The Ultimate guide to living a low carb lifestyle

This post will explain what a low carb diet is and how to succeed.

Let me guess; you want to lose weight and have heard the fantastic weight loss success people have had by lowering their carbs.

You also have no idea where to start, or if lowering your carbs is healthy! People tell you that you need carbs to live. They also say you will gain back all of the weight you lost once you eat carbs again!

Your mind is all jumbled up, and you’re in a state of confusion about what to implement in your diet. Maybe you start to think carbs are evil.

You do know one thing; you are ready to lose weight, look amazing, and feel great!

You’re in the right place. This article will help you understand what carbs are if cutting carbs is sustainable, and how to formulate a low carb diet plan.

What is a Macronutrient ( aka macros)?

A macronutrient is the main composition of the food and contains carbs, protein, and fats. These three main macros can further be broken down, but that topic is beyond the discussion of this article. It’s also really dull.

What you do need to know is each macro contains a certain amount of calories.

Carbs contain 4 calories per gram, protein contains 4 calories per gram, and fat contains 9 calories per gram.

Each Macro plays a different role for your body.

 

Carbs give you instant energy. Think about throwing paper in a fire. Ever notice how fast it burns and provides the fire with an “extra boost?” That’s how your body uses carbs. Carbs that are not used by the body immediately will be converted and stored as fat.

 

Fat is a long term, sustainable fuel. Think about using wood logs in a fire. Logs burn more consistently, last longer, and stored for later use, much like your body stores fat for later use.

 

If you eat too many carbs, your body will NOT get to burning the fat you are eating and will be stored as a fat store.

 

Protein is the building block for your body. It also repairs tissues, collagen, and muscles.

 

Too much protein will be converted into sugar and either burned for immediate use or converted into fat.

Do any of the above macronutrients seem evil or bad?

 

No.

 

They are all needed. The key is to focus on the quality and not the quantity. There are bad carbs and good carbs. Bad fats and good Fats and bad Proteins and good Proteins.

Good Carbs Vs. Bad Carbs

All carbs are not created equal.

Good carbs are whole and unprocessed while bad carbs are refined and have been processed. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/good-carbs-bad-carbs#section2

If you are trying to lose weight, stay away from all processed and refined carbs.

They will not help your weight loss, and may even stall you.

Whenever I eat anything processed such as a muffin ( no matter how small of an amount), it ALWAYS leads me into a ravenous monster willing to eat everything! However, when I eat a potato, I can eat one and be full and not go on a carb binge.

The reason this happens is that processed and refined carbs ( think beige foods like muffins, bread, pasta) spike insulin and trigger cravings for more high carb foods. [2] 

Eliminating refined foods eliminates cravings and hunger pangs. This is one of the reasons why low carb diets are effective. It acts as an appetite suppressant, so you are not always HUNGRY, making eating less VERY easy.  

It’s best to listen to your own body and may require some experimentation. Try eating certain foods and observe your response.

 

Types of carbs

There are four types of carbs, each serving a different purpose for your body. They are broken down into glucose (or sugar). Some more rapidly than others.

  • Sugars – Found Table sugar, fruits, soda, etc. These rapidly increase your blood sugar levels
  • Fibers- Found in vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds,  and grains. These are not fully digested by the body, causing no insulin spike. You do not need to count these carbs against your daily intake.
  • Starches – Found in “ complex” carbs such as potatoes.
  • Oligosaccharides- These are prebiotic for your body and have positive effects on colon health.

Carbs in Fruits

Not all fruits are allowed on a low carb diet in the beginning phases.

Reducing your fruit intake may seem kind of strict to you, but it’s not forever. When you reach your ideal weight, you will be able to eat mangos, pineapple, and watermelon in moderation. Remember, though; it’s accessible to overdue. I treat high sugar fruits as a dessert to eat once and awhile. They are delightful.

Fruits you can have are berries. This includes blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc. Always check the sugar amount before consuming.

Read here for the Ultimate Guide to Fruits.


Carbs in Veggie

Veggies should be the basis of your meal plan. Low carb veggies such as cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, squash, okra, etc. are all safe.

Eat all that you want, and you probably will not go over your net carb allowance. They are full of nutrients you need and will keep you fuller because of their voluminous nature.

Read here for the ultimate guide to carb in veggies

Carbs in Alcohol

low carb alcohol

Alcohol is not a carb, it’s a seperate fuel source in itself (unless you add it with a sugary mixer)

 

Alcohol will burn FIRST before burning additional calories. It doesn’t kick you out of ketosis; however, there is a calorie aspect here.

 

ALL the calories you eat will be stored as fat until your body has gotten rid of the alcohol fuel source.

 

Some people are more tolerant than others. When I started to drink alcohol, I gained like 20 pounds in 2 months! I learned my lesson and cut it out.

Want to know something?

I don’t miss alcohol at all. I love living a healthy lifestyle and would miss how great I feel if I went back to my old ways.

Read here for the Ultimate Guide for carbs in Alcohol

Carbs in Sauces

Sauces are tricky and destroy your low carb efforts. Ketchup, BBQ sauce (especially added in meats), marinades, salad dressing, are often overlooked when counting carbs.

 

DO NOT DO THIS ( Learn from my mistake). It’s easy to eat two tablespoons of BBQ and reach your carb limit for the day.

 

Carbs in Nuts and Seeds

Some nuts and seeds are allowed. Most tree nuts have 6-10 carbs per CUP.  

Be Careful when eating these, however, as they can be addicting. I have eaten an entire bag in one sitting..which was a whopping 1,000 calories!

Read here for the Ultimate Guide to Carbs in Seeds and Nuts.

 

How to Track your Carbs

Tracking your carbs may be a little difficult for you in the beginning.

I suggest using an app or notebook. This will give you reference on how many carbs 20 grams is.

 

You can also subtract fiber from the total amount of carbs. Your body does not digest fiber, so call it a “free carb.”

Is a Low Carb Diet Right For you?

That is up to you to decide. Get with your doctor and discuss various options, and also get a blood test before starting a low carb diet.

 

Wait three months and get another blood test after, and compare the results. Is it helping you? Have your stats improved? If so, you may want to consider sticking with a low carb diet LONG term.

 

You must be able to do it LONG TERM. A low carb diet is a lifestyle, not a diet. If you go back to your old ways of eating, you will gain the weight back.

A low carb diet is right for me because I FEEL better, maintain my weight, think more clearly, and my skin looks fantastic! This isn’t the case for everyone. I  also don’t mind eliminating beige foods, so it works.


Tips for Succeeding on a Low Carb Diet

BUILD A HABIT- Building good eating habits is an essential part of succeeding with any weight loss program. This is why getting a plan is very HELPFUL. It helps you stay consistent, gives you the correct information, and it enables you to build a habit that will last you’re a lifetime.

Without building the CORRECT habits, you are doomed to stay in the constant yoyo dieting, losing weight and gaining weight, and forever being dissatisfied with your body.

If you are interested in my free program, you can sign up for the 7-day weight loss challenge here.

Focus on High Quality

It’s tempting to buy the cheapest food, but remember you are creating your body with the foods you eat. Would you put cheap gasoline in your car?

Probably, but the performance is degraded by a lot, not just a little.

It may seem like a steeper cost in the beginning but think about the amount of energy you will gain in the future.

Eat for Sustainability

The only diet that works is one that you can sustain for life. This is a lifelong commitment to low carb healthy eating.

Watch for hidden carbs

Hidden carbs are everywhere! They are in the seasoning, sauces, coffee drinks, veggies, and soups. Watch out for them. Cornstarch used to thicken seemingly low carb soups is about six carbs per tablespoon.

Don’t Care what others think

Everyone has an opinion on whether you should be eating a low carb diet or not. Everyone will cite you their advice on low carb diets, high-fat diets, and high protein diets. Don’t listen to them. Confidently go forth on your newly found journey.

Do not overeat protein

Too much protein can be converted into sugar. Many people mistake a low carb diet for a high protein diet; this is not the most efficient way. The most efficient way would be to have a low carb, moderate protein, and high-fat diet. This is commonly known as the keto diet.

Read here to learn more about the keto diet

Eat Lots of non-starchy vegetables

Vegetables should be based on your diet. They provide needed nutrients and are voluminous to give you that “full feeling” It’s also an excellent way to increase your fat intake while leaving your carbs low.

Follow a low carb diet for a day, a week or even a month isn’t going to have lasting success.

Drink Water

I have the hardest time with this one, but drinking more water will help you lose weight on a low carb diet. Most of the time, when you eat, you are just thirsty.

There you have it. The ultimate guide to carbs for beginners,

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

Also, if you would like to start my 7-day weight loss challenge click here.

It will help you create effective habits for quick and sustainable weight loss.