Going carb-free, or even low-carb, is a big step and is something that should not be taken lightly. If done right, this diet can help you lose body fat and make you feel determined and re-energized. If done incorrectly, you can experience mood swings, jitters, and even feel sick. Here are some important points to consider before going low-carb or carb-free based off of my own diet experience.
A Healthy Goal In Mind
I was prompted to take the drastic measure of going carb-free because I have been told by my doctor that I am medically overweight and at risk for high blood pressure. While this diet will help you lose weight, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. I have a healthy goal weight set in my mind, and using this diet, along with exercise, is going to get me there!
Make sure you talk to your doctor before you start dieting. If you feel yourself falling into a vicious cycle of wanting to lose more and more weight just to feel adequate about yourself, please seek help. Your weight or jeans size does not define your worth or beauty. Dieting is one of many ways to become healthy, but low- and no-carb is not for everyone.
Dedication To Cooking
Going carb-free is a big deal because you are embarking on a journey the rest of the world does not understand. “Can I get that burger with no bun?” is greeted with “Why?” or “Oh my gosh I could never do that.” I have had many food workers laugh in my face or scoff at my order.
Eating out can be pretty difficult if you are carb-free so, you will have to be dedicated to finding recipes and cooking for yourself fairly often. One night, I made spaghetti for my family and cooked myself zucchini noodles to go in the same sauce. Tricks like that will help you stay connected with friends and family while still satisfied with your eating habits.
Snacking is a whole new territory as well. Instead of grabbing a handful of chips, try making a batch of homemade guacamole and eating it periodically with a sliced cucumber.
Your body is designed to burn away all carbohydrates before it burns body fat. In theory, that is how a carb-free diet works. If you do not put any carbs in, your body will burn up all the fats you eat. Eventually, it will turn to your body fat for fuel, making you lose weight.
If you are someone with minimal body fat, especially if you are an athlete, low- or no-carb is probably not for you. This is because your body is relying on you to eat carbs to perform at your best. If you are using a carb-free diet to lose weight, you must couple it with exercising frequently.
I personally feel more energized and lighter since starting this diet and enjoy exercising. Gym memberships can be expensive, but shop around and do your research about community recreation center gyms or university facilities.
Endurance To Cravings
Even healthy things like fruit contain natural sugars which turn into carbs in your body. (I personally chose to keep fruit in my diet as my only source of carbs.) Around day 4 or 5 of going no-carb, I became very hangry and irritable. Upon doing some research, I realized I was carb-crashing.
This is the turning point for your body when it realizes what you are doing and transitions into burning body fat. My carb cravings were bad the first week, but after you see some weight-loss goal progress, do not be tempted to splurge. You do not have to stick to the diet long-term, but it is important to front-load your progress and not give up!
That said, it is important to keep eating as much as you did before going on the diet. High fat and protein-rich foods will help stabilize your hunger without downing a whole pizza. Cooking more often can become discouraging but use the internet to find fun, new meals that keep eating exciting.
Having A Support System
I was always the friend who said “I could never do that” and “Life is too short – eat the cookie.” Now that I am carb-free, I feel guilty for saying those things. It is ultimately your choice to diet or to start a new eating lifestyle, the same way you choose to be pescatarian or vegan.
It is important to have close friends and family on board with you since those are the people you will be eating around the most. My family has been very conscientious about it. They always ask me where I would like to go for dinner based off of what I can eat. At the same time, my boyfriend has been very kind by not eating dessert or chips in front of me when we are together. Do not be afraid to tell others you are going carb-free for your health and that you would appreciate their support.