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Old 07-27-2014, 03:51 PM   #181
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MindiSF!! I am so sorry I didn't see you ask your question about whether I had written the article Why Scales lie.. I feel terrible, I try so hard to put the authors/websites name of where I read something.. I must have copy and pasted assuming his name would be in it. I will be more careful.. just soo sorry, I never, ever meant for anyone to think I had written anything profound! LOL

I have just reread all 6 pages and there are some poignant posts along the way. Wise bunch here.

Hoping this finds everyone and finds them well!!
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Old 07-30-2014, 01:51 PM   #182
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Hi there everyone! I would love to join your group! I'm getting back into the low carb way of eating. I need to lose weight, of course, but I also need to do it to help with a skin issue I've been having.
Lizzie, I appreciate the articles you've posted that are in the lobby, very interesting and beneficial.
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Old 07-30-2014, 01:53 PM   #183
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I think my current weight is correct or nearly so, I'll weigh in the next couple of days to make sure.
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Old 07-30-2014, 02:01 PM   #184
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shellyshebby!
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Old 07-30-2014, 03:36 PM   #185
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Thank you!!!!!
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Old 07-30-2014, 09:20 PM   #186
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Needless to say Monday came and went....and I didn't start.....I just didn't. I am off the next three days so I'm going to focus. I am trying to quit smoking also so its a double whammy....but I know as long as I stay focused...I'll be ok....
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Old 07-30-2014, 11:46 PM   #187
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Hello All!! Lizzie, Thanks for the articles posted about why it is harder the 2nd, 3rd .... time around. Read them both and followed the link here. I am a 2nd starter. I appreciate you posting same and would love to join this challenge thread as well.

Kinda long, but my story. Obese all my life. Raised poor and food was always a reward. Always made to clean my plate re: the starving kids overseas. Again, dad was a textile mill worker and he and mom were great parents, always took care of the family, but money was tight. I didn't realize how poor/lower middle class we were until I was grown and on my own. Typical meal was something with gravy ( to make it go farther) rice or potatoes, biscuits and a hint of some type meat. Tasted good, left the table full so my elephant was happy.

Was also a sports guy and was strong as an ox and half as smart. Was fat throughout school but with a lot of muscle. Football, wrestled, threw the shot put, baseball and on and on. If it was a sport, I did it. Finished Jr College and hit the working world. Sports, thus activity, took a back seat. This is when my weight really got out of hand. I had compensated for being fat all my life by being what I considered a "go -getter" in every other part of my life. It was my escape. Began climbing the ladder in our company, the same company I started working for at 15 while in high school. I am now 58. More sitting behind a desk and steering wheel verses physical work as I went up that ladder. Less physical activity. Fatter and fatter. Was ok, because the once poor kid had done ok for himself and family. I must have said many times that I wish I could have been as successful in my weight control as I had been in business. Over the next 30 years I ballooned to 430 lbs. Over the years I had tried every diet in the world, WW, and other programs. Would loose some weight and then add it all back on with some more each time.

In late 2007 my older brother had gastric bypass surgery. I mentioned this to my doctor who told me had a female patient that had also had the same surgery. Over the next year each time we saw each other he asked how my brother was doing and I would ask about the lady. On Dec 3, 2008 I was in his office and we did the usual questions. Brother was doing fine, had lost from 310 to about 220 lbs. How about the lady? His reply... she died. Had regained all the weight she had lost and on her death bed weighed 450 lbs. She was 43. Obviously I never knew her name, only as "the lady", but felt a tear come to my eye. He is a caring doctor, but delivered this as cold as ice. Then said, "and if you don't do something about your weight, I'll be having the same conversation about you...soon." He asked me had I every considered low carbing? It might work for me?

That day I stated LCing. Started at 430 lbs., and most likely at least 10 to 15 more as the only scale I could weigh on was at the hospital and that had been 6 months before, but 430 was the highest I actually saw on a scale. Over the next 3 years I got to 287 lbs. I honestly was a new man. Then that elephant starting taking me for a ride. Excuses I know, but I started allowing myself to do those things the article referred to that were just little cheats. In my case, it was more of excess verses cheat items. Granted there were some of those, but more of if one 6 oz steak is good, then 2 is better since it is allowed on my program. I justified it all in my own mind. The entire time I quit weighing as often and again justified that I was still over a 100 lbs lighter than I had been 5 year before.

Went back to same doctor couple months ago, June 3, 2014. Weighed in over at 331. I had slowly gained 44 lbs over the last 2 years. My doctor wasn't impressed. Says to me, "you know, time is running out on you to lose weight. If you don't drop some of this burden on my body, you will be dead or in a wheelchair." I was devastated again. This is a guy that had regained his life a few years back, playing golf once a week for the first time in 20+ years, swimming, going to ball games, not having to worry about was there a chair large enough for me to sit in where ever we went.... He said, let's talk about WLS. Asked him did he see a magic number for me? He said, if you can get to 250 lbs., I will be very happy for you. Told him we would talk come my next visit, which just happens to be Dec 3, 2014, the anniversary of my starting LC. I will not have WLS. Please understand that if you have had WLS or plan to, I support your decision totally, I just don't want to do it. That day I re-dedicated myself to doing LC right. No excuses or justifications. I will not be at 250 come Dec 3, 2014 but I will not be 331 lbs either. I will do this. I'm a once a month weigh-in guy. Just how I roll. Weighed in 7/1/14 at 310. Had a big whoosh from induction. Weigh-in in a couple days for my Aug 1st weigh-in. Hope to be at or near the 299 mark, which is my first goal. If not this month, then the next. Then I have my sights set on 287, as my previous low. Once I am there, 250 is just around the corner.

Sorry for the length of this, but that is my abridged story. LCFriends has been a very special group of people that I have relied on heavily for support over the past years. I really appreciate those articles for just a little more understanding and motivation. I too try to give back support to those here as well. We all need this and while we may or may not get if from friends or family, many of those people really just don't get it or understand, even if they try. If you have never been obese or even just overweight, I don't think they can relate. Godspeed to us all.
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Old 07-31-2014, 06:34 AM   #188
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Hi robman! That's quite a story. Hugs and good luck!
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Old 07-31-2014, 12:01 PM   #189
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Hi, Robman! I wish you luck with your journey..you sound like you have it under control.
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Old 07-31-2014, 08:16 PM   #190
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Yes, Robman, it sounds like you're doing great. Kutgw!
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Old 08-01-2014, 02:15 PM   #191
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You've got it Robman! Welcome to this little group.
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Old 08-01-2014, 02:53 PM   #192
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And I do agree with you, that if our friends or family has never been obese or overweight, it is hard for them to relate to us on that level.
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Old 08-01-2014, 02:55 PM   #193
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Here's a question, how do I make my writing here bigger?
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Old 08-01-2014, 02:56 PM   #194
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I think I see now
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Old 08-02-2014, 12:37 PM   #195
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Here is another wonderful article by the great Dr. Eades...

Tips and tricks for starting over PART 1

As anyone who has done it knows, getting started on a low-carb diet can be a little rough. Not for everyone, but for some. All too often these little front-end bumps in the road–coupled with the spirit of the times in which the well-intentioned but ignorant friends and relatives of low-carb dieters tell them their diet is going to croak their kidneys, clog their arteries and weaken their bones–can be enough to make many people abandon the most sincere efforts. Drawing on my almost 30 years of experience treating patients using the low-carb diet, I can give some tips and tricks for dealing with these difficult early days.

Listen to your body?
The surest road to failure in the first few days of low-carb dieting is to listen to your body. The whole notion of listening to your body is one of my major pet peeves. In fact, just hearing those words makes me want to puke. In my experience, they are usually uttered by females with moist, dreamy looks in their eyes, but not always. I just read a ton of comments in a recent Paleo blog post in which vastly more males than females actually wrote this drivel. Listening to your body is giving the elephant free rein. If you’re three days into your stop-smoking program, and you listen to your body, you’re screwed. If you’re in drug rehab, and you listen to your body, you’re screwed. If you’re trying to give up booze, and you listen to your body, you’re screwed. And if you’re a week into your low-carb diet, and you listen to your body, you’re screwed. Actually, it’s okay to listen to it, I suppose, just don’t do what it’s telling you to do because if you do, you’re screwed. Okay, end of rant. I just had to get it out of my system. You just can’t imagine how many times people who have tried low-carb diets then abandoned them early on have said those words to me. Wait. I’m about to get started again. Stop!

Low-carbohydrate adaptation
Probably the best explanation of low-carb adaptation (also called keto adaptation) was written by a Lt. Frederick Schwatka (pictured above left) over a hundred years ago.

When first thrown wholly upon a diet of reindeer meat, it seems inadequate to properly nourish the system and there is an apparent weakness and inability to perform severe exertive, fatiguing journeys. But this soon passes away in the course of two or three weeks.

Lt. Schwatka was a doctor, a lawyer, and an explorer of the Arctic, the Great Plains and northern Mexico. The above quote comes from his book on the unfruitful search for the Franklin party in 1878. (For all his experience and gifts, and understanding of low-carb adaptation, the good doctor listened to his own body a little too much and did himself in with an overdose of morphine at age 42.) You can read more about Lt Schwatka, low-carb adaptation, and his time with the Inuit in a post I wrote a few years ago. The period of low-carb adaptation is that time between starting a low-carb diet and feeling great on a low-carb diet. It can take anywhere from just a day or so to two or three weeks. During this adaptation period people tend to fatigue easily, experience a slight lack of mental clarity and be tormented off and on by the unbidden lust for carbs that seems to rise up out of nowhere. Why does this happen early on with a diet that ultimately works so well to increase exercise capacity, mental clarity, and feelings of satiation? It happens because both your body and brain are going through a profound change in the way they get their energy. You can’t run your car designed to burn gasoline on biodeisel…unless you install a converter. Then you can. We humans have the design for our carb to fat converters coded in our DNA – the low-carb adaptation period is simply the time it takes for the converter to be built and installed. Our bodies are simply giant piles of chemicals heaped together in a human-shaped form. Most of the chemicals will react with one another, but only extremely slowly. If we didn’t have something to help these reactions along, life wouldn’t exist. The helpers are called enzymes. These enzymes – which are large folded proteins – catalyze all the chemical reactions that allow us to function. Mix a couple of body chemicals together and you might have to wait twenty years or more for them to interact or combine in some way to form another body chemical product. Throw the correct enzyme into the mixture, and you get a reaction in a fraction of a second. When you’ve been on the standard American high-carb diet, you’re loaded with enzymes ready to convert those carbs to energy. You’ve got some enzymes laying in the weeds waiting to deal with the fat, but mainly dealing with it by storing it, not necessarily burning it. All the pathways to deal with carbs and their resultant blood glucose are well-oiled and operating smoothly. Then you start a low-carb diet. Suddenly, you’ve idled most of the enzyme force you have built to process the carbs in your diet while at the same time you don’t have a ready supply of the enzymes in the quantities needed to deal with your new diet. It would be like a Ford automobile factory changing in one day into a plant that made iPads. All the autoworkers would show up and be clueless as how to make an iPad. It would take a while – not to mention a lot of chaos – to get rid of the autoworkers and replace them with iPad workers. In a way, that’s kind of what’s happening during the low-carb adaptation period. Over the first few days to few weeks of low-carb adaptation, your body is laying off the carbohydrate worker enzymes and building new fat worker enzymes. Once the workforce in your body is changed out, you start functioning properly on your new low-carb, higher-fat diet. The carbs you used to burn for energy are now replaced to a great extent by ketones (which is why this time is also called the keto-adaptation period) and fat. Your brain begins to use ketones to replace the glucose it used to use pretty much exclusively, so your thinking clears up. And the fatigue you used to feel at the start of the diet goes away as ketones and fat (and the army of enzymes required to use them efficiently) take over as the primary sources of energy. Suddenly you seem to go from not being able to walk out to get the morning paper without puffing and panting to having an abundance of energy. Because of this low-carb adaptation period, we never, ever counsel our patients to start an exercise program when they start their low-carb diets because a) we know they’ll be too fatigued to do it, and b) we know that in a short time they will start exercising spontaneously to burn off the excess fat on their bodies once the skids are greased, so to speak. Anyone with good sense contemplating a low-carb diet would ask the question, How can I make this low-carb adaptation period as short as possible? Good question. Why would anyone want to prolong the agony? The secret to making it shorter is in the second part of what Lt. Schwatka wrote about low-carb adaptation. Immediately after the above quoted sentences, he follows with:

At first the white man takes to the new diet in too homeopathic a manner, especially if it be raw. However, seal meat which is far more disagreeable with its fishy odor, and bear meat with its strong flavor, seems to have no such temporary debilitating effect upon the economy.

In other words, the white man, used to flour, sugar, boiled meat and all the other staples of the mid 19th century American diet, balked at the consumption of raw meat, especially raw and malodorous seal and bear meat. And so took it in tiny portions (in a “homeopathic manner”) instead of going face down in it. Compared to reindeer meat, both seal and bear meat are loaded with fat, which is why the consumption of those fattier meats didn’t produce the “temporary debilitating effect.” In those who did eat the fattier meats, the low-carb adaptation period was very short or even non-existent.

Eat more fat
If you want to reduce the time you spend in low-carb adaptation, crank up the fat. If you go on a high-protein, moderate-fat diet (Schwatka’s reindeer diet), your body will convert the protein to glucose via gluconeogenesis, so you’ll still have glucose to keep the glucose worker enzymes busy and will prolong the conversion to fat and ketones as your primary energy source. So Rule Number One to reduce the time spent in low-carb adaptation purgatory is: Don’t be a wuss when you start your low-carb way of eating. Keep the carbs cut to the minimum and load up on the fat. Eat fatty cuts of meat, cooked in butter or lard if you want, and force your body over to using the fats and ketones for energy as nature intended. I mean, don’t try to be noble by eating boneless, skinless chicken breasts – instead insert some pats of butter under the skin of a chicken leg and thigh before cooking, and wolf them with your fingers while the fat drips down your arms. Do not trim the fat from your steaks – eat them from the fat side in. If you leave anything on your plate, make sure it’s the meat and not the fat. If you don’t already, learn to love bacon, and don’t cook it ‘til the fat is all gone: eat it wobbly. Wallow in Mangalitsa lardo. And whatever you do, for God’s sake, don’t listen to your body during this adaptation period or you’ll never cross the chasm between fat and miserable on your high-carb diet and slim, happy, energetic and low-carb adapted on the other side. In my next post, I’ll give you the rest of the tips and tricks to get through low-carb adaptation that MD and I have learned in our combined 50 plus years of taking care of patients on low-carb diet. And I’ll include a recipe worthy of killing for that you can prepare to help you get through.
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Old 08-02-2014, 12:40 PM   #196
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Part 2

In the last post we discussed ramping up the fat intake as the single best way to hurry the low-carb or keto adaptation along. I didnít mention it in the previous post, but another little secret is to keep an eye on the protein intake. Too much protein will prevent the shift into ketoses because the liver will convert some of the protein into glucose Ė this glucose will then be used first and slow down the ketogenic process. Which, if course, prompts the question, how much protein is too much? As long as youíre getting your protein from meat, especially fatty cuts of meat, youíre probably okay. If you go for the extremely lean cuts of meat, say, skinless chicken breasts, or if you are supplementing your diet with low-fat protein shakes, you could have a little more trouble low-carb adapting. If youíre going the shake route, I would recommend you add some coconut oil to the shakes for a couple of reasons. First, youíll hasten the keto-adaptation, and, second, the fat it coconut oil will help remove the fat from your liver (which Iíll discuss more later in this post).

A glass of Tinto de Verano pictured at left. A great way to hydrate. (See note at bottom of post.)

As I said, you need to really crank up the fat intake to push yourself over the adaptation divide as quickly as possible. If you donít like fatty cuts of meat, you can add a little medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) to your diet. MCT are absorbed more like carbohydrates and are used quickly by the body. They are almost never incorporated into the fat cells, so they burn quickly, and any extra that might be hanging around are converted to ketones. So, MCT will drive the ketone production process. And so will coconut oil if you prefer that.


You can find MCT oil at most health food or natural grocery stores. It has never bothered me, but some people can get a little nauseated if they take too much of it, so if you decide to give it a try, start out slowly. Or go with the coconut oil.

Aside from the occasional carb cravings, which weíll deal with later, the most common symptoms experienced by those getting started on low-carb diets are fatigue, headaches, light-headedness or dizziness, and cramping. I would say these four symptoms probably comprise 98 percent of the complaints we get from our patients we put on low-carb diets. Not everyone experiences these symptoms Ė especially those who do what we tell them Ė but of those who do have symptoms, these are almost always the ones they have. Letís look at what to do to avoid them or treat them should you already be experiencing on or more.

Electrolytes


The most common cause of virtually all the symptoms listed above is an imbalance in electrolytes. Following a low-carb diet results in a rapid lowering of insulin levels, which Ė though a good thing Ė can create problems in the early days. Weíll address the electrolytes in the order of importance.

Sodium

When you are overweight and insulin resistant, you have a lot of insulin circulating in your blood most of the time. This excess insulin does a number of bad things to you. Gary Taubes wrote an entire book about how excess insulin makes you store fat in your fat cells. But the story doesnít end there. Excess insulin also drives the kidneys to retain fluid, which is why many obese people retain a lot of extraneous fluid and experience pitting edema in their lower legs.

What is pitting edema?

If you push your finger into the tissue in the front (or just to the side of) your shin bone and your finger leaves an indentation Ė almost a finger print Ė that takes a while to fill back in, you have pitting edema. Most overweight people experience this phenomenon late in the afternoon and/or at night after being on their feet all day. The excess fluid pools around the lower legs and seeps into the soft tissues. In the morning, after the body has been horizontal through the night, the fluid redistributes, and the pitting edema goes away but then reoccurs as the day goes on. Even people who arenít all that overweight but who do have elevated insulin levels will have some degree of excess fluid accumulation even if they donít experience pitting edema as evidence of it.

One of the first things that happens when people go on low-carb diets is a rapid improvement in insulin sensitivity. Because the low-carb diet starts to quickly banish the insulin resistance, insulin levels fall quickly. And as insulin falls, the stimulus to the kidneys to retain fluids goes away, and the kidneys begin to rapidly release fluid. One of the common experiences at the start of low-carb dieting is the incessant running back and forth to the bathroom to urinate this excess fluid away. Which is both good news and bad news.

The good news is that itís great to get rid of the excess fluid but it comes at a cost, which is the bad news. As the excess fluid goes, it takes with it sodium an extremely important electrolyte. When sodium levels fall below a critical threshold (which can happen within a short time), symptoms often occur, the most common being fatigue, headache, cramps and postural hypotension.

Postural hypotension happens when you stand up too quickly and feel faint. Or even pass out briefly. Itís a sign of dehydration. So if youíve started your low-carb diet, made your multiple runs to the bathroom, and jump up off the couch to answer the phone and feel like your going to faint (or actually do pass out momentarily) and have to sit back down quickly, youíve got postural hypotension. Itís really easy to fix Ė you simply need to take more sodium and drink more water. Salt your food more. Increasing sodium is just another one of the many counter-intuitive things about low-carb dieting. Just like eating more fat to lower your cholesterol. Youíve got to start thinking differently. The low-carb diet is one that absolutely requires more sodium. A lot more sodium.

If youíve got the brutal headaches that some people get when starting on a low-carb diet, add sodium. And drink extra water.

Even if you donít have pitting edema, postural hypotension or headaches, you still need more sodium if you are starting out on or following a low-carb diet. Itís critically important that you get extra sodium. I canít make this case too strongly.

An easy way to get extra sodium along with magnesium and potassium (a couple of other electrolytes weíll discuss in a bit) is by consuming bone broth. Unfortunately, you typically have to make the good stuff yourself because itís difficult to find commercially. You can get chicken broth and beef broth at most grocery stores, but itís not nearly as good as the broth you can make yourself. At the end of this post IĎll give you a spectacular recipe that we have for a great bone broth we made at our now-defunct restaurant. It is beyond good. It requires a little time, but you can make a bunch and freeze it in small containers and keep it forever.

Short of making your own bone broth, you can use commercially available bouillon, which contains plenty of sodium and makes a nice hot drink. Plop a cube in a cup of hot water and throw it back. Many patients have reported that drinking a cup of hot bouillon helps them get through carb cravings. Itís easy and convenient, but canít compare in taste to the real bone broth you make yourself.

Fleur de sel 1 Tips & tricks for starting (or restarting) low carb Pt II

In addition to broth, get some Celtic Sea Salt, Himalayan Salt or one of the other grayish, pinkish kind of grungy looking salts and replace your normal salt with these. And donít use them sparingly. These salts have been harvested either from ancient sea beds or obtained by evaporation of sea water with high mineral content and contain about 70 percent of the sodium of regular salt (which has been refined, bleached and processed until it is pretty much pure sodium chloride, often with anti-caking agents added). The other 30 percent of the volume is other minerals and micronutrients (including iodine) found in mineral-rich seas. Consuming these salts is not just following a Paleolithic diet using modern food, but, depending upon the origin of the salt, it is consuming the same food your Paleolithic ancestors ate. I much prefer these salts taste-wise to regular salt, and I salt the heck out of all my food with it.

Magnesium

The low-carb diet doesnít really cause a massive depletion of magnesium like it does with the sodium and potassium (the next electrolyte on the list), but most people who are overweight, insulin resistant and/or hypertensive or diabetic are deficient in magnesium. Even people with lipid problems are often magnesium deficient. In fact, even people who donít seem to have health problems can often be magnesium deficient because most people donít get enough. The last I read on the subject, about 70 percent of people donít even get the minimum recommended daily intake of magnesium (which isnít all that high). So, in my opinion, itís important to supplement this vital mineral. Good magnesium levels help regulate potassium as well, so keeping your magnesium adequate helps with your potassium as well.

Nature has designed us so that approximately 300 plus of our enzymes require magnesium as a co-factor to make them work properly. Which tells us that we evolved in a time when magnesium was readily available, otherwise the forces of natural selection wouldnít have made such wide use of it.

Where did it come from? I would bet most of it came from the water. Most natural sources of water have a high magnesium content, so when you drink bottled water and softened and treated water, you get short changed. Magnesium salts in water are one of the substances that tends to make deposits on your water pipes and makes it difficult to get a good lather with soap. This problem is solved with water softeners, but the process gets rid of the magnesium. In the old days when we all drank well water or stream water, we got a lot more magnesium.

Since magnesium is used in 300+ different chemical reactions in the body, a shortage of magnesium can cause problems. One of the most common ones is an increase in cravings. Often simply replenishing magnesium gets rid of many of the food cravings people have.

The best way to get magnesium is from supplements. Get a good chelated magnesium supplement and take 300-400 mg per day. Weíve found it best to take these supplements in the evening because magnesium is relaxing and taking it in the evening helps you sleep. About the only problem people ever have with magnesium is loose stools, i.e., the milk of magnesium effect. If that happens Ė and it is unwelcome Ė simply reduce your dosage until your stools normalize.

Purchasing magnesium supplements can be a little tricky because of the way theyíre labeled. First, a chelated magnesium supplement is one that ends with an Ď-ate,í as in magnesium aspartate or magnesium citrate or magnesium citrimate. The -Ďateí ending tells you the magnesium is chelated, which means itís attached to another molecule (the chelating agent..aspartate, citrate, or whatever) that helps with absorption. Second, with magnesium supplements, the manufacturers sometimes list the dosage of both the magnesium and the chelating agent combined. Since the chelating agents are a lot heavier than the magnesium, this labeling often ends up saying the dosage of each pill is, say, 1000 mg of magnesium aspartate. This isnít the amount of magnesium youíre going to end up getting because the magnesium is only about 15 percent of the weight of the total pill.
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Old 08-02-2014, 12:43 PM   #197
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PART 2 continued

About the only way you can really tell how much actual magnesium your getting is to look on the label on the back and see how much of the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) the dose is. The RDI for magnesium is 400 mg per day so if you find the dose of the supplement you are considering contains 50 percent of the RDI, then you know each dose contains 200 mg of magnesium irrespective of what the dosage is on the front of the bottle. As I say, I recommend 300 to 400 mg of magnesium per day. The only downside of magnesium is loose stools. Doesnít happen to everyone, but does to a few. For many people the magnesium seems to offset the constipation that some experience when starting a low-carb diet. If you do experience loose stools, simply back off your dose of magnesium until things unloosen.

Magnesium is natures relaxant. It makes many people sleepy, so we always recommend taking it at bedtime.

Potassium

Potassium is linked to sodium. If you lose a lot of sodium through the diuretic effect of the low-carb diet, youíll ultimately lose a lot of potassium as well. Keeping your sodium intake up as mentioned above will help preserve your potassium as well. And keeping your potassium levels up helps to ensure that you donít lose a lot of lean muscle mass during your weight loss. Plus, just as with sodium, adequate potassium prevents cramping and fatigue.

You can replace your potassium by taking potassium supplements. In our clinical practice, we gave all patients starting the low-carb diet a prescription for potassium. You can get the same dosage by taking four to five of the over-the-counter 99 mg potassium supplements you can purchase at any health food or natural grocery store.

There are a couple of prescription medicines that youíve got to be aware of if you markedly increase your potassium intake, so if youíre on blood pressure medicines, ask your doctor if itís okay for you to take potassium.

Before we move on to other supplements we can use to help with low-carb dieting, I want to address the subject of dehydration.

Hydration


A few years ago, I learned the lessons of adequate hydration the hard way, so take this as a cautionary tale and benefit from my painful experience. I had always pooh-poohed the notion of drinking a lot of water in addition to coffee, tea and other non-caloric beverages because I always figured (and probably have even written in the pages of this blog somewhere) that coffee, tea, etc. are nothing but water with a little flavoring in them. I mean, if you start out with a glass of water and put tea bag in it, the water doesnít go away. Itís still there; it just becomes tea-flavored water. Well, turns out thatís not actually the case.

My daily ritual was as follows: Get up, stagger to the refrigerator and take a big gulp or two of sparkling water. Then make my way to the espresso maker and crank out a cup of Americano. Followed by four or five more Americanos over the course of the morning and early afternoon, interspersed with a gulp here and there of sparkling water. A snort of Jameson in the early evening, maybe a glass of red wine with dinner and a decaf Americano after dinner. If I watch a movie or read a book, I usually nurse another glass of Jameson. I typically take my supplements at bedtime, so I throw back another half glass or so of sparkling water then. Plenty of liquids, right?

Well, not exactly, as it turned out.

I began developing severe cramps in my hands and feet that I had a hell of a time massaging out. That was just the beginning. I started being awakened at night with brutal leg cramps, requiring my springing from the bed and walking them out. My potassium is too low, thought I, so I started taking potassium. No change in the cramping situation. In fact, if anything, it got worse. I was complaining to a friend who told me calcium had helped his cramps. So I downed calcium at bedtime. No improvement.

Another friend told me that tonic water had helped her with cramps, but I only half believed it, so didnít really try. Then MD and I had family visit us in Tahoe for skiing. I upped my booze intake, kept the coffee intake about the same, and probably decreased my consumption of sparkling water (or water of any kind, for that matter). The cramps increased dramatically. And what was worse, they stopped limiting themselves to the night. When MD and I were driving over to Napa one day, the cramps were so severe I could hardly drive. I had to keep the seat back as far as I could get it so I could straighten my leg when one hit me. Then my hands started cramping just holding them on the steering wheel. I pulled off the freeway and made a beeline for a convenience store and grabbed a one liter bottle of diet tonic water and proceeded to chug the entire thing as I drove down the road. Miraculously, my cramps subsided. So, I figured tonic water (quinine) was the solution.

One night Ė after being out of tonic water for a few days and being failed by my bride in resupplying Ė I had another brutal night of cramps. The next day I was scheduled for blood donation. After going through the long list of questions that must be answered verbally (and fighting down the impulse to tell my interrogator that I had recently paid for sex while imprisoned in Africa Ė those who have given blood lately will know what I mean), I was sent to actually have the blood taken. The phlebotomist couldnít find my vein, which had never happened before because I usually have rope-like veins in my forearms. She asked if I was dehydrated. I told her I didnít think so since I had had my normal four of five cups of coffee that morning along with my gulp of water. She brought me a couple of 16 ounce bottles of water that I drank, and, bingo, there were my veins. Big and robust as usual.

It finally occurred to me that my cramping problem might be due to dehydration and that the diet tonic that solved the problem did so not because of the quinine but because I was drinking all the water the quinine was dissolved in. And it occurred to me that the cramping was worse in the middle of the night because a lot of water is lost through the breath at night. (See my second post on the Anthony Colpo Smackdown to read more about this.) You can lose a couple of pounds during sleep simply by breathing water vapor away, which was, Iím sure, what was happening to me. I was barely hydrated enough to prevent cramping while awake, but when I slept and my fluid level fell due to my breathing water away, I hit some critical threshold of fluid that kicked off the cramps.

I started rehydrating first thing in the morning and throughout the day. Now I get up, drink anywhere from 16 to 32 ounces of remineralized water (more about which later) first thing. Then I head to the espresso maker and start my daily Americano regimen. But I consume at least 8 ounces of sparkling water after each cup of coffee. And I drink water after each shot of Jameson and/or glass of wine (or any other alcoholic libation),* and Iím proud to report that I have been cramp free since upping the water.

My brush with cramping misery inspired me to hit the medical literature to read about hydration. And I learned many wonderful things. For example, I learned coffee is a diuretic (which I already knew but had chosen to forget), but that some acclimation occurs over time. Still, due to the diuretic effect, you donít get the full fluid from a cup of coffee that you would from an equal amount of water. Same with alcohol. Once I started calculating how much fluid of that I drank throughout the day I was actually retaining, I was amazed that cramping was the worst that happened to me.

I learned that water has a lipolytic effect (fat burning). I read this in a number of papers that had studied it, and the data clearly showed that those who took in a lot of water had increased lipolysis. I didnít deny the data, but I couldnít figure out the mechanism (and apparently neither could any of the authors because none described it). I thought on it a while and finally came up with what I think is a plausible scenario.

When you drink water, especially cold water, you require some increase in caloric burning to bring the water to body temperature, but that increase doesnít amount to all that much (the authors did describe this phenomenon), but you also dilute your blood for a bit until the water equilibrates with the fluid in all the tissues, and effect that takes some time. During this time, while the blood is more dilute, the concentration of the various substances carried in the blood decreases. Which would mean that insulin levels would fall. The typical blood volume is about 5 liters, so drinking a liter of water would increase the blood volume temporarily by about 20 percent, which would mean the concentration of insulin and other molecules in the blood would fall by about 20 percent. A 20 percent drop in insulin levels would allow fat to escape the fat cells and would facilitate its transfer into the mitochondria for burning. At least thatís my explanation for the lipolytic effect seen in numerous studies of subjects increasing water intake.

Those starting a low-carb diet are prone to dehydration because excess ketones are gotten rid of via the kidneys along with a lot of fluid. So, when you start your diet, consciously increase your fluid intake. Do like I do now and come up with some sort of regimen that ensures you consume plenty of water throughout the day. Youíll feel better; youíll avoid cramping; and youíll actually burn a little more fat. And donít make the mistake I did and assume that drinking a lot of coffee, tea, booze or other diuretic fluid is a replacement for water intake.

Since I drink either bottled water or water that comes through our RO filter, both of which are depleted of minerals, I always remineralize my water by adding a pinch of Celtic Sea Salt or one of the other such salts to each bottle. I add enough so that the water just barely hints of a salty taste.

Supplements


Every patient whom we started on a low-carb diet left our clinic with six supplements: lipoic acid, CoQ10, Vitamin E, magnesium, a good multi-vitamin and a prescription for potassium. (Now I would add a substantial dose of vitamin D3 to the list, a dose based on vitamin d levels and sun exposure.) Weíve already dealt with the potassium and magnesium, so letís consider the others.

First, the good multi. Iím a believer in getting most of whatís needed vitamin- and mineral-wise from food. And Iím also a believer that Iím an excellent driver. Yet I always purchase car insurance. I see a good multi-vitamin as the same thing Ė cheap insurance against any kind of deficiency. I would rather have my patients urinating away fifty cents worth of vitamins a day than risk that they have a deficiency in one. And I feel the same way about myself. So, find a good multi-vitamin without iron and take it. Based on the experiences of my own patients, I can almost guarantee youíll feel better. Why without iron? Because most people on low-carb diets get plenty of iron in a very absorbable form. And too much iron isnít a good thing, so donít take it in your multi.
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Old 08-02-2014, 12:44 PM   #198
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PART 3 continued

Alpha lipoic acid (ALA)

ALA is, next to magnesium, just about my favorite supplement. It acts as both a fat-soluble and water-soluble anti-oxidant so it can pretty much weasel its way in anywhere in the body and stamp out inflammation. It protects fatty membranes and even acts as a cellular nutrient. It also helps the body deal with blood sugar, which helps the whole low-carb adaptation process along. Many studies have shown an improvement in blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity with ALA supplementation. ALA can rejuvenate other anti-oxidants, and has so many virtues that entire books have been written about it. My standard dose is 300 mg per day for patients starting low-carb diets. There is a newer, more potent version of ALA available now called r-alpha lipoic acid. The standard stuff is a combination of the r and l varieties, and since the r isomer is the active one, a supplement made entirely of the r variety is going to be more potent. And more expensive. If you use the r-ALA you can take 100 mg a day.

CoQ10

Another superstar supplement, especially for those who have been on or are on statins. Statin drugs interfere with the body’s synthesis of this important nutrient, and those who have been or are taking statins are usually depleted to some degree. If you’ve been taking a statin, I would take 300 mg per day of CoQ10. If you haven’t, 100 mg per day should do.

Vitamin D3

I would also add at least 1000 IU per day of this nutrient. You need to have your levels checked at some point to make sure you don’t overdo it, but at 1000 IU per day, this is unlikely. If you do test and find you’re deficient, I would take 5,000-10,000 IU per day until 25 (OH) vit D serum levels are up to at least 50 ng/ml. Along with all the other benefits vitamin D3 provides (which I have written about elsewhere on this blog), there is some evidence that it even boosts weight loss a bit.

5-hydroxytryptophan

The last supplement I’ll mention is one I’ve had much success with in treating people who tend to have carb cravings late in the day. 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is the precursor to serotonin. Most people who have carb cravings have them because their serotonin levels fall. Taking 5-HTP will bring them back up. It also helps with sleep. Best time to take it seems to be about 4 or 5 PM for those who go to bed at the standard 10-12 PM. You can move the dose around to find a time that helps the most with your carb cravings yet doesn’t make you sleepy other than when you want to be. I usually recommend 50-100 mg. It’s available at most health food stores and natural food grocers.

Fatty liver


The last bit of advice I’ll give is that you need to work to defat your liver as quickly as possible. The good news is that you can do it quickly on a low-carb diet. Studies have shown major improvement in just 10 days or so. It’s important to defat your liver to help you lose weight more quickly because the liver breaks down insulin. If your blood sugar goes up, the pancreas makes and secretes insulin to drive it down. It does so by driving the glucose into the cells. At the same time, insulin drives fat into the fat cells and keeps it there. As long as the insulin is in the circulation, it’s going to be preventing fat from leaving the fat cells. The liver is the organ that breaks down and gets rid of the insulin. And a healthy liver does it a lot better than a liver full of fat.

One of the liver’s most important jobs is detoxification of harmful substances. We all (at least I) consume medications, food and drink that is toxic. We (I) drink coffee, tea and alcoholic beverages. The caffeine and alcohol are toxins. They don’t really hurt us in the quantities that most of us ingest, but they are toxic nevertheless. The liver detoxifies them. Same with many drugs – both prescription and over-the-counter. Tylenol puts a major detoxification burden on the liver. When you drink coffee, tea, and/or alcohol and take OTC meds, you occupy much of your liver’s detoxification capacity. Which means it can’t get rid of insulin as well and can’t regulate metabolism in general as well as it does when it isn’t busily detoxing toxins.

So, if you really want to hit it hard in the early phases of your low-carb diet and reach low-carb adaptation at warp speed, I would recommend avoiding – or at least limiting – coffee, tea, alcohol and OTC meds.


Hoping this was motivating!!! Have a great day, Lizzie
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Old 08-03-2014, 10:21 AM   #199
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PART 3 continued

Alpha lipoic acid (ALA)

ALA is, next to magnesium, just about my favorite supplement. It acts as both a fat-soluble and water-soluble anti-oxidant so it can pretty much weasel its way in anywhere in the body and stamp out inflammation. It protects fatty membranes and even acts as a cellular nutrient. It also helps the body deal with blood sugar, which helps the whole low-carb adaptation process along. Many studies have shown an improvement in blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity with ALA supplementation. ALA can rejuvenate other anti-oxidants, and has so many virtues that entire books have been written about it. My standard dose is 300 mg per day for patients starting low-carb diets. There is a newer, more potent version of ALA available now called r-alpha lipoic acid. The standard stuff is a combination of the r and l varieties, and since the r isomer is the active one, a supplement made entirely of the r variety is going to be more potent. And more expensive. If you use the r-ALA you can take 100 mg a day.

CoQ10

Another superstar supplement, especially for those who have been on or are on statins. Statin drugs interfere with the bodyís synthesis of this important nutrient, and those who have been or are taking statins are usually depleted to some degree. If youíve been taking a statin, I would take 300 mg per day of CoQ10. If you havenít, 100 mg per day should do.

Vitamin D3

I would also add at least 1000 IU per day of this nutrient. You need to have your levels checked at some point to make sure you donít overdo it, but at 1000 IU per day, this is unlikely. If you do test and find youíre deficient, I would take 5,000-10,000 IU per day until 25 (OH) vit D serum levels are up to at least 50 ng/ml. Along with all the other benefits vitamin D3 provides (which I have written about elsewhere on this blog), there is some evidence that it even boosts weight loss a bit.

5-hydroxytryptophan

The last supplement Iíll mention is one Iíve had much success with in treating people who tend to have carb cravings late in the day. 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is the precursor to serotonin. Most people who have carb cravings have them because their serotonin levels fall. Taking 5-HTP will bring them back up. It also helps with sleep. Best time to take it seems to be about 4 or 5 PM for those who go to bed at the standard 10-12 PM. You can move the dose around to find a time that helps the most with your carb cravings yet doesnít make you sleepy other than when you want to be. I usually recommend 50-100 mg. Itís available at most health food stores and natural food grocers.

Fatty liver


The last bit of advice Iíll give is that you need to work to defat your liver as quickly as possible. The good news is that you can do it quickly on a low-carb diet. Studies have shown major improvement in just 10 days or so. Itís important to defat your liver to help you lose weight more quickly because the liver breaks down insulin. If your blood sugar goes up, the pancreas makes and secretes insulin to drive it down. It does so by driving the glucose into the cells. At the same time, insulin drives fat into the fat cells and keeps it there. As long as the insulin is in the circulation, itís going to be preventing fat from leaving the fat cells. The liver is the organ that breaks down and gets rid of the insulin. And a healthy liver does it a lot better than a liver full of fat.

One of the liverís most important jobs is detoxification of harmful substances. We all (at least I) consume medications, food and drink that is toxic. We (I) drink coffee, tea and alcoholic beverages. The caffeine and alcohol are toxins. They donít really hurt us in the quantities that most of us ingest, but they are toxic nevertheless. The liver detoxifies them. Same with many drugs Ė both prescription and over-the-counter. Tylenol puts a major detoxification burden on the liver. When you drink coffee, tea, and/or alcohol and take OTC meds, you occupy much of your liverís detoxification capacity. Which means it canít get rid of insulin as well and canít regulate metabolism in general as well as it does when it isnít busily detoxing toxins.

So, if you really want to hit it hard in the early phases of your low-carb diet and reach low-carb adaptation at warp speed, I would recommend avoiding Ė or at least limiting Ė coffee, tea, alcohol and OTC meds.


Hoping this was motivating!!! Have a great day, Lizzie
Thnx Lizzie! Just read this post. It reminded me of why I take ALA and I needed to read that again. So thnx!
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Old 08-13-2014, 12:46 PM   #200
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Started over on Monday!

The short story - Since 2006 - Lost 30 (atkins), gained 50 (beers and pizza), lost 70 (atkins + bootcamp), gained 40 (working out but still eating/drinking what I wanted). Now I want to get under 200 and stay there!

I recently stopped playing rugby (which is great exercise but also involves a good deal of beer and the resultant drunk eating). I'm also cutting way down on alcohol intake and increasing my Bible study/spiritual progress, so all of that made me think it was a great time to take better care of my body as well.

I'm on Insanity month 2, and am hoping to have little to no "cheat days" this year! Tired of using everything as an excuse to eat poorly.

Anyway, let's keep it up!
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This time with a special focus on less alcohol and fewer "cheat days"

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Old 08-14-2014, 11:28 PM   #201
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Hello All!! Lizzie, Thanks for the articles posted about why it is harder the 2nd, 3rd .... time around. Read them both and followed the link here. I am a 2nd starter. I appreciate you posting same and would love to join this challenge thread as well.
Hello, all. Finally dipping back into this thread. RobMan, I appreciated reading your story; thank you for taking the time to write it out for us. You have been on quite a journey! I hope you'll keep sharing your successes and struggles with us here. (You might have already since this initial post, but I haven't read through the thread just yet...) Anyway, welcome! I hope this community offers the extra support you need as you get down to 250.
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Old 08-14-2014, 11:31 PM   #202
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Started over on Monday!

The short story - Since 2006 - Lost 30 (atkins), gained 50 (beers and pizza), lost 70 (atkins + bootcamp), gained 40 (working out but still eating/drinking what I wanted). Now I want to get under 200 and stay there!

I recently stopped playing rugby (which is great exercise but also involves a good deal of beer and the resultant drunk eating). I'm also cutting way down on alcohol intake and increasing my Bible study/spiritual progress, so all of that made me think it was a great time to take better care of my body as well.

I'm on Insanity month 2, and am hoping to have little to no "cheat days" this year! Tired of using everything as an excuse to eat poorly.

Anyway, let's keep it up!
Aijarama, you are hilarious! Thanks for the entertaining update. I know how it goes with beer and pizza, sigh...

Spiritual progress sure does seem to help along the way, too.

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Old 08-26-2014, 03:55 PM   #203
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Starting over here, mind if I join?

My name is Sam, I live in Titusville Florida, formerly of Knoxville Tn.
When I say I am starting over I am doing so after a planned halt in my low carbing because the weight-loss had slowed and I thought a month or two eating carbs would be a "shock" to my system. Tomorrow starts strict Induction again to see if I can get the last 70 of 280 pounds off before next Spring.
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Old 09-02-2014, 12:57 PM   #204
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Sam!! I did the same thing, although not intentionally.. I hit it really hard when I started this thread, but I have found this summer to be the hardest of the last 10 years I have been lc to keep on track. Back at it as well...
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Old 09-22-2014, 12:45 PM   #205
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Hi! Glad to see this support group. I'm back on as of today. For the "umpteenth" time. I appreciate all of the supportive articles, because, yes, the mind really %#&s (I would really like to say the real word that I mean!) with us and makes us quit doing what works. In all of the times that I have stopped low carbing, there has only been one time that I felt like I had a really good reason to stop. For all of the rest of the times, I cannot, cannot, cannot even think of why I did stop. Even the one I stopped like two months ago.

Glad to be badck on track. Hope we can all help each other here in our last re-start.
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Old 09-23-2014, 09:10 AM   #206
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Hey Marvin!! Boy do I understand that... a slip becomes a slide!!
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Old 09-23-2014, 11:07 AM   #207
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I'm riding that slide....like the matterhorn! At some point I will get my sh!7 together, for now it's just not happening. I am seriously considering finding a dr to do a thorough test on my thyroid, not just T3 &4. Symptomatically, I am hypo-thyroid like crazy.

Hope everyone is doing well. I for one, am enjoying the cooler weather here. Autumn is my absolute fave season!
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Old 09-24-2014, 09:44 AM   #208
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Wicked stitch.. I often think the same thing.. that I need to have my thyroid tested more thoroughly. Funny, I forgot to fill my synthroid last month and for a change I am seeing a loss, so all that hope I had for the pills helping with the weight isn't quite what I thought it would be. Let me know if you do and things change for you, always trying to find new info! Good luck.
I was off track too for quite awhile.. just realized I am 10 pounds up from my lowest.. grrr..
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Old 09-24-2014, 11:28 AM   #209
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Thank you Lizzie for posting those articles form Michael Eades! I have read them and am working through some of the more technical parts in detail. Two things were very helpful. One was the reminder about all of the little "cheats" that we learn to sneak in to the plan the 2nd, 3rd ... 18th, 19th, etc. time we do this. I'm going to get through the worst of my induction flu then I'm going to stop my 12 cup a day coffee habit. Wish me luck!

The other part that I thought was particularly good were the four components (physiological, feeling, thinking, and doing) and how important it was to focus on the doing because that's the only one we can control. So important; so powerful.
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Old 09-29-2014, 02:41 PM   #210
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I agree, Marvin. The " lc hacks" we implement as we learn this woe are definitely my downfall. I remember everything was , well, literal the first time I read it, and I measured and weighed, whereas now I eyeball and guesstimate. I do wish you luck.. and myself. I am still upset that I gave in friday night to off plan food and drink at a bachelorette party. One day in 29 but even so....
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