Carbohydrates are the primary culprits when it comes to weight and weight loss. The vast majority of us eat much more carbs than we need to on a daily basis, and therefore stand to gain a lot health-wise from going on low-carb diet. We tell you in this piece how to begin on this journey.
Carbohydrates are an important nutrient for our bodies, but it is also true that in our modern day diets, we tend to pack in more carbohydrates than we need. Much more. So if you’re looking to lose weight, cutting down on your carbohydrates is a prudent first step. You should not by any means go below your recommended daily carb intake, but you can trim the excesses and pave the way for a happy weight loss journey.
If you’re just beginning on a low-carb diet, here are a few steps to follow:
- Read up about low-carb diets
There are many low-carb diets out there; read up about them and choose one that is right for you. Also do some reading on the importance of carbohydrates to your body, and what is the minimum daily requirement that you have to hit. For many of us, we eat more than double the carbohydrates we need – this is especially true for people of Indian descent; we love our rice and our parathas – so there is a lot of room to cut down. However, do it with awareness and caution.
- Start with small changes
You don’t have to dive into the deep end of the pool on Day 1. You can ease yourself into this, because you want to build small, consistent, repeatable habits rather than go on a temporary diet. For instance, for the first month, say no to all sugary beverages. Once that becomes a habit, then you will cut down the amount of pure carbs in your diet and replace them with vegetables and fibre-rich foods. In the third month, replace some more of your carbs with protein foods. And so on.
- Have a six-month plan on where you want to be
The approach is more important than the theory. Whether or not you use one of the documented diets found in books or paid programmes, or whether you’re building your own diet, have a six-month plan to cut down the amount of carbohydrates you’re eating by half. And then in another six-months, you cut it down by a further half etc. That way you keep cutting down by half every six months, until you reach your desired carbohydrate level. From then on, you just have to maintain it there.
- Get support from loved ones
Sticking to something consistent and difficult like this is difficult unless you have support. Find a friend – that one person in your life – who will egg you on, who understands what you’re trying to do, and who believes in it as much as you do. Arrive together at a reporting schedule whereby you tell them at periodic intervals whether or not you’ve succeeded with your goals.
- Be forgiving of yourself
This is true of any such journey. There will be times when you will slip and take more carbohydrates than you should. There will be times when you fall away from your goals. Instead of feeling bad about it, forgive yourself – because all of us fall off the horse constantly – and get back into the game as soon as you can. The support person around you should therefore strike the right balance between being firm and being forgiving of your failures.