Before You Begin

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The best thing you can do when starting your low-carb diet is to be prepared first, don't go putting it off until next week, or next month, just get everything in order now and then start!


Blood tests

Go see your doctor and let them know what you're about to do. Don't worry if they are against low carbohydrate diets, one of the best ways to show them how beneficial low-carb can be, is through your own experience. If your doctor is hesitant, let them know that you have made your mind up already and you would like them to monitor you. Have a complete physical, including full blood tests done so you have a baseline. Make sure they do a full check on your cholesterol, total cholesterol is not enough, tell them to check your thyroid too. You will be glad you had these blood tests done later!

This is especially important if you're currently taking medications such as blood pressure medications, diuretics and insulin as low carbohydrate diets can be very effective causing the need to lower your dose, making medical supervision essential.

Buy a Low-Carb Book

Research what low carb diet you would like to do then buy the book and read it from cover to cover!

This is really important, most diets really don't have enough information online to do it properly. One exception is that Atkins does have enough information on their web site and this is the diet I see most people do.

But even then, I still don't find that people read up about it enough so please read the book, if money is an issue try online places like Ebay and Amazon, second hand book shops or borrow from a library and buy it later when you can afford to.

Besides, what if you really need some information from their web site but your internet access or their web site is down, or you're not near a computer? A Kindle/e-book version may also be another cheap option.

Our Low Carb Diet Section has information on some of the popular low-carb diets that members on our forum frequently use.

Low Carb Meal Planning

Once you have read up on your chosen low-carb diet, start planning a few days worth of low-carb meals so you're not overwhelmed with not knowing what to cook. Most likely your book will have some suggestions plus you should find plenty more on the forum and through our low carb nutrition pages. Our low carb menu thread may be a good place to start, I would love it if you can share your menus also: low carb menu ideas

Make sure to go through our carb count lists for various foods such as dairy, nuts, fruit and vegetables as it's important to learn how to instinctively select the low carb varieties as well as to avoid confusion from looking at American carb values which use different calculation methods and you will find they will not match with Australian labels. Our lists use information from Australian and New Zealand Food Standards.

Read our Low-Carb Getting Started thread for some tips to help you get started.

Kitchen Spring Clean!

Clear out all that high carb junk that you will no longer need. It really is best to keep temptations out of the kitchen, especially when first starting out. If you are worried about wasting food, offer it to any friends in need or to a charity for homeless people. Have a chat with fellow family members / house mates about your new diet and discuss ways that they can help you to avoid temptation within your household.

Shopping

Now that you have some idea on what low carb foods you will be needing, go fill up those cupboards, fridge and freezer with legal foods before you begin! No point starting if there's not enough food that you can eat.

You might find our low-carb staples and low-carb snacks pages as well as the shopping planner on our weight-loss tools page handy.

Take a Before Photo

As yucky as that may seem now, later on when you have lost a bunch of weight you will be glad you did. You don't have to show anyone now although later you probably will want to show everyone how well you have done! At the very least it will serve as a reminder to you on just how far you have come.

Weigh and Measure

The morning you begin, weigh yourself and take measurements. Pick a morning routine that you will be able to follow regularly each time to help lessen fluctuations. Most people like to do it first thing in the morning after going to the toilet. Make sure your scales are on a flat even surface and try to avoid moving them.

Write it down

After you have finished weighing etc, write those stats down somewhere safe, a diary is good for this, as well for writing other important information down along your low-carb journey. We have a private members' diary forum that you're welcome to use.