The thought of cutting carbs feels exciting at first. All you know at the time is that you are going to look great and feel great afterward. That is enough motivation for anyone to begin research on how to cut carbs from your diet.
You may be told by everyone you know their theories on why cutting carbs is bad, but cutting out carbs can and is good for you. That said, I would say, do your research. Planning is everything here. When you cut carbs from your diet, even for a day, you make a very big decision. You won’t even know it at the time.
The change is overwhelming at times. But if I can do it, so can you. I cut carbs from my diet for 30 days and it made a huge difference in my life. It makes a big difference in everybody’s life because it does change the way you look, and the way you look at food.
Carbs are digested slowly by the body, while refined carbs like sugar are not. When you eat carbs, they are used as energy. When you cut carbs, you force the body to use other sources for your energy supply. It will, and this is how weight loss and body changes happen. I knew going into a no-carb diet would change my life, and it did.
That is what motivated me to start, and motivated me to get going. That said, it isn’t easy. Here’s how I cut carbs and stayed happy to tell the story.
Week 1: Starting the Carb-Free Journey
Starting the carb-free journey and the decision to cut carbs is exciting. I did what everyone does and Googled everything. With my piles of paper, I began to make the same charts and menu planning. This can get tedious after a while, but it does become effective at a time when you begin to notice the results. I also took my weight and measurements of my hips, waist, and bust, and wrote those down.
There are different ways to cut carbs from your diet. You can go full Keto diet, try Paleo, or simply go it on your own and cut carbs. When you plan and set goals, you will see results. I started with a plan to reduce calories per day to about 1500 a day and to keep any carbs below 20 grams. This is easier said than done once you start counting carbohydrate grams on packages and ingredient labels. A good muffin could contain half of that if you are not careful.
You may want to cut carbohydrates completely, and that is a personal choice. I started off with a realistic goal and knew I was going to have to ease my way into this new life. You have to start thinking of substitutions. This is where I started to feel the pain of cutting carbs from my life. I was now thinking of a land of avocados and nuts instead of bagels and mac ‘n cheese. Fun, right? It gets real now. But, fun when you start to see the results. Add substitutions that you like, like string cheese instead of that bagel.
Spreading 1500 calories carb free across three meals and some snacks is no easy task. Half a frittata. It will feel like you aren’t eating anything. Keep going. Planning is crucial to ensure you like the foods you can eat, and keep busy when you can not.
I started to experience some feelings of what can be called the “keto flu” by the end of the first week. You don’t have to be doing keto to feel this. This is extreme lethargy, nausea in some cases, and headaches for sure. Your body just isn’t getting the sugar that it is used to getting. This I learned is a temporary situation that evolves in time. I realized being tired is normal at this stage, and I am chalking it up as a side effect and not a setback.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate as much as you can here. By the end of the first week, I was really wanting some pie and things from the deli I go to for lunch every day. Drink water, and find healthy replacements there. Every deli and bakery ever has a customer that is cutting carbs. It is the way of the world right now for a reason. When you start to feel cramps in your muscles, brain fog or lethargy, or unusual fatigue, hydrate as much as you can. All of that said, I was surprised at how fast I became used to these changes.
Week 2: Navigating the Midway Point
Despite the keto flu, I began to get excited again during the second week. I was seeing the changes begin that I knew were bound to happen. The initial weight loss seemed minimal, but the inches were changing and my clothes began to fit differently. By the second week, I also understood the importance of planning a little more. Waking up in the morning and not being sure how to squeeze 1500 calories into the day is overwhelming and enough to make anybody give up.
So plan the menu the weekend in advance. Cook what you can get ahead and eat what you can when you can. Plan what you eat, and when you eat, and be committed to this goal. It wasn’t new anymore now, so I could be a little more accustomed to eating this way without being sad or upset about it. I noticed changes, albeit small, and that made it worth it. Plan every minute of your food life so that you don’t stray from this goal.
Let’s be real, you’re going to be hungry because you’re a person when you are doing this. Your appetite isn’t going to change at all. I had to find ways to adjust to this. Fill up on things that you can fill up on, like a large Diet Coke, and it is easier to think about it by the second week. By the end of the second week, the cutting carbs diet was a habit and I knew I would be able to stick it out for at least two more weeks.
Here, I began to weigh myself and measure where I thought I was losing inches. I wasn’t imagining it. I really was seeing progress here. When you start to see these changes, the last two weeks feel so doable. At least that is what I was feeling heading into week three.
Week 3: Observing Changes in the Body
The changes in the body will really start to show up during week three. By the end of week three, I had lost 7 pounds and 4 inches across my three measurements of waist, hips, and bust. Now, here, it IS tempting to begin adding a few carbs back into the plan. Things are going well, right? Don’t fall into this trap. Keep planning every meal like it is your first day on the plan.
Keto flu is hitting hard by now and the headaches and lethargy are difficult on occasion, especially when working. What you have to do here is keep going. Reward yourself during those lethargic moments and it is easier to get through them. Do not reward yourself with food. Here is where I adopted the mindset that food was something I needed to do to stay alive and not something fun to do as a hobby. Find new rewards for your life, and this mindset will stick. I still think like that long after my carb-free days and it really does make a difference.
The keto flu lasted about a week more, but by the end of week four, I did not even recognize it. I may have been elated at the thought of going back to somewhat normal eating, but I was feeling better.
Week 4: Final Week and Takeaways
In the final week of my carb-free diet, I began to feel so much better about this decision. Most of the time I did feel good about it, but the first two weeks were emotionally draining. You still may have the odd day of it here or there like that, like I did. But overall, the benefits of this diet are showing and you are excited about this last leg.
Foods that were substitutions that I nearly loathed at the beginning of this are now staples in my diet, and were in my plan last week. I make guacamole as a treat on occasion now, when I barely liked avocados moons ago. I am not a full-blown carb-free person today, but I do have a lot of the same meal-planning tools in my weekly schedule. I also think more about everything when I am at the grocery store.
By week four, I became committed to taking snacks out of my schedule as well. That made a big difference in how I planned the other meals of the day, and I began to enjoy them more. Find something else to do when this urge is arising. Watch your favorite program, take the dog for another walk, do a puzzle that keeps your hands busy, anything. I added all of these things to my snack time, spent more time on Facebook, and began reconnecting with humans instead of food again. It really was lovely.
I knew I was only going to do this for 30 days, so by the end of this week I was stoked over the results. Not only had I adopted some lifestyle changes I would enjoy keeping, but I had lost weight and inches. In the end, I lost almost 12 pounds and two inches from my waist, three inches from my hips, and two inches from my bust. Additionally, I knew that I could stay committed to a goal. The last week was an exciting one, to say the least.
Choose to Cut Carbs
You can choose to cut carbs like I did, and do it one day at a time. This was one of the hardest meal changes that I have ever tried. The amount of time you put into it will keep you committed to the goal. It was worth every minute in the end. My new goal is to try this one month a year until I reach my goal weight, and I am in no hurry. I will continue to eat healthy and find new rewards. Cutting carbs felt exciting again when I saw the results. You can feel this too!