Denying your body of carbs can be a DAUNTING process, although sometimes it's the most efficient and effective way of ridding your body of those last few extra pounds of fat! Losing excess fat should not cause you to lose your sanity. We've put together 7 tips for those those who think it's time to enter the world of low-carb eating. Visit our "Low Carb Life" Pinterest gallery below for low carb meal ideas!
1. SLOW & STEADY - Don't dive in headfirst, that's a sure way to set yourself up for failure! Start by spreading your daily carb intake over all of your meals. Since you're already eating several small meals throughout the day this will gradually help your body adapt to eating smaller carb portions before making any drastic changes. This will keep your muscles well fed and increase your metabolism with a continual supply of food. Do this over several weeks before adjusting your carb intake. Gradually reduce your carb portions over a specified period of time to avoid low carb shock! If you're looking to maximize your fat burn, it may be time to explore carb cycling. This practice rotates between low and high carb days allowing your body to get the most out of it's fat burning processes, while still enjoying clean complex carbs on refeed days. We repeat, CLEAN complex carbs! :) You know, a good piping hot bowl of oats, serving of rice, whole grain toast, etc. Keep an eye on simple carbs, they can add up quickly!
2. PILE ON THE GREENS - Arguably the most, if not one of the most important pieces of low-carb life. Green veggies are packed full of essential vitamins and nutrients. The extra fiber will help you feel full longer and prevent the carbs you eat from being absorbed by the body too quickly. Say bye-bye to undesirable insulin spikes (too much insulin = fat storage). There are plenty of choices available, pick a few you love, and incorporate them into your weekly meal prep. Imagine eating chicken breasts, egg whites, and broccoli for the next 10 - 12 weeks. Buzz kill! Now add a pile of greens to your protein and a light flax seed vinaigrette dressing, sounds a bit more appetizing right? Also, if you're experiencing late night hunger attacks, opt for green eatery.
3. H20 IS YOUR NEW BFF - It's no secret that carbs hold H20! By removing them from your diet, your body will drop excess water. Some are afraid that drinking too much water while getting lean will cause them to lose muscle definition. While this may true to some extent, don't deprive your body of water while you're dieting. Living a low carb life and being dehydrated is a double whammy that may leave you feeling like a big ol' mess! You may find your workouts are less productive and cramps may ensue. No worries, you'll be cutting your water soon enough (peak weak anyone?). Cutting water is just a temporary fix to increase muscle definition. Keep chugging your H20 (a gallon per day minimum) and stay well hydrated.
4. HUNGRY = NO NO - Don't allow yourself to go hungry for hours! This won't be like other diets where you're starving or skipping meals. Plan on eating every two - three hours so your body stays satisfied. After all you're building a lean mean fat burning machine! If you have a hectic schedule that prevents you from cooking your meals everyday be sure to prep in advance and keep plenty of low carb/high protein snacks handy! As carbs become limited, time them around your workouts so, you'll have all the fuel in the tank you need to beat your workouts into submission.
5. PLAN AHEAD - As you've probably heard before you either fail to plan or plan to succeed! The key to successfully reaching your physique goals will be proper planning. Changing your eating habits can make you feel deprived. Examine your meal plan to see what foods you're allowed to eat and which ones you consider to be the tastiest. Be sure to include some of these in your meals to keep the fire burning! If you're working with a competition coach or personal trainer, be sure to let them know when you're getting burnt out on certain foods! While some food choices definitely don't belong in your program if you're striving for lean, an awesome coach will periodically rotate your food choices and give you alternatives to keep you going strong. For some this may be whipping your usual breakfast foods into a light protein on high carb days (oats, egg whites, protein powder, fruit, etc.) or introducing new cuts of protein into your diet such as seafood, lean cuts of beef, etc. After all you've seen one chicken breast, you've seen them all! A change of scenery every now and then won't completely derail your diet, consistency is the key! If you plan ahead for these situations, you'll have the macros to spend.
6. REWARD YOURSELF - You were hoping for a cheat meal right? While cheat meals can be used to conquer the "low carb crazies" you shouldn't enter the low carb life anticipating your 1st cheat meal! The goal is to adopt a healthier lifestyle that can be maintained over time without falling back into old habits. We'll just assume you're 100% serious about building a center stage physique! You'll be making a big lifestyle change and deserve a high five or pat on the back anytime you can get it. Don't stress yourself out, take some time for YOU. Whatever you enjoy doing and makes you feel good, do just that. Schedule yourself for a massage, take a warm relaxing bath, go for a stroll in the park, watch your favorite movie....Sticking to the program is going to be more mental than physical. If you're calm, relaxed, and focused, it's more likely that you'll make positive choices that propel you towards your ultimate goal.
7. BUILD A SUPPORT NETWORK - Last and certainly not least find people who are on your side and will support you through these changes. You may seek support from family, friends, and even your fellow fit fam! It's not always easing finding a support network that will stand behind you at every step of your journey but, don't let this deter you. You are sure to find someone in your circle that shares your same drive and dedication for leading a healthy and active lifestyle. Little do you know, you may even serve as a source of motivation for others in your life who have not quite accepted the charge to whip themselves into shape. While our motivations may be different (aesthetics vs. improving overall health), it all requires hard work and dedication to achieve. If you're unable to find support, there are tons of online groups where you might be able to seek support, share experiences, and get answers to your questions in a supportive and positive environment. If it was easy, everyone would be tight, toned, and ripped to the max! You've been called to do something much greater so, don't let the support or lack thereof keep you from pushing for your goals!
Browse the gallery directly below for LOW CARB MEALSPIRATION! Visit the CSCJ Pinterest for more competition inspiration!