If you didn't do so well on a low-carb diet your first time around, it's natural to have reservations starting out for a second time. Getting results from low-carb eating can be harder the second time around, due to hormonal issues, motivation levels and an increased resistance to insulin, notes nutritionist Dr. Michael Eades. This needn't stop you from succeeding, however; it just takes a little more dedication and a few new tricks and tactics.
Consult your doctor before starting a low-carb plan and again should you feel unwell at any point.
Prepare yourself. You might have struggled the first time around with adapting to a low-carb diet. This is because your body is used to using carbs for fuel and it takes a while for it to switch to burning fat instead. This usually happens during the first seven to 14 days, during which you may feel grumpy and low energy, notes sports nutritionist and trainer Ben Greenfield. It may just be a case of toughing it out for the first week or two before you start feeling in top form.
Ease back on the exercise. When embarking on a low-carb plan for the first time, you're full of enthusiasm and excitement. This can lead you to hit the gym with a vengeance and, while exercising is great, hard training combined with a big dietary change is a recipe for disaster. Either drop one of your weekly gym sessions in the first two weeks of low-carbing or just scale back your workout intensity a little.
Eat more fat. You might think that eating fat to lose fat sounds like utter madness, but there is a valid reason for doing so. When you cut out carbs, you majorly lower your calorie intake and need to replace some of these calories with another source, meaning fat becomes more important. These fats need to be the right type of fats though, notes trainer Charles Poliquin, who advises eating more coconut oil, avocados and olive oil. Oily fish, nuts and seeds are good choices, too.
Have patience. One of the main reasons people give up on low-carb diets in the first place is because they expect super quick results and don't get them. Whether you're following a low-carb diet to lose weight or improve your general health, it's important to realize it's a long-term process, not a quick fix.
- Consult your doctor before starting a low-carb plan and again should you feel unwell at any point.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.