Wednesday, November 28, 2012

That's My Low Carb Diet And I'm Sticking To It

What's the hardest part of any diet? Sticking to it. But in order to stick to your diet plan you have to start by having a plan. There are plenty of resources that can help you choose which foods to eat and develop a plan based on which route you go with your low carb diet. But, sometimes the vastness of the information just makes your head spin. At least, I know it does mine.

Sure, you should check out as much information as you possibly can, but there are also simple basic strategies you can learn to make the low carb diet process easier. Let's look at some suggestions that will hopefully get you started in the right direction without spinning out of control, and help you stick to your diet in the long run.

Join a low carb diet forum or other community.

Whether online or in person, you will meet others who are taking this dieting journey right along with you. Not only can you share your concerns, but you can get recipes and ideas for meal planning. You will discover how others have gotten past their setbacks and maneuvered through their dieting obstacles. You will receive some much needed pats on the back when you’ve hit a goal. These communities are a way to reach out and get the support you need from others who are experiencing the same thing. You will also be held accountable for the goals you set, which will keep you on track. So, along with the pats on the back, expect a few nudges. It's all in the spirit of support.

Design your master grocery list.

Routinely making out your grocery list ahead of time will quickly make you an expert low carb shopper. You will want a master grocery list that consists of the acceptable foods on your low carb diet. Items on the list should include proteins such as poultry, lean meats, fish, and other seafood, as well as canned tuna and sardines. Your dairy list will include eggs, cheese, and milk. Depending on your exact low carb diet, you will list specific food items to enjoy often. Of course, you'll want your 'good carb' food list to include lots of fresh vegetables, some fruits, and nuts. This list will come in handy when you're in a rush and haven't made out your meal plan, but it also comes in handy as you do your menu planning. Refer to this list often and you will soon become familiar with all the foods permitted on the low carb diet you are following. Soon, you'll be able to rattle the list off from memory and buzz through the grocery store in no time flat.

Learn how to read nutrition labels.

It’s important to become familiar with food labels and know how to read them. On any low carb diet, you will need to pay attention to the total carbohydrates, the dietary fiber, the calories from fat, and the serving size. This helps you become familiar with calculating 'net carbs' and keeping track of your daily carb intake. If a permitted food doesn't have a nutrition label, such as fresh produce, check online by searching 'nutrition of ____' and you'll find nutrition information. These searches are important because you may discover foods that seem high in carbs until you find out how much fiber they have. The 'net carbs' then fall within your daily intake and you have found a new food to enjoy. Also look at the nutrient levels for food items. Remember, a few extra complex carbs aren't bad for you if you are also receiving mega doses of vitamins, minerals, or protein.

Plan meals and snacks ahead.

Even a few days of meal planning can help prevent that midnight cookie jar raid. Get out your master shopping list and hit the grocery store. Stock your refrigerator and pantry with foods that you can throw together for easy meals and snacks. Always have snacks on hand so you don't feel deprived, which is a dieter's disaster. Have plenty of washed and cut up vegetables and fruit ready to grab, as well as proteins like nuts, meat, and cheese. The idea is to have low carb food prepared or ready to prepare so you aren't reaching for the potato chips or breadsticks when your tummy rumbles. If hard-boiled eggs and tuna salad are ready and waiting, your diet remains on track. When you have time, sit down with recipes and plan to shop for the ingredients. Take a day to prepare a few dishes you can stick in the freezer. Plan, prepare, and you'll never go hungry, or fall off your diet.

The key to success in any diet plan is to make it easy and tasty. Getting support, understanding your diet, knowing what foods are good for you, developing a master list of those foods, and planning ahead all lead to one thing – success. Once you've reached a comfort level in this basic strategy for sticking to your diet, then expand your horizons. Try new recipes, share more with your community or forum, and enjoy your new healthy lifestyle.

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