The Low Carb Luxury Online Magazine 

    August 22, 2003    PAGE FOUR      
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Atkins Crunchers


          Keeping Obstacles from Becoming Roadblocks: by Jo Cordi Sica

                                   "The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."
                                                                              Thomas Paine

I envy those people who have a rapid, smooth journey to goal. Mind you, I don’t begrudge them their success, but clearly, I am envious. In reading thousands of posts on various LC forums over the last seven months, I know that most of us have a very different journey. From what I’ve read and heard, many of us are on a ride that is slow and often fraught with obstacles. I have stated before that my own journey is so slow that turtles pass me by at what looks like, from my perspective, lightning speed. My hope is that others who are traveling along with me in the slow lane will feel some comfort in knowing that you are certainly not alone.

The most common hurdles we face include overindulgence, slow metabolism, hidden carbs, and medication. While we may not be able to completely remove these barriers, there are some tactics that will help overcome them and at least make dealing with them a little less frustrating.

For some, overindulgence can be caused by anxiety, frustration, or other triggers. For others, it may be a conscious choice to deviate from their eating plan. Whatever the case, the key is to eliminate or control the triggers and get back on track as quickly as possible. In seven months of following Dr. Atkins plan, I have never knowingly eaten anything other than acceptable foods. Nonetheless, I have on many occasions overindulged in acceptable foods. Unfortunately, the “luxury” of low carb is that acceptable foods taste good. I have a much more difficult time leaving food on the plate or skipping that second helping when I enjoy the food. There is a positive, but difficult, lesson for me to learn here; it is okay to leave something good on the plate because every day will have delicious and satisfying choices. For me, this is a totally different mindset. I remember the last “diet” I was on. I was so sick of iceberg lettuce with dry chicken breast and one teaspoon of tasteless low-fat dressing, that I decided to “just starve myself” until I got thin enough to “eat normal” again. That starve and binge mentality not only kept me yo-yoing for years; it also caused another obstacle — damaged metabolism.

If I believed in reincarnation, I’d be offering sacrifices to the gods to bring me back with a metabolism that burned calories like my 1976 Chrysler Cordoba burned premium gasoline. Unfortunately, I think this is the only shot I have, so I have to make the best of it. I have to accept that I will never be able to eat like my darling husband who, soaking-wet weighs 165 pounds, and, while I am typing this article just inhaled an entire box of Dingdongs. Typically, men gain slower and lose faster. Then again, I have women friends who can eat two or three complete entrees at dinner and never gain an ounce. We are all different and some of us just have to accept that we will lose at a much slower pace and resist the urge to compare ourselves to others.

Probably the most irritating hurdle I face is that of hidden carbs. This demon is often unpredictable and sneaks up without warning. Sometimes the carbs sneak in because I get comfortable and stop tracking my food which leads to eating more carbs than I realize. Other times, it has been a low carb specialty food with a misleading label. Then again, there are often unpleasant surprises in food purchased in restaurants or made by others. Just this past weekend, while attending a conference in Orlando, I ordered a breve (made with cream) latte, easy on the cream. One sip and I knew it had been made with milk – skim milk! When I returned to the counter to ask for a replacement, I was informed that they were out of cream. I suppose that to the person making the drink, it wasn’t a big deal. For me, however; it was a very big deal! My remedy for hidden carbs is a periodic “random audit” on my food. Some people are comfortable journaling their food every day and counting carbs and calories and fat and protein grams. I have tried this and it doesn’t work for me. I feel too obsessive about eating when I do that, so for me, it is counter-productive. I will pick a day (usually my worst of the week) and calculate the totals. If I discover that I am over my limits, I spend a few days being careful to count again so that I don’t stray too far. When I eat out, I ask questions about how the food is prepared, and even then, I carefully take one small bite to see if I detect anything questionable. I have also accepted that there may be times when I will eat something off plan, albeit unintentionally. That’s life.

Medication is probably the most challenging of all the known impediments to weight loss. Often, over time, a low carb lifestyle will result in being able to lower or eliminate some medications. (Do this only with permission from, and careful monitoring by your physician!) In the meantime, your motivation will be improved if you focus on all of the benefits of this lifestyle other than weight loss. In fact, whatever your obstacle may be, shifting perspective a few degrees may help to lower your frustration.

Consider this travel guide for your own slightly bumpy journey:

Imagine the road to weight loss is a beautiful drive through the country. Take delight in all the simple wonders of this way of eating. Keep in mind that getting there faster is not necessarily better. I’ve been across the country several times. I know that if I fly, I can be there in about 4 hours, yet the most enjoyable trip was when I spent 3 days driving. There was so much along the way to marvel at and enjoy. Losing slowly can be a benefit all its own; such as having less of a problem with excess skin and taking the time to develop positive lifelong eating habits. We are not dieting, we are not deprived, and we have wonderful sources of support along the way. Simply put, don’t get so caught up in the destination that you forget to enjoy the journey. A line from an old Jim Croce song comes to mind “Driver, 95 was the route you were on; it was not the speed limit sign!” After all, this is not a contest; there is no prize for being the first to cross the goal line. Besides, when it comes right down to it, we are all trying to be LOSERS!

                  Jo Cordi Sica
                  SPHR Organizational Development and Training

Copyright © August 2003  Jo Cordi Sica and Low Carb Luxury

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