If you’re a follower of low carb eating, you’ll know the benefits are pretty remarkable. From shedding those extra pounds to feeling like a ball of energy, a low carb approach can unlock a whole new level of health (just hear it from Lynn, who’s lost 13kg and achieved remission from type 2 diabetes).
However, staying committed to any healthy lifestyle - regardless of the benefits - can sometimes become monotonous. But, with careful planning and support, it doesn’t have to be that way.
We asked seasoned low carb dietitian Nicole Moore APD, one of the key experts on the Defeat Diabetes team, to share her five top tips for staying committed to your long-term success.
1. Stop boredom by adding variety to your plate.
Often, people complain of boredom when eating the same things every day. Nicole stressed that exploring new ideas is the key to keeping things fresh and exciting.
Lastly, if you want to keep your blood glucose levels within a healthy range, you’ll need to reduce the amount of carbohydrates on your plate. The best way is to avoid the obvious starchy ones, then balance your plate with protein and fat to create a low carb, higher fat diet.
2. Plan your meals ahead of time.
Planning isn’t just reserved for meetings and appointments; it's equally important to plan your meals too.
Nicole advises pre-planning your weekly menu using resources like the Defeat Diabetes weekly meal plan, a valuable tool for discovering and experimenting with exciting recipes.
Or, if you like to DIY your meal plans, ensure you understand which foods are permitted on a low carb diet to eliminate last-minute stress and impulsive food choices.
In short, strategic meal prep helps save time and sets you up for success.
3. Get efficient in the kitchen.
While cooking might feel more time-consuming than heating a microwave dinner, Nicole strongly advocates for real, homemade food (like our grandparents used to eat). You don’t need to spend hours in the kitchen; you can make the most of your time with a few strategic shortcuts.
Try buying marinated meats or pre-made salads (provided you scrutinise the labels if they come with a pre-made dressing). Nicole highlights the importance of being vigilant about ingredients (especially seed oils) when opting for pre-made options.
The goal is to be efficient, not lazy, making it easier to stick to your low carb commitment.
4. Don’t measure your success on the scale alone.
It's easy to fall into the trap of solely relying on the scale for validation. Nicole urges you to consider “non-scale victories” as a healthier metric for success. Improved your energy, increased your mental clarity, and reduced cravings? Bingo, you’re winning!
Shift your focus from quick fixes to long-term well-being. Remember, no matter how small, every positive change contributes to your success. Acknowledge and celebrate all of the improvements in your well-being beyond just the numbers on the scale.
5. Ditch the guilt and embrace the 80/20 rule.
Guilt has no place in a sustainable low carb lifestyle, which is why Nicole embraces the 80/20 rule. She reckons 80% of somebody’s life should be spent living the low carb principles, and the other 20% should allow for more freedom to have the occasional treat, should one wish. Don’t consider it a failure if you indulge in “unhealthy” food. Break free from the guilt cycle, be mindful of your choices, and get back on the low carb wagon without unnecessary shame.
Defeat Diabetes member Robert says it best: “I try not to be too manic about it. I know one higher-carb meal won’t kill me, but I still will avoid potatoes, bread and starchy foods.”
Nicole's approach encourages a balanced perspective, allowing occasional flexibility without compromising the low carb lifestyle commitment.
Remember, embrace variety, plan your meals, use strategic cheats, broaden your definition of success, and let go of guilt. Enjoy every step, savour every flavour, and relish in the benefits of a low carb approach that extend beyond the numbers on the scale.