Taking Your One Golden Shot...
or "Ode to a Fudge Cake"...
A frequent topic in letters we receive at Low Carb Luxury
deals in some form or another with results from multiple
attempts at low-carbing. A typical letter goes something
like this one I received this week:
"About ten years ago, after the birth of my first son,
I went on the Atkins Diet for the first time. It was
really pretty easy and I dropped the weight quickly and
felt very good. Unfortunately, I went back to my old
ways and gained it back. By then the thing was "low fat"
and friends warned me off of Atkins so I tried it "their
way" and lost a few pounds, but felt terrible and starved.
I finally ended up quitting dieting altogether as I was
crabby, weak, and HUNGRY all the time.
So, here I am ten years later, now needing to lose 50
pounds instead of the 15 to 20 I wanted to lose in the first
place. I am back to Atkins and once again a believer, but
this time around, I am not getting the results I did before.
The weight is coming off MUCH more slowly and I find I
need to stay at a lower carb level to stay in ketosis than
I did the first time around. What am I doing wrong this
The answer is that this writer is probably not doing
ANYTHING wrong. She simply missed her "one golden shot".
What "Golden Shot", you ask?
It's a phenomenon we hear about over, and over again. You
can count on it being a part of at least one letter we
get every day, so I can assure you it's not an aberration.
For whatever reason — and there are many theories — we
all (especially females) seem to have this One Golden Shot.
The first time we ever embark on a low-carb eating plan
if we do it RIGHT and if we don't cheat, we get some
really amazing results without appreciable sacrifice or
difficulty. I often see people who lose quickly and
effortlessly while taking in around 35-55 grams of carbs
per day and staying in ketosis. But should you falter and
leave the diet for an appreciable amount of time — especially
long enough to gain all or much of the weight back — the
next time around takes more effort, weight loss is slower,
and it takes more carb restriction to get results.
Indeed, once an individual has played this hand multiple
times, it can take great effort to get the desired results.
I can attest to this as I am a many-time diet failure. My
"Golden Shot" was in the 70's. In a short amount of time I
lost 68 pounds and felt terrific. There were no low-carb
"specialty" foods, and no access to special ingredients to
make my own. There was no internet support, and indeed
I was living in a tenuous situation, so stress was high.
But I still managed to do well and to do so with little
effort. Then, one hot fudge cake in a Big Boy Restaurant
with a friend undid all that. I'd mentioned to the waitress
that I had not had a piece of bread, a bowl of cereal,
a glass of milk, or a slice of cake in an entire year. She
told me I'd surely EARNED a piece of that fudge cake for
all my hard work. And that was that. I never managed to
scramble back on the low-carb wagon. At least not for years.
The next time I tried it, I had more difficulty and I could
not get those rapid results. The effort it took to get to
that ketosis-comfort-zone was considerably more. And like the
writers of my letters, I was being warned against the dangers
of Atkins. So I'd abandoned it again. Years of yo-yo dieting
ensued and each time strengthened my body's resolve to put up
one hell of a fight against losing an ounce.
Five years ago I made the decision — this was it. I HAD to
succeed this time, or I was going to have surgery instead. I
was scared to death of the idea of a gastric bypass, but I
could not — and WOULD NOT — continue to live my life as a
fat girl. I was sick and getting sicker. I knew I would not
be living a long life and every bite of sugar robbed me of
another day. And so I began.
What a struggle. This time around was the hardest. My body
fought me tooth and nail. I had to get down to as little as
5 grams of carbs a day in the beginning to lose. I learned
what stalled me and what my triggers were. The internet was
a Godsend. I read everything I could get my hands on. I
searched out reports and studies that hadn't made the
mainstream dogmatic press. I started a library that now fills
many shelves in my office.
In short, this time I had to give this endeavor my heart and
soul. My "easy path" was long since spent. I can now look back
and know I am a success. I can say it with pride, with joy,
and with a knowledge that my life has been given back to me.
But I also am acutely aware that this was probably my last
stand. Success was my only option — look at what the
alternative would have been. One hundred and six pounds later,
I am blessed to be able to write to others, help where I can,
and offer a bit of advice learned the hard way.
If you are low-carbing for the first time, please understand that
this is YOUR "Golden Shot". The others will be harder fought.
If you feel you are struggling now, it's because (and pardon my
bluntness) you don't know what struggling is. Run with this
opportunity — don't squander it. And don't look back.
If, on the other hand, you're one of the millions relating to
this story with a "been there, done that" feeling, remember,
there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and success is
still waiting for you. There are just more curves in the road
on the way. Things that may have caused no problems your first
time around may prove problematic now. For us second (third,
forth) timers, we probably have to avoid all trans fats (no
margarine, no shortening.) We can be triggered easily by a few
drops of high fructose corn syrup, or sodas containing aspartame.
We have a greater need for supplements that go beyond a good
multivitamin. For us, CoEnzyme Q-10, L-Carnitine, Chromium,
Taurine, Magnesium, and more may be what makes all the difference.
We must be that much more religious about drinking our water every
We all started out with the dream we could succeed. Faltering
doesn't mean we need to wake up from that dream. In the words
of Henry David Thoreau:
"If you have built castles in the air,
your work need not be lost; there is where they should be. Now
put foundations under them."