10 ways to eat a low carb diet without damaging your body (part 2)
Posted Aug 22 2011 12:00pm
Here is part 2 of 10 ways to eat a low carbohydrate diet while avoiding common mistakes.
6. Be In It For The Long Haul. When you first start a low carbohydrate diet, your weight will plummet as your body sheds storage glycogen and all the water that the storage carbohydrate sucks up like a sponge. So if your goal is weight loss, life is good for the first couple weeks as you shed anywhere from 3-20 pounds, depending on your starting weight. And then the weight loss stops.
In most cases, this is the point where people throw up their hands in despair, convinced that the plan isn't working, quit the low carbohydrate diet, and go in search of a pastry shop. But if you stick with a low carbohydrate diet, the weight loss will gradually and consistently continue, especially if you include strategically implemented days where you allow your body's storage carbohydrate levels to be re-filled.
7. Be Ready For Discomfort During the first 7-14 days that you go low carb, you're going to find that your energy levels plummet, you get grumpy, you feel lethargic, and your body simply does not move or perform the way you'd like it to. This is because you are burning fatt acids (ketones) as a fuel. So a strict low carbohydrate diet can be uncomfortable, and you need to be mentally prepared for that. Implementing the carbohydrate craving tips I gave earlier will help, but ultimately, you will find that you feel the same way as a marathoner does when they "bonk", which is what happens during a run when your body runs out of storage carbohydrate and needs to begin burning fat as a fuel. This is also called "hitting the wall". If the discomfort does not subside, then I recommend you A) identify nutritional deficiencies and get tested for fatty acidsand also for amino acids , and also make sure you're incorporating carbohydrate re-feed days if you're an physically active person.
8. Stay Hydrated. Not only will adequate water help to reduce the carbohydrate cravings you may experience early in the diet, but A) water is also essential for beta-oxidation, which is how your body burns fat as a fuel and B) you're going to lose a significant amount of storage water as your body sheds carbohydrate stores, so you'll need more as a dietary source. I personally drink and recommend ample amounts of soda water, unsweetened Kombucha, water with effervescent electrolytes dissolved in it, water with deltaE and just plain water. What I don't drink is anything with added artificial sweeteners or sugars. So check your nutrition labels if you're drinking fluid from packages or bottles, but stay hydrated when you're on a diet like this.
9. Get Your Fiber. When you switch to a low carbohydrate diet, the drop in fruit, vegetables, legume and grain consumption can significantly decrease fiber intake and result in inadequate phytonutrient, antioxidant, vitamin C and potassium intake. There is absolutely no reason that you can't eat liberal amounts of dark leafy greens and other non-starchy vegetables on a low-carbohydrate diet. Just be careful with your total daily intake and timing of starchy vegetables or tubers, such as beets, sweet potatoes or taro.
10. Don't Judge. This may seem a bit preachy, but I feel compelled to point out the fact that there are a multitude of successful vegan or vegeterian endurance athletes, including ultra-runner Scott Jureky, pro triathlete and ultra-runner Brendan Brazier, pro triathlete Hilary Biscay, US Master¹s Running Champion Tim Van Orden, and top ultraman finisher Rich Roll. Since most vegan and vegetarian diets are definitely not low carbohydrate, this demonstrates that you can succeed without eating a low carbohydrate diet. However, the low carbohydrate or ketogenic approach can be especially successful for fat loss, for learning to burn fats more efficiently and even for reducing risk of, or managing, chronic diseases such as diabetes or cancer.