By Julie W.
In my opinion and experience, the mindset of forbidden foods can be a ticket to disaster for many people. It can turn what needs to be a livable lifetime commitment to healthy eating into a power struggle of the mind. It can substitute variety and pleasure with the misconception it takes will power and total abstinence forever to succeed. It can be a set up for self imposed destructive labels such as "bad, blew it, start over, failed, and hopeless".
I remember a couple of years ago reading a tabloid reporting that Dr. Atkins had been seen eating a chocolate chip cookie in an airplane. Dr. Atkins? NO, not THE Dr. Atkins! Dr. Atkins was at goal when he ate that cookie. Did he have more than one cookie? No. Did he make a habit of having a cookie every day? No. I would venture to guess, it had probably been some time since he'd had one. Although, it awed me why, of all things, he chose an airline provided chocolate chip cookie.
I suggest everyone choose a low carb "plan" to follow in the beginning. You need to learn the basics of why low carb works and the mechanics of food choices affecting the body. It sure wouldn't hurt to get familiar with several of the low carb plan options and choose one that seems livable for you.
You will go through carb detox at first, with any low carb plan. You may have a few days of headache and a general unwell feeling while this happens, so expect it. Don't judge "doable" until you're a couple of weeks to a month into any program. If you then are having problems sticking your plan, you need to do some self-evaluation.
Most of us don't eat because we are physically hungry. Many times the reasons we turn to food need to be addressed. Many times it's the self-imposed deprivation that will lure us to cheat.
Ultimately, you need to design your eating plan around fresh meat and vegetables. Find what daily carb level works for you to allow variety and make your goal of total health, weight loss, and insulin control a reality. This, for many of us, can and does include many more choices than we allow ourselves to imagine.
Less is not more in a low carb lifestyle. It can actually backfire in a lot of cases. If you don't eat enough, your body can shut down its fat burning biologically to protect itself from famine. Limiting your food choices can lead to boredom and feeling deprived.
Additionally, it's possible that you could develop food intolerances by limiting yourself too much. I remember clearly a discussion on one of my lists where a member spoke of her doctor telling that having the same thing over and over and over could cause you to be come intolerant to it.
Make a mental note; keep a journal on how YOUR body reacts to your food choices. Do you become physically ill? Do you get bloated or swell? These things also, are a choice. If it happens when you eat (insert food), is it worth it to you to continue to eat it?
Low carb choices today are not what they were over three years ago when I began my journey. Low carb food is rich and satisfying and there is NO need to deprive yourself of options and variety. Focus first on fresh meat and vegetables, always. For variety, try new low carb adapted recipes. If YOU choose to, add some of the low carb products now and then.
Don't let someone else tell you that you can't enjoy some variety. One thing I've learned more than ANYTHING in three years on 150 plus low carb boards and groups is that NO two people are alike when it comes to what they can eat and still achieve their goals. The only KEY is to not abuse it, or to replace the nutrition of fresh meat and vegetables with nothing but treats and processed options. There can be a healthy balance, without setting yourself up for deprivation and self-sabotage because of boredom.
I enjoy low carb tacos once a week. My non-low carb family loves them also. When I do my weekly grocery run, I pick up an Endulge peanut butter cup and a pint of LeCarb ice cream for myself during the week. Just knowing I can have them, they are legal, and available takes the deprivation out of seeing others eat like foods. I don't abuse them or live exclusively ON them, compromising nutrition from fresh meat and vegetables. I try to switch and choose a couple of different low carb products each month without overdoing it. My blood work is also normal for the first time in my life, because I live low carb. I've also lost over 20 pounds in the last few months.
Don't freak out if you get something unknowingly that is "off plan" now and then. Many restaurants today spray their salad bars with starch mixtures or sugar water to preserve its freshness. Does that mean you should never go out and eat? Heavens no! You'll know if you react to it, realize what it was and just keep going. There is no long-term damage done to you or your journey. Don't USE it as an enabler to take a day off or binge with a "well I blew it anyway" attitude. Adapt the mindset "This is for life and I chose to live my life, not obsess over it". The ONLY way to fail is to QUIT!