Low Carb: How Do You Start?

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Making a change to your lifestyle is often a challenge, especially when it involves food. When nearly every convenient and tasty staple of a busy person’s diet seems to be a carb-bomb – such as pizza, pasta, even some fruits – it can seem overwhelming. What can you eat? How will you keep yourself on track? Most importantly, how do you start? These tips will help you transition to a new way of eating.

Cutting back on your sugar intake is a vital component of a healthier diet. Photo by Pixabay/Congerdesign

Look for Recipes

What ingredients show up frequently in low-carb recipes? What types of recipes fit your lifestyle and other needs (i.e. gluten-free. Dairy-free, etc)? Start collecting recipes now, so you can start accumulating key ingredients and familiarizing yourself with staple meals. If many of your future go-to recipes call for sauteed veggies or poached eggs, learn or improve your skills in the kitchen.You can collect recipes digitally (like on Pinterest or on an app), or the old-fashioned way in a recipe binder. If you’re looking for ideas, I have a few low-carb recipe boards on Pinterest.

Plan How to Purge Carbs from Your Kitchen Responsibly

We don’t have enough money to just toss all of our carb-loaded foods and immediately purchase the “big ticket” items of low-carb lifestyle. Luckily (or unluckily), we recently had a gap in between paychecks where we couldn’t buy groceries. This forced us to use up old canned goods, boxes of hamburger helper (sans the hamburger), and other heavily processed foods. By using them up now, I’m not tempted to eat them later.

Take Your Measurements

In order to create realistic goals, you’ll need to know where you’re starting from. Some measurements that may be helpful to record are: weight, circumference of your bust hips and waist, and blood sugar (especially if you’re diabetic or pre-diabetic). Keep your records somewhere where you can readily access it – be it on your phone, in a spreadsheet, or in a bullet journal.

Make SMART Goals

It’s easy to procrastinate or not adhere to lifestyle changes when you have a broad goal such as simply wanting to lose weight. You need a more thorough goal to keep you accountable.

• Specific: Who, what, how, and why
Example: I want to lose weight weight by following a low-carb diet, in order to manage my PCOS symptoms, decrease my chances of developing diabetes, fit into more of my clothes, and boost my self-esteem.

• Measurable: How will you know when you’ve arrived at your destination?
Example: I want to lose 15 pounds.

• Achievable: Don’t set the bar too high.
Example of what not to expect: I want to lose 50 pounds in two months.

• Break Down Into Smaller Steps: What actions will you take to reach you main goal?
Example: I will cut my carb intake to less than 100 grams a day. I will strive to get at least 15 minutes of light exercise a day. I will make bring my lunch to work or eat at home.

• Time-Based: Give yourself a deadline.
Example: I want to lose 15 pounds by New Years.

• Putting It All Together: I want to lose weight weight by following a low-carb diet, in order to manage my PCOS symptoms, decrease my chances of developing diabetes, fit into more of my clothes, and boost my self-esteem. I will lose fifteen pounds by New Years. I will cut my carb intake to less than 100 grams a day. I will strive to get at least 15 minutes of light exercise a day. I will make bring my lunch to work or eat at home.

Decide on a Start Date and Find Someone or Something to Keep You Accountable

My mom’s Type II Diabetes was a catalyst for me to start a low-carb diet and to keep it. My mom is the perfect accountability partner for two main reasons: a) she is also going low-carb on a diet and a busy schedule; b) we are incredibly close and I do not feel the need to hide an off-diet day or fudge results, as I probably would in a social media group of strangers. I also talk to her on the phone frequently. There are apps, websites, social media groups, and other resources to help you check on your progress and support you.


Marissa is a busy working mother who is starting a journey to a healthier, cleaner, and more positive lifestyle. Follow her journey at Transitioning to the Good Life.

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