Low Carb Diet Plan Essentials

June 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Low Carb Talk

Low Carb Diet Plan is one of the simplest weight loss plans to follow, but some common misunderstandings can occur to someone newly on Atkins diet or Low Carbs diet. These misconceptions can make a great discrepancy in the weight loss per week of the dieter following a low carb diet plan. This article is for those dieters following Atkins that have suddenly not been losing weight anymore, or have even begun to gain weight. Check for the following mistakes to make sure you’re still on track with Atkins diet and your weight loss plan is right for you.

In order to be a successful dieter, you must have patience. Weight loss takes time, and this can be a potential downfall to those dieters who expect to lose a massive amount of weight in a short period of time. This belief can be attributed to all of those scam diet plans, which guarantee “x” amount of weight loss in a very short period of time.

If you lose a larger amount of weight your first week of dieting, and then slow down on your per week amount of weight loss, this is precisely normal. Many people call this your “water-weight”, attributing it to the fact that you may not have as much water in you because you may have been exercising more suddenly. The first week, called the Induction phase, is designed to break you of your carbohydrate addiction and cleanse your body of sugar. The amount of carbs in this first stage is not meant to sustain you throughout the rest of your diet. You need more! Reintroducing more carbs each week will slow weight loss, but it is necessary to the Atkins diet plan.

Additionally, all people do not have the same reaction to the Atkins diet. We are all built differently, and naturally, do not experience the same sort of results exactly the same. Some people lose weight in streaks and short amounts of time, while some lose weight over a steady basis. Some people have said to have experienced a “pleateau” – a time when they don’t lose any weight for several weeks, and then in a matter of days, they’ve lost five pounds!

Things to avoid while dieting include caffeine and aspartame (an artificial sweetener). These two can have negative impacts on your blood sugar levels. These two are found in coffee, as well as diet and regular sodas. Aspartame is also found in sugar-free gelatin. Both of these chemicals can cause temptations for sugar and will take your body out of the “fat-burning” mode that the Atkins plan automatically puts your body into.

Another thing to watch for is your daily intake of cheese. While cheese is an essential part to the Atkins diet, it does contain some carbohydrates. In order for you to make sure cheese is not your problem, only eat about 4 oz a day. Sure, it’s fine to have more on special occasions, but it should definitely not be used as your main source of protein. Other sources of protein that do not have carbohydrates include meat, eggs, and tofu.

Vegetables have to be continually stressed while you remain on the Atkins plan. Preferably, all of your carbs should be coming from the Atkins approved vegetables. Vegetables are great because they help you feel less hungry without ruining the stability of your blood sugar. Additionally, they give you fiber and nutrients that are great for losing weight and your general health. After the first stage, you should still be having 3-4 cups of salad per day, as well as 1 cup of cooked vegetables. Again, make sure the vegetables you ingest are on the acceptable foods list. If you’ve not been eating vegetables and your weight loss has stopped, this is probably it. Not eating vegetables can shut down your metabolism, and the side effects of that are less energy and stalled weight loss.

It is imperative that you eat regularly while on the Atkins plan. If you are going more than five hours without eating at least a snack of protein and fats, then you are not going to be helping yourself lose weight. Doing this causes two things – first, your blood sugar will drop, which will cause cravings for sugars and carbs. Secondly, not eating slows your metabolism drastically. If your metabolism is low, you won’t lose weight because your body believes you are actually starving and tries to conserve as much energy (fat) as possible for as long as possible.

Lastly, water intake is crucial to the Atkins dieter. Water is essential to every human, not just the ones that are on diets. Water can be used to curb cravings, and can make you feel more full. Dehydration can often be disguised as hunger, so drinking enough water will help keep you from experiencing cravings. Additionally, water is vital to avoiding constipation, which can happen to many on the Atkins diet. It is suggested to drink (8) eight ounce glasses of water per day.

Many people get frustrated with Atkins when they do not realize what they are doing wrong. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can definitely get back on track to dieting success with Atkins.

Saving Money When Low Carb Dieting

February 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Low Carb Talk

saving-moneyAlthough the Atkins program is beneficial to your health, it may not be beneficial to your pocketbook. The protein in the form of meat which is a staple of the Atkins diet is one of the most expensive things you can buy in your local grocery store. But don’t fret – there are adjustments that can be made to save some money on low-carb diets.

The first thing you need to do is be more innovative with your meal preparation. All the diet books that you will buy are written in order to attract readers to try their new recipes. However, the recipes in the book are all made with the most expensive ingredients. This is not cost effective, and you do not need to cook like an expert cook in order to receive the effects of the Atkins diet. Go for the less complex recipes because they can be more easily made for a family on a tight budget. Also, do not feel restricted to exactly what the diet book calls for – be sure to add your own personal flair and creativity to the recipe.

One of the most cost effective things you can do to save money on food is to buy in bulk (especially meat). By buying all of your ground beef, chicken, and fish in bigger quantities you can really reduce your protein costs. To save time when you want to cook the food, just separate the larger packages of meat into small freezer bags when you first buy it. You can store two to four chicken breasts in a single bag and cook them up easily and quickly whenever you want. Ground beef can be cooked in a variety of ways, so try some new recipes and freeze the cooked portions. Good ideas for doing that would be using different kinds of spices. Some examples of fun spices are taco spices, hamburger spices, and Italian spices. By doing this, you’ll be able to still have variety in your diet, while still eating a lot of hamburger meat.

Additionally, buying less tender cuts of meat is much less expensive. Fillet mignon, while delicious, usually can not fit into your budget. Use a slow cooker or crock-pot to tenderize the less tender cuts of beef and pork for a tasty meal.

Alternative sources of protein like eggs and tofu are also excellent for getting your daily protein. They both have a lot of protein, but do not cost nearly as much as other meats. Surprisingly, nuts also contain a good deal of protein. However, when trying to cut costs, use less expensive nuts like walnuts, peanuts, and almonds instead of macadamia nuts and cashews – this will help save a lot of money in the long run.

On Atkins, vegetable salads are a major part of your diet. To save money, do not buy the pre chopped bagged salad at the grocery store. Those cost $2 to $3 a bag, and you can buy three heads of lettuce for exactly the same amount and end up making six bags of pre chopped salad. A helpful tool for this would be a salad spinner, which makes homemade salads crunchy and fulfilling.

Always use produce and meats that are on sale. Since the sale items change from week to week, this will add variety to what you eat. It can be interesting to use substitutes to what a recipe calls for, and sometimes, it can even end up tasting better than the original recipe. It is helpful to bring an acceptable food list to the grocery store with you so you can tell if foods that are on sale are tolerable for the Atkins program.

Packaged foods are expensive. To cut costs, avoid buying low-carb packaged foods. Often, these foods can even contain harmful chemicals and hidden carbs that can put a stop to your weight loss. You definitely do not need to buy these products in order to follow the Atkins diet plan. It is advised to leave out these produces altogether.

Lastly, it is very important to go to the grocery store with a plan of what you’re going to buy. You have to be prepared in order to make the best decision, or you’ll end up being there for more than a few hours, or worse, you’ll come out with a dent in your budget or diet. Plan your meals ahead of time and then buy only what you need to make those meals so that you do not over eat.

Preparing For A Low Carb Diet Lifestyle

February 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Low Carb Talk

If you are going to be successful with the Atkins diet (or other similar low carb diet), proper planning is of the utmost importance. Provisions of the proper foods you need to take before you embark on your weight loss program is a good way to ensure success, and you can find examples of Atkins diet meals in the Atkins books. There are also numerous other sites and forums online where you can get information on Atkins and other low-carb recipes.

What meals you eat, snacks you take etc. are some of the things you will need to plan when you star the Atkins plan. You cannot afford to leave uncharted, any thing that as to do with what you consume if you are to succeed. The reason why you are in the mess you are in the first place, is because your eating habit was without any form of check.

Just as you have it with other types of diet plans, the Atkins plan also requires some allowance for adjustment. Normal American diets are carbohydrate-based, including foods like spaghetti, meat and potatoes, pasta casserole, meatballs etc. – food that majority of people grew up eating. You can very well imagine that dissociating oneself from such diets won’t happen over night. It is going to require a lot of determination, persistence, and willpower.

There are two different methodologies you can adopt to assist in changing your diet. First, you can replace your preferred foods with ‘phoney’ carbohydrates e.g consuming spaghetti squash noodles instead of spaghetti noodles, or replacing pasta with lasagna made with eggplant etc. low carb replacements for bread and other sugar products are also available.

Another method is to go and learn how to make new recipes that are meat-based, and other low-carb foods. Several types of meat can be incorporated into the Atkins plan, and instead of just eating beef or chicken all the time, you can include lamb, ham, all sorts of game foods e.g pheasants, quail etc. into your diet. Fishes of different varieties can also be experimented with e,g trout, salmon, shellfish (e.g. mussels, clams, shrimps) etc. Do not forget, variety, as they say is the spice of life.

Because you may need to take snacks and in-between meals, it is important that you have some ‘easily prepared’ foods within reach. Good examples of stuffs you can take in-between meals include: thin sliced cucumbers, radishes and celery mixed with lemon mayonnaise. Garlic served on arugula with feta cheese, mushrooms and fried peppers is another acceptable option.

Carry out research to discover other low-carb recipes you can prepare. You need to have a lot of acceptable recipes within your cook book, so you never run out low-carb meals to cook, because in all honesty, at times, the diet can get boring which may lead to burnout. As mentioned earlier, planning is the most crucial step you can take when attempting to lose weight.

When you have numerous and delicious recipe options to choose from, chances are better that you will not easily be enticed to deviate from the plan. Even at the initial stages, when it is usually difficult to adapt to the changes, the extra food options you have would help keep you on track.

With some planning and a little creative thinking, you can always get something nice to eat everyday.

Breaking the Cycle of Carb Addiction

February 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Low Carb Talk

One of the most difficult resolutions to make, and more so to keep in your life, is to determine to adopt a low carbohydrate way of living. Without mincing words, suppressing your hunger and desire for carbohydrate is not by any means just an overnight task. It is much more than that!

It is clearly stated in Dr Atkins book, that carbohydrates prompt the release of insulin in the body, and then a rise in blood sugar. The ease with which one can develop a liking for high- carbohydrate, low protein diet can be traced to the physical activation that usually occurs.

There are several symptoms that depict a physically induced hunger or desire for carbohydrates. This is usually a desire for rich carbohydrate foods, followed by increased assumption of carbohydrate byproduct like alcohol, and other sugar replacements.

Foods with high carbohydrates content are so rampant, that to quench ones lust for them becomes very difficult. As you take more and more of this refined starch based foods, it becomes more difficult to free oneself from the addiction that ensues.

It’s been found that high level of carbohydrate is self-prophylactic. This is so, because, high amount of carbohydrates have been found to stimulate the production of high level of serotonin which is a brain chemical also found in Prozac and other anti-depressants. Often times, people with low levels of serotonin are found to use carbohydrates addictively.

Stress is one of the factors that are predisposing to carbohydrate over-consumption. When stressed, the adrenal gland produces more cortisol which is a hormone that further leads to the production of another, causing increased hunger for carbs. Insulin is also stimulated, increasing blood sugar and fat storage.

When all these factors are put together, it appears somewhat that subsistence on a low- carbohydrate diet is impossible. However, this is not true. When you incorporate Dr Atkins plan into your lifestyle and stick to it, you will be able to liberate yourself from the bondage of carbohydrate dependency and live a healthier life.

When working with the Atkins diet, the intense hunger for carbohydrates will still come once in a while, more so at onset. However, the desire will subside as you adapt to eating a protein-based diet. Methodologies to keep the carbohydrate consumption desire at bay include taking meals (containing protein) in bits every few hours. This way your blood sugar remains stabilized and you do not have to ‘sabotage’ all your efforts at once if you go hungry. Do not skip meals. It causes a reduction in your blood sugar, and makes you hungry for sweets.

Proteins and fats are an essential aspect of the Atkins plan. They supply the body large amounts of energy, and also supplement the body’s need for essential acids, Omega 3 fish oil supplement helps to reduce your hunger for carbs.

Another method that helps to you to keep to the Atkins plan is the act of taking in water regularly. Before taking any snack, drink a cup of water. This will help to quench thirst that may appear as hunger, and reduce your consumption of carbohydrate. Drinking adequate amounts of water also keeps your body hydrated.

You need to know that your love for carbohydrate diets will disappear overnight. Even if during your initial days of trying out the Atkins plan, you feel you will not be able to cope. It is because your body as become accustomed to living on sugars and carbohydrates. Do not panic! The desires should not last more than the two-week adjustment period.

Stick to the Atkins plan, and in no time, you will begin to reap the benefits.

Favorite Soda On Low Carb Diet?

February 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Low Carb Talk

This post might be slightly controversial, just due to the fact that when starting a low carb diet, you’re supposed to cut out soda all together (even diet). It’s obvious why you would cut out regular soda, because it’s mostly made of sugar, but diet? Why cut out diet soda?!?

My first time on a low carb diet several years ago, I was fully committed but I absolutely would not cut out Diet Pepsi. I just wasn’t going to do it. You see, a lot of so called “experts” say that the aspartame and caffeine can actually cause you to not lose weight and may stall you, but, in my many pounds lost on Atkins, I continually drink 5-6 diet sodas per day without any adverse diet side effects. No problem.

Maybe I’m lucky, as I’ve heard that artificial sweeteners and caffeine actually do affect some low carb dieters…but I think it mainly affects those that only have a little weight to lose. I could be totally wrong on that, but for those of us that need to lose 50+ pounds, the radical change in the food we eat will be enough to kick start the weight loss process.

Anyway, before I get too sidetracked, I wrote this post to get an idea of what everyone’s favorite diet soda is while on a low carb diet.

diet-cream-sodaHere is a list of mine, in no real order:

1. Diet Pepsi (I’m a Diet Pepsi FREAK whether I’m on or off the low carb diet).

2. Diet A&W Cream Soda (This stuff is, hands down, phenomenal).

3. Diet Dr. Pepper (Delicious, and I would drink it anytime).

4. Diet A&W Root Beer (I just recently discovered this. No caffeine, but good to conquer a sweet tooth craving).

The 4 above are really the choice sodas I drink, and to be honest, I drink them whether I’m dieting or not. But for those of you who are new to the diet soda concept, whenever you have a craving for dessert, try drinking a can of cold Diet Cream Soda – it’s right on target! It’s very rich and decadent for being diet, and the taste is nearly 100% of a regular one.

What are your favorites? Are there any I’m missing that I should be trying? Fill me in down in the comments below!