Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Declaring War: A Simple Low Carb Strategy that Works

"Keeping it simple" with the low-carb lifestyle means no daily fussing over what to eat. I'm not talking about special occasions, where we have no control over planned menus (but there's a strategy for those times, too!). No, my subject is the every-day menu. It's no help to work ourselves into a tizzy, especially if we're just starting, dealing with a stall, fell off plan, etc. All we have to do is keep it simple.

The real secret is in those three little words. I have a few more to share (please take your pick which you like best!): Make it so. Just do it. Stay on plan. Kick the carbs.

Ok, so how to keep it simple? The answer features three easy tips to remember.

1) Eat clean.
Focus on real fats and proteins first, with a small helping of lc veggies for lunch and/or dinner. That means real foods, no lc or 'sugar free' snacks, whether store-bought or homemade, no sugar-free ice cream, and no nitrates, sulfates, or aspartame. An extra tip: For the first two weeks of low-carbing, totally avoid nutmeats. (Nutmeats are good for us, but it's very easy to over-indulge.)

2) Eat to satisfaction, not to the point of being stuffed.
If you're truly hungry between meals, eat a small protein snack with a full glass of cold water or with a cup of tea with half-n-half or real whipping cream, or brewed, natural green tea lemon. [Whatever you do, please avoid starving yourself - that sets up your metabolism for Starvation Mode. Ask me how I know.] Want a sweetener with your tea? Try natural stevia...there's a lot of scary news about aspartame out there (just search the Net!).

3.) Take your vitamins!
(For general ideas on what you will need, please see the sidebar for "Do You Know What Your Supplements Are?")

Due to my own experience, my honest opinion comes down to this: The 'simpler' we keep the menus, the 'easier' we hit our goals for health and fitness. If we get too wrapped up over 'what' we are going to eat for our daily meals, we might talk ourselves right out of our healthy resolutions. Sure, eating is meant to be enjoyable, but who says simple can't be good?

After all, we can save the lc treats for very special occasions - and I mean very special. After all, a treat is supposed to be a rare thing, not a regular indulgence.

Dr. Atkins once said 'just one bite' of a 'treat' is the kiss of death to everything so far accomplished. It can and probably will take one full week - yes, seven days - for our quirky metabolisms to get chugging again. Who needs the agony of self-recrimination? "I can't believe I ate the whole thing." Some people accept what happened, accept the consequences and get right back on track; others have a much more difficult time, falling into the same old traps repeatedly.

I have a simple solution for that one: Imagine a huge skull and cross bones on that 'treat' - and nip that temptation right in the proverbial bud. Then laugh at that stupid 'goodie' and think, "Hah! Lead me not into temptation" - and walk away. We are definitely strong enough to refuse the poison - and we're worth it, too!

Our real aim is proper nutrition to force our whacky metabolisms into working as they should, which means adequate calories (1200 being the absolute lowest for a woman, 1800 for a man), enough fat intake for the thyroid, enough protein to maintain the body's repair systems (so "Ye Olde Metabolism" won't dig into our own protein and muscle reserves, which is bad news), and a lot less carbs to force the metabolism to draw on its fat reserves.

After all, people, this is war! War against Syndrome X or Metabolic Syndrome or insulin resistance - different names for what is essentially the same metabolic issue. How we plan our lc menus greatly depends on how much we want to win all the battles. The direct, simple approach works beautifully. Even if one battle in the war is longer than we expected, we should have every intention of winning the whole war with flying colors, wild fanfare and lots of trumpets!

For those interested in 'keeping it simple,' I'm happy to share an example of today's menu (which is also quite appropriate for Atkins Induction):

B: 3 hb eggs, 2 slices of fried hard salami, 12 oz. black tea with 3 tbsp. half-n-half

L: 2 cups lettuce, 6 oz. chicken, 2 tbsp. cheddar cheese, 2 tbsp. real bacon bits, 1 condiment pkg of full-fat ranch dressing

D: Ditto lunch plus 1 slice baked bacon

Liquids for the day: 135 oz. water and 12 oz. tea with half-n-half. (Oh, and a few Sugar-Free Rockstars!)

Vitamins and Minerals: Micro-K (Potassium), Vitamin E, Vitamin B Plus (Super B's), Acetyl Carnitine, etc.

Calories 1693
Fat Grams 109
Carb Grams 15 total (not net)
Protein Grams 147

For the low-carb lifestyle, those are good numbers...they are not too low, not too high, but 'just right.' (Alright...Say goodnight, Goldilocks!) :>

1 comment:

swatkins said...

Hi Tawn,

I was just trying to check in with you and see if you are still blogging and LCing. I am still trying to head back down the scale, about 4 lbs from my all time low of 231...today is 235. I had an email a couple of weeks ago from Nancy Ridge aka as Doodle. She asked me about you and it has taken me nearly two weeks to find you. I marked this site so that I won't have that trouble again. I'm sorry we've lost touch, I still very much remember your lessons, and triumph in your spirit, enthusiasm for getting healthier. You inspired me then and still today does your memory of our times at Jimmys and KK. I hope you too are still battling the battle and not lax as we all have become in the past. The lax leads us back to the old ways. We all know what a danger that is. Happy Memorial Day to you and your family. If you get a chance contact me and I'll get you the contact information for Doodle.