So, you want to lose some weight? Great, but where to begin. There are so many diets out there, and so many different approaches to weight-loss how can you choose the right one? Well, frankly it doesn’t matter so much which diet you choose, so long as it is one you will be happy following for a very long time.
I shouldn’t really say that should I? No, this low carb diet plan is the absolutely best, most kick-ass diet ever! Okay?
The perfect diet is one that can become a life-time way of eating, rather than a short-term quick-fix solution. That’s where many low fat diets fall down. They leave most of us hungry, and do not work as diets you might want to follow after you’ve lost the weight too. Now you might very well enjoy celery and not much else, in which case low-fat might be the perfect choice for you. Personally I like a little more variety at meal-time, which is why I’ve been following a simple low carb diet plan. It began with the Slow Carb Diet and ended up being My Low Carb Diet (not patented obviously! )
It’s simple, easy to follow, very flexible and doesn’t involve having to count things (who wants to monitor their food continually?). It allows me to still enjoy cooking (when I’m in the mood) and eating, and it means I don’t have to sacrifice any of the food I enjoy. Excellent!
So let’s get on with it then…
Simple Low Carb Diet Plan
The Rules Are Simple:
No bread, no rice, no pasta, no grains, no potatoes, no sugar.
No liquid calories, so no fruit juice and no milk.
Eat at least 3 meals a day.
Every meal should contain protein and vegetables. Ideally there should always be a big serving of something green and leafy.
Plan a weekly cheat day, where you are allowed to let loose and eat what you like.
Low Carb & Legumes
Pulses and legumes are allowed in moderation. They’re really good for you but they are full of carbs. However, these are slow release good carbs so don’t fret it, and they fill you up!
The original Slow Carb diet, from Tim Ferriss suggests eating legumes at every meal. Personally I found bloating to be an issue, as well as a slow down in weight-loss. I still eat more pulses than many I imagine, but keep it under control, and try not to include them at every meal.
Protein and the Low Carb Diet
Most of us think of a low carb diet as a high protein one. It doesn’t have to be so, but to feel fuller for longer, the chances are you will automatically up your protein intake if moving from a traditional Western diet to a low carbohydrate one.
That’s great, but what I don’t do is count carbs. Hey if you want to fine. But personally this diet is all about being a long term way of eating, not a “measure everything” diet for today. But, you do have to ensure you get protein at every meal. So every time you eat you must include meat, chicken, fish, eggs, or cottage cheese. These are your key protein providers.
Fat and the Low Carb Diet
I know many follow low carb high fat diets. I don’t. It’s not that I think they are wrong, it’s just that I think I would rather my energy come from burning my own fat stores, rather than some extra butter or cream I ate.
So in general I don’t use butter, don’t deep fry, go for leaner cuts of meat, and cook with olive oil. Anything high in animal fat is used sparingly and never more than once a day.
Dairy and the Low Carb Diet
Many low carb dieters love the fact that they are “free” to eat cheese all day long. Well sorry folks, but I don’t think that is a great idea (but I do have a problem with cheese in that once I start, I cannot stop – cheese for me is way too similar to Pringles for the rest of you).
I suggest dairy should be consumed no more than once a day (cottage cheese excepted since it is so, well, different to all other dairy). Cheese is full of protein, but it is also full of fat (see above). Cream, even more so. If you’re fine eating LCHF (low carb high fat) you are no doubt enjoying lots of butter and heavy cream. That’s not for me. Yogurt though is something I think is far too good for you to be avoided. But it is also something I won’t eat more regularly than every other day. A boost of “good” gut bacteria is always nice, and it is simply a tasty treat too!
Vegetables and Fruit
First up fruit and vegetables are great for you. But on the whole fruit is relatively high in sugar, quick release sugar that makes you feel good, and then makes you feel hungry.
People’s tolerance of altering blood sugar levels is varied. I am someone that gets a little wobbly when hungry if previous meals have included sugars. So on the whole I don’t eat fruit, and if I do it is usually local fruit rather than even higher sugar tropical ones.
That being said, we have cherry, peach, nectarine, apple, plum and fig trees at home. I simply wouldn’t want to stop myself enjoying them when in season. So I tend to follow the rather daft rule “that if I can pick it, I can eat it”. But everything in moderation!
Things such as tomatoes that are technically fruits, but primarily eaten in savory dishes are for the sake of sanity classed here as vegetables, of which I eat an unlimited volume every day. Vegetables (ideally leafy greens) should be eaten at every meal. Yes vegetables contain carbs, but they’re slower releasing, and I personally don’t think a diet without them is one to consider long term, if you want to be healthy as well as slim.
Leafy vegetables should be your mainstay. However starchy vegetables contain lots of nutrients and can be good “filler-uppers”. I wouldn’t base my vegetable portions on starchy ones like carrots, squash or sweet potato at every meal, but once every day or two they won’t hurt. However you will need to think about portion size if using starchy veg regularly. This is why I am a fan of cauli, cabbage, spinach etc – you simply cannot eat too many calories worth of them!
Alcohol and the Low Carb Diet
More than a little alcohol is bad for you.
I know this, yet I drink a glass or two (or sometimes three) of wine most evenings. It isn’t ideal, but it is what I enjoy, and what I do. Drinking low carb alcoholic beverages such as red wine or spirits in moderation should not stop you losing weight. But if you want to lose the weight more quickly get on the wagon!
Beer, sweet wine and sugar filled mixers are best left to the other party goers.
Don’t be scared of cheat day. Yep you will no doubt slow down your progress a little, by cheating once a week. But if you’re anything like me you will also hugely improve your chances of staying on the diet long term.
Every time I have a craving, I simply tell myself “I’ll eat it on cheat day”. Now the list of things I intend to spoil myself with on cheat day can get very long. But you know what, after the first few weeks of over-indulging and subsequently feeling shaky and not a little hung-over, things changed. Now cheat day is actually a lot more moderate than an ordinary pre-diet day. But knowing I can eat what I want without feeling guilty keeps me happy!
Succeeding on a Low Carb Diet
Success means sticking to the low carbohydrate way of life properly. A few sugars in your coffee, or a few chips will ruin your day. You want your body to stop craving sugars and to do that means going cold turkey at least in the beginning.
Firstly sit down, think about your goals and prepare to start dieting. Set your start day and your cheat day and stick to them.
It really is the easiest diet ever. After all I’m sticking to it, and “I don’t do diets”.
But, if you enjoy lots of convenience food or take-out you’ll probably find it a little more challenging, since carbs are hidden in everything. So whilst I enjoy dieting without counting carbs or calories it is because I primarily prepare my own food from scratch. If you have a less pro-active approach to food preparation you will need to read a lot more labels and fine print, but it can still be done without too much hard-ship!