Rewind — This is a post I wrote nearly two years ago and after going back and reading it again I felt like it needed to be shared once again. It’s even more relevant to my situation today than it was at the time of the original post. Let me know your thoughts on it and your ideas you use to implement successful strategies into the low-carb nutritional lifestyle.
Willpower Doesn’t Work! Strategy Does!
First of all, eating low-carb means you don’t go around hungry all the time, unlike low-fat/low-cal. Matter of fact, eating to fullness is one of the keys to success of low-carb in contrast to calorie counting and portion control with so many other diets. I can say that, for me personally, the satiety factor was one of the most appealing points of the low-carb nutritional lifestyle. The one thing that stuck in my mind was when a friend who had been extremely successful with his low-carb weight loss told me, “this is the first diet I’ve ever done that hasn’t left me going around hungry all the time.”
Willpower, as related to dieting, implies that it is the power of one’s will that is the force used to resist eating restricted food and/or super-sized portions. Now most of us know just how strong our dieting will, or resolve, is until hunger is gnawing at your backbone and we are standing face-to-face with the forbidden fruit. It’s when that double chocolate donut is staring us down that we become weak-kneed and our will power goes out the window. I’ve experienced it dozens of times and so have you. And I am weary of the advice of the skinny folks who always get preachy with their “you just need to use a little willpower” line. Fact is, plain and simple, I don’t have any willpower when it comes to sugary, carb-laden treats.
So, what’s the answer? How do we win? If willpower doesn’t work, then what does?
Strategy, strategy, strategy! Just like in real estate it’s location, location, location. I can’t emphasize STRATEGY enough! It can’t be said enough and most of all it can’t be practiced enough. Strategy has helped me to win over many a donut. And strategy will help you to win over the foods that tempt you the most. So, what is this strategy thing Former Donut Junkie? I’m glad you asked.
First of all, you already have a low-carb plan. That plan is either Atkins, Protein Power, South Beach or some other flavor or variation of low-carb. The plan is basically the science behind what makes low-carb work accompanied by a “list of legal foods”. It’s imperative to know what foods are permissible if you are to succeed. And most of us have the “list” memorized just like we memorized our multiplication tables in elementary school. It’s not the “list” that’s the problem. It’s the “how-to” stick to that “list” that throws most of us a curve. Strategy is that “how-to”. You have a plan, now you need a strategy to implement that plan. Actually, we need several strategies. Let’s talk about a few.
Search & Destroy! The first strategy is to search your house for ALL the foods that are not on your “list of legal foods” and destroy them. Well, you could give them away. But the Search & Destroy just sounds a bit more militant and that’s what it’s going to take to win. At any rate, getting rid of ALL the tempting foods will remove them from your sight and you won’t need any willpower to resist them, cause they won’t be there to talk to ya!
Make a Grocery List! And stick to it! Don’t go to the grocery store just to “look around”, especially when you initially start low-carbing. In other words, you’re removing the temptation by not even looking at it. And if you haven’t noticed, on low-carb you will rarely ever go down the “inner aisles” of your super-market. You’ll be much healthier if you stick to the outer perimeter of the grocery store. Vegetables, meat and dairy — whole, real foods! Now isn’t that simple? And it’ll keep you out of a lot of trouble too.
Plan Ahead! OK, this is a big one! As a super-carber I was so used to just picking up whatever “food-like-substance” I wanted and shoving it down my throat — totally impulsive and emotional eating. That will NOT work with low-carb. You’ve got to PLAN! What I mean is that you’ve got to decide not only what you’re going to eat today, but for the next few days, so you can buy it and have it on hand. If it’s frozen, you need to lay it out to thaw. You’re trying to prevent going to the kitchen and looking around for “something” you can eat. Cook ahead of time. Have it prepared or have it ready to prepare. And you can even keep low-carb snacks on hand just in case you get caught in a situation where you need a little something to eat until you get your meal prepared. You get the idea.
Don’t Party Hungry! We all worry about what will be served in social situations — especially parties and dinners. Most of the time we have a pretty good idea if there will be enough low-carb food there to survive on. If I have the slightest inkling that there won’t be, I just simply eat before I go. I’d rather fill up on some good burgers or steak beforehand and not face the temptation of the sugary, carb-laden treats. It’s amazing how repulsive cake can look if you’re full of good low-carb food. And all the time, your friends will be going around wondering how you can have that kind of willpower. Secretly, you’ll know it’s not willpower at all…it’s strategy!
Get Some Support! It’s unlikely that you’ll find a lot of folks in your world who will celebrate your new low-carb nutritional lifestyle. What you will find is the world seems to be filled with naysayers. What to do? Join an online low-carb support forum. I don’t know of any better than Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low Carb Discussion. You’ll find it’s friendly atmosphere is only exceeded by all the helpful folks who will be more than happy to answer your questions, encourage and inspire you. I can’t say enough about the importance of this strategy that I have previously blogged about.
Conclusion. OK, there’s five strategies to get you started. There’s lots more that you can come up with on your own and I encourage you to do so. You’ll find that the more strategies you have, the easier is the road to success. Let me know in the comments below what strategies you use that have proven effective. I look forward to hearing from you.
There Really is Life Without Donuts!
Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie