There are several things that can go wrong when undertaking a low-carb lifestyle. Most of them are easily resolved. Here are some of the most common mistakes.
Weight Loss Stall After First Week
It’s common that people start the program and after the first week of weight loss, they experience a weight-loss stall. What happens is that as the body starts to adapt to the food changes, the liver releases a significant amount of water, and this presents as a dramatic initial weight loss. However, after that initial loss is sustained, the body rebalances and a weight-loss stall can result.
Not Drinking Enough Water
Carbohydrates retain water and sodium in your body. When you cut back on (processed) carbs, the water and sodium are excreted. This means that people on a low-carb diet need to drink more water compared to other diets. The body needs extra water to hydrate the brain, organs, digestive system and skin. Without this flushing action, the dead cells and debris will be stored away and weight loss will stall.
It’s recommended that a person drink 8-12 glasses of fluid a day. This includes all beverages such as coffee, tea, and carbonated or lemon-flavored water. Some doctors have been a bit more prescriptive and said that you should drink half your weight in ounces of water. So for a 160-pound person, you’d drink 80 oz or 10 cups of fluid.
Most North Americans do not drink enough water on a regular high carb diet, so when they switch to a low carb diet, this lack of hydration can become quite a problem. Headaches, lethargy, and constipation can result. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution. Drink more water!
Cramps and Headaches
Many people experience muscle cramps, headaches, and nausea when they change their diet. These symptoms are usually connected with inadequate water and mineral deficiency. A magnesium deficiency will bring on muscle cramps, headaches, nausea, and listlessness.
Low Carb Ingredients
Many people can get off-track by eating foods that are not low-carb-friendly. And it’s easy to do because there is a lot of misinformation out there. Many foods say they are low carb when they are not. These tend to be foods that are more processed and frequently contain a sort of sugar that spikes insulin and adds poor nutrient fillers. Many products are trying to get on the low carb/keto bandwagon, but not all have selected good ingredients. They may be low carb, but if some of those carbs are insulin spiking (like artificial sweeteners), then they are not good choices.
A common mistake that people make is to think that simply eating low-carb foods is all they need to do to achieve their weight loss goals. Then when they don’t lose weight, they are puzzled and disappointed. Unfortunately, portion control is an important concept, as it is with food plans of any kind. As our body ages, we lose muscle mass, bone density and our liver shrinks. That combined with a slowing metabolism means that we don’t need as much food as we did in our 20s and 30s.
It does mean accepting a mind shift that the often the recommended portions will look very different. No more filling the plate, for example. Your protein intake will likely go down. Too much protein will convert into glucose, and that spikes insulin, which we don’t want. So the trick here is accepting that the contents of your plate will change. Using a smaller plate can help to trick the brain into thinking there is more. This can help with the transition from an unsuccessful low-carb eating experience to a successful one.
Not all exercise is good for mid-life ladies. High impact and anaerobic exercise can place too much stress on the body and that results in cortisol production. This means that sore muscles recover very slowly and there’s an overall feeling of exhaustion. It’s much better to do aerobic exercises like walking, swimming or yoga. Resistance exercises are highly recommended using light weights to strengthen muscles and build bone density.