Skewers of tomato, basil and mozzarella on a plate with olive oil and balsamic.

I Tried a Low-Carb Diet for a Month

By Lauren Jurgemeyer
Web Content Manager

The freshman 15 is real whether you want to believe it or not. Going into my third year of college between all my classes and extracurriculars, I have failed to maintain healthy eating habits. Every summer I make a pact that I am going to diet and exercise but that always seems to fall to the wayside as the summer progresses, however, this summer I said enough is enough and tried a low-carb diet for a month.

This diet is not for everyone, and you should thoroughly research and talk with a physician before making any alterations to your diet. It is also important to note other diets like intermittent fasting should not be practiced by some – especially those who have a history of eating disorders.

Bacon wrapped chicken on a bed of romaine lettuce with a knife and fork.
This dish is very simple! All you need is bacon, chicken breast, canned artichoke hearts, basil and a salad fixing of your choice! Photo by Lauren Jurgemeyer.

I was weary of the keto diet, because I am constantly hearing how it is unsustainable, but I still decided to do my research. I started by reading books that I picked up at my local bookstore. The difference between the keto and low-carb diets are the ratio of protein, fat and carbs that are consumed throughout the day. Contrary to misconceptions, I can still eat fruit and vegetables – plus, I can still eat out.

For the longest time I thought calories were the enemy, but my research has changed my mind. I had little to no idea about how to track macronutrients, but with the help of some helpful apps I have gotten the hang of it. One of my cookbooks that I bought, “Simply Keto,” offered a link of how to calculate my macros.

Pan-fried scallops on a bed of broccoli mash with a lemon wedge.
This dish is so good! Steamed broccoli mashed up with mozzarella cheese? Yes, please! Photo byLauren Jurgemeyer.

I also downloaded Carb Manager and MyFitnessPal to help me track my daily macros and my weight loss. The next step – shopping! While most ingredients seem a little pricey – they last a long time because they are used in moderation. The most important thing is calculating the total net carbs in a product (the apps can help).

The equation: Total Carbs – Dietary Fiber – Added Sugar Alcohol = Total Net Carbs

For me it is important that I remain under 20 net carbs per day. After the first week, I dropped five pounds. Now, don’t be disillusioned when I say that this was probably just water weight. Keeping that mind, after a month of practicing a low-carb diet I have lost nearly 17 pounds. Don’t compare your weight-loss journey to me or anyone else for one second, everyone’s journey is different and has different paces.

Steak, red and orange bell peppers in a pan.
Low-carb means no more tortillas, but have no fear! You can still have all the good stuff that goes in the tortilla. Photo by Lauren Jurgemeyer.

I know for me, I have a serious sweet tooth, so if you are worried that you won’t be able to get a sweet fix while on a low-carb diet, don’t worry. Most cookbooks offer a variety of small desserts that will fulfill that craving. Plus, H-E-B is getting on the bandwagon and has been stocking more low-carb treats – like Halo Top ice cream, yum!

Te past month has taught me to look at nutrition labels and really pay attention to what I am putting into my body. I have noticed that I am actually eating cleaner that I was before. Plus, my skin has cleared up! I have a new found energy and I am sleeping better. I am now eating until I am full not stuffed and, to me, that is character development.

Here are some key things to remember – don’t obsess over the scale. We are all guilty of it, but sometimes the difference won’t be in your weight it will be in how you feel and how your clothes fit. Eat till you are full, and if you want to – eat a freaking cookie. Life is too short to be so restrictive.

Featured image by Lauren Jurgemeyer.

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