First things first!
To get on your way with Banting, there are a few rules that you need to know. Now, some of the things I’m going to tell you might make you feel a little emotional (bye bye, baked delights!), but life without sugar and carbs is possible! I’ve been through it myself and promise that everything is going to be okay. It's easier to miss cake when you're two sizes down, right? Right.
On your Banting journey, you’re going to have to remember these simple rules:
- There are three lists of food that you will live by – the green list, the orange list, and the red list. How I thought of these lists was to think of them as a traffic robot, green is for go, orange is for caution or yield, and red is stop. You must only eat foods from the green list, and if you are looking to treat yourself (in moderation, of course), then eat some things from the orange list. The red list are foods that you must avoid as much as possible, as these are the no-no foods! Check out Auntie Banting for the full lists.
- You need to keep an eye on the amount of carbohydrates you take in daily. The rule is that you need to ensure that you eat less than 50g of carbs a day. If you stick to the green list, your daily intake should be correct.
- Plan your meals ahead of time! Taking time to prepare your meals will give you the opportunity to put more thought into what you are eating, and help you stick to your Banting goals. To help keep yourself motivated, write out your Banting goals and stick them somewhere where you will see them to help reduce temptation of snacking on the bad (but oh-so good) stuff.
- Last but not least, you’re going to have to practice self-control and willpower. It’s pretty hard giving up carb and sugar ‘addictions’, but in the long run, it will definitely benefit you and your health. The first week will be one of the hardest weeks to conquer, but after that, the ride gets a little smoother. Also, expect to experience a ‘carb flu’ while your body is adjusting to the Banting way of life. Don’t worry though; they don’t last long and will only give you mild flu-like symptoms.
Now that the basics are over and done with, it’s time to take on your first challenge.
Clean Out Your Fridge and Cupboards
For me, this was one of the most difficult parts of joining the Banting wagon. Cleaning out my cupboard and ditching all of the snacks and goodies was quite a bittersweet experience. Not only did it mark the beginning of a healthier lifestyle, but it also marked the moment I gave up on delicious goodness (soft sob). But, before you start chucking, make sure you go over the three different lists of the Banting diet to clean out your cupboards accordingly, and do not lie to yourself and hide some stash! All the no-no red list foods must go! Once this is done, it’s time to draw up a shopping list to stock your fridge and cupboards with the good stuff.
Plan Your Meals
As mentioned in the basic rules of Banting, you will now need to plan your meals in advance. You may think that your meals will be bland or limited owing to the green list, but believe me, there are PLENTY of Banting recipes out there! Browse the internet and print out some recipes to keep your meals exciting. The spice of life is variety, so make sure you find plenty of options to add to your recipe collection. Just make sure that the recipes are Banting friendly, and that the ingredients fall under the green and orange lists. If there are red list foods in the ingredients for a certain meal, try replace those ingredients with Banting friendly options.
Do Some Exercise!
It takes more than a good diet to lead a healthy lifestyle, so be sure to get active! You don’t have to go all out to get active. If heading to the gym sounds more like too much effort, then try walking! You can walk anywhere and you don’t need to pay a membership fee to do it. Other good alternatives that you can do in the comfort of your own home include Zumba, yoga, and even swimming if you have a pool. Cardio is one of the best ways to burn off energy. And since your body will be fueled by the good fats you will be consuming on the Banting Diet, the more energy you use, the more fat you will burn off.
All About Your Food
From now on, you will not be allowed to have ANY sugar or carbs. These foods are BAD! Repeat after me – BAD! You’ll be munching on lots of natural fats, from butter and cream, to animal fat. Vegetables will be your best friends, and despite what they say about fruits being good for you, they are actually your enemy due to being high in fructose (AKA sugar). So, rather act as though fruits as ‘treats’ and refer to the orange food list to see which fruits you can eat in moderation. Also, make sure you are keeping tabs on the amount of carbs you’re eating daily (carbs can be found in various vegetables). You cannot go over 50g of carbs a day. Lastly, drink lots of water!
Don't Eat Too Little Or Too Much
During your first week of Banting, you will feel hungry while your body adjusts to your new diet. This happens because your body was relying on carbs as fuel. The sad reality of carbs though, is that they will make you feel full, but leave you feeling hungry a short while later. Now that you have replaced carbs with natural fats, you will feel fuller for longer. Keep everything at medium portions on your plate, from your low-carb veggies to the good fats and protein. A simple trick to avoid eating too much is to pick a smaller plate over a large one. Larger plates tend to make you eat more food while smaller plates make you take smaller portions.
This is something I definitely battled with. Some people say that it’s okay to snack in between meals, while others say you shouldn’t, but in all honesty, find what works for you. During your first week, you will feel hungrier than normal, so you may need to nibble on something every now and then, but make sure that the snacks at hand are Banting friendly! No sneaky treats or cheating. But, if you are still suffering from hunger pangs in between meals after your first week, then you need to up your natural fat intake, as these fats are supposed to be making you feel fuller for longer.
From my experience, those are all the basics you need to know to get started on the Banting way of life! If you have other tips for fellow Banters or if I have left something out, leave a comment below!
Good luck and happy Banting!