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After the First Two Weeks
Low carb diets start with two weeks of intensive training to get you in the mindset of your new style of eating. Once you get through those two weeks, it should be relatively smooth sailing.
By this point you understand all the basics. You have cleared your house of junk food. You're drinking 8 glasses of water a day, you're starting to exercise. You're getting the hang of which foods are good for you and which are not nutritious.
So what now? It all depends on your weight goal. Let's say you only had 5 pounds to lose, and now you've lost them. You're ready to go on to maintenance. For most people, you have made some progress but still have a ways to go. It now comes down to your personal habits and preferences.
For example, I love healthy food. I love asparagus, grilled pork, swordfish, tuna steak, salads, and broccoli. I eat this stuff all day long and am completely thrilled. So my natural carb count is very low, and healthy. If you ate like that, you wouldn't need to do anything differently. You would eat that way each week, your incoming carbs would be low, and you would lose weight until you hit your ideal.
However, for many modern eaters, they have junk food they still want to ingest for whatever reason. They want to eat popcorn instead of celery sticks. They crave a pizza. These things are NOT zero carb, which means you now are in the tradeoff situation.
In essence you slowly increase your total carb amount by 5g each week. As you do, you will of course lose less weight - but your amount of 'junk food' that will fit into the carb limit will rise. You could have that slice of pizza or that bowl of whole wheat pasta. You're just sacrificing weight loss, of course. At some point you'll reach the balance point - where you aren't losing weight any more, but you aren't gaining it either. If you keep increasing your carb count after that, then the extra carbs are going to go somewhere - i.e. your stomach and thighs.
If you are enjoying the food choices, and you don't have any cravings that might interfere with your staying on this plan, then by all means stay at induction levels. It will mean you lose weight more quickly.
So you have the choice. You can eat the "break even" level of food, which is what your body burns off on a daily basis. That at least maintains you so you aren't gaining more weight. You can back off on the carbs so that you lose some weight while eating food that you wish. You can increase your exercise levels a bit so that you burn off more carbs each day, therefore you can eat more. It's all up to you and your personal balance.
What I personally would do is maybe increase the carb limit by 5-10g a day - and only if I was really craving something. Even then, I would personally choose to go for a walk or do other exercise to burn off that bad food, vs sacrificing my weight loss progress. It's your own health you're affecting in the end - and the health and finances of your friends and relatives around you who are supporting you. It's in your own best interest to lose this weight.
You really don't need that item you're craving. If you're craving chocolate, get delicious sugar-free varieties. If it's pasta, go for Dreamfields or other low carb pastas that taste great. If it's ice cream, there are sugar free ice creams that I love! I can think of very few reasons to go over a carb count, that would deliberately stall my weight loss progress.
Basics of Low Carb Diets
Lisa Shea's Library of Low Carb Books
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