May 5, 2012

Very basic overview of a Low Carbohydrate Diet

My boyfriend and I are starting a low carbohydrate diet. We're not going to follow a specific plan, because they are all pretty much the same: Eat about 20g of carbs per day for 2 weeks, gradually up the carbs until you've lost all the weight you wanted, up them some more until you reach a plateau but NOT gain weight.

Some people want to just to do the "Induction" Phase, where they eat a very low amount of carbs per day until they lose all the weight they want, and then go back to eating the way they did before. Well, you COULD do this. However, you will simply gain all the weight back.

The point of eating very little carbs in the first weeks is to switch your body from burning the sugars from all the carbohydrates for energy into burning the fat you eat for energy, and then continue burning the fat your body has stored for energy. Once your body has switched from sugar to fat, you will start dropping pounds.

The second phase is usually called Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL). In this phase, you begin to gradually raise the amount of carbs that you eat daily, between 5-10g per week. You need to find how many carbs you can continue to eat without gaining weight. If you reach a "plateau", try dropping some carbs. If you need help, you should exercise. Exercising REALLY helps accelerate the weight loss!

At the end of OWL, when you are closing in on that weight loss goal, start upping the carbs even more. You will lose weight more slowly, but at this point, you don't want to go below your goal, you want to stop at your goal. When you have lost all the weight, continue eating as many carbs as you can without gaining weight. You will feasibly do this the rest of your life. This is the third phase, Maintenance.

I've recently read that if you do a low-carb diet, and then end up gaining weight because you didn't follow your individual Maintenance plan, it's harder to lose weight the second go around. Nobody knows why, but I read from plenty of women that this is the case with them. It doesn't seem to happen to men quite as much, but it still does happen. This really worries me, but I have been doing fine, especially when I get to the gym!

UN-PROCESSED meat and eggs have no carbs, so you will be eating those a lot. You can cook the eggs in any which way you like! The meat must NOT be breaded though. That's extra carbs! That first 2 weeks you will be eating a lot of meat, eggs, and salad. However, if you plan to do a low carb diet, you will need to research. Some vegetables have a lot of carbs, some have almost none. Most fruit have a lot of carbs.

In order to figure out how many carbs you are getting, look at the nutrition facts on whatever it is you are eating. Subtract the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbohydrates. That's how many carbs you are getting. However, some packages have mistakes about the amount of carbs. If something says it only has 2g of carbs per serving, but the fiber and sugar add up to be MORE than 2g, it's WRONG. Always look at the package!!

Another mistake people make is trying to do a low-carb, low-fat diet. The fat in all the meat you are eating is what is helping keep you full. You need the fat, don't worry, you are BURNING IT ALL OFF! If you don't eat the fat, you will get tired, you will be hungry, and you will fail and just start eating carbs again. Again, you need to do your research about a low carb diet before you start one.