Monday, May 09, 2005

Doing Low-Carb The Wrong Way Will Lead To Failure

My 180-pound weight loss success story on Atkins has gotten a lot of attention from people from around the world (I just an e-mail from South Africa this morning!) who have been inspired by the various articles I have written on the Internet. I never cease to be amazed by the enthusiasm people still have for this way of life despite the constant negativity we are bombarded with on virtually a daily basis about livin' la vida low-carb.

But despite my best efforts at clearly explaining what low-carb is all about, there are still some people who choose to do it on their own and make up the rules as they go along about doing this lifestyle.

I became extremely concerned on Saturday when I received an AOL Instant Message from a woman who admittedly has a lot of weight to lose and had been on Atkins for two weeks now. When I asked her how she is doing, she said she lost 11 pounds the first week (VERY GOOD!), but was shocked she had GAINED 1 1/2 pounds in her second week, allegedly on the Induction phase of Atkins.

My first question to her was, "Did you read the Atkins New Diet Revolution book?"

Her immediate response was, "Yeah, but I took it with a grain of salt because I know I have to portion control my food as well as restrict my calories and fat intake if I'm going to lose weight." RED FLAG, RED FLAG!!!

ARGHH!!! If you are just starting out on low-carb, let me give you a quick word of advice. DON'T COUNT CALORIES OR FAT GRAMS OR EVEN PORTION CONTROL! You just don't have to do any of that anymore, especially when you are first stating out trying to get your body into ketosis. There isn't a low-carb program out there that requires you to portion control and eat low-fat/low-calorie during the first two weeks. It just doesn't exist!

This poor woman was complaining to me that low-carb just wasn't working because she was gaining weight and constantly hungry. Despite her slight weight gain, she had still lost nearly 10 pounds in two weeks. If that's a plan that's "not working," then I don't know what a "working" weight loss plan would be like!

My solution to her was simple and direct -- "EAT MORE FOOD and keep it under 20 carbs per day." This isn't rocket science people. Restricting your food intake is only required by the failed low-fat/low-calorie approach to losing weight. That's why they're so scared of the low-carb lifestyle. It flies in the face of everything they've been taught and proselytizing for generations.

HINT HINT: If you are even the slightest bit hungry on low-carb, then you probably aren't eating enough food. The fat in the low-carb foods you eat satisfies you so you won't get hungry. Furthermore, you don't even have to notice that you may be eating as many as 3000 calories in a day because it just doesn't matter when you are first starting your low-carb lifestyle. Can we get that message in our heads?! It's extremely important you look only at your carb intake during those first two weeks and not worry about anything else.

Thankfully, the woman I was speaking to eventually got it (after our 20 minutes chat) and she understood why she was doing low-carb completely wrong. I recommended she pick up Jonny Bowden's book "Living The Low-Carb Life" (which I reviewed on this blog the other day) to find out more about low-carb and to do the plan correctly.

This is something that frustrates me more than anything in my attempts to help people who are doing low-carb. Many of them will say, "I'm doing Atkins," but they've never read his book. Others will say they're doing a "modified low-carb" approach, which is fine as long as you know what you are doing. But most of us don't and we need the guidance of those nutritionists and doctors who have done the research on low-carb already. Then all we have to do is follow what they have said and stick with that plan.

I got an AOL Instant Message from that same woman again on Sunday and she told me she went out and bought Jonny's book to read so she could educate herself further about low-carb. Now we're talking. I have said it many times, but education is the key when you are doing low-carb. People are going to challenge you about HOW you lost your weight and you must be armed with the answers why. Or, you could do like I did and tell them it really didn't work for me because I "only" lost 180 pounds! Hee hee!

So, if you ever get stuck and wonder why the scale is not moving, there are a lot of books available that can be invaluable resources for helping you do low-carb the right way. My upcoming book will detail my own experience livin' la vida low-carb. Whatever you do, though, don't try to do this on your own! You will fail miserably every single time!

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Anonymous deb said...

i have been doing the "atkins" for almost two eyars now and have lost and kept off 66 pounds. i too get frustrated by the misconceptions and negativity about this lifestyle. i did notice the longer i ate this way the less hungry i was and my portions did drop naturally because o just wasnt hungry. i think that does help with the long term weight loss. also, i kept my goal at 20 carbs a day and most of that in veggies and fruit. i craved fruit like crazy during induction tho i rearely ate it before. :) there were several months when i didnt lose a pound or lost very slowly and i am still keeping to about 20 carbs a day now and seem to lose a pound or two every couple months. i went from 221 to 155 and probs should lose more but i am pretty happy wiht how i look and feel. i love fitting into a size 12 jeans. :) realiztic goals for us 50 year olds. i never was below a 10 even when i was yyoung and lean.
keep up the good work and positive thinking.

5/09/2005 5:52 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Congratulations, Deb! You are living proof that livin' la vida low-carb is indeed possible if you stick with a plan that works for you. I am proud of you and what you ahve been able to accomplish. Keep up the great example for everyone who is skeptical about the low-carb lifestyle. It works and that's all people need to know. While we know how it has changed our lives, it's sometimes an uphill battle combatting those who viciously oppose everything about doing low-carb. We'll keep holding our heads high and speaking the truth every chance we can get! :-)

5/09/2005 5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As you think this low-carb lifestyle works, I'm sure you all know the negative effects it has on the body. Hit a gym and include all 3 macronutrients. Stop being lazy please.

5/09/2005 7:10 PM  
Blogger liv said...

We think it works because it does work. What negative effects can you demonstrate? Ones that are documented in peer reviewed scientific publications? Stop being an ignorant, patronising so-and-so. Please.

10/11/2005 9:11 AM  

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