Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Real Deal On Low-Carb Living From Real People In Real Life...REALLY!

It's one thing to tell people about how much livin' la vida low-carb can change their life because it is backed up by solid science that shows it is the preferred way that humans were meant to eat for maintaining their weight and health. It is yet another thing altogether for that simple, yet profound message to sink into the minds of people who have become so disillusioned about what is healthy and what is not by all they've "heard" about it over the years.

One of my readers named Alejo posted his theory about why the low-fat diet hypothesis continues to dominate popular health thinking despite the very clear lack of scientific evidence in support of it compared with low-carb living in response to this blog post about Dr. Atkins I wrote this week. He compares low-fat diets to religion by describing it more as a religious BELIEF rather than relying on what the facts from science say to the contrary. This is a notion that Dr. James Carlson promoted in my podcast interview with him earlier this month.

So with so many people following low-fat diets based on their heart telling them it's the way to go because they must suffer for the sins of their obesity (depriving themselves of their favorite foods, feeling hungry, not eating as much, exercising for hours on the treadmill everyday), Alejo contends that all the evidence in the world in favor of low-carb from the research world is virtually meaningless. Until you can change the hearts and open up the minds of those who are caught up in the latest low-fat demagogue to spout off such nonsense (need I name names?), it's gonna be an uphill battle.

But I think that's where blogs like "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" and others can play a major role. The fact is that real people who are living real life on the low-carb lifestyle come here on a daily basis and have a story to tell. Their lives have been changed for the better and I highlight these testimonies of transformation for all the world to see what livin' la vida low-carb is REALLY doing for people. This ain't no fad diet that's dangerous as you oftentimes hear in the media and from those self-proclaimed health "experts." Instead, this is the REAL DEAL on low-carb living and I'm gonna keep sharing it.

One thing that blogging does allow me to do that I would not otherwise have as many opportunities for is a public dialog about the benefits of low-carb diets. I have been criticized for being too hostile against low-fat diets while propping up low-carb ones. While I don't disagree that I share livin' la vida low-carb in a much more positive light than low-fat diets, I am all in favor of people finding what works for them to lose weight and get healthy. But even if you disagree with my chosen way of eating, I have no problem answering any questions about it to those who contact me.

Such is the case today with some recent e-mails I've received from readers wanting to know more about the low-carb lifestyle and how it can help them. I literally receive hundreds of e-mails a day and I really do read and answer all of them as quickly as I possibly can. I don't always have all the answers that people are looking for, but I try my best to get the information needed from people within my circle of influence who DO know the answers. Please don't hesitate to e-mail me anytime. :)

Here are the e-mails:

I have always had a terrible time losing weight no matter what diet. I do like the Atkins program because it is the only diet that I am not famished on (I needed to go below 1,000 calories to lose weight and it's not pretty). Still, I never had that super weight loss on Induction or any other time on Atkins. I also never can get off Induction without a complete stall or even weight gain.

If I want to lose weight I must go under 20g carbs. I am so bored of this and now even this stalls me out. I am worried about nutrition because my carbs must be so restricted. I am also worried about the future. I lost 26 pounds (took me a year!) but regained 7. First I regained 3 pounds going on a vegan diet. Then when I switched back to low-carb I actually gained 4 more!!!

I am very depressed right now. I am still 60 pounds overweight--not obese, but on the high side of overweight. I walk about 6 miles a week and I’m not diabetic or on any medications. I am a 41-year old woman with three kids. It has been so upsetting to see posts where people lose 8, 10, or 14 pounds on Induction and I only lost 4 rotten, stinkin’ pounds. Many weeks I lost nothing. If I was lucky I'd lose one measly pound.

Any advice to help me keep my sanity would be truly appreciated.

THANK YOU so much for writing to me today and I can certainly sense your frustration about not being able to lose weight. This is something you don't hear talked about much in the world of weight loss, but there are other issues going on that can impact your ability to lose weight even when you are doing everything correct. In fact, I recently blogged about this very thing happening to me.

It can be discouraging and upsetting to compare yourself to what others are being able to accomplish. But don't do that to yourself. You are you and not those other people. They probably don't have the issues that you do metabolically so it would not be fair to measure your success against theirs.

Hey, 4 pounds is 4 pounds, so don't let it get your down. And also remember that livin' la vida low-carb is more about improving your health first and foremost and then weight loss is merely a side effect of eating better. I encourage you to get back to the basics of the Atkins diet by reading the book, following the plan as prescribed, and not worrying so much about your results. Some people it just takes longer, so DON'T GIVE UP! Watch my YouTube videos on Induction for helpful hints.

If you need to be on 20g or less for the rest of your life, then join the club. I'm one of those people too as are many I know. There's certainly nothing wrong with eating that few carbs as long as you get lots of fat for fuel and energy and moderate protein at every meal. Go check out my menus blog to see what I eat on a daily basis.

I've blogged about stalls and lack of weight loss many times before because this
is something people need to realize is serious business. It's not the end of
the world as you might think. Here are those posts that I hope will encourage
you in this journey:

No Weight Loss, No Fair: I Feel Like Giving Up
Big Picture Focus Needed During Weight Loss
Weight Loss Takes A Little Faith In Yourself
Remaining Fat Healthier Than Weight Loss?
Weight Loss Stalls Are No Reason To Give Up

KEEP AT IT! Get involved at my discussion forum for support as you go through this experience. There are several people there who have been stuck and can't figure out why they're not losing either. It could be any number of things and the people there can help support you through this.

My issue was a condition called reactive hypoglycemia which a physician who worked with Dr. Atkins named Dr. Keith Berkowitz identified and helped me with. Here's my podcast interview with him about this and it may be what you are dealing with. I'll be doing a follow-up interview with Dr. Berkowitz soon to talk more about the questions people having regarding this condition.

If nothing else, I hope all of this gives you hope as you pursue weight loss and better health. It can be challenging going through this, but it is NOT impossible to beat it. YOU CAN DO THIS! I'm here for you anytime, so don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or comments. NEVER GIVE UP!!!

I was looking around the web in an attempt to find new ways to clean up pictures for my photo site (mostly bird pictures) and ran across an article written by you. I noticed a couple of links concerning your weight loss and decided to check it out.

I am 50 years old and do not live a healthy lifestyle. I drink as many as 10 sodas a day and eat unhealthy food constantly. I have purchased good food (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) at the commissary (I live and work in Germany) and I bought a steamer but they just sit there until the food goes bad and the steamer gets so dusty I need to wash it again. I've tried to stop drinking the sodas in the past but when I do I get excruciating migraine headaches and nothing seems to alleviate the pain. I'm told it's from either the caffeine of the sugar but it makes it very difficult to stop. I also enjoy the taste and when I drink water it just doesn't seem to do the trick.

I know all of this stuff is not healthy and I really do want to change since I've had some health problems and weighing between 230 and 300 pounds at various times doesn't help. I'm also not very active mostly due to a back problem. I had part of my spine removed and there is constant pain which is probably exacerbated by the extra weight I'm carrying around.

I love rice and broccoli as well as cauliflower and other veggies but I also like eating various types of bread and cheese which I've been told is a real no-no. It seems I'm stuck in this cycle and don't know how to get out of it. From what I read on your biog it seems you became motivated and worked hard at changing your life style. I was wondering if you had any words of advice.

I know you probably get this all the time and I apologize for bothering you but at my age I'm wondering if it's even worth it to try and change things but deep down I know it would help.

Thanks for reading this and I'd appreciate any response.

THANKS so much for writing to me and I appreciate your fragility about your current circumstance. It's exactly where I was a little more than four years ago when I began my own weight loss journey at 410 pounds. I was drinking Coca-Cola like it was going out of style and didn't think anything of it at the time. In fact, my addiction to sugary soda (and that's exactly what it was!) had me drinking upwards of 16 cans of Coke a day! EEEEK!

To even think about doing that now just makes me shudder. One can of soda has so much high fructose corn syrup (SUGAR!) in it that there are more carbs in that one drink than I eat all day now. Whenever you ingest one of these soda pops, think about this--you are putting 45 grams of sugar into your body or about 12 teaspoons! Multiply that number times the cans you drink in a day and it really adds up.

I came up with a mantra that helped me overcome my sugar addiction. Here it is:
SUGAR IS RAT POISON! In fact, I loved using that so much that I named it as one of the chapters of my book about my low-carb weight loss. And there's even a
study that came out
verifying that the strategy I used linking sugar to rat
poison has merit.

It sounds like you already like many of the foods you can eat on a low-carb diet, including broccoli, cauliflower, and even cheese (yes, you can eat cheese in limited quantities when you are livin' la vida low-carb). You should also check out my recent YouTube videos on Induction so you can see exactly what you eat on a low-carb diet especially in the early going.

If you watch those and grasp the concepts my wife Christine and I share about the basics of low-carb, then you will be well on your way to success. YOU CAN DO THIS, Eric!!! You are NOT too old to shed the pounds. Check out these stories of people who are OLDER than you who did it, too:

Senior Citizen Delivers 185-Pound Weight Loss
Long-Term Atkins Weight Loss Is Staying Off
Weight Loss Needed At Any Age If Obese
Oldest Biggest Loser Contestant Ever Tells Seniors 'Set Realistic Goals, Take It Slowly'

THANKS again for writing and now I urge you to do this with all of your might and GO FOR IT!!! You'll be so glad you did. :)

Hi Jimmy,

Life really throws us some surprises, doesn't it? Not all good ones, either.

I'm 60 years old, way overweight (almost 300 pounds), diabetic (with several other fat-induced ailments) and I'm just not having much success with the American Diabetes Association's high carb "high fiber" recommended diet.

So I'm ready to try the high protein way of eating when--BAM!--I get served with divorce papers. Maybe that's not the bad news, because this toxic relationship hasn't been helping me achieve any level of healthier living (even so, it is very painful). But the real bad news is that now I find myself financially devastated. I still have a truckload of canned and dried beans and other stuff from the diabetic diet, and I really can't afford to toss all that stuff and buy all new food.

So why am I writing to you? Well, I'll bet I'm not the first little old lady who has found herself in this position. I'm hoping that you have a reader or two who can offer some hope and encouragement, and maybe a tip or two about how to make the dietary transition since I can't just go totally LC tomorrow. I'll be starting job #2 tomorrow, and that extra income will eventually allow me to get in the full swing of the high protein life, but right now things are a little bit tight.

I've just discovered your site and you have a huge archive of material for me to work through, so I haven't had a chance to read much of the material yet. If you can direct me to any existing blogs or threads that I can read, I sure don't mind doing my own research. I'm not expecting anyone to rescue me or to provide my education in the LC eating plan, but there's an overwhelming body of work to get through and a little direction for where to start would sure be appreciated.

I am so inspired by your personal story, as well as the stories of several others who have lost huge amounts of weight by reducing or giving up carbs, and I'm feeling very hopeful that I can do it too. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for putting out such a wealth of factual information and the experiences of others who have had success. Sometimes the stories are just as important as the dietary guidelines.

You'll probably never know (on earth, anyway) how many lives you have changed or even saved. But as a fellow believer in Christ I can tell you my life experience is that people get new information and direction when they are ready to actually use it. Things don't look that great for me right now, but check back in a few months and see if things are not different. Jesus never fails those who believe in Him.

Jimmy, I look forward to any advice you or your readers can provide to help me jump start my new lifestyle. Thanks again for being there.

THANK YOU for writing to me today and I am so sorry to hear about your pending divorce. As the child of divorced parents, I can somewhat relate to what you are going through. I pray that the Lord grants you the grace and mercy to get through this difficult time and rise triumphantly on the other side as the woman He desires you to be. :)

Yes, I have written quite a bit about eating low-carb on a budget, so check these out:

Are Weight And Wealth Interconnected?
Is Poverty Promoting Pudginess?
Try The $21 Low-Carb Diet Experiment

You can find GREAT support for your low-carb lifestyle by joining my forum to meet real people who are living the low-carb lifestyle, too. Hearing their stories and learning from them will
get you started and keep you going the right way. I am confident you will SUCCEED at this! DON'T YOU GIVE UP!!! I'm here for you anytime, so don't hesitate to contact me.

Hi Jimmy,

It's so weird that I feel this way. I've followed the low-carb lifestyle before, but didn't actually make it a lifestyle. I'm restarting Induction tomorrow, re-reading my book, and I've joined the gym. No need to take it one step at a time. I want to do it all in one whop.

So what is my fear--that I'll lose the weight and get healthy? If you could find some time to share your thoughts on this and leave me with some valuable tips, then I'd appreciate it.

The fear of failure has a VERY strong pull on our psyche when we attempt to lose weight. Sometimes that fear can become so REAL in our lives that it totally encompasses us and we become consumed with guilt and shame over a single bite of anything off plan. This is no way to live.

When I started livin' la vida low-carb, I made up my mind at that very moment that this was the lifestyle change I needed, that I needed to be dead serious about it, and no matter what others might say to me I was gonna DO IT! It wasn't some willpower or anything like that, but a steadfast resolve to make better choices for my health.

And the results for me were phenomenal. You gotta believe the same can and WILL happen for you, Lynisha! And when you get there, it'll be the most glorious experience of your life--especially if you have been overweight or obese your
entire life like I was before my weight loss. Life DOES change for you and it's
mostly for the better. I did a recent YouTube video about all the changes that have happened since my weight loss in 2004.

Embrace this lifestyle, never let go of it, and become that woman you were always meant to be. Your confidence will skyrocket, your quality of life will greatly improve, and nothing will be able to stand in the way of whatever you put your mind to in the future. The REAL YOU is just BEGGING to come out and show the world what she's made of. Are you ready to unleash her? :) Let me know about your progress and I'm happy to help anytime. Take care!

Got a question or comment for me? I LOVE hearing from my readers and you WILL hear back from me if you do. E-mail me at and give me the distinct privilege of hearing from you about whatever is on your mind. Whatever you do, just keep on livin' la vida low-carb! :)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jimmy you are totally god-sent and this true calling on your life has made such a difference in so many peoples lives! Thank you!

I would like to encourage everybody reading this to get even more involve in any possible way in this lifestyle.

I can confirm that Jimmy always, always, ALWAYS answer all mails and has a true passion for this that is totally contagious! He is such a big reason for my passion about it as well! Become part of it, spread the good news and let the healing begin! :-)

6/28/2008 5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear low carbers,
Jimmy is doing you a disservice. Yes he lost weight on the plan but low carb is not healthy. It is impossible to eat this way for the long term. We have the teeth and intestinal tract of vegetarians not meat eaters. It is clearly outlined by Dr. John McDougall. Check him out. Real low fat vegetarian diets are much easier to maintain than low carb diets. JImmy says low fat plans have failed. This is incorrect. The government studies cited by low carbers are not representative of a real low fat diet. The government recommeded low fat diet is not really low fat at all but rather 30% calories from fat. More like a moderate fat diet. It also contains meat which of course is full of fat and cholesterol. A McDougall type diet beats low carb hands down in terms of health and weight loss. Look it up for yourselves.

-Anonymous McDougaller

PS: Like some of my other posts, I doubt you will post this.

6/28/2008 8:47 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Ummmm, I have never NOT posted any of your silly rants about the healthy low-carb lifestyle, anonymous. I think it's curious you do these little drive-by posts about your beloved Dr. McDougall and his low-fat diet and yet you are too ashamed of him to even sign your name or start your own blog in support of that way of eating. That would seem like a much more effective way to get your message out there and I highly encourage you to do that.

If the McDougall diet is your chosen plan, then nobody here is stopping you from pursuing that. But I do find it curious that someone who is so vehemently against low-carb diets would hang out on a blog that talks about them. Either you are a glutton for punishment or deep down inside you realize us low-carbers have it right.

THANK YOU for your comments! :D

6/28/2008 8:57 PM  
Blogger JD said...

Anonymous McDougaller is a great example of what you just posted about Jimmy. Religious ferver. For every argument McDougall makes about human biology being vegetarian, Dr. Eades has made the opposite argument for being a meat eater. If AM would look at the two diets w/o bias and understood the biochemistry he would realize that low carb and vegan have a lot in common. Namely, they both exclude refined carbs leading to lower insulin and all the problems that insulin brings. Mankinds genes were developed over 2 million years as a meat eater. Agricutlure by humans is only 10,000 years. PETA people like AM think everyone needs to adapt their point of view. Get a life AM.

6/28/2008 9:56 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

Q: If vegetarian was the diet we are meant to be eating why is B12 an issue???? A: Because, vegetarian diets don't give you all the nutrients required!!

"Real low fat vegetarian diets are much easier to maintain than low carb diets." - I don't think so!!

6/28/2008 11:43 PM  
Blogger Lady Geraldine said...

Jimmy: I just wanted to add to your first e-mailer that needing to go all the way down to 1,000 calories a day to lose weight on ANY diet could mean a malfunctioning thyroid. Having hypothyroidism often means that a person has a VERY hard time losing weight, and gains weight very easily while eating a "normal" amount of food. If this person hasn't had his/her thyroid levels checked by his/her doctor, it might be time!

6/29/2008 12:10 PM  
Blogger Me said...

I have a suggestion for the person who drinks 10 or so sodas a day. You need to cut back very, very gradually but very consistently.

Start by only drinking 10 sodas a day. Space them out; enjoy them; savor them. Keep track of the times when you drink them. Maybe don't drink more than one an hour.

Don't drink 11 sodas; don't drink 9. Just stabilize on 10 of the same kind. Then cut out 1/2 a soda somewhere in the middle of the day where you think it will be easiest. (Measure it out and pour it down the sink before you drink the rest.) Stabilize on 9 1/2. Keep going like that, cutting out another half a soda when you feel stable again. Enjoy the sodas you are drinking. Don't feel guilty; feel proud of getting better every day.

I'm assuming this is your only source of caffeine. If not, keep your other caffeine constant until you get down to zero sodas.

6/29/2008 1:59 PM  

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