Wow, Jimmy gave us a lot to think about in his last post, “My 5 Low-Carb Mistakes And How Nutritional Ketosis Rescued Me From Them“. Congratulations on your low carb success Jimmy!
From my perspective as a nutrition expert, I think the four most important lessons are:
- No two people are alike, so when following the same type of lifestyle as a friend or family member, you may need to make tweaks to individualize your plan.
Current scientific information suggests that our genetic make-up and our medical history dictate what foods we should eat. Not the USDA guidelines or The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, not your doctor or family and friends – your own body. I believe that you have a say in what you eat, unless you “have” to eat cereal for breakfast – then you lose the right to choose, and must trust a professional to help you make alternate choices. These alternate choices will help you test variations in your food routine to determine what your specific needs are.
- You are not the same throughout the course of your life. Whether you are consistent with your nutritional plan or have had some indiscretions, your nutritional needs will change over the course of your life.
Listen to your body! Do not ignore signs that things are not right.
“This diet does not work for me anymore”. “I lost weight and then started gaining”. To me, these statements mean that something in your body has changed.
We need to re-evaluate your plan, supplements or exercise routine. Aging, childbearing, excessive stress, lack of sleep, these are just a few situations that throw the body out of balance and may change nutritional needs.
If your nutritional intake does not follow the change in your body’s nutritional needs, you will hit a road block. Do not throw in the towel. Figure out how to get around it, just like Jimmy. This may take a month or a year but if you do not try there is only one outcome – and it ain’t pretty.
Following a general low carb diet will not work if your hormones change. The low carb lifestyle won’t work as well if you develop adrenal fatigue or thyroid issues. If you get into a rut and start eating foods that trigger cravings, it may not be as easy getting back on track. You may be creating a vicious cycle of lethargy and depression. You need to find a way to break that cycle.
Jimmy also illustrates something I dealt with many times while working with Dr. Atkins: the “CCLL”, critical carbohydrate level for losing. Your CCLL is not a fixed, unchanging number. Nothing lasts forever, not even your CCLL.
- When something is not right, do not give up hope. Be your own detective; help experts help you.
Seek out the answers to your low carb stall or weight gain and you shall find the answer. For support and ideas, reference my book, “The Stubborn Fat Fix” It is a good start.
Many clients come to me expecting an immediate solution to their problem. In my many years of practice, I can say that rarely is the answer simple. In fact, Stubborn Fat is extremely complex. Often supplements are necessary to help repair damaged or over-stressed body systems. The more information provided, the easier it is to identify what the cause, or causes, of the problem are.
Last but certainly not least is something I say to my clients all the time: “Track your every move.” Journaling helped Jimmy in his search for an answer. Tracking food, activity, feelings of fullness or hunger after meals, emotions, and any other piece that might fit the puzzle is the best way to find answers.
People do not like to face the truth. But tracking food intake should be considered a positive experience. It is not about what you should have eaten, it is about the information each food provides to help you attain your goal. Knowledge is power.
- Learning to follow hunger cues is important. I cannot recommend “eating to eat.” There are different schools of thought regarding hunger cues. Some may benefit from eating more frequent small meals or snacks, others feel better with intermittent fasts. The most important thing is to find what works for you.
If you overeat when meals are skipped, consistent meals are important. This is also true if you have diabetes or hypoglycemia. On the other hand if, when you skip a meal, your mood is unchanged and you feel good, and there is no medical reason you need 3 meals/day, controlling meal frequency may help you.
In Jimmy’s case, he mentions eating one low carb meal per day. I will wait with bated breath for him to post sample low carb menus. My big question: “Is Jimmy eating the same amount of calories or less in one meal/day than he would if he ate more often?”
I believe the composition of nutritional ketosis works for him, and I believe that calories are metabolized differently for different people. Is it possible that going from 3 or more meals/day to 1 meal a day helped Jimmy’s ketosis by restricting calories as well as increasing fat percentage and reducing carbs?
Are you up for your own n=1 experiment to find out how to jump start your low carb weight loss? Tell me how you feel about this in the comments below.