How to Start a Low Carb Diet

Low carb diets have produced incredible results in a hurry for an untold number of people for years now. But actually knowing how to go about following the diet is a completely different story. How many carbs? What foods? How does it work?

Read on for those answers, plus a video showing you a full week’s worth of delicious low carb breakfasts!

how to start a low carb diet


Why Does It Work?

Low carb diets work by reducing your intake of glucose, which your body gets from carbohydrates. This matters because when your body isn’t getting enough glucose to use for energy, it will turn to your body’s fat stores instead.

Because our bodies are only able to store about 24 hours worth of glucose, your body switches to burning fat very quickly. This is why diets such as the ketogenic diet or Atkins begin working so quickly. Aim for 25g or less of net carbs per day to see results.

What Can I Eat?

First, let’s go over what type of foods that are low carb:

Proteins: These will make up the bulk of your meals, so if you’re a meat lover this is the diet for you! Make things like beef, pork, fish, chicken, eggs, shellfish, fowl and wild game mainstays of your diet.

Non-Starchy Veggies: Get your greens through veggies like asparagus, peppers, pickles, olives, lettuce, avocado, broccoli, cucumber, cauliflower and celery.

Dairy: Finally a diet that doesn’t make you say no to cheese! In addition to that, you’ll get dairy from sources like sour cream, cream cheese, heavy cream, and unsweetened yogurt.

Nuts and Seeds: Between meals, snack on nuts, peanuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. You can also use nut oils and flours for cooking.

Fats and Oils: You’ll be allowed things like peanut butter, mayonnaise, olive oil, non-hydrogenated vegetable oils and animal fats.

Beverages: This is an area you need to be very careful with. Drink water, unsweetened tea, coffee with artificial sweetener and heavy cream, and diet sodas (regular sodas are typically very high in carbs).

For a more complete list, view our list of low carb foods.



How Do I Count Carbs?

You will only be concerned with a food’s net carbs, not it’s total carbohydrates. That’s because fiber is a carb which your body does not digest, meaning it will not raise your blood sugar levels or trigger an insulin response. Net carbs is simply total carbs minus fiber.

You’ll be able to find this information on the nutritional label, or by checking the food databases of sites like My Fitness Pal. You can also keep track of your daily food diary and intake through sites like these. Remember to take into account the carbs of any toppings or condiments.

So How Do I Get Started?

Here’s a step by step which should get you on the right path:

  1. Start by weighing yourself, preferably in the morning after you’ve used the restroom. Consider taking a “beginning” progress picture at this time, as well. Avoid weighing yourself too often; once or twice per week is plenty.
  2. Rid your home of high carb temptations like regular soda or white bread and pasta. If you’re unable to do that, try to at least put them in a container separate from your low carb foods so you’ll be less likely to cheat.
  3. Plan your meals for the first week, remembering that you’ll be focusing on foods like veggies and meat. Aim for variety to keep things interesting and remember to take into account the carbs of any toppings or condiments.
  4. Hit the grocery store for the items you’ll need which aren’t already in your home. The low carb diet is very popular these days, so your grocery store will likely have plenty of options (both ingredients and ready to eat) from which to choose.
  5. Keep a food diary using a site like My Fitness Pal to keep yourself accountable and also to ensure that you are staying below your daily net carb limit of 25g. You can also look for support communities from like-minded dieters on MFP and other similar sites/apps.
  6. Stick to it if and when you make a mistake. You’re only human, and this diet is a big change. Remember, this diet starts working fast so there’s no reason to think you’ve ruined everything when you have a slip-up! Just get right back to it and you’ll be fine.

Show Me Those Delicious Breakfasts!

Check out the tasty ways you could be starting your day from now on, all while losing weight!

Now that you know how to follow the low carb diet, the only thing left is to do it! Enjoy watching the fat fall off your body, and remember to pin this in case you need to refer back to it again later! 🙂

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