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The most difficult time to stay on a low-carb diet is when you first start it! Any change is difficult, especially a change of old diet habits. The first few days and sometimes, weeks can be tough. It’ll take you a while to undo these old bad habits & relax into your new & improved lifestyle. Initially, you may feel terrible as cravings kick in, especially as you leave sugar behind, but in a short time, you’ll be happy you managed to do it. You’ll feel way more energised and satisfied when following a lower-carb diet. Having said that, people who have been on a low-carb diet for years tell me there are days when they want to eat an entire pizza without chewing, but manage to push through the cravings and ultimately are ecstatic with the results. When you combine good, healthy food and movement, you can get the body you always dreamed of. It’s that simple. Here are a few tips to help you stick to a lower-carb diet.

1. Appreciate all the good things you can still eat

When you first begin a low-carb diet you may feel you are being deprived. You feel that you are only allowed to eat rabbit food, but that’s not the case. Why not display lists of all the yummy low-carb foods that are on your menu? There are heaps. You can put these up on your fridge and cupboards. You don’t want to be on a low-carb diet feeling restricted or starved. You instead need to realise that you’re being rewarded with nourishing, healthy, filling foods. This isn’t punishment, it’s a reward for you and your body.

2. Organise your snacks and meals in advance

The biggest obstacle to sticking to a lower-carb diet is not having the right foods at your fingertips. You can easily fall off the wagon if you get hungry when you’re out and there’s nothing healthy at hand. You end up buying a bar of chocolate or packet of chips, or whatever else you find in a vending machine. I suggest always packing an emergency snack you can carry with you, that way you won’t be tempted to eat unhealthy foods packed with sugar and carbs. Some good snacks to have on hand include nuts, like pecans or macadamia nuts, hard-boiled eggs, pieces of cheese, vegetable sticks (cucumber, celery, radish…etc), and even ham. You might also want to invest in some quality low carb snack bars. Or get tough and wait until lunch or dinner! When you feel like this you are more likely to lash out and eat junk food. Don’t!

3. Drink water

There is an old saying, the more you drink, the more you shrink. If you are dehydrated, your body can confuse thirst for hunger and you might give in and binge on all the wrong foods. I won’t tell you, you should drink “8 glasses of water a day”. Listen to your body. If you’re thirsty, drink water! Also, try to cut down on caffeinated teas and coffee as these are dehydrating. Try drinking a cup of warm water with a fresh slice of lemon occasionally. Do not drink warm tap water (as bacteria can live in hot water systems) instead mix boiling water with cold water. This is more satisfying than you probably think.

4. Exercise regularly

You are going to lose weight faster if you move. Instead of watching a marathon of reality TV, go for a walk, or start climbing the stairs rather than using the elevators. Join a dance or boxing class, or take the kids to the park or for a swim. Try not to radically change your diet and begin a gruelling exercise regime at the same time. You don’t have to qualify for the next Olympics or become a runway model overnight. That’s a lot to ask of your body and yourself. Start out slowly, do exercises you enjoy. Remember all these small changes will add up, and you will gradually lose weight when you are consistent.

5. Seek support through friends & family

To stay on a lower-carb diet, especially at the beginning, it really helps to have some support. Having a partner in “low-carb crime” can be handy. Do you have a friend who wants to lose some weight? If yes, ask if they would be prepared to go on a low-carb mission with you. Compare notes regularly and swap recipes. Talk about your meals. This could be the difference between sticking with the diet or giving up.
Tell friends and family that you are making changes. The more people you have around you, asking about your new lifestyle and supporting you, the more likely you are to stick with it.

6. Put up unflattering photos and track your weight loss

Sometimes we don’t make changes until confronted by the evidence of how much weight we’ve gained. Post up some unflattering photos of yourself in the kitchen, on the fridge, even on the cupboard doors. This is tough and confronting but many people have reported how much it motivated them. These pictures will act as a reminder for why you’re making those diet changes. Get some new photos of yourself and put them next to the unflattering photos. These new pictures will act as evidence of how far you have come. Regardless of how much weight you lose, keep the unflattering photos. These will help boost your motivation when you’re tempted to slip back into your bad eating habits.

What can also help, is keeping your clothes when you were a few sizes bigger. When you need some motivation take them out and put them next to your new clothes. It will quickly become obvious what you’ve been able to achieve.

What also helps people remain motivated is when they buy clothes one size smaller for an upcoming holiday. Every time you’re tempted to eat what you shouldn’t, remind yourself of the new clothes and upcoming holiday you want to get healthy for.

Remember that scales only show total body weight. Not your body fat percentage. Go by how you feel and look!

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