Updated Friday, December 30, 2022.
Beginning Or Restarting A Low-Carb Diet
Perhaps you splurged over the holidays and are now having a difficult time getting back on track with your low-carb WOE (Way Of Eating). Or, perhaps, you looked in the mirror and decided, “It’s time to lose that weight!” And after considerable research, you have decided to go the low-carb diet route. Regardless of your reasons, here you are, confronting the Dreaded Low Carb Diet!
You made your New Year’s Resolution to lose weight… Now how are you going to actually DO it?
There are numerous low-carb diets, but for the sake of clarity, I am going to focus on Induction, the 2-week kickoff for the Atkins Diet in this article. If you are following one of the other plans, of course, follow its specific guidelines.
Beginning Or Restarting A Low Carb Diet – Plan Ahead!
The biggest secret to success on Atkins or any other low-carb or keto diet plan is to PLAN AHEAD!
Before you even start, read your book! Then roll up your sleeves and let’s get started.
Take a Food and Kitchen Tool Inventory
Go through your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry and get rid of the high-carbohydrate foods, especially snacks and any holiday leftovers. If you MUST have them in the house, get ones that you don’t like very much. I would be tempted by Poppycock in the house, but I can turn my back on BBQ chips anytime.
Plan Your Menu
What foods will you need for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks? Plan a week’s worth to start off with. Need recipe ideas? They’re all over the Internet. Check out our over 1,000 FREE Low-Carb recipes: the CarbSmart Recipe section.
Make A Grocery List
Stock up on the keto or low-carb foods that are the mainstay of your diet. Meats, poultry, fish, eggs, appropriate vegetables, low carb dairy products (butter, cheese, cream, etc.), low carb salad dressings and mayonnaise, artificial sweetener, diet soda, pork rinds, sugar-free Jell-O.
For additional information, see my article, “Stocking The Low Carb Kitchen” at Stocking The Low Carb Kitchen
Don’t Forget Your Water Needs
Figure out your water consumption. You should be drinking a minimum of 64 ounces of water every day, plus an additional 8 ounces for every 25 pounds that you want to lose.
Do you prefer bottled water? Better stock up!
Get a sports bottle for when you’re on the move, whether it is around the house or running errands.
Do You Need Any Special Items?
Here are some thoughts:
- a scale
- a tape measure
- Ketone Test Strips Package of 100
- any specialty food items that you may need to track down locally or online
Eat Before You Shop
It’s not a good idea to shop when you’re hungry, so have something to eat and then buy what you need!
You know your personal schedule. Do you need to get dinners made ahead? Some people spend Sunday cooking for the following week.
Do you need to prepare some low-carb lunches or low-carb snacks for the following week? It is a good strategy is to make up your lunches and snacks ahead, and you will be less tempted to grab high carbohydrate foods when you are in a rush. (And we’re all in a rush, aren’t we?)
Check out my Quick Ideas For Brown Baggers below. They’re great even if you’ll be at home at lunchtime.
Eat Until You Are Satisfied
While you don’t need to totally stuff yourself with low-carb foods, if that is what it takes for you to stay on track, you can as long as you choose the right foods. When ketosis kicks in and as time goes on, your appetite will naturally decrease.
During Induction, stick with the basics: meats, poultry, fish, eggs, appropriate vegetables, low carb dairy products (butter, cheese, cream, etc.), low carb salad dressings and mayonnaise, artificial sweetener, diet soda, pork rinds, sugar-free Jell-O.
Later, once you are on track and you can start adding small amounts of carbohydrates, make certain that they are the right carbs. Add more vegetables, for instance, instead of adding sugar-free pudding. Low-carb eating isn’t really about adding as much fat as you can. It is about eating healthily and choosing the carbohydrates you do eat wisely.
When you start adding those small increments of carbohydrates, spend some time online cruising around the online stores for low-carb specialty products. My very favorite is Xanthan Gum, but there are also low carb shake mixes, baking and cooking mixes, protein powders, sugar-free syrups, and hundreds of other specialty products. Some may be available at your local supermarket; others will require a trip to your local health food store or low carb diet website, such as CarbSmart.
Proper preparation makes it a lot easier to make your low-carb diet a true Way of Life!
For more information on starting a low carbohydrate diet, you can check out Di Bauer’s articles, “Starting A Low Carb Diet, Part I – Preparation” and “Starting A Low Carb Diet, Part II – The First Two Weeks”
Quick Ideas For Brown Baggers
- hard-boiled eggs
- deviled eggs
- egg salad
- tuna salad
- egg, tuna, or chicken salad wrapped in Romaine or butter lettuce leaves
- bacon, lettuce and tomato rolled up inside a slice of deli turkey breast
- meatballs (cold or nuke ’em)
- cold roast chicken drumsticks or chicken wings
- sliced roast beef wrapped around string cheese stick
- keto beef jerky, Slim Jims, or other cured dried meat products
- sugar free gelatin (You can buy this already made in 6-packs or you can make your own. I have included a recipe for Sugar Free Gummi Worms below.)
- cheese, sliced or in sticks or cubes
- Celery sticks, broccoli florets, or cauliflower florets with dip
- large pepperoni or salami rounds spread with cream cheese and rolled up
- deli turkey, ham, or roast beef spread with cream cheese and rolled up
- chef’s salad with lots of meat and/or cheese
- leftovers of any kind (Cold ribs are great the next day!)
- low carb soup in a thermos
- low carb quiche squares (These are delicious cold!)
- salad greens strewn with leftover meat from last night’s dinner and topped with ranch or bleu cheese dressing
- pork rinds (Try the BBQ or hot flavors, and check out the microwaveable ones that ‘pop’ in the microwave.)
- plain pork rinds with pimento or nacho cheese
- sunflower seeds (These are available in different flavors. Try the salsa!)