Saturday, June 23, 2007

65-Year Old Atkins Dieter Says He Must Always Confront His Addiction To Carbs

Whenever I receive an e-mail from someone who talks about their long-term success on the low-carb lifestyle, I am beaming with pride. From a decade-long Atkins dieter to these two prime examples of livin' la vida low-carb, the truth is clear whether you hear about it from the media or not--lots of people are losing weight and getting healthy eating a low-carb diet.

And it ain't just temporary either! Why?

Well, this study explains that when you decide to begin implementing a long-term lifestyle change over at least an 18-month period rather than simply beginning a diet (which means you'll "die" to a "t"!), you are more likely to succeed at weight loss.

It's like I always say--find a plan that works for you, follow that plan until you reach your weight loss goal, and then keep doing that plan FOREVER! It really works if you make it work for you. Weight management is not easy, but it IS possible.

Take it from a 65-year old reader of the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog who has been on the Atkins diet since 1998. This gentleman had tried the highly-recommended low-calorie diets and they just didn't work for him.

"The reason reduced calories wasn't even an option for me is that even when my calorie intake was far too high, I was still starving," he explained. "There was no way that I would be able to reduce my calories for any length of time."

He added: "I tried many times and failed badly!"

Man, is he ever right?! One of the things that attracted me to the Atkins diet is the fact that you don't have to count calories like those food-obsessed low-fatties would have you believe! Calories do count, but you don't have to count them if you are eating proper amounts of protein and fat when you are livin' la vida low-carb.

This doesn't mean low-carbers are gorging themselves on these macronutrients, but rather consuming enough protein and fat to satiate their hunger and provide them with the energy to live their life. And if you look up the definition of "diet," then this will close resemble what that word REALLY means.

My reader was spot-on when he commented how utterly clueless most people are about helping someone overcome their addition to carbs.

"The reason well-meaning people will never help anyone regain control of their eating over the long-term is that they know absolutely nothing about addictions," he contended. "I'm not being disrespectful when saying this, but simply stating the obvious!"

It's so obvious to those of us who are living it, that's for sure. I can't tell you how many people just assume I'm keeping my weight off easily now that it's been a few years since I shed 180 pounds in one year. Not hardly. I tell them it is still a daily battle to keep myself focused on eating healthy.

My reader says these people need to walk a mile in our shoes which they cannot do unless they've been obese and then beat it.

"They do not understand the mind of an overeater and I will prove it," he said. "Unless they can personally relate to the following story, they are NOT qualified (even a little) in the area of eating disorders."

Here's his story:

"We had a birthday party recently and were served pizza. Under normal circumstances I would never eat a grain product of any kind. Grains, whether fully processed or not, set off my eating disorder just as badly!

But my lovely wife assured me that after being on Atkins for almost eight years at the time, I should now have complete control over my eating addiction. She suggested that I have two large slices and walk away.

Well, guess what? Ten slices of pizza later (and they were very large pieces, too, I might add!), I walked away from that party even hungrier than before I even started eating!"

Whoa! Now that is one powerful example of the strong grip that food can have even on those of us who have been low-carbing for a while. If somebody can't relate to that experience even in the slightest, then they DEFINITELY don't know how to help someone who is fighting food addiction.

Sadly, my reader concluded, most of the so-called "experts" and even semi-educated lay people would say to him that he need "more willpower" to stop at two slices. But...

"This would be the exact same thing as telling an alcoholic to walk away after only six drinks," he contended. "And Dr. Atkins understood this!"

Yes he did which is why people like me and you have been able to confront our addiction to carbs directly and win that battle. If more people could just realize that effective weight control is about eating low-carb, then perhaps obesity could become a thing of the past.

I've said it before that there is no "after" with low-carb living, this way of eating is not just a temporary "crash" diet, and that maintaining once you lose the weight is the real key to long-term success.

That's what has made my weight loss success long-term because it is my permanent solution to obesity. Never again will I have to worry about my weight.

Why? Because I'm livin' la vida low-carb, baby! :)

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Blogger The Bunnell Farm said...

I respectfully disagree. I quit cigarettes and alcohol and drugs many years ago, close to ten years ago. I hate them. Far from being a luring problem in the background, they don't even exist. Sugar and carbohydrates are following the same path. I have no desire for them at all. You couldn't put a gun to my head and get me to try or use any of these things. They are all rotten, health destroying, poison garbage. I could do somersaults from being off from all this poison. I'm bird happy about this and will be until the day I die.-- This from a guy who was so hopelessly addicted to cigarettes and sugar and carbohydrates it's indescribable. It's been two years ago that I typed into google "sugar addiction" and learned about carbohydrates, instead of the one year like I said earlier. It took me a year to wrestle this thing down and several months more to get it in place and figured out and now going into eight months of my modern hybrid carbohydrate and sugar free diet fully in place, it feels great. I could shout! I'm looking better and feeling better and I am better. My bowls are working perfectly, something I hadn't know since childhood. I can't say enough about the importance of a sugar/carb free life. Far from a dragon waiting in the ways to pounce on me it's become a joke it's so easy. These are facts not fable. Your pretty darn close to this yourself Jimmy. You know exactly what I mean. I just hope others can follow in our footsteps. It's a new lease on life. Thanks!

6/24/2007 10:52 AM  
Blogger DietKing2 said...

I'm with Bunnell on this one too.
All I know is, heaven forbid when the next overwhelming urge for pizza comes my way, I only hope I have the strength and sense to down a thick juicy rib-eye first to at least blunt what's coming my way in the form of that pizza/cheeseburger/oh, you get it...

6/24/2007 12:27 PM  
Blogger Gary J said...

Sticking to my low-carb diet well at this time, I could eat two slices of pizza and stop, but the longer I'm away from it, the less the memory of the experience nags at me to have it another time.

On the other hand, there have been times in the past two years of low-carb dieting that I have allowed the slippery slope: I start by having a couple slices of pizza now and then and six weeks later, my carbohydrate restrictions have disappeared in a step-by-step fashion.

So I know that I have to be careful and I'm losing again. Down from 239 to 228 in the past few weeks. Down from the all-time high of 262 about six years ago. Headed for 180, then will evaluate, then maybe down to 160. (I'm 5' 6".) My lowest weight ever was 149 when I was 31 (I'm now 57) and it was too thin. I'll be absolutely thrilled just to break 200. Haven't been there in nine years.

A question for you, Jimmy, or anyone else who might have some perspective or experience with this. I have suffered from depression most of my adult life (and probably earlier too, but not recognized as such), and now that I'm very strict and losing, my antidepressant medication seems less effective. I wonder how much of my carbohydrate intake over the years has been a form of self-medication. Although my body definitely does poorly on a carb-rich diet and my mind is sharper on a low-carb diet, my mood seems to suffer from the lack of periodic calming otherwise provided at a carb-rich meal. I believe there is, for some of us, a strong connection between carbohydrate intake and serotonin levels, and I believe it's more difficult for me to keep emotional balance when I'm carb-restricted. Luckily, over time, the boost in self-esteem and overall health that result from my low-carb diet and the resulting weight loss mitigate the downdrafts, but in the meantime, I just have to tough it out.

6/24/2007 1:49 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

I'm probably not the best one to ask about this, Gary, since I don't suffer from depression. Never have and I'm lucky in that regard I suppose.

But my wife takes Paxil to prevent her anxiety attacks and she's been on Atkins for a little over a month. I haven't seen her any more down than normal, so I assume your case is probably more sensitive and severe than others.

Hang in there, buddy! You're doing great and I'm proud of how well you have done. Even if I am beating you in weight loss right now. HA!

6/24/2007 1:56 PM  
Blogger The Bunnell Farm said...

I've suffered from depression since I was six years old when my sister died. I feel so much better being sugar and carb free I can't describe it. How be it different from being high on sugar and carbohydrates and caffeine all the time. It's a different energy and spiritual level not being high on these things. It's a subtle difference but a good one, one you will never know when you dabble in and out of the sources even if little and not real often. It takes a while for our systems to adjust to not being high and the sometimes lows that come with it for some of us. When we dabble we never get to settle in to not being high and everything that goes with it. Anxiety attacks are also tied to these three stimulants. My recommendation is total abstinence forever. Your system will love it if you can make the ride.

6/24/2007 2:38 PM  
Blogger The Bunnell Farm said...

Hey Gang! How do you like my new picture. It's me when I was young or it's my alter ego, I'm not sure but I like it a lot. I think it gives my posts some extra life and a little bit more legs as well as enhancing my writings. I like it!

6/24/2007 4:19 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Who is that hippie from the 60's? LOL!

6/24/2007 4:42 PM  
Blogger The Bunnell Farm said...

Yup, that's me! Ho Ho Ho! (Joe cocker)

6/24/2007 4:45 PM  
Blogger Darleen said...

After 3 years on low carb and 75 pounds (13 months to lose and the rest is maintenance)I can not say it is easy. I fight the urge to eat crap all the time. There are some things I absolutely cannot eat. Corn chips is a big one, pop corn, salted nuts - all send me into a frenzy. I used to eat gobs of ice cream so don't touch even the low carb stuff. I do splurg on fresh pineapple once in a while and when I start there's not much left. I can easily do mindless munching if I'm not careful. So far however, I've been able to bounce around within a 5 pound range. I understand perfectly what carb addiction is

6/24/2007 5:50 PM  
Blogger Gary J said...

Jimmy, I remember the last time we were running in tandem, you dropped down to 215 while I was stuck at where I am right about now... 228.

This taught me a little lesson. I think it's something like the rabbit and the turtle. (Or is that hare and tortoise?) Anyway, at 57 it's more of a long, hard slog than a sprint, and I will keep that in mind as I continue to keep my diet.

So watch it, buster!

6/24/2007 7:03 PM  
Blogger Gary J said...

About depression... maybe that's a question I should send to Dr. Eades. I'll bet he'll have some clinical experience that he can discuss.

6/24/2007 7:05 PM  
Blogger Calianna said...

The thing with a carb addiction is that you can seem completely "cured" .... until you have that first slice of pizza/piece of cake/donut/bowl of pasta. Then suddenly it takes off like wildfire.

Ask a recovering alcholic or crack if living 8 years "clean" is long enough to "get over" the addiction - they'll assure you that no, once truly an addict, always an addict, and yes indeed, "just one" is far too much.

I may not have any interest in my old sugary and starchy way of eating any more, but I would definitely feel the effects of it if I decided to test it by having "just one", and far from being able to walk away from it afterwards, it would start me down that long slippery slope, right straight back to gorging myself on all the sugary and starchy stuff I could, because it always left me hungry, hungry, hungry.

How do I know this? Because that's what happened about 30 years ago when I decided I was tired of low carbing and should be able to eat like a normal person. The resulting bingeing and stuffing kept up for a couple years. Did I learn from that though? Apparently not, because it happened again about 25 years ago, when I'd been low carb for a while, but I got tired of eating so "differently" and tried "just a little" of the stuff. That time the addiction took over my life for a period of approximately 20 years.

I sincerely hope I've learned my lesson this time!

6/24/2007 7:08 PM  
Blogger Gary J said...

Bunnell farm: What an odd coincidence: My one-year-old sister died when I just turned six, and I think I was never quite the same after that. And that was the very time in my life that I started gaining weight.

Right now I am off caffeine and sugar and carbs, but I'm not feeling particularly well emotionally. But I am feeling better for the weight loss.

6/24/2007 7:09 PM  
Blogger The Bunnell Farm said...

Yes, you were no doubt terribly impacted by your loss. You probably adored her. My sister was eight and my mother broke down and I have no recollection for two or more years after Patty died. Everybody was grieving themselves so much I think they didn't realise how hurt we were. I, like you have gotten over it as much as is possible but there will always be that empty vacant spot. We live on. We have been high for so many years that we think that it is natural and our non-high is unnatural. For me, getting all the poison out of me has been a godsend. It seems a little dull and boring at first but after awhile everything kind of levels out. I feel better than I have in years and I have lived with depression all my life.

6/24/2007 7:45 PM  
Blogger Niika said...

You know, it IS possible to cure a carb addiction by eating what would be considered a normal amount of carbs, instead of living on Atkins your entire life.

6/24/2007 10:14 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

I'm curious, Niika. What is your definition of "a normal amount of carbs?" Please respond.

6/24/2007 10:18 PM  
Blogger Sparky's Girl said...

In 2003 I had reached goal and maintained for several months. I got cocky and thought I could occasionally have this or that and I'd be fine. The result? I'm trying to lose it all again. I'm glad there are people who can be completely free of the addiction. I still had/have temptation for certain things. I will always have to avoid/watch those items very carefully. But it goes beyond that really, when you are a binge eater. I've had people ask me "Why can't you just have a small piece of cake? You don't need to lose weight anymore?" How do you explain that the one little piece can trigger such a reaction that you may lose control? It's hard for a non-addict or non-binge eater to understand. It's more than applying will power.

As for depression and anxiety attacks - I've dealt with both for years, along with Fibromyalgia. I was almost as miserable on the anti-depressants as I was without them. I finally gave up on them and quit taking them. After detoxing my system from sugar and simple carbohydrates, I no longer need them at all. I rarely have an episode. I'm not saying this will happen for everyone, but I'm thankful it did for me. I was put on 4 different anti-depressants and none of them worked for me.
I think asking Dr. Eades, or another low-carb doctor is a great idea Gary!

I'd be curious to see what Niika's idea of normal carbs are as well. Would you tell a drug addict if they just used a normal amount they could control their addiction? I know that sounds like an extreme comparison, but it's not far from the mark. Addictions are dangerous things, no matter what form they are in. My addiction to certain foods will send me to an early grave if I don't avoid them.

I'm just speaking for myself.. but there you have it.

6/25/2007 9:32 PM  
Blogger Kay said...

I am late getting in on this discussion, but I too suffer from depression and have tried all types of anti-depressants without relief. I usually feel like a zombie when I take them. I am a carb addict as well. A small amount of sugar will send me into a desperate craving cycle. I know that Dr. Schwarzbein says in her book to increase carbs if depression occurs on a low carb diet, but that doesn't work for me.

I just have to cold turkey it!

6/26/2007 7:40 AM  

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