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


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


Going It Alone


A lot of us grew up watching The Lone Ranger.  Uh-Oh, I just revealed my age!  Anywho, one thing I’ve learned is that I’m much more likely to succeed at living the low-carb nutritional lifestyle when I’m not trying to be a lone ranger.  The encouragement, camaraderie and support of others increases one’s ‘stick-to-it-iveness’ exponentially.  Wow, I can’t believe I just used all them big words in one sentence!  If you have a spouse, relative or friend who low-carbs with you then that’s great.  But the fact is many of us don’t always have someone around us who is low-carbing.  So, what do you do if that’s the case?

I thought you’d never ask.  The answer is to join a low-carb social network.  Social networking seems to have exploded in popularity.  Let me recommend Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Discussion Forum.  I’ve been a member since April 2008 and it has been a great blessing to myself and thousands of others who’ve adopted the low-carb nutritional lifestyle.  You’ll meet a diverse group of friendly folks who are willing to encourage you in your journey.  They’ll help you answer LC questions, find LC resources and tons of yummy LC recipes.  And you’ll develop friendships with people of like goals.  People who are willing to listen when you’re having a bad day and are there to applaud your victories as well.

So, don’t try to be a lone ranger low-carber.  Come on over and join the discussion.  You’ll be soooo glad you did.

There Really is Life Without Donuts

Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie

So, You Couldn’t Find Me In the Obituaries…


That’s because I’m still alive and kickin’.  For those of you who are still following me on your blog reader, I apologize that I’ve so neglected my bloggin’.  So, what’s the story you ask?  It’s been seven long months since I’ve posted an update, so I’ll try to bring you up to speed on what’s been going on in my low-carb world.  Actually, I’m gonna’ try to give you the Reader’s Digest version (I’m bad about being way too long winded at times….OK, most of the time).

I can sum up the last seven months in one word.  Struggle.  Not a struggle losing weight, but a struggle staying “on-plan”.  When I’m “on-plan” I can lose weight.  On July 1st of this year I just passed my 3 year low-carb anniversary.  The first two years I stayed “on-plan” really well, but the past year has been quite the challenge.  I can’t nail down any one particular cause, however, I feel like there have been several contributing factors.  Some of which I can change and some of which I may not be able to change.

I lost 65 pounds total doing low-carb in the first year and a half or so.  No, I haven’t gained it all back.  I have however put back on about 25 pounds of it.  And now I’m starting over, again!  I’m being totally open, transparent and honest here folks.  I’ve had multiple restarts over the past seven months.  The good news is I’ve not given up and I’m still trying to make low-carb a lifestyle.  As a matter of fact, I feel like my nutritional thinking has indeed improved since the low-carb knowledge I’ve gained always comes to mind with every food decision I make.  Even though I’ve made some poor eating decisions I still know low-carb works for me…when I work it!

Van Crouch once said, “You’re not finished when you’re defeated…you’re finished when you quit!”  I’ve thought of that so many times.  The good news is, I’ve not quit.  I’m getting back up and trying it again.  I cannot blame my temporary defeat on anyone but myself.  I hate the blame game.  I’m once again taking the information I’ve armed myself with over the past three years and reinforcing my determination to succeed at the low-carb nutritional lifestyle.

Why am I telling y’all all this?  Why am I spilling my guts about it to the world?  I feel like it helps me to write about it, but I feel like it helps some of y’all who are also struggling with staying “on-plan”.  I never want to portray myself as the poster child for low-carb weight loss.  We all need to realize we’re all human and all subject to the same weaknesses and temptations.  So, I’ll be telling you more and talking to you about the whole subject of “struggling”.  Like I said, I don’t want to wear you out with a long winded post.  Matter of fact, I think I would be better off writing shorter posts more often than trying to write a novel.  Feel free to leave your comments and I’ll write again soon.

There Really Is Life Without Donuts!

Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie