Rewind — “Willpower Doesn’t Work! Strategy Does!”

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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

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Diet Etiquette — Part 1 — Introduction

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Diet Etiquette…or…How To Do Low-Carb Without Becoming a Social Outcast

etiquettenoun.  The rules governing socially acceptable behavior.

What, pray tell, is Diet Etiquette? I like to say it is “the rules governing socially acceptable behavior, in spite of the fact that you are dieting.”  It is a subject that doesn’t get very much ink or airtime, so I decided I needed to give it a shot here at Life Without Donuts.

Ever been to a dinner or luncheon where someone who is dieting has the woe-is-me attitude because there is not a single thing there that they can eat, therefore they feel compelled to infect everyone around  them with their own brand of doom, gloom, despair and agony?  Or, they are constantly going over their list of taboo foods, like anyone else at the table really gives a rip about their self-inflicted state of misery.

And then there is the know-it-all-diet-expert, who attempts to impose their ‘Perfect Diet’ upon everyone else, just because they read Dr. Somebody’s Magic Diet book and suddenly begin to speak as as expert on the subject of health and nutrition.  Little do they realize that an expert is in all reality nothing more than a former spurt!  They could have spoken with much greater authority and appeal had they only stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Oh, and a favorite of everyone are the Naysayers, Pushers and Enablers.  You know who they are, and if you can’t think of one…you just might be one!  These are the folks who insist that you have ‘just one bite’ or ‘a little bit of anything won’t hurt you’.  These are usually family members who have never been on a successful diet in their life, so they feel obligated to ruin everyone else’s chance of losing a few pounds.

If you’ve never had the tortuous pleasure of enjoying an extended evening of joy and mirth with one of these Diet-Dictocrats…then you, my friend, are without a doubt an alien from another planet!

I absolutely love the low-carb lifestyle.  As far as I’m concerned it is the easiest, healthiest, most effective nutritional lifestyle and approach to permanent weight loss and maintenance on the planet today.  Low-carb just works for me!  But let’s face it…it may not work for EVERYONE!  And even if it did work for everyone…EVERYONE doesn’t necessarily want to hear about it!  That’s where ‘Diet Etiquette’ comes into play.  We must use diet etiquette in social settings if we want to keep our present friends and ever hope to make new friends.  This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but over the next few posts I’ll be sharing with you some of my very own home-spun tips that should keep us all civil and hospitable at any event…and possibly even get us invited back again.

Diet Etiquette — Part 2 — I’m Hearing Voices, and I Think It’s My Food!

There Really is Life Without Donuts!

Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie

 

Overcoming the Deprivation Mindset — Part 3

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Having a Plan is NOT Enough…We Need Strategies Too!

We all need a ‘plan’ or ‘blueprint’ by which we eat; that is, foods that we can eat and foods that we can’t eat.  In my case, I’ve chosen the low-carb nutritional lifestyle as my ‘plan’ or ‘blueprint’.  It’s a plan that just really works for me because I absolutely love the ‘allowable’ foods that are on it.  They taste great and are very filling and healthy.  But loving the foods is only part of the formula for weight control success.  Even if you love your ‘plan’, you need some ‘strategies’ in order to execute it.  It’s easy to learn the list of ‘acceptable and unacceptable’ foods, but what happens when a chocolate donut is unexpectedly shoved in your face?  All that list of foods tells you is that you can’t have it!  It’s forbidden, and all of a sudden you’re now feeling deprived, and it’s that ‘Deprivation Mindset’ that can send us down the slippery slope to binging or ‘pigging out’ on the very foods that made us fat to start with.

How to deal with those kinds of situations has been the missing link in weight control success for myself…and maybe even you!  As wonderful as Atkins, Protein Power and Sugar Shock are, they don’t really deal with the battle for the thought life in nearly enough detail.  This is in no way intended as a slam against any of these fine plans, since they do exactly what they’re designed to do…give us a ‘plan’ or ‘blueprint’ for a healthy nutritional lifestyle for weight control.  That’s why I’m so excited about what I’ve learned from The Thin Commandments Diet!  And it’s actually not a ‘diet’ in the strictest sense of the word…it is more of a book of strategies for executing YOUR plan!  Only the discovery of low-carb itself has impacted the success of my nutritional lifestyle more than The Thin Commandments Diet!  I encourage anyone who has discovered that willpower doesn’t work to pick up The Thin Commandments Diet and learn the strategies that actually do work.

I’ve still got lots more to share with you about Overcoming the Deprivation Mindset, so stay tuned for more.

Overcoming the Deprivation Mindset — Part 1

Overcoming the Deprivation Mindset — Part 2

Overcoming the Deprivation Mindset — Part 4

There Really is Life Without Donuts

Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie

Weight Loss…The Third Alternative!

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Folks, y’all know I’m all about optimism, encouragement, inspiration and such.  I just ran across a post on a newly discovered blog called Ranaesheart Weight Loss Blog that really spoke to me and I just had to share it with you!  It’s entitled Personal Growth and Weight Loss Success and it’s well worth the short time it’ll take you to read it.  I just love the quote by Steadman Graham.

There Really is Life Without Donuts!

Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie

Overcoming the Deprivation Mindset — Part 1

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OK, I’ve been wanting to post about the damage and deceit of what’s called “The Deprivation Mindset”, but as usual I couldn’t stop with just a simple post.  So, I’ve had to break it down into a series so you, my readers, don’t get lost in another one of my long-winded posts.  So here we go with Part 1.

Feeling a Little Deprived ‘Cause You Can’t Have That Chocolate Covered Donut?

The first few days and weeks of a diet, even the first few months for some of us, are filled with excitement, motivation and optimism.  But as we lose a few pounds and become happier and healthier, there is sometimes a tendency for our excitement, motivation and optimism to fade.  It’s at this point that we are in danger of sabotaging ourselves by losing our focus, blurring our boundaries and getting sloppy with our newly learned, healthy, low-carb nutritional lifestyle.  This mindset, left unchecked, can quickly lead us right back down the road to our old destructive eating habits.

One of the underlying causes of this derailing behavior is the old, “I deserve it…it’s not fair…everybody else is eating it…I earned it…I feel so deprived” mindset.  This childish way of thinking, called the Deprivation Mindset, could just as easily and accurately be called the Failure Mindset, according to Dr. Stephen Gullo, author of The Thin Commandments Diet.  It is by our very own deceptive thoughts that we conceive such damaging notions, and by our very own self-deprecating words that we perpetuate and reinforce those thoughts until they give birth to compulsive, emotional, mindless over-eating!  It is a childish way of thinking that says, “any and all boundaries and guidelines are bad and unnecessary!” At times I’ve heard that child within me screaming and throwing a “fit”, demanding that I have anything and everything I want to eat…regardless of the consequences!  If you’ve ever struggled with weight control, then you’ve probably experienced the same “fits” from the “child within you” as well.

Don’t feel bad, because the fact is, dieting has always been associated with deprivation.  It’s kind of like a “virus” that infects you the minute you start dieting.  I actually hate the term “diet”, because it implies a temporary way of eating instead of a healthy nutritional lifestyle of weight control and maintenance.  And that “temporary way of losing a few pounds” is exactly what makes you feel deprived.  While you are stuck eating some tiny, despicable looking, detestable tasting “food-like-substance”, all your friends are eating as many of those luscious, delicious, tempting, sinful, sugary, carb-laden treats they care to stuff their face with.  Therefore, in your own mind, you feel deprived!  And that my friend is the “Deprivation Mindset” in a nutshell…or shall we say, “The Failure Mindset”?

“We all have power over the feeling of deprivation — the ability to control it, decrease it, even extinguish it — because the source of it begins and ends with you.”  ~~Dr. Stephen Gullo

Discovering this hidden way of destructive thinking, and knowing that I have the power to destroy it before it destroys me has been one of the most empowering strategies I have learned about successful weight control.  I can truthfully say that “a light really came on” when I read about this concept in Dr. Gullo’s book.  If you have the book you’ll find this topic as “The Eighth Thin Commandment: Stop Feeling Deprived”.

Overcoming the Deprivation Mindset — Part 2

Overcoming the Deprivation Mindset — Part 3

Overcoming the Deprivation Mindset — Part 4

There Really is Life Without Donuts!

Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie

Willpower doesn’t work! Strategy does!

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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