So it's the new year and you've decided to finally make good on your resolution to lose weight; or maybe it's close to summer and you want to shed some pounds for swimsuit season. Either way you've had enough and you're ready to start a low carb diet.

So..... How do you start a low carb diet? And what should you expect?

How to Start:

t's best to begin by getting rid of all the tempting foods in your kitchen. Throw out the cookies, bread, and ice cream and stock up on eggs, chicken, lean beef, and other low carb foods. Bacon, peanuts and almonds are also good choices. Did I mention that you can have bacon?

Once you start it's best to go all-in and avoid carbohydrates as much as possible. It's impossible to eliminate them completely because you'll still get a few in your mixed nuts and a tiny amount in your eggs and cheeses, but try to keep your total carbohydrate count at 30 grams or below. Sneaking crackers here and there and bread when no one is looking will only give you a headache. There is no such thing as a half-way done low carb diet.

What you should expect:

During the first few days you should expect a headache and a slightly foggy mind. For most people this will last between two and three days, there are some people, though, that will feel like this up the fifth day. Don't worry though, this is completely normal. This happens because your brain has been using carbohydrates for energy your whole life and now you are forcing it to use fats instead. Your brain won't like making the switch, which is why you'll have a headache, but think about it: after your brain has made the switch you'll be burning fat just by thinking!

During the first few weeks it's not uncommon for some people to lose up to 15 pounds, but that doesn't mean you've hit your weight loss goal. Most of this weight will be water weight. Carbohydrates cause your body to retain water, and since you've quit eating carbs your body will start eliminating all of this extra water during the first few weeks. In other words, you may need to urinate more frequently during the first couple weeks.

After the water weight is gone you can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week, maybe even more if you have a lot of weight to lose. The best part is that most people report having no hunger pains after the first week, and some say they even feel better and more alert.

This article does not constitute medical advice. Always consult your doctor before beginning a diet or exercise program.