"First say to yourself what you would be;
and then do what you have to do."
Like it or not, the new year is upon us. So for this issue, I thought
I'd write about something a little different — resolutions for eating.
For most of my adult life, I've resolved to take better care of myself at
the beginning of every year — specifically to lose weight and exercise more.
I broke this resolution throughout my teen years, and again throughout my
20's. Then I hit the big "Three–O." I was the heaviest I had ever been, and was
feeling like a very large bump on a very large log. I had never viewed my
weight as a "problem" before, but I came to the realization that I wasn't
going to live very long if I kept gaining weight. And that's a mighty big
I decided to do something to solve the problem. I had tried several "diets"
in the past, but I never stuck with them long enough to see any real results.
It was just too hard to stay on track. Then, at the beginning of 2003, I
started investigating the low carb way of eating. Eventually, I decided to
give it a shot.
It's been seven months since I started low carbing, and I've never felt
better. I've lost 50 pounds and have more energy than ever before. However,
I have a new dilemma. When I first started low carbing, I did everything by
the book. I followed the plan to the letter and quickly lost a lot of weight.
However, during these last couple of months, I've gotten lax in my low-carb
ways. I've been eating too much of the things I shouldn't be eating and,
therefore, the weight isn't coming off anymore (and I still have some losing
With this in mind, I propose...
I will eat more vegetables. I've never eaten more vegetables in my
life as I do now that I'm low carbing. However, that's not saying much.
Previous to low-carbing, in a good week, I would have eaten a serving of
vegetables two or three times. Now, I try to consume at least two or three
servings per day. But there are some days when I just feel too busy to make
a salad or steam some broccoli.
I think the main problem is lack of time. In
order for a salad to be exciting, I like lots of "stuff" in it — olives, cheese,
eggs, meat, hot peppers, etc. Rather than pulling all of these things out of
the refrigerator every night, I need to start making meals a few days in
advance. I used to do that all the time, but I've become a slacker. It's time
to get back into the swing of things and eat more of the "good" carbs!
My Resolution: Eat at least three servings of vegetables every day (by
preparing meals in advance.)
My Resolution: Drink at least 80 ounces of water every day (even on
I will drink more water. Most of us are guilty of not drinking enough
water. I'll be the first to admit that I don't drink enough water some days
(especially on the weekends.) No matter what low-carb plan you are on, water
consumption is a very important — not only for successful weight loss, but
also for overall health. Keep in mind that by the time you start to feel
thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. Here are a few tips that I'm
going to use this year to keep my body hydrated:
- Keep a daily journal of how much water I'm drinking.
- Set up a buddy system with another low carber (either online or
in-person) who will also keep track of their water consumption.
- Keep bottles of cold water around at work and at home so I can
grab one on the fly.
My Resolution: Try at least ten "new" meal ideas this year — even if I
didn't like them in the past. Maybe I'll even try liver this year —
something I haven't had since I was twelve years old. Maybe.
I will try "new" foods. One of the biggest benefits of low carb
eating is the wide variety of food choices. So why do we get stuck in a
rut and eat the same things day after day? Is the reason our crazy work
schedules? Or is it that we simply can't think of anything new to try?
Now that low carbing has become so popular, several cookbooks and Web
sites are available to give us new and exiting food preparation ideas.
Although I have no scientific proof, I believe that getting stuck in a
food rut may prevent some people from losing as much weight as they
could with more variation.
My Resolution: Eat no more than two meal replacements (bars or shakes)
I will eat less pre-made food. There are some great low carb
products on the market today. In fact, there are so many that it is easy
to become dependent on them. Although it beats eating carb-filled meals,
a shake for breakfast and a bar for lunch habitually isn't the healthiest
way to eat. Sure, it is fine in a pinch if you need to do it once in a while,
but not on a daily basis. After the holidays, I want to get back to basics.
I really love simple meals — omelettes, pot roast, grilled chicken, broiled
whitefish. Any of those meals beat the heck out of a shake or bar any
My Resolution: Read ALL labels when purchasing unfamiliar products —
regardless of the carb count.
I will read all food labels. Whether you eat low carb, low fat,
or low calorie, one thing that any "diet" will force you to do is read
labels. When I first started Atkins, I didn't understand that I should
be looking at the ingredient list rather than only the carb count. Yes,
I read the book (Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution.)
But to be honest,
grocery stores excite me. The minute I step foot into a grocery store
and see all the great things I can buy, I suffer from temporary insanity
and start grabbing things hastily. When I get home, I look at the
ingredients as I'm stocking my shelves, and that's when I realize that
some of the items have high fructose corn syrup in them (something I
refuse to eat.) Other items have too much sugar or other undesirable
ingredients in them. I either give in and eat these foods myself or
pawn them off on friends. And my friends are getting tired of eating
My Resolution: Eat no more than three servings of goodies containing
sugar alcohols per week.
I will eat fewer sugar alcohols. Some long-time low carbers
remember the days when no low carb sweets were available in stores. Now,
there are tons of great goodies available. For those with a sweet tooth,
sugar alcohols are all the rage today. Even though many people claim that
sugar alcohols are not digested and, therefore, should not be counted in
the effective carb count, I feel that moderation should be exercised when
choosing to eat them.
All of these resolutions sound reasonable to me. I know that I can succeed
with every one of them. And what good is a resolution if you can't stick
Happy New Year!
Copyright © January 2004 Jarret Hughes and Low Carb Luxury
Title photo Copyright © 2004 Neil Beaty and Low Carb Luxury