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The case for low carb

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

I'm losing slowly, but I haven't backtracked in nearly two years of low carb. And I'm adding exercise slowly enough that I'm getting stronger without causing myself any pain. That suits me fine. Losing weight and getting healthy shouldn't be painful, but they certainly are work. And that's different. As they say, you can either work harder or you can work smarter.

First, before anything else, your food needs to satiate you. Any way of eating that leaves you hungry, or craving certain foods, or worse, BOTH, is not sustainable. For the obese, that eliminates darn near every eating “plan” out there, ESPECIALLY moderation. Our respected professionals have been telling us the same dysfunctional information for decades and it's generally only making us fatter and sicker.

Still, there is an enormous amount of human genetic variation. Some people might successfully lose weight using ANY of those eating plans. But that is only so long as those people are willing to stay hungry. We're talking about “weight loss” plans, not “weight control” plans.

Surprisingly, though, it turns out that achieving satiety is actually really easy. Low carb makes your hunger go away. End of story. This is not merely anecdote or wishful thinking or marketing blather, it is science. Even some of the studies that are generally antagonistic to low carb lifestyles have to give them that point. A lot of people actually have trouble eating ENOUGH on a low carb plan. That single fact alone tells me that it is probably pretty close to nature's way.

Does that mean that just buying the latest low carb book, following it to the letter, and reaching your ideal weight will give you lifelong success? Absolutely not. Does buying a new mop guarantee that your floors will be clean every day? Nope. You actually have to use the tools. You actually have to recreate yourself.

Most of the work of creation happens between your ears, though, so it can take years to get to the root of an eating disorder or a lifetime of bad habits. Even in the absence of a true disorder, change comes hard. Just like quitting smoking, you need to systematically break every single association you had with your bad/negative habit. If you leave even one behind, untouched, you are vulnerable to regaining the weight, or restarting the smoking habit.

The most powerful thing I told myself when I was quitting smoking when I hit one of those associations and wanted to “cheat” was “Oh, you're just thinking about that thing you used to do. Don't worry about it, you don't do that anymore.” At first I said it every few minutes all day long. Eventually, I said it less and less until that one magic day when I went the entire day long without wanting a cigarette.

I think the same thing applies to eating. If you constantly remind yourself of everything you "can't have anymore" you're setting yourself up with a wall of negativity. But when you look at it as a logical choice - just something that "I don't do anymore" you reinforce your new positive habit with every repetition.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    That's a good point. I have been on a carb roller coaster this year. Last year did great this year forget it. My mindset changed. I'm glad I read this. It really hit home. Thank.
    1505 days ago
    Great blog! And so true! Thanks Woubbie! emoticon
    1570 days ago
    This blog is exactly what what I'm all about lately! Change is hard; I'm having trouble finding satiety "between the ears", and in re-creating a new, stronger me. I don't want to return to over-eating. I want to find better ways of coping. I shall adopt your mantra for as long as I need it! Thank you!
    1581 days ago
    I know I'm a little late but this is a great post! I do the same thing you do...when I see something that is usually tempting (warm fresh bread, ice cream, chips), I say to myself, "I don't eat that kind of stuff anymore." It is becoming second nature. And part of what makes it easier to say "I don't eat that" is the fact that I'm not starving to death and feeling deprived.
    1585 days ago
    Wow, I never thought of the power of saying "I can't" vs. I won't. I can't requires me to rebel. I won't requires me to decide. I have the power. Thanks.
    1586 days ago
    I continue to be impressed by the depth of study you've done on low-carb, health, attitude and so on. Thank you for sharing as you do and supporting others. You effort is really appreciated. You are truly a Spark friend. emoticon
    1600 days ago
    I've been low carbing for a month now and not one episode of hypoglycemia!
    1614 days ago
    This is my second time to read your Blog & again I find it insightful & helpful. It is so true that low-carb helps one to not feel hungry. I was very happy when I finally clued into that truth & took steps to go low carb for life.

    Thank you for sharing this infomation with us.

    I intend to copy & paste your Blog to a folder - where I can reread it as needed.

    God bless you with a wonderful day & coming weekend!
    1627 days ago
  • SUNSHINE5268
    Outstanding post emoticon I love my veggies and fruits :)
    1637 days ago
    So very well stated emoticon
    1643 days ago
    I'm with you. I don't follow anybody's "diet." I eat very low carb. I have both of Taubes's books and a couple of others, but I don't shop for low carb books anymore. I do follow a few blogs and podcasts, not because I'm looking for a new angle, but just to keep my head focused on sticking with my commitment and remembering why I made that commitment.

    I don't often have actual "cravings" anymore, but there are times when something like the smell of fresh bread can spark a serious temptation, and I have to use my brain to steer my mind away from that temptation. It ain't always easy, but it's always worthwhile.
    1646 days ago
    I love this blog Woubbie! It's so true. The work is really all in the mind.
    1647 days ago
    1649 days ago
    emoticon blog!! I agree completely with everything you said. I know I feel better not eating all of the carbs. I know I definitely don't eat as much as I did when I was eating so many carbs. The mop example was a great example! emoticon
    1649 days ago
    Great post emoticon
    1650 days ago
  • ADZY86
    Great blog! This line really got me:

    "Most of the work of creation happens between your ears, though, so it can take years to get to the root of an eating disorder or a lifetime of bad habits."

    Ah, how true that is! I 'discovered' the amazing-ness of low carbing 18 months ago...yes, I know the science now. Yes, I know the benefits. Yes, I know how amazing it makes me feel. BUT that's only half the battle. It takes time to break away from the bad habits, even when you have all the tools telling you that it's not worth it. Definitely still a work-in-progress on that one, but it's becoming less and less often. Progress, not perfection, eh?
    1650 days ago
    Amen!! Great post! Love "work harder or work smarter"! And yes it can be downright hard to eat enough some days. But the cravings gone............priceless!! emoticon emoticon
    1650 days ago
    Great blog! I love the mop example! No more fancy new mops for me emoticon I always feel better when I am being disciplined with my carbs. I feel mentally clearer, not hungry, and I have more energy. I keep thinking that I will fall in love with how I feel and then I really won't want to ruin my situation with bad carbs. The want comes from my devious, sugar addicted brain...because my body is not craving the sugar...my head wants it! I have many friends who have tried the low carb lifestyle and would never go back. The only regret...why we didn't all discover it sooner!!!

    1650 days ago
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