Lots of people ask me how I got started with low carb. As I’ve said before, I’ve always had issues with my weight & I’ve tried every possible diet–tuna & grapefruit diet, low-fat diets, cabbage soup diet, Weight Watchers, diet drugs, low-calorie diets, etc., etc., etc. In college I went on Atkins, & had great success, & was never hungry. So, for me I realized I had to restrict carbs. After college I teetered back & forth on low carb, but didn’t fully commit. A couple of years later, I got married, taught kindergarten….several more years passed & I began working on my master’s degree. It was when I began working on my master’s that the weight really began piling on–I was constantly working on homework at my desk & snacked continuously while I worked. I usually snacked on Cheese-Its, chips, cereal–always carbs. After completing my master’s, I decided to go straight into my doctoral work–even more time in front of the computer, even more carb-filled snacks. It was the summer of my second year of doctoral work that I knew what I had to do. June 5, 2011 was the beginning of my new low carb lifestyle.
In the beginning, I stayed at 15 grams of carbs per day (for about 6 months). In January 2012, I increased my carbs to 30 grams per day & that’s where I’ve stayed.
The trick is to NEVER get hungry! Have plenty of ‘safe’ low carb/no carb foods available at all times & eat them WHENEVER you feel hunger coming on. What exactly are ‘safe’ foods???
“Safe” Snack Foods
- Cheese sticks (mozzarella, cheddar, pepper-jack — whatever you prefer)
- Raw veggies (broccoli, cucumber, grape tomatoes, celery, etc.) with Ranch dip (check the carb count — some dips have added sugar — I make my own Ranch dip to ensure no added sugars)
- Beef sticks
- Nuts (almonds, peanuts, walnuts, etc. — eat in moderation as nuts have some carbs)
- Deli turkey, deli ham, deli roast beef (check the package to make sure the meats contain no added sugars — some cold cuts are sugar-cured)
- Sunflower seed kernels
- Pumpkin seeds
- Dill pickles (make sure there’s no added sugar)
- Hard boiled eggs
- Sausage balls
- Pork rinds (Honestly, I now have an aversion to pork rinds, but they are low carb, and they are a quick snack–I think I’ve just reached my lifetime pork rind limit 🙂 .)
Whenever a hunger pang hits, one of those snacks hits the spot! NEVER allow yourself to get hungry–that’s when the carb cravings will get you.
Another question I get OFTEN is, “What foods are considered carbs?” I guess I’ve been doing low carb for so long that I take that knowledge for granted. Foods containing carbohydrates include: flours, sugars, pastas, breads, rice, starchy veggies (potatoes, corn, pinto beans, white beans–any beans EXCEPT green beans), and fruits (strawberries & blueberries can be eaten in moderation on a low carb diet as their sugar content is relatively low).
Low carb newbies may find the Atkins website a helpful guide — www.atkins.com.