Have you started with low carb diet and do not know how to sustain low carb lifestyle without impacting your social life? Then read on.
Low carb diet is recommended for people struggling with diabetes, insulin resistance or who are pre-diabetic. To control their blood sugar levels and fat accumulation in the body, they are advised to go for high protein and moderate fat diet. But in doing so the person feels deprived or alienated as he/she cannot participate in social activites like before.
Human beings love to socialize. They love to celebrate with food and drinks. But for people who follow low carb lifestyle, that means sacrificing quite a few things in life.
1. Change the mindset
For better health, you should avoid carbs as that throws your sugar off balance. Stop feeling sorry for yourself or avoid social gatherings. Instead, find your way around it.
You are different than others, so you need to eat differently. A person who has nut allergy never eats nuts, a person who is allergic to lactose, tries to avoid it. Similarly, your body cannot process glucose well, therefore you should avoid it.
When I say avoid it, doesn’t mean that you go Keto. But it just means that you should eat less of carbs and hidden sugars. So get out of the victim mindset that you are being deprived.
You are going to eat what you want (2 slice of pizza, one scoop of ice cream, a tiny piece of chocolate, small piece of cake, etc.) but on less occasions. Keep a 80/20 rule. 80 per cent healthy eating and 20 per cent unhealthy eating. Of course, you should follow your doctor’s advice about the medicine.
For a sustainable lifestyle, one should be ready to focus on healthy eating and exercise daily.
2. Ditch comfort eating to sustain low carb lifestyle
Change your relationship with food. No food is bad. If we abuse our body by over-feeding it in then name of having comfort food, or deprive it from essential nutrients, then body will retaliate by manifesting diseases of various kinds. Make vegetable stir fry and fruit salad your comfort food.
The colourful peppers, and fruits will definitely appeal to your senses. Eat a slice of mango if you want to. But having two mangoes in one go is abusing your body. Having a brick or a tub of ice cream is abusing your body. You are killing yourself by over eating and over consuming calories.
3. Throw away the weighing scale
Weighing scale is important to see your progress. But people start obsessing about it when they are on a weight loss journey. A weighing scale can show water retention, weight fluctuations due to hormonal changes and other bodily fluids.
With increase in stress, both at personal and professional level, our hormones go wary and we end up feeling bloated due to various reasons. If you are keen to weigh yourself, then do it weekly. (same place, same machine, same time, preferably after bowel movements in the morning)
4. Choose nutritionally dense food
It will be foolish to assume that a 100 gm of potato chips with 500 calories is same as 100 gms of almonds with 500 calories. One is nutritionally empty, while the other is dense. Almonds have good fat, vitamins and minerals that are better for our body. Choose your food wisely. Eat healthy, within your calories.
5. Eat more protein to sustain low carb lifestyle
To sustain a low carb lifestyle and eat within your calorie budget, it is important for you to eat full for longer. Proteins help you to feel full for very long. Proteins also increase the thermic effect of food, that increases your metabolism.
You can consume protein powder to complete your daily protein requirement or complete your quota with natural food. Try to eat 25 gms of protein in every meal (if you are having 4 meals in a day). You can calculate the nutritional value of your food or recipes here.
6. Eat more fibre to sustain low carb lifestyle
To remain full for longer and accelerate fat loss, it is important to add fibre to your diet. You can eat more vegetables (especially the green leafy ones) or you can take 2 tbsp psyllium husk every night before sleeping. It helps you to keep your gut healthy and process fat loss better. It also helps to get your triglycerides low.
7. Cook easy and quick recipes to sustain low carb lifestyle
Some people love to cook, others find it a task. And after a long day at work, that’s the last thing you want to do. Cooking for hours on a weekday is not possible. So it is better to do meal prep during the weekend and learn a few easy recipes that is good for you and the family.
Else, start weighing your food with a weighing scale and remove whatever is allowed in your daily calorie budget from the food cooked for the whole family. Invest in a good food weighing scale.
A few examples of easy recipes are egg white omelets, buckwheat and almond flour pancakes, muesli and fruit parfait, 4 tablespoons of brown rice with 100 grams chicken curry and lots of salads.
8. Carry food to work to sustain low carb lifestyle
To sustain a low carb lifestyle, it is important that you carry food from home and avoid eating out as much as possible. Carrying food from home allows you to control the quality of the food and the calories consumed. For snacks, you can carry 3-4 egg whites, roasted chana or peanuts (10-12 gms), a fruit like apple, guava, home made protein balls, in the office.
If you have to sit late in the office, always keep provision for emergency. A slice of cheese, egg omelet, 2 tbsp muesli with 100 gms dahi and stevia, 5-6 almonds with a glass of chaas, etc. Keep tetra packs of chaas, dahi, rolled oats, stevia ready in your drawer so that you can eat in the office if you are getting too late.
9. Socialize with low carb food and drinks
There are many restaurants that cater to special diet requirements. Always, plan ahead when you are eating out. Book a table in one of the restaurants that serve low carb food. If you are unsure about the low carb options, then always go for tandoori food. Chicken tandoori is easily available in most of the restaurants serving Indian cuisine. Opt for low calorie drinks than ordering cola or cocktails that are full of sugar. You can order Shunya and Zero drinks made with stevia, herbs and essential nutrients.
10. Portion control
Order a small portion of everything. A cup and not a bowl of soup, a small cup of coffee, a small portion of salad (with dressing on the side), half portion of tandoori chicken, are a few examples. Just because you are eating healthy, doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want. Try to follow portion control.
As you can see, its not easy to lose weight, neither it is easy to refuse temptations. It needs a long term lifestyle change. Rome was not built in a day and neither can I build a strong body without a few changes in my lifestyle.
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