Low-Carb Success: A Behavioral Approach

Low-carb eating has shaken up world news lately, thanks to its massive success. The movement is so large, that ketogenic (a low-carb, high fat diet) products have increased from 30 product launches in 2015, to over 520 in 2017 [1]. With this surge in the low-carb lifestyle and more products coming out every year, it can be confusing to know where to start in your low-carb journey.

After over a year on keto (including a period of “lazy keto”), here are some of the takeaways I’ve learned from my journey.

Your Brain Likes Simple

"keep it simple" written in sand on the beach

You likely know already, but habits are the key to what we call “success”. Whether it’s success at business, health, or family, it all comes down to what kind of habits you’ve established. Low-carb eating isn’t any different. To get your mind and body on board with a different lifestyle, sometimes a smaller approach can snowball into the goals you’re envisioning.

Start With Your Approach

ACT: action changes things

There are many opportunities to get overwhelmed. Especially if you’re the type that likes to research everything before taking action (I know what this is like all too well). From ketones, fat-adaptation, and intermittent fasting, to many other terms, the information out there is weighty. And if you can sort through all that information and still take action, good for you. Seriously, it’s a tough feat.

But if you’re tired of reading more than doing, like I was, then try flipping the ratio on its head.

The 80/20 Rule

80% doing and 20% reading

Many people have used an 80/20 rule, but here’s my version: take the 80% (reading) and the 20% (doing), and flip them.

80% doing, and 20% reading.

Much research has been done on the science on doing [2]. It’s not a secret; we’re just bad at practicing it.

So, this article may seem like it got away from a low-carb conversation, but here’s why “doing” is important for low-carb eating: it can take weeks to feel or see any of the positive effects.

So, doing and sticking with low-carb eating is essential if you are interested in its popular benefits.

Have a Small Win

So, once you’re comfortable with the type of approach you’re taking, go get yourself a quick win. This could be learning a recipe to make delicious fat bombs, or purging your pantry of foods that will sabotage your healthy eating.

We know the brain loves achieving things. When you have an achievement, no matter how small, your brain is rewarded with a nice dose of neurotransmitters. And they just feel great and make you want to do more.

Want more info? Check out this “Tiny Habit” talk

There’s no wrong path. The takeaway here is to give yourself a win so you can start your “snowball” and soon see results.

Do Something Daily

a coffee and a pen with a paper napkin note, "your daily routine matters."

The next step has to do with the frequency of those wins. For example, if you’re trying to start your own company, you likely wouldn’t work on it only one day a month. Likewise, your lifestyle should be treated with the same respect.

This doesn’t mean being productive 24/7. This can lead to burnout. But, by going for a 10-minute walk, or drinking enough water to meet your goal for the day, you can keep that momentum going and build that beautiful snowball of yours.

Find Others Like You

two people holding a "pinky promise"

According to one study [3], there are:

“…protective effects of having access to rich and functional social networks on maintaining physical and psychological health.”

There’s not much else to say here. Join a Facebook group. Read about other’s experiences on the keto subreddit, or even find others who are on a similar journey (low-carb or not). Don’t underestimate the inner workings of your brain. We are social beings, and finding our “tribe” is a vital part of feeling fulfilled and stable.

We went over a lot together. Simplifying, adjusting your 80/20, having small wins, doing something daily, and finding others like you can lead to the success with low-carb eating you’ve been looking for. Remember, the majority of it is mental. So, take a breath, and observe your habits (current and new), and you can start sorting out those many frustrations and obstacles.

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