The Low Carb Luxury Newsletter: 
Volume III / Number 18: September 27, 2002: Page 3
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 Advice Lady         
A well-known low-carber in the community answers your questions about everything from nutrition to family issues, stress, and heck — even your love life. She's been the "go to gal" for awhile now when people need a little advice. And who is she? Well, we're not telling. She remains anonymous so that she can better give very frank advice. She doesn't pull any punches. You can remain anonymous too if you want — Just think "Dear Abby" — you know, signing off like "Harried in the Workplace" or "Desperate for Carbs in Detroit". Send in your question to The Advice Lady at

Judy's Sugar Free Peanut Brittle Dear Advice Lady,
I have been doing the low carb diet now for almost a year. In January, after doing the low carb diet, I felt that I was seeing no progress, so I began the Atkins induction diet. I stayed very strict for almost three months staying under 20 carbs a day. I was very careful in my weighing and measuring and did lose approximately 10 pounds.

I then stayed fairly low — usually under 30 carbs a day and added the low carb muffin 4.5 carbs (homemade) for breakfast, rather than the protein I had been eating on the Induction, as I find I just can't tolerate too much protein first thing in the morning. Or I will have 1/2 cup of our Olympia Yogurt which is only 3 carbs, before the 7 carb allowance is taken off and 1 ounce of usually blueberries with Splenda. Total about 5 carbs. For lunch I usually have some form of protein ie: tuna, ham, cheese, maybe add a tomato or salad, once in a while the Atkins bar. For supper I have 6 ounces of protein. Usually the only vegetable I have is cabbage, green beans, cucumbers, cauliflower (mock potatoes), a few almonds or peanuts in my cabbage salad, with Italian salad dressing, and then fruit with Splenda as my dessert. Once in awhile for a treat, I will have either the Atkins Bar — total 2 carbs; or a Low Carb Delite DARK chocolate bar for 1 carb.

I have done a combination of the above for almost 8 months now. I exercise, walking or the health spa 3 to 4 times per week, approximately 45 min. to 1 hour. Again I have done this exercise routine fairly faithfully for more than three years.

Using the FitDay Journaling and carb journaling, I usually am under 1000 calories per day, and burn over 3000 calories a day.

I have done the temperature testing Dr. Atkins suggested to see if there is a problem with my thyroid. My temperature is somewhat low around 96.9 to 97.5, however, my family doctor continually tells me my thyroid is perfectly normal and will not prescribe any type of thyroid medication.

I am 50 years old, 5 foot 2 inches, and weight 185 pounds. I was down to 175 just after the Induction period, however, as soon as I stopped the Induction the weight poured on again. To stay on Induction forever seems pretty extreme, and maybe not as healthly, as well as being very difficult to do.

I definitely feel better on the Atkins diet, no heartburn or regurgitation I had previously experienced, no constipation for the first time ever in my life, and am otherwise very healthy. However, my frustration is high right now and I am not sure what the next step should be in trying to continue my weight loss program. I probably should mention, I have been on every diet out there over the past 25 years. I have always been on a diet of some type and have been fairly faithful with my exercising.

I realize you receive so many letters every day, but I hope that this will be one letter that might benefit from some of your advice.

Thanking you in advance.

Desperate in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Dear Desperate,

There are a few things you really don't say that might give us all some additional insight. In the meantime, I'll extrapolate on a few things. But first, even for those of us who experience stalls, or must narrow down things that can slow or stop our progress, it's still an amazing thing to hear from hundreds and hundreds of people how good they feel, how their health has improved, how heartburn is gone, etc. etc... It's definitely your body giving its seal of approval to this dietary plan!

Now, one thing I couldn't help but notice, is that it seems like you are probably eating far more carbs than you realize. You mention fruit at both breakfast and in the evening. Most people doing Atkins can handle the very low sugar fruits (berries, and melon mainly) two or three times a week; not twice a day. That alone could be stalling you. And your evening fruit... you don't say what that is. However, most of the time, when you're stalled, fruit is near the top of the list to cut out for the most part until you can go back to losing well.

You also mention bars and chocolate candies. You are counting the chocolate bars as 1 carb. I've never seen one yet that I'd truly count as only 1 carb. The chocolate alone should have more than that. Pick up a bar of totally UNSWEETENED chocolate (like for baking) in the store and check the label (keeping in mind that they probably list a serving as a tiny square, not a bar.) You should see it has more carbs than some low carb specialty bars claim to have. Then, be aware that many totally discount sugar alcohols (maltitol, etc) to NOTHING. Most of us have a very small blood glucose reaction to a moderate amount of them, but rarely do I see a person have NO reaction at all. If a bar has 20 grams of maltitol, I will count it as around 7 or so effective carbs on average for most people. Lora (our host here), does the same thing, and usually mentions her estimates in her reviews here of low carb candy.

You also mention that the fruit servings you have are with Splenda added. Now Splenda is a great sweetener, but are you adding up the carbs from it? Unless you have liquid Splenda, you are getting 24 carbs per cup. So if you have only 1/4 cup Splenda on each of those two servings of fruit, you're getting 12 carbs from the Splenda and more for the fruit.

You don't mention if you are drinking enough water each day — 64 oz minimum is the rule. It can be of tremendous help in getting that fat mobilized and out the door again!

Are you drinking diet sodas that contain aspartame? A lot of low carbers are sensitive to the aspartame and it causes an insulin reaction. I've seen it stall weight loss in a large number of people. Try a Splenda sweetened soda instead, or take the opportunity to drink more water.

Are you avoiding transfats? (Hydrogenated oils in shortenings, margarines, etc.) They can make your fat much harder to break down and use for fuel.

Lastly, it's possible that you might be one of those people that need to stay at induction all the way to maintanence. However, if you DO need to stay at induction longer term, it does NOT have to be nearly so boring as the routine you've been doing. And your diet seems woefully lacking in adequate fat. You must EAT fat to BURN fat.

Perhaps you're not eating enough calories PERIOD. As we mention often, if you eat too FEW calories, your body's metabolic rate slows and resists ANY weight loss from fear of starvation. If you're REALLY eating less than 1000 calories per day, yet burning 3000, you might have done just that. Try to keep calories at 1200 to 1500 minimum while you're remaining this active.

Lastly, take your supplements, and get plenty of sleep. Good luck!

                                                                             The Advice Lady

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