Saturday, September 6, 2008

Why low-carb and not something else?

Why not just cut your calories?
Why not cut the fat from your diet?
Why not exercise more and eat less?
Why not allow yourself to have a little bit of everything, but do so in moderation?
Why not take a weight loss drug like Alli?

For that matter, why not go on the beet diet, the green bean diet, or the grapefruit diet?

These are questions you must consider before embarking on taking on a healthy low-carb lifestyle. Why? Because they are questions that will challenge your will along the way and they will jeopardize your progress and your health if you do not remain committed to your new lifestyle. If you don't buy it at first, it's okay, but trust me when I tell you that your long term success depends on your understanding of why this diet will help you lose more weight, maintain your weight loss, and stay healthier than other diets.

Let's talk about why you might follow some of the above diets:
  • You think that eating too many calories is responsible for your extra weight, thus cutting calories will help you lose weight.
  • Fat is bad for your health because it causes heart disease and it has lots of calories, therefore if you cut the fat, you'll lose weight.
  • You exercise more because if you burn more calories than you take in, you'll lose weight.
  • There's no such thing as a "bad" food as long as you don't eat too much.
I assume that like many others you have tried "dieting" and lost weight only to gain it back. Perhaps in the process, you've seen your health deteriorate in the form of diabetes, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol and other blood fats), fatigue, varicose veins, edema (swelling), joint pain, or back pain.

Think about why you failed on those other diets. I'm betting it was one of a couple main problems with "dieting".
  1. You made changes you couldn't stick with and gave up.
  2. You couldn't take the chronic hunger.
  3. You felt chronically tired and out of energy because your body didn't have enough fuel to run on.
  4. Social pressure made you feel like you couldn't enjoy the same things as other people or made you feel awkward when around other people.
  5. The diet was too complicated and you got tired of keeping track of things or measuring things all the time or these things contributed to reason #4.
  6. When you're asked to give up certain foods, which you relate to happiness, you're back to reason #1 or #4 and giving up on your diet.
Many of us, me included, have tried diets where we lost weight. I bet we're not all that different.
  1. We lost some or all of the weight and we eventually fell off the wagon for one of the above reasons.
  2. You know that if you can just get back to what worked before, you'll lose the weight again.
  3. When you do eventually get back to trying that diet, it doesn't work anymore or one of the above throws you off before you make any serious progress.
  4. Repeat, starting with step 2. Skip step 1.
Over the next couple posts, I'll talk about what makes a healthy low-carb lifestyle different from other diets you've tried and how it can help you overcome some of these obstacles. I'll also talk about some of the challenges you'll still face when you choose low-carb and how to ensure your long term success.

In the meantime, if you have any stories to share about your failure or success, or challenges you'd like to discuss, feel free to tell me about it in a comment or by email at


PS. Don't fear the fat!

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