Tips for a Successful New Year’s Resolution Diet
Learn how to start a keto or low carb diet in the new year and how to maintain your resolutions throughout the year.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to replace personalized medical advice. A low carb diet may not be suitable for you. Consult your health care provider before making any changes to your lifestyle or use this information at your own risk.
For many people, the new year brings the hope of achieving new goals. If one of those goals is to get on top of your health and fitness, and lose a few pounds in the process, this article will provide you with tips and tricks to help you get started and keep your new year’s resolutions!
A low carb diet, or ketogenic diet, may be something you are considering if you want to lose weight or manage a condition such as diabetes or prediabetes. Before you make any significant changes to your diet and lifestyle, always be sure to check with your physician beforehand, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.
If you have done your research, consulted your physician, and feel that you are ready to start a low carb or ketogenic diet this year, keep reading for our suggestions on how to begin and maintain a low carb lifestyle!
Tip #1: Set small, specific, realistic goals.
Setting small, specific goals that feel attainable to you and with your current lifestyle is one sure fire way to achieve success in the long run. Once you achieve one goal, set a new one as another step towards self-improvement! Even if you have a large end goal in mind, such as losing a substantial amount of weight, it is wise to create a series of steppingstones to get there. This way, you won’t feel overwhelmed and will be more likely to achieve each of your incremental goals. If you start off the new year with a large, vague goal such as “I want to work out more” or “I want to lose 50lbs”, it really doesn’t give you a clear roadmap for how to get there and you can easily feel like you haven’t made enough progress after a short while.
Some examples of small, specific, realistic goals may include:
- Cutting out processed potato chips. Check out our low carb chip alternatives!
- Going on a 20-minute walk three times a week.
- Drinking a full glass of water as soon as you wake up.
- Eating something green once a day.
- Swapping out sugar in your morning coffee for a natural sweetener.
The possibilities are endless! Tackle anything that feels like a significant roadblock to your success, such as not drinking enough water, not getting enough exercise, or snacking a bit too much, and make a small change in that habit. Even something as little as including green veggies in your diet once a day can make a huge difference in your overall health. These nutrient powerhouses are able to help fight against the damage that other processed, high carb foods do to your body, even if you continue to eat them for a while.
In general, it is said to take about 21 days to change a habit or create a new one. So, use this as a rough guideline for how often you should set new, small goals. Of course, if it takes longer for you to really commit to and achieve your goals, that’s perfectly alright! The point is to feel like you’ve made a permanent change to your lifestyle before tacking on more goals that will only overwhelm you.
Tip #2: Tell others about your goals.
Telling your friends and family members about the goals you have set will not only hold you accountable, but also, if those around you are aware that you are starting this journey, they can be more conscientious of their own actions and habits that may have an influence you. They may even decide to join you in your new year’s resolution, which can make it all the more enjoyable and easier! Just be sure to set boundaries and make it clear how you plan to go about achieving your goals so that your friends and family don’t become nags or inappropriate reminders of your progress. At the end of the day, it is only your responsibility for how successful you are at achieving your goals.
Tip #3: Decide if you want to go cold-turkey or transition into a low carb diet gradually.
Cutting out carbohydrates from your diet will bring on a series of physical changes that you should be prepared for. After all, our bodies have to adjust to a completely new fuel source, and this can really shake things up in the beginning. Some people call it the “Keto Flu” and symptoms may range from fatigue and irritability to headaches, dizziness, intense cravings, digestive problems and trouble sleeping.
There are ways to avoid or minimize the severity of the Keto Flu. One of these ways is to cut out carbohydrates more gradually from your diet. So, for example, if you want to get to a point where you eat 50g of carbohydrates each day, decrease the amount you currently eat by increments of 10g each week. This way, your body will have a smoother transition. However, you still might experience some of those pesky Keto Flu symptoms, and they may last longer although they will likely be milder and easier to cope with.
If you are the type of person who likes to rip the band-aid off, you may decide to go cold-turkey and cut carbs all at once. This may bring on more intense Keto Flu symptoms, but you will be on track to your goals much sooner! Sometimes a shock to the system is what we need to really get us going, as it can be easy to fall off track if you take a more gradual, lenient approach to cutting carbs.
Tip #4: Remove temptations.
The worst thing you can do to yourself when starting a new diet is making it “easy” for yourself to fall off track. Something simple you can do is remove any temptations from your home! Because when cravings strike, which they will, and you remember you have a tub of ice cream in your freezer or a chocolate bar in your pantry, the first thing you’re going to do is reach for those items! If you don’t want to throw away food, donate it to a food bank or give it to your family members to hide in a secret place that you won’t know about. Sometimes the symbolic act of getting rid of temptations is a great way to motivate you to tackle your goals!
Tip #5: Get into the habit of keeping a journal.
Not only is this a great way to track your progress so you can look back at how far you have come, but this tip is especially helpful for low carb and ketogenic dieters. You will soon discover that it is very helpful to keep a log of your daily snacks and meals, so you know exactly how many grams of fat, protein and carbs you are eating. For more on how to track your macronutrients, check out our blog article The Easy Guide to Counting Carbs. Bonus tip: download a meal tracking app which can give you information about the calorie and macronutrient breakdown of your food.
Making a drastic change in your diet, such as cutting out carbohydrates, can be a real learning curve. You may not have realized just how many carbs you were consuming before you started this new lifestyle and how much you have cut out to achieve your desired intake. This is especially true if you are trying to get into ketosis, which requires a very low threshold of dietary carbohydrates in order to obtain the benefits of this fat-burning metabolic state. Mapping out how much of which foods you are allowing yourself to eat will help you achieve your desired carbohydrate intake and help you feel more organized and in control – plus it will teach you a lot! You may not have to log your meals forever, but it is a good idea to do so in the beginning when you are still learning about the nutrition of different foods. Check out our article about Low Carb & Keto Meal Planning to help you get started.
Buy yourself a nice, brand new journal that you feel excited to write in and leave it in a spot where you are likely to remember to use it, such as the kitchen table. Write your goals in your journal as well, as putting pen to paper is a great way to make sure your goals become a reality!
Tip #6: Don’t expect perfection.
Instead of holding yourself to the high standards of perfect success, plan ahead for “failures”. This may involve keeping a stash of low carb snacks that you can reach for when you feel cravings, or bookmarking a few simple, easy recipes on your internet browser that can inspire you when you feel lost. Check out our Low Carb Guide to Snacking to help you plan ahead. We also share tons of recipe inspiration on our blog in the Low Carb Recipes section.
Expecting yourself to do anything perfectly, especially when it comes to dieting and weight loss, is a recipe for disaster. If you slip up even once, you may feel discouraged about the future of your progress. It is completely normal to have cravings, cheat days, doubts and second guess yourself. The real determinant of success is how you handle those situations. Here are some tips for managing those moments like a pro:
- Don’t beat yourself up. Feelings of guilt and shame will not only leave you feeling lousy, but oftentimes we are more likely to reach for comfort foods when we feel these negative emotions. Instead, if you choose to indulge in a high carb or high sugar snack, the least you can do is just enjoy and savour the moment!
- Plan ahead next time. See these moments as an opportunity for growth. Notice you constantly have cravings for chocolate or cake? Check out our inventory of low carb and keto-friendly chocolates, cakes, muffins, brownies, cookies and more! With products that are designed with low carb cravings in mind, you can still enjoy some of your favourite foods without the guilt. There are several tasty and satisfying options to choose from, so there is little excuse to reach for the regular, high carb versions.
- Remind yourself of why you started this journey to begin with. Whether it is simply to feel good about the skin you’re in, or a more consequential reason such as managing a serious health condition, bringing to mind these motivations can help you power through those weak moments. Sometimes keeping visual reminders, such as a sticky note on the refrigerator door, setting your phone wallpaper to something inspiring, or keeping a mood board can also help you visualize your desired results more easily.
- Break it down to a science. Dieting involves a lot of mental stamina. When we make drastic changes to our diets it affects our balance of certain hormones and neurochemicals, which can have real effects on our mood. Read more about How Food Influences Your Mood on our blog. Sugar cravings aren’t due to a lack of willpower; it has to do with the delicate balance of neurochemicals in our brains. When we are accustomed to high sugar diets, our brains crave the dopamine response that is associated with eating sweet foods. If we suddenly remove these sources of pleasure, we experience withdrawal symptoms not unlike those experienced by drug addicts! It only takes will power to re-train our minds to respond to normal levels of dopamine from healthy and pro-active sources, such as working out, reading a great book, accomplishing a new task, or listening to your favourite song. For more on how to handle sugar cravings, read our blog article about this topic.
Summing It All Up
New year’s resolutions are notorious for being forgotten by the end of January, so challenge yourself to beat the odds. It’s not so much about becoming a “new you” in 2021; the new year is just a symbolic, natural place to start letting go of old habits that don’t serve you anymore and shifting the course of your life. Whether it takes you six months, one year, or five years to achieve your goals, just getting started is a great accomplishment in and of itself! Enjoy the possibilities and opportunities that a new calendar year brings and remember just how much can change in one year’s time!
Keep Us Posted on Your Progress!
We hope that these tips will help you be successful in starting and keeping your new year’s resolutions this year!
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