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    November 7, 2003    PAGE THREE      
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                  Dieting Frustration by Lora Ruffner

                                                      "Praise does wonders for the sense of hearing."
                                                                   Anonymous


As Fall sets in and the realization of holiday stress about to come hits us, we always get more letters that deal with the frustration of dieting when an expected level of success is not immediately seen. Here's one such letter, and some advice I hope many of you can use.


Dear Lora,

I'm feeling really frustrated with my diet. I started low-carb about 3 weeks ago and have stayed FAITHFUL to induction for this long... No bread; no pasta; no rice; no potatoes; no nothing other than salad and chicken or ham.

For breakfast I have a scrambled egg with cheese and maybe some bacon or ham in it and sometimes I fix up some tuna with just tuna and mayo.

I expected to lose quite a bit in the first few weeks, but I haven't. I lost 8 lbs then a few days later I'd lost 2 lbs now a few days after that I've GAINED 3 lbs!! And I don't retain water hardly EVER so I don't think that's it... I'm almost to the point of forgetting it and going to the low-calorie diet.

I WANT to lose weight so badly but this doesn't seem to be working for me. Do you have any words of encouragement or any advice that might help me? I'm 25, 5'8 and weigh 273 lbs. I want desperately to lose about 120 of that. I just don't understand why Atkins isn't working. A friend of mine said that The Zone has worked for her. Do you know anything about that one or how well it works?

Sheri



Dear Sheri,

First, you have to leave your expectations at the door. Otherwise, you WILL be frustrated. Many people go into this seeing that some drop 20+ pounds in a few weeks and think they will too. Your loss rate is not dissimilar to mine when I started. And I lost well over 100 lbs.

Forget the 3 pound gain... if you are not cheating and your sticks are purple (you didn't say if you are using them), the 3 pounds will disappear. Everyone has fluctuations like this... often more in the first 2 months of low carb than any other time. It will right itself. Your body is making adjustments. It's not 3 lbs of fat, I assure you.

So in reality, you've probably lost 10 pounds in 3 weeks. That's not bad at all. At that rate, you could lose 100 pounds in a little more than 6 months. You won't of course, as it will slow, and you'll encounter stalls, but it's a good guidepost to help you see the forest for the trees. The day we stand there looking down on those numbers on the scale, that's all we see. The future and the long term seem like blurry concepts. Those "damned" numbers are your reality at that moment.

If you continue, you WILL succeed. I am positive. But there ARE some things you need to be doing:
  • Get some adequate fiber. If you want to stay at very low carb levels for the time being, that's fine, but eat a handful of almonds or macadamia nuts every day. And some celery sticks would be great too. Dip them in ranch if you like (but read the labels and do NOT use one that contains High Fructose Corn Syrup... it will stall you MUCH faster than plain sugar.) When your weight loss becomes more regular, please add some low carb veggies back into your daily plan. Especially those like broccoli, spinach, and cauliflower.

  • Take your supplements. Take a good multivitamin WITHOUT iron. I take 2 One a Day "Antioxidant Formula" pills each day. Also take Acetyl L-Carnitine, and CoEnzyme Q-10 (at least 75mg) each day. Since you're eating so little veggies, I suggest taking Vitamins C & E as well.

  • Drink your water. 64 oz a day. No exceptions. Soda doesn't count. Tea doesn't count.

  • Avoid Aspartame. It slows weight loss in MANY low carbers (me included.) If you want a soft drink, select one sweetened with Splenda.

  • Avoid trans fats (hydrogenated oils). Read labels. Don't use regular shortening, margarines, "vegetable" oil, or corn oils. Choose oils like walnut, macadamia, almond, peanut, or light olive oil. Trans fats deposit themselves with your other lipids but defy breaking back down. They'll keep you fat.

  • Remember to breathe... Really. Take 5 minutes each morning and evening to be aware of your breathing and make it regular and deep. The extra oxygenation not only keeps you relaxed, but helps burn fat.

  • During the first phase of weight loss, do NOT eat items that contain sugar alcohols (maltitol, lactitol, sorbitol, etc.)

  • I know it's hard, but try not to weigh yourself more often than every 3 days. I know others say each week, but I don't think any of us have that much willpower.

  • Keep track of your calories for a week. You might be eating so little that your metabolism has slowed to adjust. You might also be eating too MANY calories. While calories matter far less to low carbers, they do still count. Shoot for between 1600 and 2000 calories a day. You shouldn't have to keep counting... it's just so you get a clear picture of how much (or how little) you're consuming.
That's it. And don't switch plans. I so often see people try a diet for a few weeks and when they don't lose fast enough, they move on to the next. It hurts their chances of success more each time they do that. Your body has to keep fighting, and soon it will hang on to every fat molecule for dear life.

I hope this helps, and that you'll continue. You need to be aware that this is an eating plan for life, and not a short-term diet. Make it something you love and can live with. Eating the same things day in and day out are not a good idea. Remember that Slim Fast slogan, "It's your life; feed it right"? They have the wrong food to be feeding it, but their catch phrase is a valid one. Low Carbers have a world of delicious foods that other dieters only dream of... and these ARE the foods to keep us trim and healthy. Take advantage of that. :)

                                                                             Lora
Copyright © November 2003  Lora Ruffner and Low Carb Luxury




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