The Importance of a Low-Carb Support Network

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I recently read a post from the Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb [LLVLC] Discussion Forum by Suzanne, a veteran low-carber, that really got me to thinking about why ‘support’ and ‘community’ are so vital to the success of the low-carb nutritional lifestyle.

“One of the reasons I need to stay active on this board [LLVLC] is…  On these boards I am in the majority with my food choices and surrounded by people who support a low carb diet.  It gives me the confidence to go out into the real world and not give in to pressure from the rest of the world to eat like they do!”  ~~Suzanne from LLVLC

Wow!  When I read those words I realized that this statement is truly one of the keys to successful low-carbing, even though it’s rarely mentioned in all the ‘how-to’ low-carb books.  There’s all the talk about legal foods,  forbidden foods, what to eat, what not to eat, stall breaking tips, what supplements to take, ordering low carb from restaurants, low carb recipes, etc, etc, but the topic of how to gain the support and encouragement to make one’s new way of eating positively successful is still missing from most writings on the subjects.

This is really no fault of most LC writers, it’s simply that the internet and discussion forums are really still in their infancy for many of us,  middle-agers, baby boomers and other AARP aged folks.  I know I’m preachin’ to the choir here, but bare with me whilst I deliver my little soapbox address.  I jokingly refer to myself as a ‘Pre-Senior’, actually I’m just a young 55, at least for a few more months.  However, I essentially trained myself in using a personal computer.  Evidence that you really can teach an old dog new tricks.  The internet may have it’s downside, but for me it’s been a very positive experience and for a myriad of other folks as well.

I started researching the low-carb lifestyle on the net when I first heard about it in 2003 and soon found a couple of discussion forums on the subject, so I joined one and semi-participated, but was mostly just a ‘lurker’.  Then last year [2007] I discovered Jimmy Moore.  Here’s a guy who was morbidly obese at 410 pounds, discovered low-carb and lost 170 pounds in nine months. You can read Jimmy’s complete weight loss success story at his Livin’ La Vida Low Carb Blog.  By the time I found Jimmy he had started his own blog and discussion forum.  So I joined his discussion forum and just wanted to take this opportunity to thank Jimmy for a job well done in providing a ‘cream-of-the-crop’ low carb support network!  It has made such a postive impact on my low-carb success as well as thousands of others.  Jimmy has also made all kinds of other valuable low-carb resources available, so check them out at his Blog.

Circle of Friends

There’s one common thread among successful people.  They surround themselves with others who have common goals, dreams and visions, and who have a positive ‘we can do it’ mindset.  That’s exactly what the Livin’ La Vida Low Carb Discussion Forum is all about…a group of people who share the same goals, dreams and visions you have about adopting the successful low-carb nutritional lifestyle.  You may not be able to rub shoulders with these folks and meet ’em at FiveBucks for a cup o’ Joe, but you can ‘meet them’ over the internet and establish a ‘Circle of Friends’ who will build you up instead of tearing you down.  Friends who will believe in your weight loss dreams, goals and visions.  Friends who will reinforce your commitment, zeal and enthusiasm.  Friends who will help you when you’ve lost your way.  Friends who will help you through the hard places.

See, the folks who are the closest to you in your ‘real world’ are sometimes the very folks that will try to rain on your parade.  I’m talking about family members, friends, co-workers and so on.  Most are well meaning folks who don’t intend to hurt you, but familiarity can sometimes work against us in these situations.  You’re weaknesses are exposed to them daily and this familiarity with those weaknesses can sometimes breed doubt and unbelief in their response to our expression of our goals, dreams and visions.   At this point you are in the minority.  That’s the very reason I encourage you to join LLVLC.  Remember what Suzanne said…

“One of the reasons I need to stay active on this board [LLVLC] is…  On these boards I am in the majority with my food choices and surrounded by people who support a low carb diet.  It gives me the confidence to go out into the real world and not give in to pressure from the rest of the world to eat like they do!”  ~~Suzanne from LLVLC

Most of the time your ‘real world’ family, friends and co-workers never have malicious intent in their comments and responses, matter of fact they’re mostly folks who love you and are well meaning in their comments and responses.  But they unwittingly apply pressure for you to ‘eat like they do’.  You can’t plug up your ears and not hear them and you certainly don’t want to close yourself off from them.  That would be likened to ‘throwing out the baby with the bathwater’.  Keep them close and reap the benefits of their love, friendship, wisdom and value in every other area of your life.

Simply overcome the negative by accentuating the positive in all your endeavors, no matter what they may be.  In this case, allow the folks at LLVLC to become your ‘Circle of Friends’ whose positive comments and responses will far outweigh any negatives by your ‘real world’ acquaintances.  I would never suggest that the internet and discussion forums will replace your ‘real world’ acquaintances, instead they will merely supplement them.

And it’s important that you become an active participant, not just a lurker.  See, active participation allows you to ask those 101 questions you have about low-carb but were afraid to ask.  This is one of the most patient groups of people you will ever meet and they are happy and eager to answer all your questions, no matter how ‘dumb’ they may seem to you.  And one of the greatest benefits of becoming an active participant is the fact that you too can become an encourager!  Remember, give and it shall be given to you.  Helping others achieve their goals, dreams and visions is as big a payoff as reaching your own goals, dreams and visions!

My Conclusion…Finally!

And yes, I really am winding down here and bringing another long winded post to a close.  Sigh!  Before I make any of the other fine folks at LLVLC feel like they’re being left out, let me just say that there’s not room nor time to mention them all…in this post.  See, I’m a collector of inspirational quotes, low-carb and otherwise.  They’re such a valuable tool.  But Suzanne’s post just kept bouncing around in my head and got hung there like a song sometimes gets hung there.  You know, like that old country song, Let’s All Go Down to Dumas Walkers.  And it wouldn’t leave ’til I blogged about it…actually I don’t think it will ever leave.  So, I hope to see you over at  the Livin’ La Vida Low Carb Discussion Forum real soon.  Just look for TheFormerDonutJunkie.

And a big thanks to Suzanne for her inspiration for this post.  Suzanne is just one of the myriad of helpful and encouraging folks you will find there, eager to chat and share with you about the low-carb nutritional lifestyle.

There Really is Life Without Donuts!

Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie

How to Eat Anything You Want and Stay Trim!

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How do you eat all the pizza, eclairs, cheesecake, cinnamon buns and cookies you want and not gain a pound?  It’s simple…you run 50 marathons in 50 consecutive states in 50 consecutive days.  That’s how ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes does it.  But guess how he eats when he’s not running all those marathons?  He eats the good old healthy low-carb nutritional lifestyle.

You can read the scoop on ‘The Dean Karnazes Diet’ at Dr. Michael Eades Blog.  In case you didn’t know, Dr. Michael Eades and his wife Dr. Mary Dan Eades wrote the tremendously popular and successful low-carb book called Protein Power, which I highly recommend to anyone who is serious about committing themselves to the healthy low-carb nutritional lifestyle.

There Really is Life Without Donuts!

Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie

My Most Important Low-Carb Success Tip

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A Friend Who Cared Enough to Share

In early 2003 I had a friend who was losing weight and who said that he was on the only diet he had ever experienced that he could lose weight and still not be hungry all the time.  My ears perked up!  The first time we met for lunch after he had adopted his new low-carb nutritional lifestyle he ordered a cheeseburger.  I’m already thinking, “now I could live with eatin’ cheeseburgers on a diet!”  When his cheeseburger arrived, he immediately took off the bun and threw it away and explained to me that bread was not on the plan, but meat and cheese was.  Me likey!

He gave me a quick overview of the highlights of what he called ‘The Atkins Diet’.  Kind of a Reader’s Digest version of some of the allowable foods.  I was really interested at this point because he was talking bacon, sausage, eggs, steak, burgers, chicken and some of the veggies I liked as well.  I’ll just go ahead and bust your bubble by telling you that, all my life I’ve never been much on veggies.  There I said it, OK?  And I feel better for it.  Anyhow, the more he told me about the advantages of the Atkins Diet, the more I liked it and the more it sounded like something I could live with for life.

I immediately went out and bought Dr. Atkin’s New Diet Revolution, referred to as DANDR by veteran low-carbers, and began to read.  The more I read, the more I knew this whole low-carb thing was making sense for the first time in my life.  And I began to see how this was a diet that was perfect for my food preferences and was going to be something I could be successful at for a lifetime.

My Most Important Low-Carb Success Tip

Now I want to stop right here and share my best, most powerful, most important low-carb success tip.  You don’t even need to grab a pen and paper and write it down.  It’s easy, it’s simple, it’s six little words that will change your life if you do it.  And I know you have a desire to lose weight and get healthy or you wouldn’t be here reading my blog.  Are you ready?  OK!  BUY THE BOOK AND READ IT! Yes, you read that right.  BUY THE BOOK AND READ IT! I know you were looking for something mystical, hard, difficult or impossible, but most of the time it’s the simple principles that bring success to your life.  BUY THE BOOK AND READ IT!

What book?  I think Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution is the best starting point to learn about the low-carb nutritional lifestyle.  It is the original low-carb plan that all others are built around and I highly recommend that you start with this book.  Yes, there are lots of other low-carb plans out there but reading Dr. Atkins will build your foundational knowledge of the low-carb lifestyle.  After you read it, then by all means, move on and read as many other low-carb books as possible.  Arm yourself with the knowledge and information to succeed.

Everyone I know who has been successful at the low-carb nutritional lifestyle has bought the book, read it, studied it and meditated on it until it becomes a part of them.  Now, the internet has lots of information on ‘doing low-carb’, and if you think you can save a few bucks by not buying the book and just ‘doing low-carb’ from what information you can Google, well just let me go ahead and tell you that you are setting yourself up for a quick, hard failure.  Don’t end up being one of those miserable people I call ‘nay-sayers’, who have never read DANDR, then go around whining that “low-carb just doesn’t work…I’ve tried it and it just doesn’t work.”  Fact is, these kind of folks don’t have a clue what they’re talking about and they are the very ones who give the low-carb lifestyle a bad name.

There’s entirely too many myths and misinformation out there about the low-carb nutritional lifestyle to health and weight loss.  Go straight to the source and arm yourself with the data, the research, the studies, the whys, the why nots, the hows and the how-not-to’s.  Make an investment in your health and well being and spend ten bucks and BUY THE BOOK AND READ IT! Come on now, you’ve spent that much on junk food in one day and you know it.

And, no I’m not hung up on The Atkins Diet.  I don’t work for the Atkins folks or have any kind of financial interest or motivation by recommending their book.  If you notice I don’t any have any links here to sell you the book.  I just believe in its concept enough to recommend that every low-carber should have a copy.  I will be writing about other low-carb books in the near future.  There are so many great resources out there to help you be successful at adopting your new nutritional lifestyle.

There Really is Life Without Donuts!

Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie

Dieting…The Early Years

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Inquiring Minds Want to Know

One of the most asked questions I get from folks is, “why did you choose low-carb?”  That is somewhat of a loaded question and is generally asked by well meaning folks who know little to nothing about low-carb.  Nevertheless it’s a fair question that deserves an answer, so here’s my attempt.

Got Carbs?

Actually the answer to that question has roots that extend back years into my life, even though I am now in my mid-fifties and had never even heard of low-carb until 2003.  I realized as early as my teenage years that meat was the favorite part of my meal…uh, except for dessert of course.  A meal without meat always left me feeling hungry and ready to eat again in an hour or so.  As a teen I knew nothing at all about health and nutrition, I just knew I needed meat at every meal or I would be right back in the kitchen looking for something to munch on in short order.

Matter of fact I didn’t even know what a ‘carb’ was.  If someone had asked me what a ‘carb’ was, I would have no doubt replied that is was short for ‘carburetor’.  Of course I would have been dead wrong.  What I knew about diet and nutrition could have easily fit onto the head of a straight pin.  I’m not bragging about my ignorance, I’m merely illustrating that my ignorance of proper diet and nutrition kept me from making intelligent decisions that would have allowed me to be in control of my own state of health and well-being.  Knowledge really is power!

The Problem With Fad Diets

Just as most of you who are reading this blog, you’ve probably tried quite a long list of diets over the years, just as I did.  Problem was that most of them were based on opinions, myths, misconceptions, misinformation, misunderstanding and just plain old untruths.  Therefore they did not work at all or worked only for a short time.  That is exactly why most of them were called ‘fad diets’.  They rose to popularity because they quickly produced a few pounds weight loss in only a few days but they were not sustainable  as a nutritional lifestyle.  So after those few days we all went right back to eating just like we always had.  We gained back all the weight we lost plus a few extra pounds for good measure.  Sounds all too familar doesn’t it?

What Didn’t Work

I tried low-fat diets as a ‘husky’ kid per instructions from my doctor.  I lost a few pounds but stayed ravenously hungry ALL THE TIME!  I tried low-fat again as a teen and even into my twenties and always went right back to my old eating habits and gained the weight back.  I did not like the foods and I quickly found it just was not sustainable over the long haul.

Then in 1996 I got involved in ‘Weigh Down’, a faith based way of eating, and lost about 45 pounds.  This was my first ‘big’ weight loss success.  It was based on eating anything one wanted, but ONLY when you knew absolutely sure that you were really hungry.  It also put a huge emphasis on portion control, which is really a good thing to learn…but there’s more to a healthy nutritional lifestyle than portion control.  Again, just like low-fat it did not work for me because it was not sustainable as a nutritional lifestyle, ‘Weigh Down’ didn’t work out either.

Another problem with ‘Weigh Down’ and many other plans is that ANY food is ‘legal’.  Now I’m one of those peeps with ‘addictive’ or ‘compulsive’ tendencies in many areas of my life…food being the chief.  Maybe you’re one of those rare people who can eat half a bag of M&M’s and save the other half for later…NOT ME!  My theory is that if the bag is opened, then the whole bag is intended for IMMEDIATE consumption.  That kind of thinking will get you in trouble big time on a diet that ‘allows anything’, just in smaller portions or only when you are indeed hungry.  And don’t sit there with that smug, self-righteous look on your face, ’cause you know as well as I do how hard it is to ‘eat just one’ of anything…especially candy, cookies, donuts, pastries, chips, donuts and other sugar & carb loaded taste treats.  And did I mention that donuts are nearly irresistible?

Conclusion

And that’s the reason fad diets make you fat.  Really!  Most of us can do them for the short term, some shorter than others, but they are NOT sustainable in a practical way for developing a healthy nutritional lifestyle.  And LIFESTYLE is the key word in this whole equation.  To be successful at losing weight and keeping it off, one MUST seek out a healthy nutritional approach that they like and can feel comfortable doing for the rest of their life.  We cannot go back to eating the foods that made us fat and nearly destroyed our health in the first place.  As the old saying goes, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is…STUPIDITY!”

So we all have to find what works for us and stick to it.  Next time I’ll tell you about my encounter with a ‘Diet of a Different Kind’.

There Really is Life Without Donuts!

Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie

The Hatfields & McCoys of the Diet World

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So far as weight loss plans are concerned, the term ‘Low-Carb’ seems to produce more opinions, myths, misconceptions, misinformation, misunderstandings and just plain old untruths than all other nutritional approaches to weight loss combined.  The biggest reason for this is the the fallout from the long running feud between the low-fat camp and the low-carb camp.  If there’s one thing that both camps agree on it’s that they can’t agree on anything!

The low-fat weight loss theory is both challenged and threatened by the studies, research, data and results that support the efficient, healthy low-carb nutritional lifestyle.  This ongoing feud has produced many a heated discussion and debate, has separated friends and family and has turned many folks off from pursuing any nutritional lifestyle at all that leads to permanent weight loss and improved health.  These two opposing dietary views have indeed become the Hatfields and McCoys of the diet world.  Sad but true!

Why am I even talking about this you ask?  Well, I wanted to make it clear to everyone that I’m not here to bash folks who choose the low-fat nutritional lifestyle.  If it works for you, then that’s great and I’m happy for you.  I’m not here to condemn you if you’re on it, however, it is impossible for me to sit idly by and support the low-fat theory since I have learned that it is not a sustainable nutritional lifestyle, in addition to the fact that it has actually damaged many folks health.

And yes, I have personally tried low-fat and even lost a few pounds on it, but it just did not work out for me.  It left me hungry most of the time and induced constant cravings for carb-laden foods.  Just the opposite has been true for the low-carb nutritional lifestyle.  I eat to satiety and am able to go for hours between meals without nagging hunger and the cravings are practically non-existent.

So, this blog is not here to debate diet plans and nutritional lifestyles.  Life Witout Donuts is my way of sharing my own personal story of my journey back to a healthy nutritional lifestyle.  And please note, I don’t call low-carb a diet because it really is a nutritional lifestyle and one that is truly sustainable for a lifetime.  I’m here to tell you why I chose low-carb, why it works for me and how it can work for you as well.  So don’t run off too quickly.  At least hear me out before making a decision.  Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee  (no donuts allowed) and let’s a friendly little conversation about how we can make life better for all of us!

There Really is Life Without Donuts!

Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie

It’s Official…Life Without Donuts…Is Now A WordPress Blog!

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Welcome to Life Without Donuts!  On WordPress!

I look forward to sharing my personal journey back to health living the low-carb nutritional lifestyle.  And of course there will be much more including links to other outstanding blog articles, research, product reviews, tips, helpful hints and of course my own homegrown style of sarcasm, humor, balderdash and other useless drivel.

Instead of moving my existing Blogger posts to this site, I’ll be updating, revising and moving some of them here in the future.  In the meantime, if you are looking for one of my old Blogger posts they can be found here.

There Really is Life Without Donuts!

Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie

Considering Moving to WordPress

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That’s right, the Former Donut Junkie is considering taking the plunge and moving his blog to WordPress.  Why?  There have been so many of my LowCarb friends whose blog has been locked by Blogger due to its robot identifying their blog as a ‘Spam Blog’.  And besides being a pain to get it reviewed and unlocked, you end up with days or weeks of down time in the whole process.  Blogger claims that they’ve discovered a ‘bug’ in the spam searching robot and fixed it, but many are hestiant to buy their aplology once again.

In addition, I’ve read lots of positive comments from long term WordPress bloggers who seem to be pretty happy here.  So, even though I’ve imported a few of my older posts here, I wanted to create a new post just to get the overall feel of WP and see how it compares to Blogger.  The ‘Write Post’ layout seems clean and user friendly so far, but I have to create a few more posts just to fairly evaluate it.

One thing I have reservations about is the seemingly limited number of available themes and the inability to ‘import’ custom themes without additional cost.  However, it’s highly possible I’ve overlooked something and just simply don’t understand the whole ‘importing custom themes’ concept.  After all, I have been lumped into the ‘over 50 computer illiterate crowd’ a few times.  So I stand to be corrected as always.  Suggestions are certainly welcome and I’m certain you’ll see my theme change several times here while I play with what themes are available in an effort to find the one I’m most satisfied with.

I shall post again a little later.  I’m trying to educate myself on WP.  Maybe I just need to get my grandkids to show me around here and explain the technical stuff to me.  Ha-ha!  But partially true!

There Really is Life Without Donuts!

Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie