How to Get Back on Your Low-Carb Diet

How to Get Back on Your Low-Carb Diet

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Stock up on fresh vegetables at the grocery store.

George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Despite its effect on weight loss, adjusting to a low-carb diet is hard. Not only do you have to contend with the "carb flu," or the feeling you get when your body adjusts to a smaller ratio of carbohydrates, but you also have to think of a new meal plan. When you fall off the wagon, it's not easy to get back on track. However, by ridding your kitchen of offending foods and reimplementing strategies that helped you succeed the first time around, you can be losing weight again soon.


Determine your trigger foods that lead you to falling off the diet. According to Gary Wenk, PhD, author of "Your Brain on Food," eating one food can trigger you to make other bad food choices. For example, if drinking a diet soda triggers a craving for pizza or burgers, you should avoid diet soda -- even though it's technically OK on a low-carb diet.


Clean out your cupboards of carbohydrates that can keep you from your goal. Allowing your family members to continue to snack on carbs that are off-limits to you might have been the reason you slipped up in the first place. The items to throw out depends on which low-carb approach you plan to take -- while some plans allow for a small amount of whole-grain foods, others ban them entirely. One thing's for sure -- you want to throw out junk food such as chips, pretzels and crackers. Apply the same method to your fridge and freezer.


Brainstorm new ideas for low-carb meals. Boredom with your food might have been the cause of your recent slip-up. Experiment with new spices or ingredients, such as a type of vegetable you've never eaten before.


Get back in the game by planning out your meals for the week -- after all, a lack of planning is a recipe for failure. If you're on a budget, grab the grocery store circular and plan your breakfasts, lunches and dinners around the fresh and frozen vegetables and protein options on sale. Put a priority on fish, which is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids.


Pack snacks for the week, particularly if it was unexpected hunger or cravings that led you to fall off the wagon the first time around. It's easier to give in to cravings if you don't have anything low-carb to satisfy you. Nonstarchy fruits and vegetables, nuts and, in a pinch, low-carb snack bars can help you avoid temptation.


Avoid eating in restaurants for the first couple weeks back on your diet, as dietary temptations lurk around every corner. When you feel strong enough to resist these temptations, pick a restaurant that offers nutritional information online so you can pick the healthiest choices. Ask the server to forgo the bread basket or tortilla chips, leave the bun off a sandwich or burger and substitute a side salad for fries.


  • Allow yourself some flexibility. The easiest way to fall off a diet is to be too rigid. If you "cheat" for one meal, don't take it as license to eat poorly the rest of the day -- get back on the wagon as soon as possible.