If you could redo your low-carb journey, what would you have done differently?

road by the sea in sunrise time,  Lofoten island, Norway

If you could go back in time and redo your low-carb journey, what would you have done differently? We asked our members and received over 1,400 replies:

Here are some of the most common answers:

  • Nothing
  • Started sooner
  • Started fasting
  • Eaten less dairy
  • Been more strict and consistent
  • Known specific recipes

I’m glad to hear that most of you answer ‘nothing’. Just like Kristie Sullivan so beautifully puts it in this post, it’s about the journey, allowing yourself to make mistakes and learning things as you go – not the destination.

I don’t regret any phase of my keto journey. But having been through it and finally landing where I want to be, this is my take on the question:

1. Back to basics

Low carb and keto is all about eating real nutritious foods to satiety, listening to your body and having a ‘relaxed’ relation to eating.

But my early mistake was feeling completely stressed out about eating ‘enough fat’, not eating a single gram of carbs over my allowed ‘limit’, and having high ketone numbers and doing everything perfectly. Neither simple nor inspiring!

If I were to do it over again, I’d focus on the basics: just eat real low-carb foods to satiety!

Here are our top videos about low-carb basics:

2. Having a support group

It’s can be hard to change your eating habits, so the last thing you need is people being unsupportive of the changes you’re making.

Working at Diet Doctor is fantastic, because everyone is on some form of low-carb or ketogenic diet. In my early keto days I felt as if I were the only one doing this ‘weird’ diet!

But most people are not as fortunate. Maybe you struggle because family members, friends or colleagues don’t support what you’re doing. If so, I’d look for social support elsewhere.

We’ll soon create a social support function here at Diet Doctor. Do you have any suggestions on how to do that?

3. Lazy recipes

I like to keep things simple. When I come home from work, I don’t want to spend lots of time cooking an advanced three-course dinner with exotic ingredients. Since starting, I’ve built up a bank of easy-to-cook low-carb and keto recipes.

Here are some super-simple keto recipes I recommend:

What would you have done differently?

Let us know in the comments below.

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Earlier surveys

All earlier survey posts


  1. Peggy Holloway
    I would have not tried to find commercial sources or recipes for low-carb versions of desserts and breads. Too much use of sweeteners and nut flours was not a good choice and I am feeling much better without them.
  2. Pierre
    Eaten less dairy => cheese => lactose and inflammation.
  3. Roger
    I went great for 4 months and then relaxed my discipline and gained a few kilos - since discovered just how sensitive my metabolism is to eating too much and finding it more differcult to get back into ketosis. Discipline is key. Eating too much and grazing a big mistake.
  4. Harry
    No deliberate "cheating".

    On my first attempt to a low carb diet around 2011, I followed a plan that involved a weekly planned cheat day or at least cheat meal (with the stated reason to keep thyroid hormones regulated up to help with metabolism, and to reduce cravings during the rest of the week by postponing indulgences to that day). In principle it still worked, I did lose several kilos by cooking and eating fairly close to how it is also recommended by Dietdoctor.com now (I also increased hiking). I didn't try to actively add in fat to satiety, but I also didn't avoid it. Though back then I even tried to avoid most dairy to speed up progress. But somehow that cheat day never let me get into a true low carb lifestyle, it always felt like a diet that I had to stick to for the next six days before I could look forward to eating some "normal meals" again (pizza, pasta, bread, ...). And of course the cheats prevented me from getting into or at least staying in ketosis, though I didn't really know what that was back then. After about six months, I stopped that way of eating when priorities changed except for still mostly eating no or low carb breakfast (eggs typically), and my weight rebounded somewhat.

    Then on my next attempt last year, I wanted to be strictly low carb not planning in a regular cheat day. Only at certain times of the year like for the holidays and a few birthday parties I did indulge in some more high carb meals and anticipated those would lead to small "refeed" plateaus, but my regular/default eating lifestyle now is always low carb. And after losing just about all my excess weight (currently 79 kg/175 lbs at a height of 185 cm/6'1" also with a good height-waist ratio) this way of eating feels so much easier to sustain indefinitely, without ever really craving certain foods or feeling ravenously hungry even after intermittent fasts.

  5. Ann
    I would have stuck to it in 2002 but got scared by the negativity surrounding high fat low carb diets at the time! It wasn't until I read Gary Taubes' book Big Fat Lie that I felt I'd had an epiphany and returned to HFLC without hesitation.
  6. Ralph Notoro
    I would have slowed down my calorie cutbacks. I dropped too much weight too fast for my liver. Fatty Liver sucks. Take it slow, take it steady, don't rush it. The fat loss skyrocketed my cholesterol, too. Thankfully, that's temporary. I wouldn't want any other way to get my weight down, though. This worked for me.
  7. Jane
    I think I would have started earlier. I was a vegetarian and developed type 1 diabetes on my early 50's. Perhaps I would be diabetes free without all that pasta! But maybe not.
  8. 1 comment removed
  9. JL
    ..eaten more carbs after high activity (1500+ kcal) exercise .
  10. Jane (different Jane to above)
    I totally lapsed during a very stressful time. Trying to get stuff done before work, then suddenly no time to grab LCHF lunch etc etc. I've gained back more than half a stone. It's harder to get back to proper LCHF, but I'm determined to do it. It's been sporadic over recent weeks, but life stuff is due to settle down soon, so I'm hoping I can get back to where I was -- fat adapted and able to do intermittent fasting.
  11. Matt
    I wish I had started earlier, I feel like I wasted half my life being fat. When I started eating low carb the weight fell off as if my body had just been waiting from me to start eating better. Now 5 years into low carb I've realized that I have a binge eating problem which gets triggered by carbs. It's just that before LCHF the binges were so frequent that I thought of it as normal. LCHF spaced the binges out enough that I could actually tell things like what physical hunger feels like, the difference between being satisfied and uncomfortably full and how what I eat affects how I feel.
    Love seeing the lazy recipes presented. Is it possible to have this as a category in recipes?
  13. Pamela
    I wish I wasn't in such a rush to get into ketongenic ... joined a social group ended up being very competitive who loose more weight or who's food platesd better on posts, who collected more likes etc ... that actually can be quite discouraging, because I didn't loose as much weight as some members who started the same time as me.
    I wish to stay focus on myself and on what I do, instead of worrying if I loose more or less weight... because in the end of the day, it's about me getting healthier in long run .. it takes time to adjust for our body, and I would prefer to join a different social group.
  14. Jo
    Agreeing with what Elizabeth said. :-)

    "Love seeing the lazy recipes presented. Is it possible to have this as a category in recipes?"

  15. Maha
    I wish I had known all this information when I was 23 when I started paying attention to my weight, but more importantly for when I had children. When I was growing up, we were poor, but my mother always had whole foods in the house (she hit the farmers market every Saturday without fail), but included what she thought was healthy wheat bread. I don't ever remember a bag of chips in the house or store bought cookies or candy. I remember her literally saying "sugar is poison". I thought she was just a 'health nut', but not in a good way, especially since my Velveeta eating friends at the time said that about her. I thought her restriction on sugar was too restrictive so as an adult, I thought treats in moderation was better for kids than none at all. So I followed that idea when I had kids. Now I see how right she was. My kids are 12 and nearly 15 now, and I see how addicted to sugar and carbs they are. With this new lifestyle, I'm slowly working to reduce, reduce, reduce the carbs in the house. I know they, nor my husband, won't go cold turkey like I have, but I think even in the carb arena, I can have healthier and more natural choices on hand for them.

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