First of all, before I start, I want to make clear than after being a ‘low-carber’ for awhile, I now take exception to the term ‘low-carb’. I now think that a sustainable diet that keeps you healthy is naturally low in sugar, refined carbohydrates (especially grain derived sources), processed foods, and other junk foods.
Likewise, a healthy diet is naturally high in nutrient dense whole foods that are minimally processed. And as far as I am concerned, it’s really a no brainer. And looking at through the lens of what we know about human diets as a whole, even though there can be variability, which is sometimes significant, a healthy diet pretty much encompasses all these things I have mentioned wherever (and whenever) you go.
Whereas, the default diet of industrial societies is a high-carb,high industrially processed fat, high- general crap diet that has no shelf-life. Though this diet is calorically dense, and wards off starvation pretty effectively, there is a very dark side to the deal as it almost universally causes chronic illnesses, or what are otherwise known as diseases of a modern, industrial world.
A real diet, though, like The Man Diet, is a normal carb, normal fat, and normal protein diet. That’s why we actually call it ‘eating’ instead of poisoning yourself slowly…
But, okay, I get it…you are a newbie, and you are on a low-carb diet now. I commend you for realizing that this is important, but to really get past the hump, and make it really work, you have to continually ask yourself are you doing it right, or are you making the same mistakes that others do and eventually give up ‘low-carbing’?
Here is a list I have made…(Please note: many of these my own mistakes!)
- Do you think calories actually do not count at all? Because you are going to be in for a sad realization over the long term. They do count and eating a lot of them, no matter what they are, is not a good thing because your body has to process them one way or another. The simple fact is there is a metabolic consequence to all of your gastronomic choices. Yes, carbs (especially those which are refined and are easily consumed in large amounts) are unique because they are metabolically active, but you simply can’t engorge on foods because they are low-carb. This doesn’t makes sense–even for a skinny overeater. The whole point of a low-carb diet is eating nutrient dense foods, which are filled with protein and fat and the proper micronutrients to help keep you satisfied, and have all your organs communicating with each other in a harmonious way which keeps your metabolism humming along. So don’t engorge, even if these are low-carb foods–meaning do not engorge yourself on nuts, do not engorge yourself on cheese, do not engorge yourself on cream, and heavy dairy. Simply put, you have a brain, and you have judgment. Use it. And it also helps to drink some water and to wait a little while for the food to hit your stomach.
- Are you relying too heavily on sugar-free products? Sure you have a low-carb diet, but are 12 diet cokes really healthy? C’mon this one is easy…
- Are you getting fooled by the net carb thing? Sure we all like to have sweets and bars and treats and every once in awhile, and people like to have pasta, but all that fancy math is kinda tricky. Does this food, which usually has 30 carbs in it, really only have 5? Why does it taste so good then? Probably because it actually has a lot of carbs in it! Don’t get fooled by net, total, impact, etc… In my experience, just counting the carbs and not doing any fancy math probably is the best way to go about it. Whenever you read something that is sugar free be highly suspicous. They are very few things that are really sugar free in reality, although they may be sugar free in theory.
- Are you chewing a ton of gum, sucking on sugar-free breath mints? they have sugar in those things and those are probably upsetting your hormonal balance making you more and more hungry. Chewing on gum stimulates the GI track among other things. It is probably not a good way to lose weight over the long term.
- Are you relying a lot on caffeine to keep awake and kill the hunger pangs? Caffeine definitely is an appetite suppressant in a short-term, but it can stimulate your sympathetic nervous system and make you hungry and agitated in the long term screwing up your appetite. If you like coffee in the morning go for, but do not use coffee to kill all your appetite urges and certainly do not use powder drinks that are sugar free because they have much more caffeine and other stuff in there which may mess up your appetite even more.
- Are you really staying low-carb? You know in some ways staying low carb is like being pregnant, you either a low carb or you are not. Its like being in a marriage, you cannot cheat on your wife every once in a while and expect to have a generally healthy relationship, that’s kind of how it is to be quite honest with you. You are either in it or you are not and that is the fact. If one day a week you are engorging yourself on sweets and carbs, you are setting your system back. Your body responds to all the stimuli and you cannot fool it so easily that is the mode and the most important thing. If you are going to be on low carb, stay low carb and you may experiment with certain foods to reintroduce them back into your diet, but the fact is some foods are gone forever and you know what, that is okay because there are plenty of foods left that you would like to eat and enjoy.
- Are you really bored or is it really simply that you are craving carbohydrates? That is so important to understand because carbohydrates are powerfully addictive to some people, especially to those who are obese and really trying to lose weight. Things like baked goods have a place in our brain that makes us feel all warm and nice and fuzzy inside because they are usually images of mom making baked goods or having a cake at a birthday party or enjoying a muffin on your way to work or having a big meal and having a wonderful piece of cake afterwards. If you say you are bored with eggs and you cannot deal with eggs anymore and I am going to cheat this one time and have pancakes, find out if you really are bored or you really simply are addicted to carbohydrates. Here is the thing: You can be creative and you should be creative. Being creative can be tasty too (buckwheat pancakes with sour cream and berries, for instance)
Remember work and effort are important, but they are not goals in themselves. If you are suffering or struggling, you need to change your work and effort to meet your goals with less pain, and not more. The key to doing this, I feel, is really being creative, which takes communication, imagination, inspiration, curiosity, honesty, and a good community between others trying to reach the same goal.
Creativity is really a key here, and most diet plans don’t really talk about this as an important aspect of succeeding at a diet, but it is. You deserve to be creative because what you are doing is creating a new life for yourself, creating a new life for your family, creating a new life for the ones you love.
You are a part of creation and you deserve to be a part of this process and not be a passive player subject only to your desires, whims and means. It is important to know yourself and not trick yourself and it is important to understand where you have made your mistakes so you can make yourself better.
You can do this.
That is what we always say on The Man Diet. You really can.