The summer forecast is looking sunny. You might have travel plans or are looking forward to barbecues with family and friends and outdoor dining on warm evenings. As you re-emerge into the world again, you will probably find delicious culinary temptations at every turn.
I’m not recommending a carb free-for-all, because cycling between high and low carb days may not keep your body in the fat-burning zone you’re hoping to achieve, plus you may experience uneven energy levels, hunger and cravings. But I will give you some tried-and-true tips that let you live a little and adjust your carb intake based on what’s going on in your life while still achieving your goals:
- Level up. If you’re on Atkins 20Ò, move to Atkins 40Ò. If you’re on Atkins 40, try out Atkins 100Ô. This way, you’re still living by the general principles of a low carb lifestyle but giving yourself a little flexibility for the time being.
- Load up on quality carbs. Make sure the majority of your carbs are still coming from high-fiber, nutrient-rich veggies, low-glycemic fruits and some whole grains.
- Cut back on carbs before you indulge. If you know you’re not going to be able to resist your friend’s famous potato salad recipe at this weekend’s barbecue or you have been looking forward to your favorite restaurant’s signature entrée, cut back on carbs for a few days before. If you’ve been keeping your appetite satisfied with fulfilling low carb snacks and meals, you may be happy just having a few bites of the much-anticipated dish.
- Get rid of the guilt but pick your treats wisely. Food should nourish you and give you joy. Mindlessly munching on a bag of chips is probably far less satisfying than slowly savoring every bite of a much-anticipated dish.
- Eat this, not that. Check out my favorite low carb swaps for summertime favorites so you can balance out your higher carb picks with low carb options.
- Boost your activity level. Exercise is good for your body and mind. Regular gym sessions, exercise classes or any activity that breaks a sweat, like walks, hikes or bike rides require energy, so you might as well put any extra carbs you consume to good use fueling your workouts.
- Get back on the wagon. If your low carb lifestyle has taken a high-carb detour, try to get back on track as soon as you can. Fortunately, you have some options. You can start by cutting your Net Carb intake by 5 or 10 grams, moving back to your typical level, or even consider moving down a level, if that feels right for you. For example from Atkins 100 to Atkins 40 or from Atkins 40 to Atkins 20.
Stick with these tips, and you’ll see how Atkins’ low carb lifestyle gives you a flexible low carb way of eating that leaves you satisfied and able to indulge in some favorite foods with fewer restrictions than some of the really strict diets.