In the two and a half years that I've been a soldier in Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution,
hardly a day goes by that I don't have the opportunity to talk to someone about the low
carb way of life. Even ordering food in a restaurant these days is likely to incite the
question, "oh are you on the Atkins diet?"
In fact, someone needs to get the Waffle House folks on the phone. Around here, I've
become the Jared of the Waffle House set and the waitresses have come to call my usual
order the "Atkins Special." That would be the cheesesteak omlet, with mushrooms, hold
the processed cheese, "on the side" (that's Waffle House lingo for no grits and no toast)
with an order of bacon. I've eaten there so often, I don't even have to order any more.
When I eat at a Waffle House other than my regular haunt, the simple act of ordering sparks
THE conversation, which leads to discussion of my 120 pound weight loss and pretty soon
the entire place is asking questions and treating me like a quasi-celebrity.
But, potentially lucrative endorsement contracts aside, it is interesting to watch people's
enthusiasm build as they start to feel hopeful that they, too, could lose weight on the Atkins
plan, and then wane when they realize what they have to give up, even if some of it is only
temporary. Countless times I've heard, "Oh, that is just too restrictive. I can't live without
bread, sugar, or insert favorite carb-laden food here." Now as far as I know, there have been
no reported cases of people dying from sugar or white flour deficiencies, so they aren't talking
about their physical lives when they say they can't "live" without it. It is more a quality of
life concern for people. As my sister (who happens to be overweight and resistant to low carb
eating) often says, "life is too short." In other words, she is saying that the quality of her
life will somehow be diminished if she cannot eat certain food items on a regular basis. That
would almost be funny if it wasn't so sad.
I believe one of the reasons I have been able to be successful on the Atkins plan this time is
because I stopped viewing it as restrictive. Remember how Doctor Atkins in his book kept
referring to how luxuriously one could eat on the plan? Right now, you are reading Low Carb
"Luxury" magazine. The name is appropriate, because the low carb lifestyle is not one of
deprivation, but of indulgence. Sure, there are some sacrifices and I won't lie and say
they were easy to make, but there is plenty to love about this way of eating. And, once I
made it through the first 14 days of induction, I felt free. And now, two and a half years
after my decision to live the low carb life, I am not only free of 120 pounds, but I am also...
- Free of physical cravings for foods that are bad for my health and lead to weight gain.
- Free from counting, weighing and measuring all my foods.
- Free to eat whenever I'm hungry without worry or self-judgment.
- Free of rationalizations. The answer to some questions is always no. It is just that simple.
- Free of the blood sugar dives that regularly plagued me.
- Free of the CPAP machine that I was tethered to nightly for two years because I was so obese
that my airway collapsed when I slept.
- Free of high blood pressure, debilitating fatigue, and depression.
- Free of self-loathing from diet failure.
- Free of the "moderation monster." You know him, he's the guy that tells you that you can eat
just one cookie.
- Free of fear that I'm going to gain all the weight back. Keeping it low carb guarantees my
- Free of shame due to my appearance.
- Free to do many of the things that were prohibitive due to my weight, including certain
sports, rides at the amusement park, etc...
Honestly, the list could go on and on?
Copyright © August 2005 LeAnne Thomas and Low Carb Luxury
When I look at the above list, I have to ask myself, would I give all that up for a donut? No way. But,
people do it every day. Why? I'm not going to attempt to answer that, because that is something that must
be answered from within the individual. Why is it that something as small and insignficant as a donut, a
yeast roll, or a slice of pecan pie can hold such power over us that we can't see the glaring price we
pay to have them in our lives? One may call the Atkins diet restrictive, but truly, isn't it more
restrictive and limiting to be overweight, unhealthy, and unhappy?
We all hold the keys to our personal prisons in our own hands. Personally, my prison was built of walls
of cereal, bread, sugar, and high glycemic foods, bound together with the mortar of rationalizations,
deal-making, and all the other games I played to convince myself that I COULD have all this AND still
lose weight. Now, in hindsight, I can see that the only thing standing in the way of my success was
my reluctance to let go of the idea that I could have my proverbial cake and eat it, too.
But, finally I did let go of that delusion. And in the end, that was the key that released me to a whole
new beautiful, exciting and hopeful world. I no longer feel deprived when I pass on dessert, because I
know it is not a simple food decision. Rather, it is conscious choice to remain free. I just turned
40 and have never felt healthier, happier or more at peace with myself. The world has opened up to me
in ways I never could have imagined, and I've never been more hopeful or optimistic about the
possibilities. They can have their sugar, because nothing is sweeter than the taste of freedom.
Will you choose freedom today?