Is fast and sustainable weight management on top of your wellness wishlist? You’re not alone because statistics show that 49.1% of American adults try to shed pounds in a given 12 months. That’s almost half the population looking for ways to be fitter and healthier. While it sounds great, results are often elusive because people choose inappropriate diet plans or miss out on adherence.
A low-carb diet plan gets you ahead on both fronts. It works well for most weight watchers and is easy to adhere to. The Keto variant is specifically impressive, with surveys showing that 94% of dieters experienced positive changes in their health with the plan. But everything boils down to sticking with the plan, which can get tricky because you need to limit your daily carb intake to 50-130 grams.
What does it take to stay committed to a diet plan week after week as a first-timer? How can you keep track of your carb intake and ensure you never cross the recommended limits? There are no shortcuts, but a few tips can keep you on the right track, even as a beginner. Let us share some actionable ones.
Think Beyond One-Size-Fits-All
According to research, 5 percent of Americans follow a low-carb diet, which is quite a number. But as a first-timer, you need to understand that the ideal carbohydrate intake for this plan differs for different people. Therefore, a personalized low-carb diet plan is the key to sustainable results and long-term adherence.
Simple.Life recommends checking different types of low-carb diets, from a basic one to Atkins, keto, paleo, whole 30 and the South Beach diet. Each alternative focuses on reducing your carbohydrate intake but works differently. You can experiment with these options and find your sweet spot. Once you get it right, adherence becomes a breeze.
Know Your Carbs
Like individual weight-loss needs and goals, not all carbohydrates are the same. Knowing the different forms is the key to sticking with your plan. Simple carbs are easy to digest and include refined and processed variants like white flour and sugar. Avoiding them should be your top priority because they can cause quick weight gain.
Conversely, complex carbs like whole grains, beans and fiber-rich fruits are more nutrient-rich and take longer to break down and digest. They give a feeling of fullness sooner than later and prevent overeating and untimely snacking. Besides loading up on the healthy variants, you must stay on top of hydration.
Experiment With Food Alternatives
Cutting back on carbohydrates for the long haul isn’t easy because you may have to give up on your favorites like sugar, pasta, bread and cookies. But you can always make up with healthy and delicious food alternatives.
Why not swap noodles with zucchini and pizza crust with eggplant slices? You can replace a lettuce wrap with a burger bun and a split avocado instead of bread for a chicken salad sandwich.
Sticking with a low-carb diet will be a lot easier if you get creative with your food choices. This way, you’ll have a different recipe to work with and relish. The best part is that you can hone your cooking skills, which paves the way for a long-term commitment to the diet plan.
Create a Realistic Meal Plan
Did you know that research shows meal planning can influence diet quality, food variety and body weight status? Not surprisingly, many Americans plan their meals in advance. It can also help with adherence to diet plans for the long haul. Creating a realistic meal plan for a week eases grocery shopping and dinner prepping, so you are in a better place to choose wisely.
It is easier than you imagine. Write down notes about what you want to include in your meals for the entire week ahead. Use a notebook or hang up sticky notes on the refrigerator. Cooking and eating low-carb foods is easy once you do not need to think and plan daily. Fill up the freezer with seasonal produce, and you are good to go.
Get Brownie Points for Meal Prep
Besides creating weekly meal plans, you can double up on adherence with meal prep. It’s easier to skip the bread or cookies when you have a box of salad ready in your freezer, right?
You can utilize your spare time during weekends to prepare and freeze your favorites, from yogurt bowls to stir-fries, roasted chicken and lettuce wraps to keep your carbs on track throughout the week.
Meal prepping saves you time and energy and helps you keep a check on unhealthy food choices when you are in a rush. A little practice is all you need to master the skill, so start now and stay on top of adherence. There are plenty of recipe blogs and online videos to get recipes and ideas. It’s worth the effort!
Plan Your Snacks
Mid-meal snacking is another barrier you may encounter while following a low-carb diet plan. The worst part is that you may end up feasting on the wrong snacks.
You can’t expect your office vending machine to dispense kale chips or raw almonds, right? Or find nutritious carb-friendly snacks while traveling. Planning your snacks keeps you safe and stress-free about sticking with your diet plan.
Pack healthy snacks like pre-portioned berries, a sliced avocado, a hardboiled egg, or a handful of nuts for office and outings. Keeping a batch of low-carb muffins ready for unexpected cravings is a good way to avoid going on the wrong track.
A low-carb diet sets you up for healthy and sustainable weight loss. But the outcomes depend on adherence, which is often the trickiest part for most dieters. However, you can overcome the barriers and stay on top of your plan and goals with these actionable tips.
Most importantly, being motivated throughout your weight loss journey enables you to stay ahead of the challenges. You may encounter slowdown and failure on the way, but staying consistent and committed can keep you on track. It’s easier than you imagine!