8 Tips for Successful Low-Carb Dieting

low carb meals

Cut carbs. Lose weight. It’s the hallmark of low-carb dieting that’s been around for a long time.

But anyone who’s tried it knows it can be tough to stick to low-carb dieting. Intense food cravings and weight loss plateaus are some of the reasons people give up on low-carb dieting.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Low-carb can be a lifestyle if you do it right. Here are nine ways to manage low-carb dieting for fitness, fat loss, and better health.

1. Plan high-carb meals

Low-carb all the time? It’s probably not a sustainable way to diet, especially if you’re exercising. Want to eat a few more carbs? Plan ahead, and add a little pasta, rice, bread, or cereals, for example, to your diet before, during or after a workout.

2. Know your body composition

One of the most popular reasons to follow a low-carb diet is weight loss. It’s a highly effective way to shed unwanted pounds, because it forces your body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. If you’re overweight or obese, stick with low-carbs to drop the weight. But if you’re already a lean machine and highly active, you’ll need a few more carbs for energy and endurance.

3. Recognize that not all carbs are created equal

You’ve made up your mind to follow a low-carb diet. Now what? If you’re planning to stock up on low-carb bars, cereals, breads, supplements, and even low-carb ice cream and treats, put your checkbook down and step away from the shopping cart. Many of these highly-processed low-carb meals contain ingredients that aren’t good for you. Stick with whole foods or simply pick your favorites from these Low-Carb Meals.

4. Plan high-carb and low-carb days

Choosing when to eat your carbohydrates (see #1) can make a difference. But it’s not the only way to fluctuate the amount of carbohydrates you consume. The day before a tough workout or the day after can also be a good time to eat more carbs and replenish glycogen stores to build muscle and increase energy.

5. Be consistent

One of the biggest failures of low-carb dieting is giving up too fast, instead of making adjustments to adapt to your body’s needs and demands. You’re craving carbs, and go on a binger, eating cookies, cakes, and pies. You hit a weight-loss plateau, get frustrated, and gorge on all the high-carb foods you can find. Sound familiar? That’s yo-yo dieting. And if you want low-carb dieting to work, you’ve got to be willing to be consistent for the long-term.

6. Be mentally-prepared for food cravings

Intense hunger. Cravings for high-carb (and often high-calorie) foods. Tired and fatigued. When you’re new to low-carb dieting, you’re probably going to experience these side effects as your body learns to adapt to burning fat as fuel instead of carbs. And there’s no easy way around it. You need to know this going in, and develop your own mental game to avoid giving up.

7. Drink plenty of water

Aim for 64 ounces a day (or about 8 glasses), or more if you’re highly active or live in a hot environment. Water helps control hunger and supports metabolism to help you lose fat.

8. Eat fiber-rich foods

When you’re on a low-carb diet, traditional foods high in fiber like cereal, grains, rice and breads won’t be on your menu. But you still need to get enough fiber from other sources. Like what? Some good options include dark-leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables. Adequate fiber supports digestion and helps absorb vitamins and nutrients from food.

Hungry from some health and easy-to-make food? Try these Low-Carb meals.