Having a healthy diet is an integral part of losing weight. The New Atkins Lifestyle Nutritionist Linda O’Byrne explains how small tweaks to a low carb diet can make a big difference.
Don’t cut calories too low. By doing so, you not only risk lowering your metabolic rate and therefore making it even harder to get fit, but you rob your body – and brain – of vital nutrients it needs to function properly. So cut the junk but don’t do so to the point of starvation.
Include in-between meal snacks. Snacking keeps your blood sugar levels stable, rather than going hours between meals. So you feel more energised and less preoccupied with a rumbling tummy.
Don’t skimp on fats. Fats are a pre-requisite when following a low carbohydrate lifestyle; they provide vital fuel for the brain. So add avocado to salads, drizzle veggies with olive oil, and eat fatty fish- like salmon; at least twice a week.
Stay hydrated. Sometimes dehydration can result in brain fog, a situation described as feelings of mental confusion or lack of mental clarity. So aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water per day. When you enter the low-carbohydrate lifestyle, your body sheds excess water, as carbs make the body retain water, so it’s important that you drink up.
Get your daily salt. When your body sheds the excess water, you may also lose some essential electrolytes. Get some table salt, soya sauce, or broth every day to replace the sodium your body has lost.
Include protein with every meal. Protein keeps you feeling fuller for longer and replenishes your body with vital amino acids, particularly when you are exercising intensely. So aim for 4-6oz of poultry, fish or meat; or eggs and other forms of protein with every meal.
Reduce sugary foods and refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta and white rice. These types of ‘bad’ carbohydrates cause your blood sugar levels to drop, leaving you energised for a short time, followed by a crash. These fluctuations can also affect your mood and leave you feeling upset and irritable.
Be prepared. Clear your cupboards off the junk, and stock up on proteins, healthy fats and plenty of vegetables. Make meals in bulk and freeze them so that you have delicious, nutritious food after heating them in a microwave.
Be kind to yourself if you slip up. You’d not be human if you didn’t give into temptation every now and then, especially when dining out, having friends over, or going to a party. So if you slip up, move on from it. Beating yourself up will leave you feeling depressed and disappointed, instead get right back on the wagon and you’ll soon be in fat-burning mode again!
Finally, be patient. Remember, slower weight loss is easier to maintain so aim for 1-2 lbs per week and lose weight in a healthy way.
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