5 Reasons Your Low Carb Diet is not Working
You've heard it numerous times from celebrities, fitness trainers, friends and family members: if you want to drop weight, cut back on carbs. The Atkins and South Beach diets have brought low carb dieting to the masses. If you have attempted low carb diets with little or no success, read on as I give you five reasons why your low carb diet is not working.
The most common mistake I see people attempting a low carb diet make is thinking in terms of the food pyramid instead of in macronutrients. They will eliminate grains - pastas, breads, cereal, rice, and beer - but replace that food group with other high-carb items. Vegetables such as carrots, peas, and corn are very high in carbohydrates. Fruit is often still a mainstay in the life of a low carb dieter. Outside of some berries (blackberries are best), fruit is high in naturally-occurring sugars (a.k.a. carbs). Apples contain a whopping 19 grams of sugar and more than 20 grams of carbs in one medium piece of fruit! "An apple a day"... my ass!
A second reason why your low carb diet is not working is that you have replaced your carbs with dairy. Listen, I get it. Cheese is the bomb and I'm a big fan, but eating it daily - even small amounts daily - is no bueno for a flat belly. The natural acids in dairy are highly inflammatory, and cow's milk is one of the hardest foods for a human body to digest. (Constipation = round, hard belly.) Because dairy can inflame the lining of your intestines, overtime you can develop leaky gut, which adds to a whole bunch of other health issues. Think you're having a hard time losing weight now? Leaky gut will make it soooooo muchhhhh harder as you are unable to absorb nutrients, and toxins build up around your midsection. If you must include dairy in your life, try to stick to raw sheep's milk and no more than 3-4 ounces total per day. But for reals, just skip the cheese board and exotic fruit tray and go straight for a T-bone steak.
For. The. LOVE. Stop eating processed foods! Low carb diets are uber popular and food manufacturers know it. In order to make these low carb foods taste like anything other than cardboard these manufacturers will often add all kinds of fat-blocking crap to their products, including dextrose, maltodextrin, hydrogenated oils, and MSG. I have had so many clients tell me that they've tried low carb dieting in the past and it hasn't worked, but as soon as we examine their pantry, it's full of "low carb" tortillas (that aren't even low carb - still close to 20 grams PER tortilla) and lunch meat. Ditch the processed foods and keep it real.
If you are participating in weekly "cheat days" or "cheat weekends", that's a big red flag and is likely why your low carb diet isn't working. Let me also say this: I despise the word "cheat" when it refers to food. Are you married to food? Is he your bf? Nope. You are not "cheating" with food. If, however, you are going carb-crazy on the weekends it is quite possible that you are undoing all of your low carb efforts during the week. While I do believe that carb-ups can be beneficial to weight loss and overall health, they need to be done in a way that benefits your body and treats it like the temple it is. Wishing away your low-carb weeks so that you can carb-load all weekend not only destroys your progress, but promotes wishing away your life and becoming resentful of low carb foods/eating habits.
Carb-ups/carb-cycling, even with fit Paleo carbs, is not a good idea for those with insulin resistance. If you are insulin resistant and wondering why your low carb diet is not working, refer to all of the above! Even eating 80/20 low-carb high-carb will not work for weight loss. The focus needs to be on increasing your insulin sensitivity, then gradually adding in more vegetables, seeds nuts and berries.
Fix your low carb diet in five easy ways:
- Fill up on low-carb veggies, especially dark leafy greens like spinach, swiss chard, collard greens, kale, and broccoli.
- If weight loss is your goal, eliminate fruit. Even berries are off the menu for now. Once your weight loss plateau has been busted, try adding in some blackberries and/or strawberries once or twice a week, and no more than 1/3 cup serving at a time.
- Ditch all processed foods and eat all whole, fresh foods. Lettuce is cheaper than a low carb tortilla, and makes for a nice, crunchy sandwich wrap!
- Replace the fruits and starchy vegetables with high-quality meat, poultry and fish. Protein will help keep you full without spiking your insulin, especially if you stick to no more than 3-4 ounces at at time.
- Increase your intake of healthy fats. Avocados, unsweetened and full-fat coconut products, olive oil, and ghee will bind to the nutrients in your dark leafy greens to carry them throughout your body. They will keep you fuller, longer, and add more flavor to your ho-hum low carb life.
Are you ready to ditch the low carb dieting that is failing you? Register for Ketogenic Living 101 and actually enjoy eating while looking, feeling, and being your best! One-on-one coaching is also available; connect with me to learn more!