Low carbohydrate diets such as Atkins and South Beach, work because they deprive your body of its fuel source. Instead of carbohydrates, your body is forced to use fat for energy. If you are thinking of going on a low carbohydrate diet, your ultimate goal after weight loss, should be to find out how many carbohydrates you can consume on a daily basis, without gaining weight. Most low carb diets start off very restrictive when it comes to carbohydrate consumption and get more relaxed over time.
Consume up to 20 grams of carbohydrates from vegetable-only sources per day, for the first two weeks of your low carb diet. Eat non-starchy vegetables such as celery, spinach, lettuce, mushrooms and broccoli. Consume three normal-sized meals, or up to five smaller meals, during this period. This strict induction period will allow your body to get used to your new diet.
Avoid eating foods such as rice, pasta, fruit, bread, potatoes and baked goods and focus mainly on eating protein and vegetables. Include up to 6 ounces of protein at each meal. Add protein from poultry, pork, veal, fish, cheese and eggs. Enjoy butter, olive oil and canola oil.
Drink water, coffee, tea, club soda and broth, so your body stays hydrated during your induction period. Sweeten coffee or tea with a maximum of three packages of artificial sweetener per day.
Avoid skipping meals -- and don't go for five to six hours without eating -- because this will trigger your body's famine alert, where it holds onto fat and slows your metabolism because it fears starvation.
Take a multivitamin daily, to make sure your body gets all the nutrients it needs, while you are on your diet.
Add more foods to your diet after the second week is over. Increase your carbohydrate intake gradually to anywhere from 25 to 60 grams per day. Include healthy carbs such as whole grain breads and fruit. Since everyone loses weight at different rates, you will have to monitor your weight loss and adjust your carbohydrate intake accordingly, to find a balance that works for you.
Increase your carbohydrate intake by 5 to 10 grams once you're 10 lbs. away from your target weight. Add foods such as starchy vegetables, beans and oatmeal. Create a diet that fits into your new lifestyle and is easily maintained.