I have had a ton of questions concerning the low-carb lifestyle and how to get started. Keep in mind I am not a doctor, and I am not a professional low-carber, but I will share with you what I have learned so far.
Before you start this lifestyle you need to do a few things.
1. You must research ketosis. This is SO important to understanding how and why low carbing works. Here is a great link.
2. This is optional, but I strongly suggest buying some ketosis strips to test your ketones level. If you read the above link you will understand what I am talking about. You can buy ketone testing kits at any pharmacy. They cost about 10 dollars for 50 strips. You will not need to test right away, so they are not totally urgent. I waited 5 days after I started before testing.
3. Now we need to read about the induction phase. The link below will let you know everything to get started. Induction lasts for two weeks or longer depending on how you decide to go about your weight loss. Staying in induction for super long periods of time is not healthy for your kidneys. You must decide when is right for you to move on to the next phase. Read the link below.
4. Clean out all the grains and carb loaded products you have hiding in your kitchen. Give them to a friend, throw them away, or just put them out of eyesight.
5. Head to the grocery store. Read labels. Look for meat on sale that you can freeze. For cheese, pick blocks of cheese instead of shredded cheese in bags. Block cheese has 0 carbs and shredded cheese usually has 1. When you only have 20 grams a day, these choices add up. To find out what you can eat, read this.
Here are a few suggestions from my grocery list-
Eggs, Bacon, Sausage (in a tube not premade), block cheeses, cream cheese, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, chicken breasts, chicken tenderloins, center cut pork loins, ground turkey, ground hamburger, leaner cuts of steak like filet, bacon, canadian bacon, all lettuces, mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, cauliflower, whipping cream, shrimp, fish.
6. The morning that you start the low carb plan, WEIGH YOURSELF. I made the mistake of waiting four days so I have no idea how much weight I lost in that time period. If you want to be even more hardcore, do your measurements.
Now you are set. You know how much you weigh. You have your low-carb food. You have your ketosis testing kit. Now you do your job. You eat. You stay under 20 net carbs a day.
Net carbs? Yes those. Basically dietary fiber is not counted towards your final carb count. Example. Say you have a cup of spinach and that has 4 carbs. Well look at the dietary fiber. Pretend that it’s 2 grams. You then take the total carb count (4) and subtract the dietary fiber (2) for your total net carbs. So instead of thinking you ate 4 carbs, in reality you only ate 2. You will get a hang of it. PS- You can also subtract sugar alcohols as well the same way you do with dietary fiber.
Keep track of your carbs in a notebook, on your phone or computer, or use a program like my fitness pal to see how many carbs you are at. Do not go over 20!
It’s really important to get your body into ketosis, so if you are going to do this do it right. Stay away from pasta, donuts, rice, fries, sugar etc. One slip up won’t kill you, but it will throw you off track.
Weigh in as frequently you want. I weigh every few days, but test my ketones levels almost every single day. Find what works for you.
What you can expect- Headaches, upset tummy, weird poops, (sorry there isn’t a really elegant way to type that), and over all yuckyness. HANG IN THERE. This only lasts a few days. Your body will adjust and it will start burning fat in no time.
Tips- There are a ton of low-carb recipes around the web. Start reading. Get ideas. Make a pinterest board of recipes you want to make. Here is mine-
If you have a sweet tooth find some sugar free candy that you like for when those cravings hit. I like to make fresh whipped cream on those nights I want something sweet.
For sweeteners I use Truvia or Stevia. I feel like it’s the most natural sugar replacement out there.
Take it easy on the bacon and sausage. Just because we can have these items, doesn’t mean we can eat them at every single meal in unlimited amounts. Moderation! I try to stick to 4 oz of meats three times a day, and no more than 4 oz of cheese a day. Add in your veggies and healthy fats and you will be good to go.
I have had great success so far. I plan to stay in the induction phase for a few months to come. Good luck on your low carb journey. I hope some of this helps.