January 07, 2006

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Getting Started: Ten Tips For Success

This week, Iím talking mainly to the folks who just went low carb, probably as their New Yearís Resolution:

Hey, there, new low carbers! Welcome to the Wonderful World of Low Carb. We have considerably more fun here than you may have thought.

Iím guessing that many of you got started just under a week ago, as the result of a New Yearís Resolution. Iíd like to offer 10 tips for success:

1) Accept that there is no finish line. If youíve ďgone on a dietĒ with the idea that you will lose your weight and then go off the diet, youíre already doomed to failure. Whatever you do to lose weight, you must continue to do forever to keep it off.

2) Therefore, do not decide that if low carb is good, no carb is better. Itís not. Do not start eating nothing but meat, eggs, and cheese. Eat your vegetables! Eat low sugar fruits. Eat nuts and seeds. Read some low carb cookbooks (my 500 Low-Carb Recipes is a best-seller, but there are plenty of good low carb cookbooks out there.) If your budget is tapped out Ė we all feel broke this time of year Ė borrow a few low carb cookbooks from your local library. Try new recipes and new foods! Make this way of eating as varied, interesting, and fun as it can be. Thatís what it takes to succeed long-term.

3) If youíre just a few days in, and you feel pretty wretched, take heart. Youíre in withdrawal. More accurately, your body is increasing its production of the enzymes needed to burn fat for fuel. Once it does Ė rarely takes more than a week Ė your energy level should skyrocket. Meanwhile, try taking L-glutamine supplements to increase energy and reduce cravings. L-glutamine is widely available at health food stores and GNC.

4) Eat a high protein breakfast every single day. Eggs, meat, cheese, whatever. If youíre in a tearing hurry, grab two or three individually wrapped string cheeses or other wrapped cheese bites on the way out the door. Eat them on the way to work. Hard boiled eggs are good for a grab-and-go breakfast, too. Donít drink juice Ė have a half a grapefruit, a wedge of melon, or some berries if you want fruit. Donít eat cereal, not even oatmeal. One slice of toast made from low carb bread, if you must. (The best low carb bread Iíve tried? Comes from http://www.naturalovens.com ) The point? Eating a breakfast of protein and natural fat, but with a very low blood sugar impact, has been clinically demonstrated to dramatically reduce appetite Ė and cravings -- all day long. You canít afford to miss a trick like that.

5) Make a list of all the truly fabulous low carb foods youíve been avoiding because theyíre high in fat: macadamia nuts, avocados, brie, rib eye steaks, whatever. Buy them. Eat them. Goes a long way toward keeping you from feeling sorry for yourself!

6) Many people are in the habit of using sweets or other carb-y junk food as a reward. Brainstorm a list of rewards that donít involve junk food Ė a pedicure, a massage, an hour in the bathtub with a good book and a glass of wine, a phone call to an old friend, a new shade of lipstick, the latest issue of your favorite magazine, watching your favorite ďguilty pleasureĒ video again (Embarassing Confession: I love Killer Klowns From Outer Space.). You deserve rewards that donít make you feel awful later!

7) Now that so much of the low carb processed food has gone off the market, this one is less urgent, but still worth saying: Eat real food, not a bunch of shakes and protein bars and such. Oh, theyíre okay now and then. But the heart and soul of your diet should be meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, nuts and seeds, vegetables, low sugar fruit, and minimally processed fats, like butter, olive oil, coconut oil, macadamia oil, and the like. You know Ė food. Try to strictly limit your consumption of anything with a bar code on it.

8) Donít try to eat low carb and low fat, both. Itís unhealthy to eat nothing but protein. That being said, donít assume that so long as youíre eating low carb you can eat 5,000 calories a day and lose weight. Chances are, you canít. Clinical studies show that most people on low carb diets lose weight at between 1800 and 2200 calories per day. Thatís enough to feel comfortable, but so much that you can stuff yourself constantly for entertainment. Eat when youíre hungry, stop when youíre comfortably full, donít eat again till youíre hungry again! So simple, but junk food advertising has trained us to eat for entertainment.

9) Read the label on every darned thing you stick in your mouth. Youíll be astonished and appalled at the places sugar, corn syrup, corn starch, and hydrogenated oil creep in. Iíve actually seen canned clams with sugar in them. No, I am not kidding! You wouldnít buy a new car or a plasma television without reading up on which models were worth buying. Do a little research on what youíre making your body out of!

10) Iím not big on sugar free desserts Ė I make them for special occasions, and thatís about it. But sugar free chocolate is your friend. Pure De-Lite, Guylianís, and Sorbee are the brands that I buy most often. A half-ounce to an ounce of sugar free chocolate per day (NOT five bars!) will keep you happy. And dark chocolate is a good source of antioxidants Ė itís actually good for your heart!

Thatís the Top Ten List. Hope it helps!

Posted by HoldTheToast at January 7, 2006 08:44 PM