April 28, 2011

Metabolic Resistance and Atkins Induction – Clearing Up the Myths

Myths Can Spoil Your Hope for Successful Weight Loss
Don't Let These Myths
Spoil Your Hope for
Successful Weight-Loss
The Atkins Induction phase of a low-carb diet often symbolizes the beginning of a new, healthier lifestyle.

Excitement is high, motivation is strong, and since most dieters have turned to carbohydrate restriction after attempting several low-calorie or low-fat diets (and failing), hope has actually dared to poke its head out of the covers again.

What happens during this initial dieting phase is crucial to your weight-loss success. This is why Dr. Atkins designed his Induction diet in the way that he did.

Over the years his program has evolved, but misunderstandings among the low-carb community regarding metabolic resistance and the weight loss experienced during the first few weeks of the diet have left many individuals scratching their head, confused.

If you don't know what metabolic resistance actually is, and you don't know what Induction is for, it's easy to get caught up in the myths. With a clear understanding of metabolic resistance, and what you can expect on Induction, you can hold onto that initial hope and achieve your weight-loss goals.

April 18, 2011

Why is Weight Loss So Hard to Maintain?

Weight Loss is Circular Like a Ride at the Fair
I Feel Like I'm Back
at the Beginning Again!
My experience with low carb dieting began in the 70s when I ran into Dr. Atkins’ original diet book at the library. 

At the time, it made a lot of sense.

I could relate to everything he shared, and when I tested it, the plan worked better than anything I’d tried up to that date. 

I was 19, weighed in at a hefty 140 pounds on a 5-foot frame. With virtually no metabolic resistance, that one golden shot earned me maintenance within only 6 weeks.

When I first wrote this article in 2011, I realized that this was exactly where I was sitting again that day. I was back to where I started in 1975. Despite finding out how to deal with my health issues, I was still standing at the same starting line.

Yes, I managed to shed a whopping 80 pounds in 2007; and another 30 pounds in 2008 – but that was above where I first began my low-carb journey. I had regained a good 10 pounds of that last 30, so what gives? 

WHY is weight loss so hard to maintain?

April 14, 2011

A Low Carb Diet Success Story – What Can We Learn?

Amy is a short, 20-something young lady who weighed in at 267 pounds when she started a low carb diet on January 6, 2009. That's slightly heavier than I was, but she’s also a little taller than me. Currently, she weighs 117.4 pounds – that’s just beneath her goal.

Want to see her success? If you need a boost of motivation, check out these before-and-after pictures she recently posted at Low Carb Friends. And while you’re there, make sure you scroll down to the additional set of pictures located in post #3. They are absolutely stunning!

What Can We Learn from Amy’s Low Carb Success?

For many low carbers, Amy’s story will puzzle them, because she didn’t follow the typical wisdom that says to “pick a low-carb diet plan and do it exactly like the book tells you to.” She reached her goal by tweaking the Atkins Diet and Dr. Eades’ Protein Power Lifeplan into something she could stick with. Something that fit her lifestyle. Something that worked for her.

The specifics? She didn’t measure out her low-carb foods (not even vegetables), and only loosely counted carbs. She ate whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted, as long as the food was low in carbohydrates, and within a reasonable serving size. She ate on a small plate rather than the extra-large dinner plates so popular today. She didn’t embrace a large low-carb breakfast; she simply indulged in her beloved coffee with heavy cream. She also didn’t engage in a formal exercise program.

If you look closely at these details, you’ll find that her method doesn’t fit into any of the typical recommendations often thrown at newbies or stalled oldies today. While certainly low carb in principle, her diet program didn’t follow an author’s footsteps; instead, she designed her own weight-loss plan. Something I’ve been recommending for a very long time. Why? Because it works!

That doesn’t mean she didn’t give in to temptation now and then. But she did decide to incorporate a more flexible approach than most. Occasionally, this caused her to go off her diet scheme now and then, give into an eating binge, and splurge on a holiday meal – behaviors that many of us also struggle with.

The difference? She didn’t beat herself up over it. She simply decided that for her, a low-carb plan wasn’t something to view “as a diet.” And while that’s a popular mantra among low carbers today, if we want to enjoy success with this alternative way of eating, we need to make sure our low-carb meals are livable.

Personalizing Our Low-Carb Meals

It’s nice to view the before-and-after pictures of those who’ve achieved success with their low-carb diet plan; and it’s wise to check out how these goal-weight individuals got there. But it won’t grant us real, honest-to-goodness motivation to apply to our own diets unless we figure out how to implement those lessons into our lives.

Effective weight loss is possible, but it requires us to take a good, hard look at ourselves: our personality, lifestyle, health issues, and especially our passions. Think about your tendencies:
  • Do you want to eat breakfast and/or lunch everyday? Or just sometimes?
  • Do you eat only when you’re hungry, or do emotional issues come out to play?
  • Do you enjoy counting carbohydrates? Calories? Or neither?
  • Do you need the heavy structure of rules? Prefer no rules?
  • Do you love eating vegetables and salads? Fatty meats? Or carbs?
  • Do you drown your food with luxurious condiments like butter and mayo?
  • Do you smother everything in sour cream and cheese?
  • Do you have any health issues that might interfere with your current program?
  • Do you love to cook, or experiment with new recipes and cooking styles?
  • Does your lifestyle interfere with your ability to stick with low carb foods?
  • Do you turn to and/or crave comfort foods when stressed?
While this list certainly isn’t all inclusive, it will get you thinking in the right direction. The idea isn’t to copy what Amy did, but to design your own personalized diet program. Something you can actually live with for the rest of your life.

And while you’re thinking about personalized passions, take the time to create a list of your favorite low carb foods. You know the ones I mean. Those absolute comfort foods you ate a lot when you first started a low carb diet, but somehow forgot about them when you found yourself in a sticky situation. The type of comfort foods you need to help you stay on plan.

For me, that’s bacon and eggs, cheesecake, strawberry pie, hot wings, chicken alfredo over broccoli, Alice Springs chicken, a nice juicy pork chop or rib steak, fried chicken, pork rinds or just-cheese crackers and dip.

Okay. Now it’s your turn. What are your favorite low carb foods? Have you tweaked your diet program? Why not leave a comment and tell us about it.