One of the things that surprises a lot of people who begin on their own low-carb journey for the first time is the fact that this lifestyle change is indeed a journey to better health that needs to be nurtured and given plenty of attention for the rest of your life. Some people mistakenly think that if you simply eat low-carb, then everything will just magically fall into place. HA! If only it were that easy. Sure, there are those who can begin restricting their carbohydrate intake and see amazing movement downward on the scale while others who follow a similar low-carb plan see their weight budget little to none. I’ve personally experienced this frustration which led me to alter my personal nutrition at the beginning of the year which has already resulted in a 20-pound weight loss on my way to taking off at least 50-60 pounds (maybe more if needed).
And that’s the thing. We’re all at different places in this journey and need to evaluate what is right for us at this point in time. The reality is we are not all the same and need a personalized plan for success that will work for us. You’ve heard me say it many times at this blog over the years, but it’s well worth repeating: Find the proven plan that will work for you, follow that plan exactly as prescribed and then keep doing it for the rest of your life. I honestly believe that is the real secret to succeeding in your low-carb lifestyle even if that means tweaking that plan that will “work for you” ever-so-slightly to keep it working for you. Let it encourage you that someone like me who have been livin’ la vida low-carb for over seven years now still has to work at this too. Low-carb has done an incredible job improving my health and changing how I think about food. I didn’t know or care before what happened with my blood sugar or insulin levels–but now I do thanks to the stability and control this way of eating has given me.
Recently I heard from one of my readers who has also been on the low-carb lifestyle with her husband for the past seven years. She said she was in the midst of reading my latest book 21 Life Lessons From Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb: How The Healthy Low-Carb Lifestyle Changed Everything I Thought I Knew and wanted to “thank you for all the work you’ve done to bring the truth about low-carb living to the world!” She told me about the weight she gained after having three kids and that she tried a variety of plans to take off that extra 30 pounds that crept up on her: Weight Watchers which kept her hungry all the time, Atkins for four days and quitting and then Atkins again six months later only to stick with it for life. She lost most of that 30 pounds and has kept it off ever since. Her husband noticed the changes happening in his wife and he hopped on the low-carb bandwagon too to the tune of a 25-pound weight loss. They’re happily livin’ la vida low-carb!
After following this way of eating for so long and noticing low-carbers who tend to struggle with making this a permanent lifestyle change, my reader wanted to share some helpful tips that you may want to implement into your own routine to make this the long-lasting plan you know that it is. There’s nothing earth-shattering or mind-blowing about what she has to share, but perhaps it’ll be a fantastic reminder of the basics of low-carb living that may have slipped from your consciousness. You might want to print this blog post out and hang it up on your refrigerator door to reference whenever you feel yourself slipping (and it will likely happen at some point or another in your low-carb journey). In fact, my reader noted that she is a bit “embarrassed to admit that we’ve gone on and off the low-carb lifestyle a few times over the past few years” and understands the difficulty of staying on the straight and narrow. But she added that “without having done that, we would not have known these things to be absolutely true!”
So, what are her 8 helpful tips for low-carbing? Let’s take a look at them now:
1. We had NO idea we lacked energy until we began low-carb! The energy boost is incredible! I found myself motivated to power walk 5 miles per day, something I was never motivated to do while living my low-fat/high-carb lifestyle! I was completely unaware of how little I moved, or felt like moving, until I began low-carbing it. It is downright miraculous. I have proven to myself, and so has my husband, over and over again, that bread, cakes, candy and pasta all zap our energy instantaneously! We wake up feeling like we’ve been run over by a freight train!! (Luckily, we don’t do that often!) It is amazing to me how sluggish we were before and just didn’t realize it!! It makes me sad for all the people living a low-fat/high-carb lifestyle…or any other diet lifestyle for that matter.
2. We sleep so much better on low-carb! The overall body aches and pains are gone and we’re not tossing and turning all night. My husband enjoys a more sound sleep and hardly snores. His snoring pre-low-carb was out of control and I was prepared to drag him to a specialist. I would swear this chronic problem is corrected because of the lack of inflammation in his body on low-carb. I, too, notice that my sinuses are more clear, I no longer suffer from post nasal drip (which always bothered me at night), and my allergies have almost completely disappeared! Any time we slip up, those nagging health problems return with a vengeance!! And while we’re on the subject of sleep, I must mention how little we require naps when we’re livin’ la vida low carb! We also don’t seem to require as much total sleep. Getting up in the morning is so much easier!!
3. NOTHING controls our cravings like living low-carb! We are able to easily pass up cakes and desserts at family parties because we don’t CRAVE them! The one thing we have never been able to do on a low-fat/high-carb diet is walk away from certain foods! In fact, a few years back, when we both bought into all the negative talk about low-carb, we briefly reverted to that style of living and it nearly ruined us! We told ourselves we could eat anything we wanted in moderation. Boy were we wrong! We couldn’t STOP eating!! We craved everything and ate just about everything! It felt like we had lost complete control! We proved to ourselves that low-fat/high-carb living is just not realistic. That is a rollercoaster ride we don’t intend to be on ever again!
4. Many years ago, I was diagnosed with rosacea, an embarrassing skin condition which makes my face red and blotchy. I needed expensive medication and facial wipes to control it. However, I noticed a significant difference in the severity when I stuck to low-carb! It was only by going off low-carb that I discovered how much this lifestyle helps me control that condition. Whenever I eat anything starchy or sugary, my rosacea flares up. When I stick with it, my skin is beautiful and I don’t even need the expensive treatments!
5. I have chronic low back pain which virtually disappears when I’m low-carbing it. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly that pain returns when I slip up! Again, I attribute it to the inflammation in my body whenever I add in the wrong carbs!
6. We experience better overall dental health. Our breath is never offensive on low-carb. Conversely, carb breath is the worst! Ever wake up in the morning after a period of eating carbs and say “Ewww! What is that taste in my mouth?!!” Also, flossing is so much easier on low-carb! I don’t have to force the floss between my teeth when I’m livin’ la vida low carb! I am, once again, attributing this to the lack of inflammation on low-carb — yes, even in our gums!!
7. Without too much gory detail, our bowels and digestive tracts behave so much better on low-carb! Also, there is no need for Pepto or Tums, because heartburn and upset stomachs are non-existent!! Before low-carb, I used to eat Tums every night before bed. My husband was put on a prescription acid reducer. We don’t need those when we’re living a low-carb lifestyle. It is miraculous!
8. My PMS is also virtually non-existent on low-carb. I don’t retain water and so I don’t swell up right before my period. I also don’t experience severe cramping, which was debilating prior to low-carb! Since my moods are brighter and more stable on low-carb, I also don’t experience the PMS mood swings…AT ALL!!! Totally and completely amazing!!
Those are some pretty sage words of wisdom from someone who’s been there and done that before. She noted that in the beginning it was a struggle for her and her husband when they attempted to go low-carb. They were confused about what to eat and “quickly got bored.” When they started eating this way in 2004, it was the the heyday of the low-carb hype that had “low-carb” prepared foods galore in the grocery stores and then suddenly all of these foods disappeared as the low-carb marketing fad passed (note it wasn’t the low-carb lifestyle, but the big push by all of these food companies to pump out “low-carb” products that was the REAL fad in all of this). These low-carbers instinctively knew it was better to make their own low-carb meals and to try to sick with foods they could “grow, hunt, pluck or gather.”
The amazing Dana Carpender also played a role in their journey when they found her plethora of low-carb cookbooks that “literally saved us.” Needless to say, they could no longer say they were “bored” with their low-carb lifestyle. These days, she says they are “so much healthier and certainly happier when we’re living the low-carb lifestyle!” Admitting that they still “fall off from time to time, we prove to ourselves again and again this it is the ONLY way to live!” And that’s what livin’ la vida low-carb is all about. It’s not perfection–it’s persistence in the pursuit of being healthy. If you stumble and fall, then you simply get back up again and start anew. That’s what makes this journey one worth taking day in and day out. The bottom line is this: NEVER EVER GIVE UP and keep going even when you think it’s just not worth it anymore. IT IS!