Starting A Low-Carb Diet Part 1: Preparation & Research

Updated Friday, December 30, 2022

Starting A Low Carb Diet Part I - Preparation & Research
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Understand Why You’re Starting A Low-Carb Diet

You can’t zip up your favorite pair of jeans. You know the ones – the new favorite pair of jeans you bought to replace your old favorite pair of jeans which mysteriously shrank in the dryer.

Your beloved spouse made a crack at the party last night about the real estate taxes being due – on your derriere.

Your alleged best friend is getting married and didn’t ask you to be a bridesmaid because the (ugly) bridesmaid dresses she’s picked out don’t come in sizes big enough to fit you.

You feel like you’re big enough to warrant your own personal zip code.

You feel out of control. You’re sick of feeling that you are consumed by food rather than merely consuming food.

You’ve given up trying to lose weight. Nothing works.

You can’t walk up a flight of stairs without pausing to catch your breath halfway up.

You’re tired all the time.

You hurt.

Sometimes you just want to die.

You’ve decided to give it one last shot. You’re ready to try a low carbohydrate diet. Even though your mother says it will kill you, you figure that NOT losing weight is going to kill you anyway, so what the heck? The only trouble is, you have no idea where to start your low carb diet.

Don’t Start A Low Carb Diet Today

You don’t know enough about ketogenic dieting to even begin. Don’t know what ketogenic dieting is? I rest my case. You need to learn more about the various low carbohydrate diet plans before you can make an informed decision about which one will best suit your needs.

Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution (Paperback)
Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution (Paperback)
The most well known low carb diet plans are Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution by Dr. Robert C. Atkins and Protein Power by Drs. Michael R. and Mary Dan Eades. You will eventually want to buy a copy of the book your chosen plan is based on, but for an initial overview, I suggest borrowing library copies. Check out these books: Dr Atkins New Diet Revolution, These books are all available in paperback editions. If you are like me and the librarians just roll their eyes when you walk in and the library police have your address memorized, you may want to buy the paperbacks.

***Note: If you are diabetic, you will want to read Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution by Dr. Richard K. Bernstein and/or The Schwarzbein Principle by Dr. Diana Schwarzbein as well.


The only way that you will even begin to have an understanding of the precepts of low carb dieting is to actually read the books. There’s no way around this. You’ve got to do your homework. You have to understand not only what to do to follow a low carbohydrate style of eating, but why you’re doing it and why it works.

Search the Internet for information on low carb diets. There’s a wealth of information available. You can use search engines, or if your time is limited, you can email me at [email protected] for an organized list of links to start with. Save the links or print out the articles, recipes, and information. You’ll want to come back to them time and time again.

Choose A Low Carb Diet Plan

Once you have a basic understanding of the various low carbohydrate eating plans, choose the one that you think is right for you. Read this particular book again to make sure that you understand the parameters of the diet.

Get A Physical and a Blood Panel

Go to the doctor and have a physical to ensure that there are no physical problems that would prevent you from successfully starting a low carb diet. A low carb style of eating is healthy for the vast majority of people, but you want to cover all your bases and make sure that it’s OK for you.

Be sure to have blood work done. You will want to have your thyroid function tested, your cholesterol and tryglyceride levels checked, and, if you are diabetic, your baseline blood glucose level. These tests are important, because they will give you the ability to monitor your progress in these important areas. Starting a Low carb diet is not just about weight loss, but about improving your total health.

Starting A Low Carbohydrate Diet
Photo by Eliza Diamond on Unsplash

Pick A Day To Start Your Low-Carb Diet

Pick a day to actually start low carbing. Make it soon. Saying that you are going to start low carbing January 1st when it’s now early June doesn’t show a whole lot of commitment. Thinking about starting a diet (any diet) is usually much harder than actually starting it. Give yourself a week or so to get ready, then do it. It will be a relief to get started.

Before starting a low carbohydrate diet, go through your kitchen like Sherman went through Georgia and clear out all the high carb goodies. Pitch them. Feed them to the dog. Give unopened items away to your neighbors or a local food bank. If there are items that you cannot make yourself get rid of, put them in an inaccessible location. (I put those items in a cupboard above the refrigerator and behind a canister set. It’s a major pain in the neck to get to them, and I pretty promptly forgot about them – even the Girl Scout cookies!)


Yes, you actually have to start following a low carbohydrate regime in order for it to work. But there’s one more thing you have to do.

When you get up on your first day of low carbing, weigh yourself, painful as that may be. In addition to weighing yourself, take your measurements. Measure everything you can reach: ankles, calves, thighs, hips, stomach, chest, neck, wrists, upper arms, and lower arms.

Why measure? Because a low carbohydrate style of eating promotes muscle growth, unlike most low fat diets. Muscle takes up much less room in the human body than fat does. Often when low carbers are not actually losing weight they are losing inches because while they are still losing fat, they are gaining muscle. Keeping track of your loss in inches as well as pounds helps keep you motivated when the scale isn’t budging.

Write down your starting weight and measurements and put them in a file with the results from your physical. This information is important. It will be the ruler against which you will measure your progress or your road to weight loss and better health.

Now go get the low carb diet books and start reading.

Then read “Part 2 – The First Two Weeks” of “Starting A Low Carb Diet”.

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