October 6, 2001
In this issue:|
| e're getting 'back to normal' with our regular columns now. But let's
keep the men and women who've lost so much in our hearts and in
Fall is in the air... I love the Fall...
On with the newsletter!
"A Time to Buckle Down"
This last week, we have had more subscription sign-ups than we've ever had in a single week, and many of the letters that go along with them, offer a little insight into why this is. It's not just one reason... it's a confluence. So first, I want to point out some of the reasons as it might help some of you who will "click" with it. Second, in Richard's column, he's going to explore some of the "newbie" basics that might help those looking at low-carbing for the first time.
1] Dealing with America's Tragedy:
This is probably the most common right now. (Many of you have expressed these feelings): Our country has been through an ordeal that made us all look at our lives a little differently. The first reaction for many was to seek comfort in the familiar — foods. Usually what we got as kids when we scraped our knee, a friend moved away, or our pet hamster died: SUGAR. A cookie here, a brownie there. Sugar can be quite an effective tranquilizer. But like all drugs, it catches up with us. We are left worse for the experience. So this past week seemed to be the time when many sought to "get back to normal" and get back to the diet.
For others, this time offered up some personal reflection. We all learned that we can't assume there will "always be time" to get our lives in order. We need to go for our dreams in the here and now. A healthy body as well as spirit can be a big part of those dreams and essential to keeping yourself strong enough to make them happen.
2] Back to School/Back to Structure:
Whether you're back to a routine of school in some form yourself, or your children are back in class, it's a time of greater structure. Summer is over. There's a mental cue out there — sometimes unspoken — that it's time to "buckle down". We tend to let this feeling spread throughout all parts of our lives. Even though the cliché for "new starts" is Springtime, I always liked Fall for that same reason. I ALWAYS do "Autumn Housecleaning" (and redecorating, painting, etc.) I want things fresh for the upcoming holidays, and I like the feeling of post-Summer structure it gives me.
3] The Change of Weather/Holidays Approaching:
With the advent of cooler weather comes a new wardrobe. We need new clothes, no doubt about it. But clothes shopping drives home a very finite fact — our SIZE. It can be a powerful reminder that we're not where we want to be. Thoughts run quickly to those holiday parties and what you'll wear. And to relatives that you'll see for the first time in months — will they be impressed? You surely want them to be. Of course weight loss should be about doing it for yourself, and getting healthy... But let's be honest about our human weaknesses — we want to make a good impression. We want to be attractive. So getting serious about a dietary change is common right now.
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Back to Basics
I was elected to write this article because over the last couple of weeks, I've been helping several coworkers get on (and get back on) this way of low-carb life.
So, let's go over some of the important basics.
1) DECIDE ON A PLAN (AND FOLLOW IT):
For many, the most basic plans to begin with are Atkins or Protein Power. But don't begin this with an attitude of "I'm going to low-carb. Now someone tell me how many carbs I can have..." We see a lot of letters like this. And those asking us to send them a list of all foods they can have and all foods they can't have.
If you're a seasoned low-carber, you know this is not a task we could undertake. It would require listing every food known to man and trying to separate them into "yes" and "no" groups.
Read your plan (get the books!) and follow. Once you understand the guiding principles behind them, you'll know what to look for on food labels, what to avoid, and how to plan your meals.
And remember, everyone's different, so while your friend, sister, mother, or coworker might be able to lose easily at 45 carb grams a day, you might need to keep yours below 25. Your plan will guide you to find what's right for YOU.
2) REMOVE TEMPTATION:
If at all possible, get the temptations out of your house. Unless you have no choice but to keep high carb foods on hand, do your best to rid your refrigerator and cabinets of those foods that could be your undoing.
Some of you will have a spouse, roommate, or child that will not go along with this. If that's the case, at least fight to remove those things that are your personal "trigger" foods (what you usually turn to when you stress-eat, or when you generally lose your way on diets.
Your biggest removal target is sugar. It will be hard to make a case that your child NEEDS refined white sugar, so this can probably be dealt with.
Remember, when you have moments of weakness — and you will — it's much harder to "give in" to a Sara Lea layer cake if you have to go purchase one, than it is if it's sitting in your fridge looking at you.
3) KEEP LOW CARB FOODS ON HAND:
As important as removing the tempting high carb foods from your home, is stocking your kitchen with low-carb SAFE foods. And as you begin, spend a little extra and go for those things you really LOVE. Perhaps you adore chilled jumbo shrimp. Or cracked crab. Or filet mignon. Treat yourself to those. And keep plenty of fresh low-carb veggies on hand too. Remember, this is a LOW carb diet; not a NO carb diet. You'll want (if you enjoy them) to have big crisp, cool salads when you wish. And make them special with strips of ham, turkey, or chicken. Add some crisp bacon. Perhaps some diced hard boiled egg. Even toasted almonds. Choose Ranch, Bleu Cheese, or Italian dressings to start and pick ones that don't list "high fructose corn syrup" on the labels. Your chosen dressing should have no more than 3 carbs per serving (and preferably less.)
Think about keeping chicken salad, tuna salad, ham salad, and egg salads on hand and ready to eat. (Be careful of commercial and deli versions of these as they often contain sugars and fillers.) Make up batches of cheese chips. (Here's a quick "reprint" of the method for making them):
Take the square slices of Kraft Swiss Cheese (the ones that are "real" swiss — (See reference photo) — and cut or tear each in quarters. I take a round of parchment paper and arrange the cheese squares in a circle about 1 1/2 inches from the edge of the paper - using 6 little squares in all. In my microwave, exactly 2 minutes makes these perfectly crisp and lacy, about the size of a large potato chip (they become round) and no browning or hot spots at all. I do a large batch of them and place them in a Ziploc bag. They become my "potato chips" for the week and are great with Dean's French Onion Dip (or any LC dip!) I also did a batch by sprinkling Coney Island Chili seasonings on before microwaving, and they came out just like Chili Cheese Chips! A bag of these are great to take to a movie.
Do NOT try to make these on waxed paper. They'll make a terrible mess. Parchment works best, but I've been told the shiny side of commercial freezer paper (deli/butcher shop type) works well too.
Basically, keep a bounty of very low-carb favorites nearby so you're never tempted to reach for something questionable.
4) DRINK YOUR WATER:
Whatever plan you choose, water is of great importance. See our previous article to learn why.
5) PLAN AHEAD:
We all have days where the usual routine can't be adhered to. Perhaps an "average" day for you is breakfast at home, a packed lunch at work, and dinner at home. But what if your day calls for you to attend an office party or luncheon where a pre-arranged menu will be served? Or you're attending a Wedding reception? Or a holiday party? The key to survival in these situations is planning ahead. Wherever possible, the host needs to understand your dietary restrictions. Don't feel shy or embarrassed about expressing them. Anyone that could not tolerate peanuts, or eggs, or gluten, or wheat would not hesitate to say so. So be assertive yet friendly and warm and you'll see how quickly people will WANT to be sensitive to your needs. Offer to bring something. A low-carb dish or two that even non-lowcarbers would want can be very welcome (especially since most functions inspire other attendees to bring desserts!) Bring a salad, or a plate of deli meats. Bring deviled eggs. Bring a relish tray, or some seafood.
If it's not the sort of function that people can bring dishes to, you have two options — pick and chose what you eat and don't be shy about avoiding what's off your list. Or eat ahead of time and simply attend for the social value. If you must, take some food and move it around your plate a bit. It can work wonders to appear you're nibbling. Just remember to plan. Being unprepared when a situation arises is the number one reason people fail.
6) BE GOOD TO YOURSELF:
It's all about perception. Always remind yourself that you DESERVE this great treatment, rather than focusing on what you've "given up" and feeling you're being punished. When you do well, reward yourself with something a slimmer you would have or would do. A trip, some new clothes, jewelry, a concert, a movie. Just never let the reward be food of any sort.
7) AVOID TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS:
If someone in your life fails to support your new choices and indeed attempts to sabotage you, they are not what you need to succeed.
See more about this here.
8) DON'T RELY ON "SPECIALTY FOODS":
They are a great adjunct to low-carbing and can be very useful in cooking and for occasional snacks, but they cannot and should not make up the core of your diet. Whatever plan you follow, your diet should be based on good protein rich meats, fish, and fowl; fresh lowcarb (non starchy) vegetables, and some measure of whole grains or other fibers. Depending on your plan, you might also include nuts (especially macadamias and almonds), dairy products, and a limited amount of low-sugar fruits (berries, melons, peaches, etc.)
The "extras" like potato substitutes, low carb breads, etc should be added only after the first two weeks. And remember, they are extras, not the core of your dietary plan. Some of the specialty items (like bars, candies, etc.) are not tolerated by all. Some can eat them and still lose, but they can be stall-triggers for others. So add them in judiciously, and see if you can handle them. Do NOT try starting a low-carb plan with eating protein and snack bars, shakes, candies, crackers, etc from the first day. Get your body used to eating a basic, healthy diet.
9) GET SUPPORT:
Almost any task is more difficult when we go it alone. The ideal course is when two best friends, a married couple, or two coworkers, etc. undertake this together. The support is there and in person. Tasks like making dishes and trying new recipes can be shared. But even if you have no on in-person to take on this new lifestyle with, at least get support from our online community. Some prefer chats, others like newsgroups, and some just like reading other's experiences and tips at websites. It's all out there.
Don't go this alone.
10) SEE NUMBER ONE:
Really. Don't try and do this by reading what you can online. As I just mentioned, there are great tips and support out there. We hope our site is one of them. But they are no substitute for having your ACTUAL Plan to refer to. You're worth the $5 for the book. This is your life.
Good luck! A new life awaits you.
Low Carb Connoisseur Gets a Fall Facelift!
Below are some of our favorites of the recipes sent to us by visitors. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
Sausage Egg Muffins
Caramel Bavarian Creme
Lemon Chiffon Pie
Hens with Pistachio Butter
Crunchy Bacon Coleslaw
When your legs fall asleep...
Since low-carbing, I have lost 90 pounds and for the most part I feel terrific, but one thing bothers me and I just have to ask. Since losing the weight, my body parts (especially my legs and my posterior) "fall asleep" far more often than they used to. Is this a known effect of low carbing? Is it due to the weight loss? Or is it something else?
Thanks for any help you can offer.
Dear Shirley —
First, when anything out of the ordinary exhibits itself physically, it's a good idea to check it out with your doctor to be on the safe side, so that's my first advice.
However, we actually have heard this a number of times.
It's not how you lost the weight, but the fact that you did lose the weight. Since you are now down to a petite 111 lbs, you don't have much "cushioning" between your bones and your nerves. So you might be experiencing "the pinch" — especially if your job involves being in a single position for long periods. From computer workers to truck drivers, this can be a problem. Here's why...
Let's look at why parts of our bodies "fall asleep":
Sometimes due to long hours of sitting in a particular position, when we try to get up from that position we feel sudden lifelessness in one of our legs. We say that our leg has "fallen asleep". This lifeless sensation we feel is due to nerves that come under pressure.
Your stationery position exerted pressure on the nerves, which squeezed them and, thus, inhibited the messages the nerves carry to the brain and to the rest of the body. This also squeezes the blood vessels and therefore the oxygen normally carried to the nerves by these vessels never for different organs of the body never reach them.
The nerves themselves are comprised of bundles of single-cell fibers, with each fiber conveying a different sensation to the brain. These fibers vary in thickness and in the amounts of "myelin" — a protective sheath that surrounds them.
These two variables are responsible for determining the sensitivity of the nerve fiber to pressure and to oxygen deprivation. As a general rule, the thicker the fiber, and the larger the myelin sheath, the more sensitive it is.
When one removes the pressure on the nerves and on the blood vessels, (in this case by getting up), the nerve fibers awaken in order of their thickness and the amount of myelin in their sheaths. Hence, the thickest and most protected ones awaken last. It is this gradual awakening process of the nerves and blood vessels which causes the different sensations we experience as the affected body part returns to its functional state.
The first sensation we experience is a tingling sensation, followed by a burning sensation, as the fibers that control pain and temperature begin to once again function and are again able to transmit messages to the brain. After some time other fibers also "wake up" as the pressure is minimized, and we once again feel the sensations back in our legs.
Have your doctor make sure you have no circulatory or other problems, but otherwise, it's nothing to worry about, and can be fixed by moving positions more frequently and perhaps using a cushion for sitting.
And congratulations on losing that ninety pounds! Yeah!!
Thanks for all your letters, everyone! I get hundreds of letters each week and try to answer as many as I can.
Thanks for reading! Keep your suggestions and questions
coming in — we always want to hear from you! Remember, we
can't address every request and query, but the ones we hear
about the most or offer the greater potential to help others
will surely make their way here.|
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