July 27, 2007

Sweet-and-Sour Pork Made with Carbquick Baking Mix

How to Take the Carbs Out of Authentic Sweet-and-Sour Pork
Here's How I Took the Carbs
Out of Hubby's Favorite
Oriental Dish:
Sweet-and-Sour Pork
One of hubby's favorite foods is Sweet-and-Sour Pork. He likes the chicken version too, but he prefers this made with pork.

Last night, I decided to make my high-carb authentic Sweet-and-Sour Pork recipe that I've been using for years -- Atkins-friendly.

It was my first attempt at using Carbquik Baking Mix in this particular recipe, and turned out great.

Carbquick is a low-carb baking mix that is similar to Bisquick. Unlike the Sweet-and-Sour Pork you'll find at one of those fast food oriental places, the pork balls don't come out really hard and crispy. You aren't using cornstarch in this, so they come out softer, which is exactly what hubby has to have because he doesn't have any bottom teeth.

At 7 net carbs per serving, the softness that Carbquick brings to this oriental classic is an acceptable compromise.

What Does a Low Carb Menu Look Like?

If you graze the various low-carb groups, lists, and boards for very long, you will notice that a peculiar syndrome tends to raise its head again and again. People really are confused as to what a low-carb menu is suppose to look like. Even with a compatible foods list and detailed instructions found in all of the various low-carb books regarding salad, veggies, cheese, cream, sugar substitutes, etc., newbies still find low-carb dining a mystery.

A lot of them "want" to be told what to eat, what not to eat, and when.

In my own mind, THIS TENDENCY, this need to be told what to do, is probably the "greatest" factor in whether or not someone will be able to maintain their weight loss, once they reach goal weight. Because someone isn't going to be standing beside you, looking over your shoulder, and telling you what to eat or not to eat, for the rest of your lives.

Now I can understand the need for simplicity. The need for new ideas. The need for recipes and friendly substitutions. But devising a "core" menu, really does need to fit in with our own likes and dislikes, our lifestyle and preferences. Because if it doesn't, if we've never learned HOW to make real life work, it isn't going to last. It isn't going to bring permanent success.

A lot of folks love Kimkins because of the simplicity. Because it cuts our food "choices" down to the bone. And more or less hands us that skeleton menu and says "here." DO THIS. In fact, they find it easier than general low-carb, because general low-carb gave them too much variety. Too much permission to eat too many processed low-carb products that can stall you.

Others find Kimkins too restrictive, not only because they miss the luxurious eating patterns Atkins or Protein Power allows, the fattier meats and cream sauces, the sugar-free desserts, but because they "need" to be eating what they are watching other low-carbers eating, in order not to feel deprived. Even if it produces slower weight loss.

So what is a newbie to do? Because all of this watching and desiring is not helping much in the menu department. Especially when we are struggling to not only adjust to this new-found low-carb lifestyle, but feed our families the foods and menus our families are used to eating. Because quite frankly, even though our families don't always go "on" our diet with us, they most certainly are AFFECTED by it.

Now, I haven't run into a single person who "wants" to go to all of the trouble of creating and cooking up two separate meals every single night. Though I suppose they do exist somewhere lol. So how do we merge two different lifestyles together? How do we make this work in real life?

Lots of folks do it the same way that I do. They start their menu planning with what "they" are going to eat that night. Tonight I'm having a Roasted Chicken Quarter and left-over lettuce salad with Wishbone Balsamic Spritzer dressing. For lunch (my brunch actually since I'm not eating my breakfast eggs until my husband comes home for lunch today) I'm having a medium-sized pork chop and a couple of eggs sauteed in a bit of butter. Then they add to it higher carb foods for the others. So tonight, I'm going to add left-over canned corn for the hubby. And for lunch a piece or two of toast if he wants it. He doesn't always want bread. Dessert tonight will be sugar-free orange gelatin which we both will eat, because he doesn't mind it being sugar-free. In fact, he eats a lot of the things I make which are sugar-free.

But that doesn't solve the problem of menu planning to begin with.

Now, I can sincerely appreciate this problem, because I know that when my in-laws come home, I have a terrible time trying to figure out "what" I am going to feed them. Because not only do they eat far more than my husband and I do, but they are used to lots of variety.

I ran into a very good idea pertaining to this on one of my Atkins support groups lately. What they suggested was this: Sit down and write out a REGULAR menu. The way you used to eat "before" you went to low-carb. What would a typical menu look like? What foods did you normally eat? And then go back over that list, and figure out ways to make it more low-carb friendly.

So I decided to take one of my own old carby menus and see what I could do with it.

Spaghetti with meat sauce
Lettuce salad
Garlic bread
Pineapple-Coconut pie

Now what you "do" with the spaghetti highly depends upon the plan you are following, the level you are at on the carb ladder, and whether or not Dreamsfield pasta affects you personally. I happen to be one of those whom Dreamsfield doesn't bother in the slightest--but for this example, I'll pretend that it does. What can we make instead of typical spaghetti?

How about Italian meatballs with spaghetti sauce
Salisbury steak topped with tomato-herb sauce
Stuffed bell peppers or cabbage with tomato-herb sauce

Or you could use a low-carb bbq sauce with any of these to cut down further on carbs.
All of these things would fit into any low-carb plan, if prepared properly, even Kimkins

Garlic bread is a bit more tricky though. On Atkins you could make pizza bread with Carbquick or on Kimkins some Revolution Rolls spread with garlic herb butter. You could make Flaxseed muffins. Or some other type of low-carb muffin. On Protein Power you could make garlic bread out of store-bought low-carb bread. You could even drop the bread entirely and substitute another veggie or egg dish, which I would be more likely to do. How about deviled eggs, peanut-butter or cream-cheese stuffed celery, a veggie-egg-cream cheese casserole, or just steamed mixed veggies.

Dessert will also highly depend upon the plan you are on. As well as your low-carb recipe collection. And whether or not you fixed some type of bread with this meal. On Atkins, you can make an Impossible Coconut pie with soy flour or carbquick and Splenda for very little carbs. Or try subbing another fruit for the pineapple--blueberries perhaps, in the pie. Or if you're already high on carbs due to the bread, then you can serve sugar-free gelatin or whipped cream flavored with cocoa powder for a type of mousse.

There are tons of recipes on the web, and even e-groups and blogs that specialize in recipes. You just have to make up your mind that this is what you are going to do. And then put out the effort necessary to find new things that will fit into your tastes and lifestyle. Because there's no reason why the rest of the family can't eat low-carb foods and desserts.

The trick to making this lifestyle work is to keep things as normal as possible. To adapt your menus to the desires and tastes of all concerned.

So if the family doesn't "want" to eat just meatballs, for instance, then go ahead and make the spaghetti to go with their sauce, (personally, I'd serve them Dreamsfields even if you are not eating it because it tastes just like the real thing and will give them lots of fiber), but serve the meatballs as the focal point of the meal anyways. Learn to adapt. Because once you reach your goal weight, and are able to add back more carbs, it will be far easier on all concerned if the rest of the family is already "used" to eating the way you are going to be eating then.

Metabolic Syndrome: Do I Have It???

If you've read any of Dr. Atkins' books, you will discover that he firmly believed most folks who are overweight suffer from hypoglycemia. And that overweight itself is caused from metabolic irregularities. So I was a bit taken back when I overheard a comment recently on one of the boards where someone claimed to have overweight friends who were not suffering from Metabolic Syndrome. Yet doing just fine on a moderate-fat, low-carb diet.

My first, knee-jerk reaction was that this person didn't know what they were talking about, because a lot of folks with hypoglycemia never do get diagnosed as such. When the blood sugar drops to its lowest level, it stays there only for a few minutes before adrenaline is produced to rectify the situation. So catching it with even a 6-hour glucose tolerance test is rare, unless you happen to go to a doctor who firmly believes in hypoglycemia and has experience with the falling ratios.

My ex wasn't quite that lucky. But he did happen to get a doctor who at least looked at his tests with an open mind. Erratic blood sugar she called it, and told him to get off of the 10 two-liter bottles of sugar-filled Pepsi he was drinking per week, (this was back before soda went to High Fructose Corn Syrup) or he was going to come down with Diabetes.

I was thumbing through some of my notes this morning--I like to take notes when I read so as to firmly root it in my mind. Note taking slows me waaaay down and helps me "think" about what I'm actually reading, even if I never go back and re-read them, but I guess it didn't work in this case lol. I found among my Atkins.com notes a chart referring to Metabolic Syndrome. So I guess the poster that threw me for a loop earlier this week, DID know what she was talking about.

My notes say you need to have at least 3 of the following to be diagnosed with such:
Abdominal Obesity (waist measurement greater than 40 inches for men, 35 for women)
High Triglycerides (150 or more)
Low HDL (under 40 for men, or 50 for women)
High Blood Pressure (135/85 or higher)
High Fasting Blood Sugar (110 or over)

Looking this list over, and then comparing it to my current husband who is about 20 pounds overweight, a new idea began to develop. He doesn't have abdominal obesity, his waist size is 36; he doesn't have high blood pressure, nor high fasting blood sugar either. And while he hasn't had his cholesterol checked lately, even if it was higher than what this chart suggests, that would only be 2 symptoms, not 3.

So I began to realize that we don't necessarily BEGIN our weight problems "at" the Metabolic Syndrome level. Because looking back over my own weight problems in life, when I first became acquainted with the Atkins diet back in the 70s and used it successfully to take off the 40 pounds I needed to back then, I didn't have any of these problems either.

It was a good lesson in being careful not to judge the situations of others by where we, ourselves, are at today. Because today, I FIRMLY fall into this category. In "every" instance. All 5 symptoms.

But then, that also shows the progressiveness of the disease. And to me, it really "is" a disease. Because it doesn't STOP with just blood sugar problems and Insulin Resistance. It goes on to destroy all kinds of things. It really wrecks havoc in your life if you allow it too. The secret being, of course, not to allow it. To do something about it. And continue doing something about it, until you overcome it. Because, afterall, that's why we've entered into this weight loss journey together, to begin with. So we can overcome the Metabolic Syndrome that is interfering with what we truly want to do and be in life.

July 26, 2007

What Our Subconscious Believes...We Are

There seems to be a lot of folks who, for one reason or another, can't stick to their chosen Plan. I can't help but wonder just why that is.

Eating off plan brings only temporary satisfaction at best. Because when reality sets in, and we take a good hard look at what we've done, as well as what we want to achieve and the consequences for falling down...yet again, the instant gratification we thought we wanted so badly, isn't what we really wanted at all.

Or is it???

I've always had the mind-set that we "do" what is MOST IMPORTANT to us. And while it might not match up with our spoken desires and goals, what we think we want, what we say we want, it always matches up with our desires -- who and what we are. That's why dieting success takes real change in our lives.

Success isn't just about changing our behaviors though, because behaviors are nothing more than a manifestation of what is going on in our inner world. How we feel about ourselves. Which is why just trying to change our outward behavior doesn't work.

Most diets fail because the greater majority of our eating is done not for fueling purposes, but for emotional reasons. Emotional hunger. That's why we get bored. That's why we eat when we feel deprived, and why we try to find and receive all the comfort and love that is missing in our daily lives, from food. Food is like our best friend. That friend we are not experiencing elsewhere. Except that sometimes, the food we desire and choose doesn't love us back. Instead of making us healthy and vigorous it makes us weak, tired, and fat.

The Atkins diet, unlike many others, wasn't originally designed to help us overcome emotional patterns of eating. It was designed to help us make better choices when our emotions demanded that we eat. Probably because Dr. Atkins himself wasn't yet ready to face his own food demons. His advice when we were feeling deprived was to eat something caloric and luxurious. Something comforting. Something other diets don't allow you to eat. A piece of low-carb cheesecake or sugar-free blueberry pie, for instance.

Which might be why there are so many folks today unable to stay on program. ANY program. Because in our hectic, race-filled world, we don't always have the time to plan ahead. To cook ahead. We don't always take the time to "think" things through. To analyze just where our desire to eat that particular food at that particular moment is coming from.

Is it true Hunger? Or something else.
And why should we care?

Don't we have a RIGHT to go off plan if we so choose? To "allow" temptation to rear its ugly head and seduce us into eating something that we know we shouldn't? After all, didn't Dr. Atkins teach it's a physical problem, a metabolic problem, not a mental one? Don't we have a RIGHT to not feel deprived? To receive the same comfort from food that so many others in our environment are receiving? Perhaps....but then again, perhaps not.

Whether our outlook and resulting behavior is self-centered or not, depends a lot upon our individual situations. All that emotional and spiritual junk we're carrying around on our backs. The false decisions we made in our younger years. The delusions and misinterpretations of our experiences, or what we've read and/or studied, that have molded us into who and what we are today.

I'm beginning to understand that the optimal question we should all be asking ourselves, is this: Is what we are about to do, what we are about to eat, despite the temporary pleasure it is going to bring us, really worth the consequences that we know are going to follow? Is it worth the water weight gain, the being kicked out of ketosis, the chance of hurting our metabolisms from bouncing in and out of fat-burning mode, the time it's going to take to recover -- if we ever do?

Is it?

Because if it isn't, then WHAT ARE WE DOING??? Giving into temptation, shoving our goals and desires a little bit further away from ourselves, for the sake of not being rude to others, or for the sake of not having the backbone to speak up and take on the consequences, is "not" going to correct the reasons why we "want" that food in the first place. Sure we'll feel better for a moment. But only for a moment. And when that moment passes, then what?

Then all the self-hate and negative attacks against ourselves begins. Which only serves to anchor those feelings of inadequacy, because what our subconscious mind believes--we are. Let me say that again, because it is the most important principle in our lives -- what our subconscious believes, we are...

What our subconscious believes, we are.

Lifetime changes can be incorporated in any number of ways. None of them are right or wrong. What Dr. Atkins taught about emotional eating wasn't wrong--it worked for him, and it has worked for thousands of others. But the truth is, it doesn't work for EVERYONE. There are still folks who can't seem to stay on Low Carb without constant cheating. And there are still plenty of folks who can't seem to maintain their ideal weight on Low Carb, and keep gaining back a portion or even all of their previous weight, due to their continual emotional attachment to food. Food they cannot partake of and remain at ideal weight.

This crap isn't a Kimkins thing, irregardless of what the nay-sayers would like us to believe. It is a personal thing. An individual thing. And would happen to us no matter which diet we choose to make our permanent lifetime way of eating. And it happens because "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."

So maybe it's time we all had a change of heart.

July 20, 2007

Dr. Atkins' Suggestions to the Metabolic Resistant

Many Low Carbers Use Butter in Their Coffee to Increase Fats
There are Only 2 Effective
Techniques for Weight Loss:
Restrict Calories or
Restrict Carbohydrates
Dr. Atkins believed that some individuals have a severe metabolic resistance to weight loss. However, metabolic resistance is not as common as the low-carb community believes.

Today, we know that what Dr. Atkins was mostly talking about was the way the body defends its fat stores and adapts to calorie and carbohydrate deprivation, even though he never spoke of it in exactly those terms. For some people, metabolic resistance can completely prevent you from losing weight.

But all is not lost.

In 2007, I was looking in the 1992 book for ideas and thoughts on the minimum amount of fat needed on a low-carb diet, hoping for some solid research I could further look into, but I didn't find anything on specific amounts.

What I did find on metabolic resistance in the chapter dedicated to the fast fasy was quite mindblowing, to say the least. If you think you might have metabolic resistance because you have stalled part way to goal, please don't go away.

This post will change your life for the better.

July 18, 2007

Pay Attention to Big Losers

I have been sitting back lately, watching all of the folks who are losing tons of weight on the Kimkins Plan. Some of them as much as a pound a day or even more. While I have actually been doing this for quite some time with the "old" Kimmer threads over at Low Carb Friends, those past threads weren't as real to me, as those who are currently following the Plan.

Sure, I was able to vicariously watch those at the old threads lose tons of weight, very quickly, and learned that despite all of the Atkinite condemnation and warnings regarding starvation mode, that wasn't what was happening at all. Nor was it what Dr. Atkins himself believed in. But it also got to be a bit depressing. Especially with my health issues and physical limitations. Depressing enough to take a good look at where I had come from, (moderate fat, moderate calorie Atkins), and just where I was going on my current path (a stalling of weight loss). And the "look" wasn't very pretty.

Which is why I personally switched from Atkins to Kimkins awhile back.

I see the same thing happening to a lot of others. Especially those whose expectations run into the type of fantasy realms that don't materialize for them. Instead of taking personal inventory, or calling upon the patience needed to get through the introductory phase of the Plan, they are just sitting there thinking about how lucky these other folks are to be losing so much weight so fast, and wishing they could be more like them.

There's a very knowledgeable Kimkins' member posting on the current Newbie thread over at Low Carb Friends, and she said something the other day that really made a lot of sense to me. She said instead of sitting there, thinking so-and-so is soooo lucky to be losing so much weight, and wishing you could be like them -- PAY ATTENTION to "what" that person is doing, that you are not.

The example she gave was in terms of fat grams daily, and said that her own research had showed that folks who were losing consistently, were staying at or below 30 grams of fat a day. So that was what she had decided to do, and share with others. While I haven't exactly found that degree of abstinence to be true, (I know of lots of folks who are losing relatively large amounts of weight on 40 and even 50 grams of fat a day), the principle she was espousing of watching and then embracing some of things these heavy losers are doing, is a sound one.

Provided we don't begin to "expect" the EXACT SAME RESULTS these others are achieving. But looking for ways to speed up our own fat burning process.

So that is what I have begun to do lately, which is why I was a bit anxious to try out the new butter spray. It worked out quite well on my green beans last night, taste wise, and did bring my fat grams down for the day, into the 40 range. My weight this morning was exactly the same though. 212 pounds even. But my water weight is still up a bit from all the humidity and slight rain we had here yesterday. And I haven't been very active since my in-laws left. I always seem to crash for a few days after they leave. Plus sometimes it takes a couple of days for new changes (as well as cheats) to show up on the scale.

Our bodies are just funny that way...sometimes.

July 17, 2007

Meal Replacement Shakes and Flavored Sodas

Strawberry Protein Shakes and Variations
Protein Shakes Make a
Quick and Easy
Low-Carb Breakfast Option
Meal replacement shakes, as well as creative sodas and slushies, are an easy way to keep on your low-carb plan, especially if you're looking for a quick-and-easy grab-and-go low-carb breakfast idea.

At the same time, you can make sure you are getting enough protein during the day if your appetite won't let you eat a lot of meat.

If you keep those shakes varied, by allowing your creativity to have free reign, not only will you have a fast meal replacement shake or great after work-out snack, freeing up loads of time you don't have to spend in the kitchen, but whey protein shakes go a long way toward satiety and satisfaction, as well.

At least, they did for me. With a 20 to 30 gram protein shake, I could go from 7:00 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon without thinking about food.

July 12, 2007

Is FAD a Four-Letter Word?

There is a lot of talk these days in articles and media where our low-carb diet of choice is called a fad. As if that were a four-letter word. But is it really? What "is" a fad diet? And does Low-Carb qualify?

The definition of a fad diet (according to Dr. Atkins) is a diet that achieves widespread, yet evanescent popularity, while at the same time, conveying no value judgments on its ultimate worth.

Which makes the low-calorie, low-fat diet much more fadish than any low-carb regimen, since it still maintains the status of being firmly embraced by every diet center, monthly magazine article, the media, the medical profession in general, and even government bulletins. You couldn't ask for more widespread popularity than that. Waning momentarily only when something promising to be faster and give greater results, temporarily comes along to knock it from it's pedestal.

While Dr. Atkins assures us (his readers) that "Low-fat dieting works for some people. I know that's true. I've seen it happen." He also clarifies that statement with what is faulty about that type of high-carb dieting scheme: "It runs directly counter to scientific evidence about the human metabolism and the actions of carbohydrate foods." Which means it isn't the low-fat diet itself that Atkins has a problem with, but the way these folks are ignoring the effects carbohydrates have on the body.

Now in 2004 Low-Carb "was" raised to fad status for a time. Which is why the low-carb food industry exploded into being. Everyone was doing it. And yet, there hasn't been any significant change in the obesity stats within this country. Not overall. Why? Because fads, such as they are, are only swings of the pendulum. And when the low-carb processed foods industry that boomed into being wasn't able to tastefully replace high-carb junk with low-carb junk, those who hadn't really committed to making low-carb a HEALTHY way of life ran for the hills.

When fat consumption went down in the 70s, due to the belief being presented at that time that since we are what we eat, if we eat fat we are going to be fat, sugar consumption sky-rocketed. And so did all of the health issues and aging and obesity attached to consuming more sugar. Our modern lifestyle is, therefore, extremely unhealthy. It makes us sick. It makes us fat. Yet it is low-carb with its emphasis on proteins, veggies, and healthy fats that gets attacked as being the grim reaper.

"Still, the Atkins diet is NOT a high-fat diet."

I've only read 2 chapters of the '92 edition of the Atkins diet so far, and this idea, that Atkins is not a high fat diet, has been constantly repeated and drummed into our heads for those two chapters.

So why do folks believe that it is?

I guess because the fat that Atkinites and other low carb plans allow is easily visible in olive oil, coconut oil, butter, cream, pork rinds, etc., while the fat that modern Americans are consuming on their supposedly low-calorie, low-fat regimens are more hidden.

Some of the largest sources of dietary fat are hidden within processed foods. Hidden because we don't really want to look at them. We think we are eating healthy. Afterall, this is a Granola Bar, we say. Oatmeal. It lowers cholesterol, right? That's what the nutritionists keep telling us. So we pack away the bars and think we are treating our body good. Yet my husband's favorite granola bar packs a whopping 27 grams of carbs, and 10 grams of fat in each and every bar. And he usually eats 2 or 3 of them per day.

We (as a nation) believe low-carb is unhealthy. Why? Because nutritionists tell us so. But is that true? Are we really knocking at death's door from eating that 3 oz portion of leftover roasted chicken breast or that cup of steamed broccoli with a pat of butter at dinner? Or are we knocking at death's door from eating that granola bar?

Which has the most detrimental effect on our health and bodies? Low-fat protein and veggie sources, or low-fat high-sugar snacks?

In reality, we should be THANKING the media, the magazine articles, the health organizations, and everyone else who is tooting the "low-carb is just a fad" horn. Because it's helping to keep the subject in our minds. It's helping to keep the subject before the public. And it's causing folks to begin asking questions. Real questions. The kind of questions that "should" be asked.

Like WHY is chicken breast and steamed broccoli more detrimental to our health than a chocolate covered, chocolate chip filled, sugar/honey sweetened granola bar? And why is that chicken breast and steamed broccoli looked down upon as a FAD? A four-letter word?

Because the answer to those questions is where our physical salvation lies.

Is Atkins a High-Fat Diet?

I haven't had time to do much reading online this week, but the last time I was at Low Carb Friends, I saw something very interesting. LCF recently created a Kimkins section, and while there is certainly support for those doing the Kimkins approach found among the posts there, management has also been moving controversial threads initiated in the general low carb area to that section as well.

I've touched on this subject a bit before, but it continues to amaze me just how ignorant Atkins' followers generally are in regards to what Dr. Atkins himself believed and practiced. I started rereading his '92 edition of the plan this past week, since my in-laws spend a lot of time on the phone, and we have regular dial-up services (which means I can't be online at the same time they are using the phone), and more than ever, the principles behind the Kimkins approach grabbed ahold of me to such an extent, that it's just unbelievable to me, "how" Atkinites can believe what they do, and still claim to be followers of Dr. Atkins.

Yeah, he was greatly afraid of hunger, and wanted to devise a diet revolutionary in nature where dieters could eat some of the foods not generally allowed on low-fat, low-calorie diets, without the fear of fat that is generally taught by that type of dieting. But what does losing the fear of fat actually mean in the real world?

Does it mean going on a high-fat diet?

That's what the greater majority of the Atkinites believe today. And that's what the greater majority of the modern-day Atkinites preach. That Atkins is a high-fat diet. Period.

Yet, that is NOT what Dr. Atkins himself taught and preached. "This isn't a high-fat diet," he said.

While he criticized low-fat, low-calorie diets in general, mainly because they always taught that their way was the "only" way, he was always careful to clarify his thoughts by adding that his animosity with low-fat, low-calorie diets came from the way those dieting fads left their patrons hungry, as well as ignored metabolic factors. Because quite frankly, ignoring metabolic factors and allowing dieters to continue to load up on junk carbs and sugar, just because those things are low in fat and calories, doesn't reap the health benefits necessary to keep the pounds at bay.

Because we "are" what we eat.

Making WHAT we eat the greatest determinant of our health and weight. If we are eating correctly for our particular body, then most of us won't be overweight. We won't be experiencing the greater majority of issues attributed to aging. And we most certainly won't be experiencing the health problems that go hand-in-hand with a disturbed metabolism.

Yet doctors who come from the low-calorie, "low-fat is the only way, " school of thought, don't seem to be able to grasp their minds around the idea that more is at work within our bodily processes than just calories. Too bad. Because as Dr. Atkins clearly states in his book, different diets have a different effect on how many calories you can eat, and still lose weight. By taking the low-carb metabolic pathway, the body will require a different amount of energy to do its work.

"And if you eat fewer calories -- most people do on this diet -- you'll lose weight very fast."

So it's not that calories don't count. But you can literally sneak many of them out of the body unused, or dissipated as heat. Making Benign Dietary Ketosis a true secret weapon for super effective weight loss. Which leaves a nice little corner within the low-carb community for a low-carb, low-calorie, low-fat regimen. It just depends upon what you personally want to achieve. And what you can personally live with, and be satisfied on. Because Dr. Atkins' concern with low-calorie, low-fat, low-carb plans wasn't in regards to health as most modern-day Atkinites assume, but it was in regards to the strictness of the way:

"And an extreme low-fat diet, which can be healthy if it excludes junk, is simply too austere for most people and infinitely more austere than the Atkins diet."

Notice he didn't claim low-fat was unhealthy. Nor did he say it was impossible to do low-fat in connection with low carb. He said "extreme" low-fat CAN be healthy provided you got rid of the junk. Provided you got rid of the carbs. Provided you are able to tolerate and endure the strickness of that way. Because finding something you can live with and continue to do within a maintenance framework, is what will bring success.

It isn't about trying to force everyone into the same dietary mold. But it's about using the "gifts" of Ketosis and Metabolic Advantage in such a way as to guarantee that success and health will be ours. It's learning about our own personal resistance to weight loss, and then doing whatever is necessary to break through that barrier, even if it means "slightly restricting the quantity of food he or she eats" in order to bring that about. Dr. Atkins also said that the greater the resistance, the greater will be the strenuousness of the plan.

So while metabolic advantage allows us to lose weight on higher calorie amounts than we could eat on a typical high-carb, low-fat, low-calorie diet, we also have to accept the fact that in order to achieve our goals we MUST be willing to modify our diet to fit our own personal levels of resistance. Otherwise, achieving health and fitness will always allude us.

July 05, 2007

What Has Happened to Us?

One of the accusations that seems to constantly get flung at those following the Kimkins approach is a matter of dieting, but not for health. Generally it comes from those who are involved in a love affair with calories and fat. And who only seem to be able to relate to the world through their own experiences. What works for them, MUST work for all.

Once you learn that this is going to be a standard argument, repetitively thrown your way, it gets easier to deal with.

What's harder, are the accusations of "starving ourselves" when our food choices and level of carbs aren't what these nay-sayers believe they should be. And quite frankly it's making it extremely difficult to continue reading the Atkins' support lists I'm on. Especially when newbies to the low-carb lifestyle are being fed flat-out false information.

Dr. Atkins' original intent when writing his first diet book back in the early 70s was to show folks how to lose weight quickly and easily, without starving themselves. Without pain or bother. And the principles he set forth in that original book (biologically zero carbs) still hold true today.

Or do they?

I found it VERY disturbing yesterday, when reading through the current posts of one of my support groups, that it really isn't true anymore. At least in the minds of modern-day Atkinites who are out there fighting publicly for the cause. What a shame. Because it honestly isn't about health and fitness anymore. In fact, it doesn't seem to be about losing weight quickly and easily anymore either. It seems to be more about matters of manipulation and control.

Don't do as Dr. Atkins used to suggest, because that is old-time thinking.

And yet, that old-time thinking is the mind-set that worked. It's the mind-set that gave us a "feel-good diet", a "full of energy diet", a "lifetime wellness diet." A way to overcome our health issues of hypoglycemia and metabolic resistance.

What has happened to us?
Why have we become so gullible?

Why are we buying into the nutritional claims of those who have no medical backgrounds, but are only out to make a buck off the backs of all the poor souls caught up in the diet wars of late?

Low carbing originally come to us from a new and different perspective. It sincerely focused on helping those with serious health issues and disorders. Diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, hypertension, etc., and especially hypoglycemia. But it doesn't seem to be about that anymore.

Oh, they say it is. That you can't be healthy if you don't eat right. But here's the bottom line. According to Dr. Atkins, if you are eating right for your body, you won't be overweight. Which means if we "are" overweight, and are not currently losing that weight, then we are NOT eating right for our body. A truism the nay-sayers fight extremely hard to bury. Even going so far as to instill fear and false ideas into the listening ears of those they preach to.

Case in point. Is it really unrealistic for someone who "needs" to lose 18 pounds in 3 weeks in order to satisfy health insurance demands, to do so? Or is the truth more along the lines that it is unrealistic if you need to lose that amount of weight in that amount of time, and want to do it following the "current" Atkins' guidelines.

What I found very sad yesterday, was that instead of helping this person meet their needs by giving them the information necessary to fulfill their insurances' demands, pride entered into the picture, and a great degree of blindness was shoved their way. It was a matter of "our way" is the ONLY way. And what you want to do is impossible. So do what we tell you to do, and just pay that 50% higher insurance premium in three weeks.

Well...it's not really impossible. Because I've been watching a great many folks lose weight much faster than that, (18 pounds in 3 weeks), by cutting down on fat, calories, and carbs, while remaining true to the original principles that Dr. Atkins stood for. I have also watched another individual do the same thing, or close to it, by upping their fat percentage to something akin to Dr. Atkins' Fat Fast.

Obesity is not an accidental accumulation of excess fat as much as it is a metabolic disturbance in the way our bodies process and deal with that fat. Which means there is not one single way in which to achieve health and fitness. Dr. Atkins understood that clearly, which is why he dealt with his patients on an individual basis. Which is why he said that some folks do BETTER on a diet that is lower in calories and fat. While other folks do BETTER on a diet that is higher in calories and fat.

It's too bad, his followers don't teach the same.

July 03, 2007

No-Hunger: What is it Really?

Some of the constant questions I keep running into these days on the various low-carb lists, groups, and boards is "When am I not going to be hungry?" "When is Ketosis going to kick in so I won't be hungry anymore?" "I've lost x pounds this week, but I'm still hungry."

The lack of hunger/appetite spoken of as coming from a side effect of Ketosis has created a lot of confusion and misunderstanding among those who are new to the low carb world. As well as old-timers. Because it is being taken literally to mean absolutely no hunger, ever.

"My hunger didn't go away," they say. "I still get hungry at mealtimes." Or "I woke up really hungry, what's up with that?" Or "I can't seem to get my calories down below 1,000 or 1,200 (or whatever number), because I get hungry. Have I fallen out of Ketosis?"

I do know the feeling, believe me. Because in the beginning, when I was first investigating Kimkins and all the threads and stickys about it over at Low Carb Friends, using only the general basic guidelines of "unlimited" lean protein, less than 20 full carbs, and only enough fat to make the diet work, which is basically original Atkins, I was having a hard time figuring out how they were eating so few calories myself.

What I've come to learn over the weeks of studying this plan, is that we each come to the table with different interpretations, different habits, and different needs. To Kimmer, no hunger meant "nothing sounds good" so she didn't feel like eating anything. While to someone else, no hunger means flat out forgetting to eat. Or being too nauseated to eat. To someone else, who is still emotionally attached to food and used to receiving instant gratification, no hunger means the "wanting" will disappear. Which it doesn't.

Ketosis is a physical process that helps to stabilize our blood sugars. But it won't do the emotional work that has to be done in order for our weight loss to become a permanent condition. It will help take away the physical sensations and desires for sugar/carbs, due to lower levels of Insulin in the blood, but it won't take away our emotional problems. The feelings of deprivation. The feelings that we are being punished for some reason. The feelings that life isn't fair.

When I first started on Atkins 72 Induction the beginning of last month, I was eating a lot of calories. 1600 per day, in fact. But when Ketosis kicked in, those calories of their own accord, dropped to around 800. I didn't do anything consciously, I just listened to my body. I ate when I was hungry, and I didn't eat when I was not. Now, lots of Atkinites don't like to hear that, because they believe that type of behavoir to be unhealthy; even though that is the exact behavoir Dr. Atkins himself recommended.

What Ketosis does for us, and the so-called non-hunger that goes along with that, is get the physical junk out of the way so we can get to work on the emotional stuff. The roadblocks and hurdles that are really hindering our way. And what most fail to realize is that for some, the greater amount of hunger we experience comes from our emotions, not from our bodies.

I can still remember how large a part food played in my daily life when I was on Weight Watchers. I was always thinking about, dreaming about, and anticipating my next meal, because I was always hungry. Knawing, stomach-cramping, hunger. That feeling you get if you have ever gone without a couple of meals in a row. Real, true hunger.

Ketosis doesn't take normal meal hunger away, because that comes when our blood sugar drops to a particular level. It is the body's cry for fuel when we are running on empty. When our bodily needs at that moment are greater than what can be converted from body fat.

But what it does do, is it gives us back our lives by helping us to take our daily focus off of food. We can actually do things and go places without the "worry" that we will become hungry while we are gone, and won't be able to get to food. It takes away the constant focus on what we are going to eat next and when.

And if we listen to that true physical hunger, if we feed our bodies at moments when our bodily needs are high, with healthy low-calorie choices, and allow our bodies to do most of its running on the excess body fat we have stored, we will also begin eating less. Naturally. Without excess of hunger. Excess being the key word here. Because the whole point of being on a diet is to use up our excess body stores of fat. Not to provide the optimal number of fat calories. But to run our bodies on a deficit so that biologically, the body has no choice but to take from it's fat stores to provide us with our daily needs.