Monday, July 7, 2008

LOW CARBOHYDRATE DIET - how to stick to it

Low carbohydrates diets or low carb diets can be simply defined as dietary programs that restrict carbohydrates consumption usually for weight control. Foods high in digestible carbohydrates (especially white flour and sugar - also pasta, bread, rice and alcohol) are limited or replaced with foods containing a higher percentage of proteins and fats.
Apart from obesity, low carb diets are often discussed as treatments for some other conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, hypoglycaemia, type-2 diabetes and epilepsy, although these treatments still remain controversial and lack widespread support. [Wikipedia]
Are you one of those many yo-yo low carb dieters who at times find it tough to stick with your ldiet regimes ? Actually it’s quite normal to get off track once in a while, especially when cravings set in, and you begin to feel deprived, you’ll be tempted to forget about the whole thing and begin indulging in carb-laden foods again.
Here are some tips to help you stick to your plan:

You have probably heard it before, but it is especially important when you are on a low carb eating plan. Here’s why – when you eat more protein your body needs the extra water to process it.

Your body needs to be fully hydrated to be healthy. There is also the added benefit of feeling full when you drink water continuously, which will help you avoid overeating.

That’s right. Once each week (or at least once a month, whichever suits you best) you should indulge in one "forbidden" item. For example, if you enjoy going out for dinner on Saturday evening, then go ahead and have the baked potato or the fries.

Perhaps you would rather have a sumptuous dessert ? Go ahead. Have that one item, and then get back to the program, pronto ! This way when the cravings hit during the week, you’ll have a better chance of beating them, because you will have a treat to look forward to ... ;)

If – or when – you overindulge, immediately do a little extra exercise to burn off some of those carbs and then get back on track. Do not fall into the trap of beating yourself up. It can make you feel depressed, which will eventually triggers more overeating for many people. No one is perfect, so give yourself a break. Just vow to do better once the relapse has passed.

Make sure you have enough ready-to-eat snacks around, so you are not tempted to eat things you shouldn’t. No one likes preparing a meal every time he wants a bite. It is very tempting to just grab a sandwich or a candy bar rather than fix a meal.

Instead, keep fruits, string cheese, packages of nuts, and other low carb snacks readily available. It is a good idea to keep a high protein snack in your car, handbag, backpack or briefcase as well to avoid eating fast food when you are on the run.

Weight can fluctuate while on a low carb plan. Often the first few pounds you lose are mostly water. Do not get discouraged if the scale doesn’t move the way you want it to.

If you are following your plan and exercising, you are actually building muscle, which weighs more than fat. That’s okay, because muscle mass burns more fat. Do not be ruled by numbers, especially those on the scale. Be more concerned with the way your clothes look and feel. If you looked or felt like "sotong-sumbat" when you put on your clothes, it's time to get serious !

Follow these tips and do keep a positive outlook to make your low carb plan successful. Good luck.

[Adapted from NST May 22, 2008]

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