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    September 3, 2003    PAGE FIVE      
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Fannie May Sugar Free Pixies

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Daskalides Sugar Free Chocolate
 
      The Low Carb Good Life with Brenda Crump

                                      "A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer...
                                                                  it sings because it has a song."
                                                            
Maya Angelou

We're proud to feature "The Low Carb Good Life" by regular columnist Brenda Crump, who's also one of our smart and resourceful moderators at Talking Low Carb (our Low Carb Luxury Discussion Forums.) Brenda has found the keys to making low carb a true lifestyle, with proper nutrition at the heart of it all!



[ If you missed it, click here to read Part One. ]

In the last issue, we discussed the definition of a stall and some possible causes of stalls, such as too many carbs, too many calories, too few carbs, and too few calories. We also examined the importance of drinking plenty of plain water, not only for good health but for weight loss as well.

There are other possible explanations for a lack of progress in your weight loss efforts. Letís take a closer look and see if any of these issues might be a problem for you.

"Treat or Trick?"

The popularity of low carbing has brought with it the blessing of commercially prepared and easily obtainable low carb desserts, breads, muffins, pizza crusts, candies and ice creams. There is probably a low carb substitute available for almost every high carb food that you used to enjoy. This can make sticking to a low carb plan much easier because the feeling of deprivation that frequently goes along with "dieting" is eased by these foods.

However, enjoying all of these goodies can actually make losing weight much more difficult. Why? Because these treats are so similar to the very foods that caused us to lose control, overindulge and gain weight in the first place. Part of making low carb eating a way of life, instead of just a weight loss plan, is breaking our old, unhealthy eating habits.

If, prior to low carbing, you binged on ice cream and candy and it contributed to your weight problem, you canít continue the binge behavior with a low carb substitute and expect to lose. Again, these foods may be lower in carbohydrates, but they are not calorie free or additive free and they donít make a healthy substitution for protein and vegetables.

Perhaps you are not in the habit of binge eating and you can stop with just one serving of these treats. But just how frequently are you enjoying them?

Take another look at your daily menu. If it includes a serving of sugar free gummy worms as a mid-morning snack, a sugar free chocolate bar as a mid-afternoon snack and a bowl of "no sugar added" ice cream as an after dinner dessert, you have just found the key to ending your stall. Itís time to eliminate those treats.

If you are saying to yourself, "But I canít do this unless I have my chocolate every day!" then you may be resigning yourself to weeks or months of frustration. What is your goal? To attain a healthy weight and a healthy body or to stay at a weight youíre unhappy with while enjoying chocolate every day? Go back to eating the simple foods that helped you get this far in your weight loss journey — meats, vegetables, eggs, healthy fats and maybe some seeds, nuts and berries. Enjoy the low carb "treats" only very occasionally.

"Move it and lose it"

Because the initial stages of a low carb diet often work very quickly and very well without exercise, some may conclude that exercise is unnecessary. Those of us whoíve experienced a true stall will reach a different conclusion. Exercise isnít optional on a low carb plan. Itís a "must".

Low carbing has the wonderful advantage of allowing us to eat full-fat mayonnaise and salad dressings and juicy steaks but it cannot negate the basic principle that you must burn more calories than you consume in order to lose weight. If you have not been exercising regularly, you may find that starting an exercise program at this point in your weight loss journey will break your stall within a few weeks.

If you have been exercising regularly, you may find that adding an additional workout session to your week, adding intensity to your current workout or changing up your normal routine will be an effective stall-breaker. Itís important to include strength training in your routine because a body with more lean muscle mass will burn calories at a higher rate, even at rest, than a body of the same weight but with a higher percentage of fat. So pump some iron and build up those muscles!

Iím sure that some of you are thinking, "But I donít have time to exercise!" I have said this myself many times over the years. The truth is that we make time for the things that are important to us. Learning to love exercise takes time and practice. Once you start and you begin to see the number on the scale moving downward again, and the incredible changes in your body and you realize that you are breathing better and walking taller and you feel great... youíll be hooked. Youíll wonder why you waited so long to get moving.

"I Did It My Way"

Most low carb plans allow for some flexibility in your food choices, especially as you move past the initial stages. Experimentation is a wonderful tool because it allows you to discover new foods and it prevents you from becoming bored.

However, if you arenít careful, experimentation can turn into total deviation from whatever plan youíre following. Over time you can even convince yourself that you are the exception to the rules of your plan. Because youíre the exception, you can eat unlimited quantities of fruit or have "free" weekends when you donít even try to eat low carb foods. But if youíve stalled in your weight loss — you arenít an exception. Refresh your memory and renew your commitment by rereading the book that got you started on your low carb journey in the first place. You may be surprised to find that each time you read the material, you learn something new and feel energized and ready to get back on track.

Stalling can be very discouraging — I know from personal experience. After successfully losing 33 pounds, I remained at the same weight for five long months. Iím embarrassed to say now that it took me THAT LONG to realize that I could not enjoy a slice (or two) of sugar free cheesecake with whipped heavy cream every single night after dinner, and still lose weight. I felt quite perturbed when I realized that despite the fact that cheesecake is not only low carb, itís also allowed on my plan — I couldnít have it daily and still lose weight.

Looking back, it certainly wasnít very realistic of me to think that I could have dessert every single day and continue to lose. During this same period of time, I came to the reluctant realization that exercise was going to have to be part of my weight loss plan. I knew that the best type of exercise for me was something in a class environment — I am not really self-motivated when it comes to workouts. So, I joined a gym and chose classes at times that worked well with my schedule and I showed up faithfully for every class. Now I canít imagine a life that doesnít include regular workouts.

After making these two rather momentous changes (giving up that cheesecake was really, really hard) I not only broke my weight loss stall but I went on to lose the 23 pounds necessary to reach my goal in a matter of three months.

As frustrated as you may feel when you arenít losing, you need to remember to never give up. Giving up and going back to a high carb way of life is the best way to ensure that you will never see your goal weight. You can make a low carb plan work for you. It may require some changes that are difficult to make, but they will not be impossible to live with.

Once youíve made a change, be patient and give it a couple of weeks to make a difference. Please donít assume that because you didnít have your sugar free gummy worms on Tuesday that the scale will reflect your sacrifice with a three pound loss Wednesday morning. Each of the changes that you make are steps on the path to turning your "diet" into a way of life. The longer it takes, the more deeply ingrained your new, healthier habits will be. And the more likely it will be that youíll not only achieve your weight loss goal, but youíll maintain that loss for the rest of your life. And thatís way better than cheesecake!

Copyright © September 2003  Brenda Crump and Low Carb Luxury

                                                                             Brenda





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