How To Cut Carbs In A Healthy And Effective Way
If you want to get healthy and reach a healthy weight, reducing your daily carb intake is one way to go. Yet, embarking on a low-carb journey can be tough, especially if you don't notice any changes in your body right away. But there are a number of strategies you can take in order to transition to a low-carb diet with success. Here are my top tips for cutting carbs in a healthy and effective way.
1. Be wary of eating too much fruit.
When you push all the junk off your plate in a low-carb eating regimen, it's easy to replace it with an overload of fruit. While fruit is packed with nutrients and healthy in moderation, fruit also has fructose, and consuming too much high-carb fruit can create havoc in the insulin department. A good serving size is a closed handful of berries or chopped fruit, a medium-sized apple, or half of a larger fruit, such as grapefruit.
2. Avoid keeping high-carb foods in your kitchen.
Especially when you're starting out on a low-carb diet, it can help to keep chips and cookies and other high-carb stuff out of your pantry or fridge—even if you're saving it for a rainy day. Donate, or, better yet, toss them. Instead, stock up on plenty of highly nutritious snacks and staples to keep you fueled and feeling great.
3. Eat low-carb treats in moderation.
If you want to eat low-carb snacks like packaged cookies, breads, treats and sweets once in a while, go for it. But if you're trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and weight, you may want to be wary of how much you're actually eating and how often.
4. Don't forget about foods with fat...
Many people have ingrained in their minds that fat is evil. Some fats may be, but healthy fats like coconut oil and avocado are anything but evil. In fact, eating the right fats may even help you lose weight. Maintain a well-rounded diet by including nutrient-rich fat foods on your plate.
5. ...but don't go overboard on healthy fat either.
Again, quantity is an issue here. I love coconut fats, olives and avocados, animal fats, nuts and nut butters. They feed our bodies deep nutrition. But when I first started eating low-carb, I downed too many coconut chips and nuts, and was way too liberal with my drizzle oils. Here's a good guideline: A serving size is no more than two teaspoons of fats and oils, daily (including coconut oil, coconut butter and drizzle oils like olive and avocado oils). Or a closed handful of coconut chips, olives or nuts. Count one-half of an avocado as a serving. Full-fat coconut milk is best, and one-third of a can is a serving size.
6. Keep healthy portions in mind.
You certainly don't need to think about portion control all the time, but you should get used to glancing at your food and making sure you're getting the right amount for your body needs.
In addition to the guidelines for fats that I outlined above, here are some additional rules of thumb. Protein should be the size of the palm of your hand. You can fill the perimeter of your plate with non-starchy veggies. And if you need some starchy or dense carbohydrates, a good serving size is one to two cups, depending on your needs.
7. Stick with your goals.
After you've been maintaining a low-carb lifestyle for some time, you may start to relax a little too much and fall into some of your old patterns. Remember why you started this in the first place and make sure that you're eating low-carb as a rule, not an exception. When you realize you're having a gelato or a martini one too many times, be intuitive about it. Ask yourself why you're doing what you're doing, and shift back to the plan.
8. Support your low-carb lifestyle with sleep.
9. Get organized for success.
If you don't get organized with meals and pantry updates and planning ahead with regard to what you'll eat at holiday parties, birthday bashes, etc., you're asking for trouble. Have lots of "yes" foods on hand at all times. Remember, a starving body can convince you of almost anything and can even rationalize the benefits of a Twinkie! Avoid setting yourself up for grabbing foods on the run that are surely going to keep you from achieving your healthy weight.
10. Don't give up if you don't notice changes overnight.
If you expect to lose weight fast on a low-carb diet, or even at a moderate pace, you may be disappointed. For some people, it takes a while for weight to normalize. A low-carb diet is by no means a quick-fix diet. It's a lifestyle diet that leads to forever results. Trust me on this one. It will happen.
When you get a handle on all of the above, the magic will happen. Be patient and trust that your body will do what it needs to do.