Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Low-Carb Is Not Necessarily For Everyone

As a strong advocate of the low-carb lifestyle, most people just automatically assume that I think livin' la vida low-carb is for everyone. Let me be very clear from the start: LOW-CARB IS NOT NECESSARILY FOR EVERYONE! Gasp!

I know it's hard to believe with the kind of posts I write about at my blog, but I realize low-carb living doesn't work for everyone. It is merely one way that people have found to attain permanent control over their weight. Others (God bless 'em!) think that eating a low-fat diet or restricting their calories is the way to improved health and stabilized weight and I say MORE POWER TO THEM!

But if you haven't even TRIED the low-carb lifestyle to see if it works for you, you can't exactly know if it's for you or not.

A co-worked called me this afternoon and asked for my "expert advice" (on dieting? LOL!) about why he is not succeeding at his low-carb program. He said he lost a considerable amount of weight the last time he was on "Atkins" for a month, but then gained it all back when he went on a pizza binge and let the low-carb lifestyle slip away from him.

He said he started back again two days ago, but his ketone strips weren't showing him in ketosis and he has even gained a pound.

"WHAT'S GOING ON?" he asked me.

I assured him that it was probably too early for him to be concerned about ketosis as it sometimes takes as much as two weeks in some people to get into that state. I also told him that not everyone shows purple or even pink on the ketone strips although they can be releasing excess ketones and burning fat.

When I asked him what he ate, he responded "salads and stuff." When I asked him what the "stuff" was, he admitted he had raisins as part of his "Atkins" (I put this in parentheses because it was apparent to me he's never read the book) plan. That's a problem, especially during Induction when you need to keep your carbs at around 20g per day.

I encouraged him to put away the scale, put away the ketone strips, and carefully watch his carb intake for the next two weeks. When that time is up, step on the scale, check your ketone strips, and get ready to be pleasantly surprised by what you see.

I encouraged him to make this his permanent lifestyle change or no amount of low-carbing is going to help him lick his weight problem for good. Which is worse for you: doing the Atkins diet for the rest of your life or remaining obese with all the health consequences that goes with that? The answer is too obvious.

We'll see how my co-worker does with my suggestions. But I also got an e-mail from one of my blog readers who recently bought my book and wondered if low-carb would work for her or not.

Here's what she wrote to me.

My daughter has lost 50 lbs following a low carb lifestyle after many failures on low-fat restricted diets. I myself lost 70 lbs on Dr. Atkins diet when it first came out in the 70’s. The doctors convinced me I would DIE if I stayed on it and so I abandoned it and regained the weight. The rest of my life was a series of diets and yo yo weight loss.

Then in 2000 I went to Weight Watchers and lost 65lbs and kept it off for 3 years. I truly believed I had licked my weight problem. Then we moved and I became very stressed and depressed. I began to gain weight. Seemed nothing would stop it. I regained 20 lbs over a year and that’s where I am today. I am 55 yrs old.

My daughter suggested I try the low carb lifestyle again. I did that and my “sticks” turned purple, but in this first week, I have lost nothing and have actually gained a pound.

Here’s my question: does low carb work for everyone? Have you come across knowledge in this area?

Thanks, Jimmy!

Sound familiar? Have you asked some of these questions yourself about livin' la vida low-carb? I'm encouraged to learn that she has already seen success with the low-carb lifestyle previously, so I think she could do it again.

To answer her question about whether low-carb is for everyone, I'd like to reference an excellent column from Low Carb Diets editor Laura Dolson.

In the piece she wrote called Is Low Carb Right For You?, Dolson asserts that "no one diet that will work for everyone," including livin' la vida low-carb.

She lists some "things to keep in mind" when deciding whether a controlled carb eating plan is for you:

1. Your diet history - what was your experience on previous diets like?
2. Food and eating behaviors - why do you eat the way you do?
3. Medical history - what is the state of your overall health?
4. Commitment - are you willing to make this a lifestyle change?

Dolson says that last one is the KEY to whether you will be successful with ANY weight loss plan and that's what I would say to my co-worker or my blog reader wanting to know if low-carb is for her or not.

My suggestion is for people who feel that every other way of eating has failed them to give low-carb a chance to show you what it can do for you. For me, my life will never be the same again. I'll NEVER weigh 410 pounds again in my life!

Here's a five-step plan of action for you to jumpstart your low-carb lifestyle:

1. Buy a low-carb book and learn what this is all about.
2. Empty your cupboards and fridge of carb-loaded foods.
3. Stock up on high-quality, low-carb foods.
4. Be confident that this is the right thing for you to do.
5. Execute the plan as if your life depended on it (and it very well may!).

Is low-carb for everyone? Not necessarily. But it may be just the thing for YOU!


Blogger Newbirth said...

If people are looking into, I would add that most of the low carbers on About avoid the Low Carb forum and can be found on the Weight Loss forum instead. It's a great group and VERY friendly to low carbers of all stripes.

1/31/2006 10:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home