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Old 07-23-2014, 03:07 PM   #1
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How do you lower your calories (if you want to)?

OK - I have long been on the side of those that say that very low carb and high fat is the way to go. I know that this standpoint, versus lowering your calories, is a hot debate on these boards. I am hoping that this doesn't become more of a debate thread , but rather to answer this question because I am openminded and want to try a different approach :

"For those that believe in lowering calories while still being LC is an effective way to promote fat loss: how exactly do you do it?"

My thoughts are that I change from fatty meats like steak, pork and seafood that is drowned in butter to less fatty meats, like chicken. There has to be more to it, and I would rather learn from all of your experience rather than experiment and mess it up. So...what exactly are you doing to lower your calories?

This is a sincere request because I want to give it a real try! Thanks all!
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Old 07-23-2014, 03:15 PM   #2
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Phinney & Volek say that if you are not losing eating LCHF, reduce your fat. That will lower calories automatically.

To me, your 'drowning in butter' suggests a way to lower fat. If you're eating beef and pork, they are 'fatty meats' in themselves (as are chicken thighs). They don't need to be 'drowned in butter.' Atkins says that by eating standard low carb fare and using butter, etc. as needed for cooking, an individual would be getting no less than 65% fat, which is totally in keeping with this WOE. There's no need for 'fat bombs' and other deliberate additions of fat.

Fat is the macro with the highest number of calories per gram, so it is logical to lower fat intake IF you feel the need to lower calories.
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Old 07-23-2014, 04:10 PM   #3
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_ have just two or three meals a day, no snacks
- stay away from recipes that have huge amounts of dairy and that people often overeat (usually the faux high carb ones like lc pizza, lc lasagna, lc casseroles)
- have lots of vegetables for volume. Branch out into different types of greens- kale, swiss chard, mustard greens, arugula, watercress, spinach, frise.
- Simple recipes like a roasted chicken with herbs and grilled salmon with fresh squeezed lemon taste great and don't need any extra calorie filled sauces.
- measure out 2 tbs of evoo for salad dressing.
- don't waste calories on liquids unless they take the place of a meal.
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Old 07-23-2014, 04:18 PM   #4
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Thanks everyone - good responses so far!

I wanted to add...What types of fish are best for lowering calories (fat)?
Also...What fish that are really the fatty equivalent of steak?

Thanks!
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Old 07-23-2014, 04:22 PM   #5
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I cut out my snacks and it seemed to help. I now just eat three meals a day, but eat "Atkins Standards" - eggs, beef, fish, mainly. Less than 4oz of cheese.
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Old 07-23-2014, 04:23 PM   #6
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Fish is generally low calorie. Salmon is fatty but full of omega 3s so it's worth it. Tuna, white fish, cod, haddock, halibut, tilapia are quite low cal.
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Old 07-23-2014, 08:41 PM   #7
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Agree with others on the fish. That is my staple food and it always helps me to lose weight when I just eat fish and egg whites, veggies.

Smaller portions maybe? I know I am working on this now and it could help. Just some thoughts. Good luck.
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:03 PM   #8
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I think this is very good question. I am currently not counting calories; but I may soon in order to keep losing fat and then go back to how I'm eating now for maintenance purposes as I can easily continue my current regimen.
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:19 PM   #9
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If someone made the simple, common sense changes listed in nolcjunk's post they would probably lose more weight. She hit the nail on the head. Those are pretty much the same changes I made as well. Counting the calories might not even be necessary for some people who don't want to count them (though I admit I really do not understand the vehement resistance to doing so--especially from people who are willing to count carbs and try to hit certain percentages).

If nothing else, getting rid of snacks is a good place to start.
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:34 PM   #10
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When I began my LC woe, I did not worry the calories, and the first 30 pounds melted away w/out giving any thought to them, as long as I kept my carbs low.

But then came the time when it was clear to me I did needed to give more attention to my calories. So I did what Dr. Eades suggests for those not losing as much as they'd like, and gave myself a goal of 1600 calories a day. Had been eating probably around 1800 a day. I have since cut that to 1500 calories a day. Sometimes I have more, but more often I have less. And it doesn't feel like a hardship or a diet to me.

I think it's important to get a grip on LC eating FIRST, find the things that you like and satisfy you without worrying about calories. Once I'd done that, it was relatively easy to cut my calories a bit, and it has worked.

You can approach this by cutting fats of any kind, and that works too, but only as long as you remain satisfied and sated. For me, I simply keep my goals to 1500 calories a day, and 25 to 35 carbs, and whatever fits that, is fair game. It takes a bit of juggling and experimentation, and then all of a sudden, you find your groove.

The calorie goals you choose will be up to your body type and height etc. But I really believe in keeping it simple. Give yourself a calorie and carb goal, and meet it as often as you can.

But in the end, the carbs are the most important thing, imo.
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:56 PM   #11
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I think it's important to get a grip on LC eating FIRST, find the things that you like and satisfy you without worrying about calories. Once I'd done that, it was relatively easy to cut my calories a bit, and it has worked.
That's exactly it, Blue Skies. Or, rather, that's exactly what I'm hoping for myself, that it will be relatively easy to find the ways to cut calories without going off the rails and feeling deprived.

I am currently still losing but at some point, obviously my body will say, Nope, you've been eating for maintenance and you still have some fat to lose. Try something else, Lady. I won't like "dieting" but at this point, I'm feeling on pretty solid ground with ingrained habits that I never had before.

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Old 07-23-2014, 10:00 PM   #12
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The easiest way for me to cut calories was to quit eating breakfast. It's not for everyone, but I'm not hungry in the mornings unless I've worked out, so mostly I just have black coffee until noon, then eat a regular LC lunch and dinner. Artificially sweetened "treats" are rare for me, too. And I overeat nuts whenever they are in the house, so those are out as well .

This is on top of the fact that I don't eat dairy regularly, and I don't snack beyond my 2 or 3 meals. I guess this sounds like a pretty limited diet, and it is, but I do still eat plenty of olive-oil-based salad dressing, avocado, butter, and full-fat meats.
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Old 07-23-2014, 10:10 PM   #13
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The easiest way for me to cut calories was to quit eating breakfast. It's not for everyone, but I'm not hungry in the mornings unless I've worked out, so mostly I just have black coffee until noon, then eat a regular LC lunch and dinner. Artificially sweetened "treats" are rare for me, too. And I overeat nuts whenever they are in the house, so those are out as well .

This is on top of the fact that I don't eat dairy regularly, and I don't snack beyond my 2 or 3 meals. I guess this sounds like a pretty limited diet, and it is, but I do still eat plenty of olive-oil-based salad dressing, avocado, butter, and full-fat meats.
It does sound pretty limited and sounds similar to how I eat. Except I already don't eat breakfast. I will probably have to cut calories by being stricter about "treats".
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Old 07-23-2014, 10:22 PM   #14
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It does sound pretty limited and sounds similar to how I eat. Except I already don't eat breakfast. I will probably have to cut calories by being stricter about "treats".
Yeah, it's too bad I don't lose well on higher calories, like I used to 10 years ago! Back then I ate dairy and averaged 1800 calories a day, which no longer cuts it .

In your shoes, I'd do like you said, and lose the treats. And maybe cut down my meat portions, since I'm pretty generous with those.

It's annoying, but if whatever works, right?
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:06 AM   #15
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I didn't worry about the actual foods I ate as much as I did the portions. I quit snacking for the most part. I have a bad habit of snacking when I'm really not hungry or taking second helpings when I'm no longer hungry. The calories really add up when I do these things. I never actually counted the calories, and I never had to go hungry, I just have to be careful that I don't overeat.

ETA...I did this in the past when I was near goal, and it worked really well. I need to start doing this again!

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Old 07-24-2014, 05:32 AM   #16
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To cut back on calories, I cut back on treats. I go ahead and have high fat snacks, but maybe only once a day, instead of three or four.
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Old 07-24-2014, 12:40 PM   #17
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OK - I have long been on the side of those that say that very low carb and high fat is the way to go. I know that this standpoint, versus lowering your calories, is a hot debate on these boards. I am hoping that this doesn't become more of a debate thread , but rather to answer this question because I am openminded and want to try a different approach :

"For those that believe in lowering calories while still being LC is an effective way to promote fat loss: how exactly do you do it?"

My thoughts are that I change from fatty meats like steak, pork and seafood that is drowned in butter to less fatty meats, like chicken. There has to be more to it, and I would rather learn from all of your experience rather than experiment and mess it up. So...what exactly are you doing to lower your calories?

This is a sincere request because I want to give it a real try! Thanks all!
If you want to reduce the amount of food (i.e. calories) the best and easiest way is to be in ketosis all the time. It is the very best way of reducing appetite and feeling energetic, while sparing muscle mass.

Dr. Phinney only advises cutting fat grams back after one is in ketosis for a time to become adapted and to also have carbs low enough, protein moderated properly and enough fat to fill in the rest. He also warns that no one should eat under 1200 calories on any kind of regular basis.

This last point can become a sticking point for some because ketosis makes it so easy to eat much lower than that amount of food. Then 'under eating' may become an issue.

Everyone is different and will get varying degrees of success or not. It is certainly worth the effort to find a different way to reach your goals if you feel pretty sure you can sustain your decided route indefinitely. As it seems pretty well known, that what you have to do to lose will be very close to what you have to do to maintain.
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Old 07-24-2014, 07:20 PM   #18
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Thanks everyone. This has helped me to consider several options. Since I ate a very high fat, and therefore high calorie, diet, it will not require huge alterations to lower my calories significantly. Swapping out porterhouses and seafood drowned in butter for chicken and fish, often but not at every meal, will slash a great deal of calories.

One particular idea struck me from several posts - the way I initially ate (moderate fat) helped me lose about 35 pounds of weight, but then I kind of reached the threshold of what weight I could lose that way. I reached the exact same weight that I ALWAYS stalled at for months, and ALWAYS eventually gave up on and went back to eating the standard American diet. This time, though, I went to higher fat when I reached that threshold, and I lost another 15, but then I again found myself at a threshold where weight loss would not happen any more. It never occurred to me that I need different requirements for different parts of my weight loss journey.

When I was running the other day, I remember thinking ""Boy this would be hard if I was lugging those 50 pounds around while doing this." But then, I realized that I indeed was lugging those 50 pounds around ALL DAY in the past, in addition to lugging it around when I exercised. I have to imagine that it's a substantial amount of calories I am no longer burning because I don't have to carry around that fat anymore all day. This only makes sense then, that my calories would have to be lower in order to lose since I am not burning as much. Even though I work out more days than not, and with pretty good intensity, I don't think that would equal the caloric load of wearing a 50 pound spare tire the entire day, especially including exercise.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 07-24-2014, 09:17 PM   #19
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One particular idea struck me from several posts - the way I initially ate (moderate fat) helped me lose about 35 pounds of weight, but then I kind of reached the threshold of what weight I could lose that way. I reached the exact same weight that I ALWAYS stalled at for months, and ALWAYS eventually gave up on and went back to eating the standard American diet. This time, though, I went to higher fat when I reached that threshold, and I lost another 15, but then I again found myself at a threshold where weight loss would not happen any more. It never occurred to me that I need different requirements for different parts of my weight loss journey
Interesting as I seem to be coming to that same conclusion as well, and I love your anecdotal assessment. I don't have a similar experience, so I will "borrow" yours as it seems to make perfect sense to me that we need to change up at different stages.
Quote:
This only makes sense then, that my calories would have to be lower in order to lose since I am not burning as much. Even though I work out more days than not, and with pretty good intensity, I don't think that would equal the caloric load of wearing a 50 pound spare tire the entire day, especially including exercise
Also makes perfect sense that that extra 50-pound load 24 hours a day impacts us more than our, say, 1- or 2-hour workout 5 days a week.
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Old 07-25-2014, 12:42 PM   #20
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Thanks everyone - I need some advice on cheese. I want to keep cheese in my diet because it is satisfying, I worry about staying on course without it. But...what types of cheese are lower in calories? I appreciate your suggestions!
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Old 07-25-2014, 01:20 PM   #21
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Well with feta and Parmesan you get more bang for the calorie buck since you use less but I honestly wouldn't look at as trying to find a lower calorie cheese.

I'd try to eat reasonable portions of my favorite (mine is sharp cheddar) to increase satiety. I have a slice or two of cheese a day (160-220 cals total).
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Old 07-25-2014, 01:24 PM   #22
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Ps my "losing" menu usually looks something like this

Breakfast: Coffee with 1-2 tbs HWC. Sausage. (this is about 250 cals total)

Snack: Minifrittata (2) (about 275 cals)

lunch: 3-5 oz meat plus green or low carb veggie (1 cup) plus fat (400 cals ish)

Snack: 1 oz almonds (160 cal)

Dinner: Slice cheese, 3-5 oz meat, different green/low carb veg (1-2 c) (500 ish)

So thats about 1600 cals

Can you just reduce your portions of the same high fat stuff? (And maybe don't add butter to already fatty meats as suggested above?)
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:53 PM   #23
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Maybe I'm not the best one to answer, seeing as I'm only 3 weeks into my restart.

I didn't change how I like my meats... I cook in real fats but I also trim steaks & such so there is minimal fat around the edges, but I don't fret the small amounts that are left. I generally find saugage (as a man made item) has excessive fat & only use as a treat. Bacon I cook well done which removes a lot of the fat. I'll eat & love chicken skin but only cooked well done.

I also practice portion control. My goal for a dinner is 8oz of meat... experience has shown that I don't get hungry at that level (though I can get cravings IF I have carbs!) Your results might be different. If there is more, I try to save it for a snack or lunch.
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Old 07-26-2014, 10:26 AM   #24
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I will say that years ago I lost a ton of weight super fast, I'm talking 65 lbs in 4-5 months, eating low fat low carb. I cycled my days tho. I'd eat only 2oz portions of lean steak, chicken fish on low days, literally I cooked and ate it the stove for sustenance, not pleasure, and my ketosis was soooo strong I was making my self eat..I was not hungry but I had learned to listen to subtle signs for the NEED to eat. 3 days a week I ate strict induction 72 Atkins. I used no cheeses or added fats on low days and 1-2 oz cheese on fat days and butters, dressing. I was 8 yrs younger, and not sure it work now lol. I do find fat satisfying however, but ya, I do think lowering it to only GOOD fats is important, real butter, EVCO or OO.
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Old 07-26-2014, 11:10 AM   #25
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I don't count calories but may need to before too long. As long as I continue my slow but steady loss of 2 pounds a month, I'll stick with my eating plan with which I've become comfortable. What I do now is avoid nuts completely and monitor cheese. I try to always measure my added fats so I don't get more than I am aware of. I also cut out the treats and recipes found here, as I just find it generally easier to stick with a simple approach of adequate protein and fat and low carb. I add a bit of fat to lower fat meats and fish. I make little changes such as two teaspoons rather than a table of fat added to my morning coffee and one egg rather than two with my bacon. I find I am enjoy the reduced portions just as much. I avoid beer and wine. with the rare stumble.
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:42 AM   #26
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I don't count calories but may need to before too long. As long as I continue my slow but steady loss of 2 pounds a month, I'll stick with my eating plan with which I've become comfortable. What I do now is avoid nuts completely and monitor cheese. I try to always measure my added fats so I don't get more than I am aware of. I also cut out the treats and recipes found here, as I just find it generally easier to stick with a simple approach of adequate protein and fat and low carb. I add a bit of fat to lower fat meats and fish. I make little changes such as two teaspoons rather than a table of fat added to my morning coffee and one egg rather than two with my bacon. I find I am enjoy the reduced portions just as much. I avoid beer and wine. with the rare stumble.
Sounds like me exactly. I was hoping I had "zoomed" up to 4 pounds a month but am decidedly at 2 also. I'm giving myself through August before I start counting. I am not looking forward to it, but will approach it as an experiment to see if it's really a calories in/calories out thing.
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Old 07-27-2014, 03:12 AM   #27
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Madmarsha-

You don't have to ascribe to a simplistic notion of calories in/calories out to believe that calories count in weight loss. We all understand that not all calories are equal, and for most of us our bodies respond differently to a steak than a piece of cherry pie, for example. (Yes, there's that guy who lost weight eating only Twinkies, but that's not most people--and certainly most people with 'weight problems.')

Whenever the issue of 'calories' comes up on this board, the CICO issue is brought up as though that's the only way to think about calories. Whether we call it portion control or counting calories, the amount we eat contributes to our scale number. Dr. Atkins knew this, but he believed that the natural appetite suppression of ketosis would result in portion control. He was into selling books, and while theoretically that's true, it doesn't work for many of us with years of eating from habit rather than hunger.

Keep in mind also that as we women age, our metabolisms slow naturally so that the amount we ate at age 25 will put on pounds at age 45. It's tough, but that's life:-)

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Old 07-27-2014, 10:39 AM   #28
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Madmarsha-

You don't have to ascribe to a simplistic notion of calories in/calories out to believe that calories count in weight loss. We all understand that not all calories are equal, and for most of us our bodies respond differently to a steak than a piece of cherry pie, for example. (Yes, there's that guy who lost weight eating only Twinkies, but that's not most people--and certainly most people with 'weight problems.')

Whenever the issue of 'calories' comes up on this board, the CICO issue is brought up as though that's the only way to think about calories. Whether we call it portion control or counting calories, the amount we eat contributes to our scale number. Dr. Atkins knew this, but he believed that the natural appetite suppression of ketosis would result in portion control. He was into selling books, and while theoretically that's true, it doesn't work for many of us with years of eating from habit rather than hunger.

Keep in mind also that as we women age, our metabolisms slow naturally so that the amount we ate at age 25 will put on pounds at age 45. It's tough, but that's life:-)
I very much appreciate your thoughts on that, Leo. I sometimes wonder why I like to "talk" about these issues so much, but then I realize how helpful it is to either gain new knowledge or have "old" knowledge reinforced or refreshed or articulated in a way that had never occurred to me. I also learn when answering questions for other people who are true low carb newbies.
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Old 07-27-2014, 11:16 AM   #29
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Interestingly...after about three months of being stalled with no weight loss (I think 3 months is long enough to qualify), I have lost 5 pounds in the last 5 days. I guess all that beef and all that butter really was an issue! I think I still use about the same amount of salt, too. There is a chance it's a coincidence, but I don't think so.

I hate the idea of "counting calories" like many others, but I am not really counting anything. I am just choosing different types of meats and cutting way down on butter, really. The math really "counts itself" when you just substitute something leaner for something fatter. I like the idea of having on and off days, because I am a big fan of the benefits of having fats, which are almost all healthy (no transfats though.) I may try that after I see how this new way of eating affects me.

I am still blissfully unaware of how many calories I am eating.

Thanks everyone for your input!
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Old 07-27-2014, 11:34 AM   #30
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 9,478
Gallery: Leo41
Stats: 340 then/145 now
WOE: Low carb/calorie cycling
Yes, spaceace, there's no reason to 'count' for many people--just being aware of limiting portions or choosing different foods is often sufficient.

It's the notion that low carb means that I can eat 'legal' foods in any amount is the cause of stalls very often. Dr. Atkins never really promised an all-you-can-eat-buffet, but his plan is often interpreted that way.
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