Phase 3: drastically Reduce Carbs
Time: 3 to 4 weeks
Why: When you reach this point, pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself! You have eliminated the sugar-rich, empty calories from your diet. At this point, you should start to see and feel a change: you have fewer withdrawal symptoms and more energy, and there is a noticeable difference in the way that you look and feel about yourself.
While you have already reduced your intake of simple carbohydrates, like sugars from beverages, you still have to tackle complex carbohydrates, like breads, pastas, and rice. Both simple and complex carbohydrates affect your blood sugar in ways that can detract from your weight loss. If you eat them in excess, you will soon be craving other foods, often those that are high in sugar or largely consist of other carbohydrates.
Eating too many carbohydrates is like putting yourself on a roller coaster; your blood sugar zooms up shortly after you eat, then goes crashing down after a short time. Before you know it, you’re hungry because your body quickly digested the food; you’re craving more, and so the ups and downs continue. There is a way to get off of the roller-coaster ride and take control: reduce your intake of any carbohydrates that you abuse, and by abuse, we mean eating them not necessarily because you need them due to hunger, but because you want them to feel normal and to avoid the awful feelings associated with the withdrawal syndrome.
How: The process of cutting back on bread, pasta, rice, and so on will probably take more time than the previous two stages. This is largely because many people are heavily dependent on these types of complex carbohydrates as the primary constituents in many meals.
Instead of having toast for breakfast or a sandwich for lunch, you’ll need to come up with alternatives. Instead, you may opt for eggs and fruit for breakfast, and a large green salad with chicken on top (hold the croutons and the sugar-laced dressings) for lunch.
A good strategy is to list the carbohydrates that you tend to overeat most, and then cut them out one by one. Make it a rule of thumb that once you cut something out, you cut it out for good. Phase out breads and pastas first, then move on to cereals (unless you’re eating lots of highly sweetened cereals, in which case you should cut those out first, as they’re loaded with added sugars).