In previous articles, we have reviewed the great benefits of the carnivore diet. How consistently does one have to be on this diet in order to ensure all the benefits gained are not thrown down a black hole? How can one keep from reverting back to old habits? In this article, we will review these questions and highlight what one can do if they find themselves sidetracked.
- The effects of cheating
The Zero Carb Carnivore diet is similar to AA, Alcoholics Anonymous. It is an all or nothing diet. It is basically AA for carbohydrate addicts.
If you are cheating and eating plant foods and or zero carb artificial sweeteners, you are not doing Zero Carb, you are on Low Carb. It takes several weeks/months of 100% Zero Carb to become completely fat-adapted and realize the amazing benefits that a plant-free, chemical-free, diet can do for you.
- Carbohydrate/Sugar addiction
Carbohydrate or sugar addiction is no different than alcohol or drug addiction. The addiction infects every cell of your body and your brain. It takes about 90 days for the brain to break free of the immediate effects of an addictive substance. So, if you can’t make it 90 days or so without carbs, then you are not even close to overcoming your addiction and becoming fat adapted. It takes the body weeks and months or years to detox from the damaging effects of years and years of the overconsumption of carbohydrates and sugar.
When you keep cheating and feeding that addiction your body remains in a state of turmoil. Your body will not adapt to clean fat burning if you continue to feed it carbs. You might think that 1 piece of dark chocolate or apple once a week or once a month has no effect on you, but it will definitely show in your progress, or lack of it.
- How do you keep from falling off the wagon?
- Start with realistic expectations
Getting on a carnivore diet has many benefits, including potential weight loss. Nonetheless, it’s important to set realistic expectations.
For example, if you keep getting on the scale and looking for signs of progress, you might give up. Trust the process and keep doing what you should be doing every day.
- Think about what really motivates you
Remembering why you made the decision to start the diet can help you stay on course. Making a list of specific reasons why you want to get healthier can be helpful. Keep this list handy and refer to it when you feel you need a reminder.
When you’re tempted to indulge in unhealthy behaviors, remembering what motivates you can help you stay on track.
- Keep unhealthy foods out of the house
It’s difficult to stick to your diet when you’re surrounded by other tempting foods. If other family members want to have these foods around, try keeping them hidden rather than on countertops. The saying “out of sight, out of mind” definitely applies here.
Having food on display in various areas of the house has been linked to obesity and increased consumption of unhealthy foods.
- Do not have an ‘all or nothing’ approach
Rejecting the urge to judge your day as “good” or “bad” can prevent you from making poor choices.
- Eat well beforehand
Leave the house when you have already had your fill to prevent you from getting tempted into eating snacks.
- Exercise and change diet at the same time
You may have heard you shouldn’t change too many things at once when trying to improve your health. In general, this is good advice. However, research shows that when you make both dietary and physical activity changes at the same time, the results tend to reinforce each other.
- Have a game plan before eating out
Plan your outings to ensure you either only eat what’s acceptable or eat before you go out.
- Don’t let traveling derail you
Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, being outside of your familiar territory can make it difficult to stick to your diet. Here are a few tips:
- Research the restaurants and supermarkets ahead of time.
- If possible, get quarters that can allow you to prepare your own meals.
- Challenge yourself to stay on track for most of the trip.
- Practice mindful eating
Eating mindfully can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Take time to enjoy your food and appreciate its ability to nourish you. This increases your chances of making successful, lasting behavioral changes.
- Track and monitor your progress
Logging the foods you eat into a diary, online food tracker, or app can help you stick to a healthy diet and lose weight. Measuring your exercise progress is also beneficial and provides you with the motivation that can help you keep going.
Tracking your food intake and exercise progress can provide motivation and accountability. Studies show that it helps you stick to a healthy diet and leads to greater weight loss.
- Get a partner to join you
Sticking with a healthy eating and exercise plan can be tough to do on your own. Having a diet or exercise buddy may be helpful, especially if that person is your partner or spouse.
Researchers studying data from over 3,000 couples found that when one person made a positive lifestyle change, such as increasing physical activity, the other was more likely to follow their lead.
- Start the day with a big meal
If you eat a big meal as first thing in the morning, you’re more likely to maintain stable blood sugar levels and not overeat for the rest of the day. This will keep your mind far from the food you should not be eating.
- Realize that it takes time to change your habits
Don’t be discouraged if it takes longer than you expect to adapt to your new, healthy way of living. Researchers have found that it takes an average of 66 days to make a new behavior a habit.
Eventually, you will find that it will become easier to stick to your diet.
- Expect a Bit of Discomfort
No matter what type of diet you get into you will be a bit grumpy. During the first one or two weeks into a low carb diet, you’ll feel less energy or with a change of mood. That’s because you’re burning fatty acids for fuel. Expect it to subside and for your body to normalize within a week or two.
- Figure out what works best for you
There is no perfect way that works for everyone. It’s important to find a way of eating and exercising that you enjoy, find sustainable and can stick to for the rest of your life. The best diet for you is the one you can stick to in the long run.
- Are you motivated enough?
Breaking your habits and improving your diet is not easy. Unfortunately, if you cannot control cravings and continue to cheat over and over, this diet will not work the way it is supposed to. Your body will keep reverting to its original state and you will have to start over.
One of the best carnivore diet tips is to be mentally prepared and keep moving forward. Feeling a bit down is inevitable, but it’s up to you to decide whether to give up or keep going! To stay motivated, look at before and after results to inspire you, or keep yourself distracted from food by taking a walk or picking up hobbies to keep yourself occupied.
What you need to do is to take the small steps necessary to be totally self-disciplined and stick to the diet. This way, you will see that the benefits will far outweigh the discomfort.
- Zero Carb Health (2018): Zero Carb Carnivore Diet and Cheating. Retrieved from http://www.zerocarbhealth.com/zero-carb-carnivore-diet-and-cheating/
- Low Carb Yum (2017): Low Carb Diet Tips to Stay on Track. Retrieved from https://lowcarbyum.com/low-carb-diet-tips/
- Healthline (2019):14 Simple Ways to Stick to a Healthy Diet. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/14-ways-to-stick-to-a-diet#section1