To make any big lifestyle changes in this life we have to really want it. Like, I mean, really want it. Making change is hard. Where does that desire and drive come from?
Something bigger than ourselves.
For some it is fear of death and for others it is to accomplish more goals. Many want to be thriving long into old age so they can watch their kids grow.
Why can some people seemingly make change easier than others?
Usually they have an easier time staying focused on the purpose, the reason behind the switch. Their reason for change is staring them in the face. It might be a disease they have recently been diagnosed with or some negative physical symptoms like pain that is impacting their quality of life.
Whatever it is the reminder is there.
Going Low Carb – Carb Restriction Steps
Making a diet change like the one that happens during a transition to a low carb lifestyle Is hard to be consistent with. Things come up. Things get tough. You go on vacation, you have a long day, you get hungry, you have increased stress, etc. Many different things can throw us off track and therefore keeping up the lifestyle becomes complicated.
We need to find a way to make this lifestyle easy. Trust me, there are ways.
You can do this.
Even if you haven’t had success before there is most likely a way to accomplish a low-carb lifestyle and stick with it. Try things, fail, try other things. Do what you can to make it stick. Let’s get into it.
When I finished my athletic career I couldn’t imagine that I would ever need to restrict any one nutrient or overall calories for that matter. It never occurred to me even though I had a scientific background, was interested in nutrition and had a focus on performance that I might have to change things since I wasn’t able to exercise for two hours a day any longer.
It never dawned on me. I didn’t understand one thing – metabolic set point.
As we grow and gain weight our metabolic set point changes. Many factors go into this metabolic set point but it’s important to know that you have one. And what is it.
The metabolic set point is the point of body mass that your systems will attempt to maintain or believe they need to maintain through eating. This is my interpretation of it and when I’m working with patients on a complex holistic weight loss journey I’m thinking about suppressing the metabolic set point. I’m thinking about helping them get to a place where eating less calories is easier.
So what goes into metabolic set point? Lets keep it simple – well, sleep impacts it, inflammation affects it, stress plays a major role, blood sugar regulation plays a major role, hormones impact it and the list goes on. Every part of the holistic approach influences the metabolic set point.
On day one of a low-carb diet your system thinks it needs more food and therefore you have hunger. You feel like you need to it. Often you have cravings for sugar. Because of your history it is very difficult to not give in to those cravings. Don’t give in.
Let’s review how to not give in.
Carb Restriction – Staying Consistent
This all comes back to my initial comments – remember why you are making a change. Remember every day. You might have to shed a part of you. You might have to avoid eating for pleasure. You might need to do a low calorie cleanse. Things could be tough. You will persevere.
Step 1) The first thing you want to do when you start a low-carb diet is write down your reason for doing it. You might want to place this in an area where you see it often. If it’s a symptom you’re experiencing like pain it’ll be a constant reminder. If it’s high blood pressure you will only know when you test. If it’s diabetes, same thing. If it’s cardiovascular disease risk prevention you won’t know unless you’re doing very advanced detailed testing. So write it down and read it every day.
Writing down your purpose for positive change is very important. This process is easier if you understand that the benefit is there. For example, if you understand that going low carb helps you lose weight over time and your goal is weight loss then you will get there with this plan.
See your reason, understand your reason and act on it.
Step 2) Change one carb avoidance habit.
Do you eat grains for dinner every night? Stop.
Are you a cereal person? Become a yogurt person.
Is pasta on the menu 2x per week? Reduce to 1x.
What is your pre-bed routine? Are you eating before bed? Never do.
Find a shift that works for you and make it. Stay consistent. Pick an easy one. Our members do not eat grains, starches or fruit after 4pm. This is pretty easy. They do well. You can use it if you like.
Step 3) Track the details. If you are doing this for weight loss I have a few metrics that might be more important. They are easy to stay on top of and they provide so much feedback it will inspire you to stay on the path.
- Look at your Body Mass Index. (women should be less than 24.9)
- Calculate your Relative Fat Mass. (women should be less than 30%)
- Stay on top of your Waist to Hip Ratio (women should be less than 0.85)
If you need help with these? Contact me.
When you track you know. Things don’t happen quickly. Weight doesn’t drop quickly unless you are fasting.
These metrics give you a bit more feedback. I love them.
Thank you for reading. I want you to start today. I am now the founder of Low Carb Vancouver and will be facilitating discussions on this topic over the next year. These talks will be available on Youtube and on the blog here. I hope you get value from them.
Are you ready to start?
Follow this guide, make a big lifestyle change and reach your health goals. Best of luck.
by Dr. David Duizer ND