchase a notebook to use as a food journal. You can use it as your shopping guide and only buy the things you are allowed.
Most people need reassurance that the diet is working. In order to confirm that you are burning fat, you can test your urine with ketostix which are available at more pharmacies. Simply hold the test strip under your stream of urine and compare the results to the color codes on the bottle. The darker the shade of purple the more ketones you are producing.
Remember FAT doesn’t make you fat, but there are differences between them.
Phase One – Induction - What to Eat & What NOT to Eat!
For the first 14 Days (Induction and Cleanse Phase) you may have:
• Meats (try to avoid processed meats which may contain maltodextrin and learn to read labels)
• Eggs (you may use egg whites which will cut down on calorie consumption especially if you are eating eggs on a daily basis.
• Cold-pressed oils such as walnut, grapeseed, sesame, safflower, coconut (Avoid vegetable oils and never use margarine)
Foods to include but in limited amounts – your foundation vegetables (keep at 12-15 grams/day)
*Keep carbs under 20 grams per day (it is acceptable to keep them very low but eat at least 12-15 grams a day from these vegetables. This is not a complete list but you can read more at Atkins.com.
• Cheese (no more than 4oz daily)
• Heavy cream
• Green veggies including sea veggies like brown seaweed which has an extremely high vitamin, mineral, enzyme and amino acid count
• Salad - you may add eggs, avocados, tomatoes, veggies, even real bacon and use real dressing in moderation but remember dressings are high in fat and usually high in empty calories. You may want to try Salad Spritzers or plain lemon juice instead of dressing or make your own dressing like “honey mustard” with mustard, apple cider vinegar and stevia.
• Substitute spaghetti squash or zucchini for pasta and even enjoy Italian dishes
• Lemon and lime juice (be sure to count these carbs)
Foods not allowed during the first 2 weeks of Induction include: (basically anything white or yellow)
• Corn or corn based products like grits
• Flour (you may use quinoa, almond or coconut flour in small amounts later)
• Fruit – after Induction you may begin to reintroduce nuts and fruit into your diet (any kind of berry – approx 1/2 cup) AFTER the first 2 weeks. Berries are high in anti-oxidants and low in natural sugar. )
• 8-10 glasses of water per day (a gallon of water per day is the recommended amount)
• Tea (May sweeten with stevia but do not use artificial sweeteners)
• Coffee (you may add coconut oil, butter or heavy cream in your coffee along with stevia to make *Bullet-proof coffee – the added fat keeps you from getting hungry)
Eating very low carbs is just for the first two weeks in order to change your body’s metabolism from carb storing to fat burning. Rule of thumb, if it tastes sweet it probably contains too many carbohydrates (example: English peas, corn, carrots, sweet potatoes) and cause a spike in blood sugar followed by a crash. A few of these foods will be added back into your diet later.
Remember your goal is to starve the toxins by not eating certain foods like mushrooms (fungus), sugar which exacerbates candida and lowers immune function, and processed foods which cause inflammation. Don’t worry about fat consumption which keeps you from being hungry, but do eat healthy fats.
Do not count calories but do count carbohydrates. Keep total daily carbohydrate intake at 20 grams or less for the two weeks to allow your metabolism to convert to fat burning.
Expect to lose anywhere from 8 -15 pounds on the 2 week induction. People who have more weight to lose may see a larger weight loss in the beginning but that will stabilize as you continue the diet.
You should also expect to see your blood sugar drop significantly especially if you are getting enough chromium in your diet which helps the pancreas function properly. It’s wise to eat foods containing chromium like brown seaweed. If you are not losing you may want to consider adding a chromium supplement. You should be getting at least 800mcg/day of chromium.
Phase Two - What to do after the first 14 days on Induction
After the first few days on the diet you will have noticed an increase in energy, a feeling of well-being and will have begun to change your body composition and metabolism. During the cleanse phase you will have rid your body of toxins and waste. By the second week you should notice your clothes are not as snug and that you are beginning to lose weight and inches especially in your mid-section. Those with more weight to lose will, of course, lose more initially.
Week 3: You will begin adding carbohydrates (preferably complex with a low glycemic index) back into your diet during this week. You may add 5 grams daily during week 3 for a total intake of 25 grams/day of carbohydrates. You may have nuts, fruit, more veggies low carb or Greek yogurt as long as the carbohydrate count total is less than 25 grams/daily. You may even have small cheesecake squares as long as you stay at or below 25grams of carbohydrates per day.
Week 4: Week 4 you are allowed 30 grams of carbohydrates per day. You may want to add more green vegetables, half a sweet potato or organic black beans or black bean pasta. I also use spaghetti squash to replace plain pasta.
Week 5: Eat 35 grams/day of carbohydrates.
Week 6: You may add another 5 grams of carbohydrates to your diet (40 gram daily) but, be prepared in case your Ketostix no longer turn purple. Some people can tolerate as much as 50-60 grams of carbs daily and still lose weight but be sure you know your limit. This may occur before or after you reach the 6th week. This will also depend on how active you are. The more exercise you get the more carbs your body can tolerate and still burn fat.
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Once you have added 5 grams of carbohydrates per week to your diet and your Ketostix no longer turn a shade of purple, cut back 5-10 grams/ day and you will be at your ideal or Critical Carbohydrate Level (CCL). That is the amount of carbohydrates you will eat for the duration of the diet in order to lose 2-5 pounds/week. This is a healthy rate of fat loss and you will be more likely to keep it off.
Once you have lost all the weight you desire, you will add back to the level at which you no longer turned purple and that will be your Maintenance Level (ML). That is where you will stay “For Life”.
For some who have more weight to lose it may be necessary to restart the program and go back to a stricter level of carbs. Doing so will again kickstart your fat burning again. For that reason I recommend re-evaluating your amount of weekly weight loss every 2-3 months and considering restarting Induction.
There’s really no magic in this way of eating – just simple biochemistry, but when you start to lose the weight without experiencing hunger, cravings, or fatigue you’ll probably find, like I did, that you are healthier, happier and a lot more motivated to continue.
I’d be more than happy to answer questions. For instance, while I did not cover medications there are some that can keep you from going into ketosis and losing weight. I do not recommend going off any medications unless you have consulted your physician, but I can help you identify them in order to discuss alternatives.
My email is [email protected]