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Last week I welcomed the low carb newbies, and tried to give them a good start with their new way of eating. Now I’d like to talk to some of you who have fallen off the wagon, but still subscribe to this ezine. (Let’s hear it for procrastination!)
My email tells me that some folks are faltering in their low carbing because it’s not the rage anymore. The media has been telling them that “low carb is dead.” Most of the highly processed low carb specialty products tanked in the marketplace, and are long gone. Worst of all, my latest cookbook, due out this spring, doesn’t have “low carb” in the title! (It’s The Every Calorie Counts Cookbook – and mostly I’ve cut calories by cutting out the junk carbs.) I’ve been accused of “abandoning low carbers.” I’ve been told I have a responsibility to “keep the movement alive.” A fair number of folks are afraid they can’t persist with their low carb plan if the mainstream isn’t with them.
Um, folks? I was eating a low carb diet for a good seven or eight years before the low carb explosion of 2003. When I started in 1995, not only were there no low carb specialty products, the vast majority of the world thought I was stone out of my mind. Fast food workers stared at me bewildered when I asked for “a Whopper, hold the bun.” Living in a college town, as I do, with a huge vegetarian population, many of them misheard my request as “a Whopper, hold the meat,” while others simply looked at me as if I’d ordered Roasted Puppy on a Stick and said, “What do you mean, hold the bun?” (What word didn’t you get?) Waiters in nice restaurants were polite, but puzzled.
Some friends expressed concern that I was ruining my health, while other simply didn’t get it, persistently mishearing “low carb” as “low fat.” (“Here, I brought you this sorbet. It’s low fat, so you can have it, right?”)
Public support was nowhere.
It never occurred to me to quit. You know why? Because it worked. Because the weight was coming off. Far, far more important, because I felt so good – better than I had in years and years. Because, miraculously, I wasn’t hungry all the time anymore. Because my energy and my moods were both at all-time highs.
So for those of you who have drifted back to eating carbs but are still reading Lowcarbezine!, I have a few questions you might ask yourself:
* Did low carb help me lose weight?
* Was my energy level better on my low carb diet?
* Did a low carb diet help with hunger and cravings?
* Did my health improve or deteriorate on my low carb diet?
If, upon reflection, you realize that low carb was working for you, I urge you to ignore the media, of which, I admit, I am one. I can tell you right now, that of the big reasons for all the “low carb is dead” stories, none have to do with low carb not being effective:
1) The people who look at a diet as something you go on for six weeks before your high school reunion, only to go off it again, are gone. The people who try every new diet that comes along for 3 weeks are gone. The people who are looking for something that will miraculously let them lose weight with no need to change their habits are gone. Those folks were never going to stick, anyway.
2) Since many, if not most, of you were wary of the low carb specialty products, and wisely did not make them a big part of your diet, there is very little advertising money out there encouraging the media to write pro-low-carb stories. Never underestimate the power of the advertising dollar.
3) Most importantly, the media, as a whole, have all the attention span of a hyperactive six year old who’s drunk a pitcher of Kool Aid. Low carb has to be dead, you see, because it’s not new and exciting and hot. No one is stunned and dazzled any more by the idea that you can actually lose weight eating steak. So of course it’s time for something else. That low carb is still healthy and effective has exactly zip to do with it.
Please, I urge you: Do not make your nutritional decisions based on what is currently fashionable or trendy. Ask yourself what works for you. Remember that all the evidence points to a low carb diet based on animal foods, vegetables, low sugar fruits, and nuts and seeds being the hereditary diet of human kind – what my nutritionist and radio host pal Martie Whittekin calls the “factory specified diet.” That’s about as far from a “fad diet” as you can get.
If low carb makes you well, if it’s good for your own personal body, that’s all that matters.