Low Carb LifeStyle
Low Carb Lifestyle
I’m sure you’ve all heard of a “low carb lifestyle” somewhere along the line but what does that really mean and why isn’t it just called a “low carb diet” like a lot of the other popular diets that we’ve seen?
“Lifestyle” indicates a way of life as opposed to adherence to any particular diet with all accompanying rules, restrictions and guidelines. Now, certainly a low carb lifestyle has its’ own restrictions and rules, etc. but it’s not time limited like many diets are. And certainly many folks have adopted a low carb diet to help lose weight and then gone back to their previous lifestyles.
So, a low carb lifestyle means a real change in your lifestyle and the way you eat and approach food. It means learning on your part. And while learning anything new can seem overwhelming to start, take it slow, one step at a time. Once you begin to be more educated about the carb levels of the foods you’re eating now, you can start to strip out the high carb foods and learn to exchange them for lower carb, healthier foods.
A common mistake that I often see with diabetics looking to transition to low carb eating is that they will choose a lower carb, healthier snack but fail to consider the portion size.
For example, I was looking for healthier snacks when I first started out on the low carb lifestyle. So, I choose to eat walnuts in the afternoon. Knowing they were a good source of healthy fats that would also satisfy my hunger, I ate them with abandon.
Now, net carbs on ¼ cup of walnuts is around 2 carbs. However, I’d eat at least a cup of walnuts which quadruples my carb intake to 8 carbs. While that still doesn’t seem like a lot of carbs, I’m a type 1 and I know that each carb will raise my blood sugar levels somewhere between 5 and 8 points. So, calculating that, each cup of walnuts that I eat will raise my blood sugar levels at least 40 to 64 points.
Now, that still may not seem like much except if my blood sugar level was say, 120 before I started eating the walnuts, after I ate a cup, my blood sugars would have risen to somewhere between 160 and 184! See what I mean? Needless to say, I now rarely eat more than ¼ cup of walnuts for a snack since that will keep my blood sugars only rising between 10 to 16 points instead of between 40 and 64 points. So, if my blood sugars were 120 before I ate the ¼ of walnuts, I could expect them to be roughly between 130 and 136 AFTER I ate that snack.
While this kind of calculating might seem daunting, the most important thing to realize is that choosing a low carb lifestyle is a PROCESS; not an overnight event that’s suddenly going to completely lower your blood sugar levels. BUT, if you begin earnestly trying to pay more attention to your carb intake, you will likely see some pretty rapid decreases in your blood sugars.
You can start immediately by taking one breakfast meal at a time. Go over your net carb food lists and look for foods that appeal to you and are lower carb. How can you lower the carbs in that one meal? What food can you eat that’s lower carb than what you were previously eating? Then stick with that new, lower carb meal until you own it. Then do another meal like that. Again, one step at a time or one meal at a time is all it takes to start growing into your low carb lifestyle.