Wow — I am so excited to have finally reached this milestone! Twelve weeks/three months of adherence to the Atkins plan after recommitting myself to the low-carb lifestyle in front of my “witnesses”, my mom and sister. It definitely feels great!
When I first started publishing these weekly updates as a way to hold myself accountable and hopefully inspire my blog readers seeking to lose weight, I shared how I’d once been wildly successful on the Atkins diet when a co-worker introduced me to it in 1999, and how I’d managed to maintain my new weight after shedding nearly 40 pounds, for a few years thereafter.
Then somewhere around 2003, following some trying personal and professional life events I fell off the low-carb wagon and back into some fattening (so to speak) sugar/bread/bad carb habits. So it wasn’t too shocking when before long I gained everything back and even put on a few extra. Hey, Atkins is a wonderful program but like any other diet, if you don’t adhere to its principles eventually you’ll find yourself right back where you started….or worse, with even more weight to lose. This time around I am determined to learn the lesson that no matter how challenging life may become, it’s imperative to control the things that are within my ability.
And that long list of items within our control includes choosing to eat the right foods, engaging in regular exercise, taking proper supplements (more on that in another post), drinking plenty of water daily (for me, a minimum of 64 oz per day) and maintaining a positive attitude. This is by no means all-inclusive, but you get the idea. Life comes at us fast and furious — a fusion of uplifting, exciting, joyful, sorrowful, stressful and tragic occurrences — or as someone once said, it’s the best of times and the worst of times all the time. As nice as it would be to compartmentalize, it just doesn’t work that way.
In terms of healthy weight management, the key is to refuse to allow anything that is within your control (attitude, e.g.) slip away and drive you further into the orbit of an accelerating cycle of bad eating eating habits where comfort foods like mashed potatoes, french fries and sugar-laden treats become a source of short-term consolation. Which really means they become a long-term contributing factor to your blue mood. Because when upsetting things happen, gaining weight and then beating yourself up mentally when you cannot zip up your favorite jeans will only make you feel 100 times worse. Been there, done that many, many times over.
Celebrating my brother Ralph's 50th in 2009.
Which reminds me: whether you’re still in weight-loss mode (as I am right now) or on maintenance it’s a guarantee that life — apparently indifferent to your dieting goals — will throw plenty of benign obstacles in your path as well. Otherwise known as special occasions and holidays, these events are almost always accompanied by decidedly high-carb, high-sugar villains like birthday cake, ice-cream and cocktails. It’s silly to think your social life is going to stop and wait until you reach your coveted goal of slipping into an itsy bitsy bikini just in time for beach season, or that you can become a hermit and avoid all exposure to (bad) carbohydrate-laden celebrations altogether. You want to lose weight, not cherished friendships and other important relationships.
So what’s a Low Carb Diva to do?
Plan ahead. Most of us get plenty of lead time for such festivities which means you can prepare yourself prior to the big event by limiting your digressions from the diet (come on, you know it’s going to happen once in a while) and planning exactly what will be worthy of cheating the day or night of the big soiree. For example, if you’re headed to a surprise birthday party where they’ll be serving your favorite double-chocolate cake with raspberry filling, make that your ONLY non-low-carb choice and in all other food decisions stick to the plan. Or if you’re really dying for a specialty drink, have one and skip the cake. And when you wake up the next day, get right back to it.
Important Caveat: DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP!
This is why you’re actually taking the time to plan your diet diversion…so it won’t derail you from success. If you’re going to mentally harass yourself for doing so, my advice would be to forego the cake or the drink altogether because it’s just not worth the aggravation. Trust me, I have more experience with this than I care to admit.
Finally, a few new food-related items worthy of mention. This week I did get around to trying a new Atkins product, which I highly recommend: Day Break Creamy Chocolate Shake. With chocolate, you can never be quite sure if it will make the transition to a dietetic version while maintaining a semblance of its authentically delicious taste but these shakes certainly do. Great for when you’re on the run and don’t have time to make eggs for breakfast, or just need a pick-me-up in between meals, they can be purchased online or at retail stores like Wal-Mart and/or grocery chains like Giant (both places tend to sell them at least $1 cheaper than anywhere else).
Also, thanks to my Low-Carb Diva buddy Lisa Brinks, I discovered how my morning coffee can become even more awesome by using heavy whipping cream (no carbs). Tried it the other day and I’m hooked! As if being able to use Half and Half wasn’t enough reason to be thankful….;).
So there you have it, this week’s Atkins update. If you’re thinking about starting or are already following the plan, I hope this was helpful. Let me know in the comments….and keep living and loving the low-carb lifestyle!