How can you stick to low carb for the long term?

Most of us aren’t saints and, even the most die-hard low-carber may fall off track at some point. In January, motivation is usually high as New Year’s Resolutions are fresh in our minds. Yet a big part of long term success is knowing that sometimes you might give into temptation and how you deal with it is really the key to success. So look beyond January and how will you cope in the future if you fall off track?

  • Remember that your body is adjusting to burning fat for fuel – not carbs – and this takes a few days. This will help you to fight the sugar demon as you know that cravings DO go away. giving into sugar cravings is often as a result of a rash decision; often due to boredom, stress or tiredness; and you’ll probably agree that you’re usually left feeling that it wasn’t worth it anyway.
  • Accept that for a few days you may have sugar and carb cravings and you ARE strong enough to overcome them. Usually having something, when cravings hit, can help so cheese, olives, Atkins bar, boiled egg etc. are all good options. Don’t go hungry when you’re craving, just have the right choice and make sure your fridge/cupboards are stocked with low carb foods.
  • Don’t keep making excuses not to start. Just think, in 3 or 4 days you could be adapted to burning fat and well on your way to a healthier you!
  • Don’t over-rely on exercise. Whilst exercise is great for its heart-healthy benefits; what you eat really is the key to success. So don’t reward yourself for a workout by eating a high carb meal. Stick to Atkins even if you’re exercising.
  • If you have a moment of weakness then pick yourself straight back up and get back on track. One cheat won’t derail all your efforts but falling into the trap of letting this completely make you lose the plot will.
  • Choose whether to weigh or not to weigh. Remember that the scale isn’t just measuring bodyfat but also water weight, muscle, bone, food & drink consumed and can fluctuate depending on hormones, what you’ve eaten, if you’ve exercised etc.. Phew! Yes, the point is; the scales are unreliable. So, if you’re going to get depressed if you see don’t see a loss (or; heaven forbid; a gain), then put them away for now. Some people find that a weekly weigh in keeps them on track. So decide what kind of person you are. If you find your clothes are fitting better but the scales aren’t budging – again, time to put them away.
  • Identify your food triggers. For me, its peanut butter – yes, it’s good for you but I can eat it in vast quantities so I avoid it and stick to almond butter which I can eat in acceptable levels! For others it may be sweets, chocolates or bread. Identify the foods you can’t resist and just don’t buy them – you can’t eat what isn’t there.
  • Don’t let a weight plateau demotivate you. If you find that results slow down for a few weeks then this can make you feel fed up and maybe even tempted to revert to old eating habits. Remember though that it takes time to become adjusted to burning fat for energy so have patience and keep going! Many people who  have had long-term success will tell you that they went through periods of little results but stayed strong and it was worth it
  • You can eat out! The best thing to do is to look at the menu online before you even get to the restaurant or pub. Have a clear idea in your mind about the low carb choice you’re making and don’t deviate. Remember there are lots of lovely low carb foods you can eat, look at our Instagram page for ideas. I’ve posted some meal choices in restaurants on there and they are far from boring!
  • Don’t skimp on fat! Although it’s been drilled into us that ‘fat is bad’, it’s really not! So eat fat from oils, butter, cream, avocados, salmon, mackerel etc. The fat content will fill you up and make meals taste great too!
  • Don’t go no-carb. Complex carbs are part of a balanced meal plan so include lots of vegetables, even from day one. For a list of foods for all phases see here: Food List
  • Remember to eat well! On Atkins you shouldn't be feeling hungry - protein, healthy fat & vegetables in every meal mean that you should be feeling full, energised and little preoccupation with food. If you're hungry then try snacking between meals or increases portion size slightly


Posted by Linda O'Byrne
Atkins Nutritionist