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Laura Dolson

Help for Those Who Are Struggling

By January 23, 2009

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reaching My recent poll, Is Low Carb Too Hard, produced a great response! Many people commented at the bottom (below the ads), giving tips that have helped them remain true to low-carb eating, while others bemoaned their seeming-inability to do so. In particular a few problems cited by readers stood out to me. I've given short answers, but I am also inviting one and all to chime in, and am particularly extending the request to people in our Low Carb Forum. This, I hope, will provide help and also demonstrate how helpful it can be to join in on our Forum:

Suzan wrote: "When you have a very limited budget, eating low carb is extremely difficult. Not only do I have diabetes, I am a celiac."

My Answer: Suzan, I also am celiac, so all of my recipes are gluten-free. Here are some suggestions about eating low-carb on a budget.

Aggie writes: Yes, it has been too hard for me. I just have not been able to force myself to stick with it. Perhaps part of my problems is that I hate to cook, and I am not going to buy and try a bunch of exotic low carb substitutes like shiritake noodles.

Even though I am on the verge of being diabetic, I just canít seem to stick to a low carb diet...Iím basically just depressed about the whole thing. I feel like I am doomed; that my diabetes will progress if I donít stop eating carbs, but I just canít stick to it.

My Answer: Aggie, there are a few issues here. I find that one major cause of not being able to stick with eating low-carb is being trapped in a cycle of carb cravings. As long as you are eating too many carbs, that will produce cravings, and it is very hard to battle them. We have all been there, and we know how hard it is! But if you get your carb count low enough for a week or two, those cravings will go away, and then it becomes SO much easier to stick with. Of course, if you are taking medication, you will need to work with your doctor as you reduce carbs.

The cooking issue is a hard one, as many of us have gotten out of the habit of cooking our own meals in recent years. But truly, to make any healthy change in eating, you almost have to start cooking more. There are lots of short cuts, and I have a lot of them on here on the site. But I will tell you that if you can convert to making a few simple meals at home, you will be greatly rewarded. And Aggie, your health depends on healthy eating. You do not want to wind up blind or losing a foot because you didn't want to learn how to cut up vegetables and cook them! It is such an important investment in your health.

Sharon writes that she had initial success a number of times, but "I was so bored with the limited diet, but probably would have stayed on it if I was still seeing progress. After over three months of being at the same weight and not being able to lose anymore, I gradually gave up. I was also out of work for a time and could not afford to follow the Atkins diet anymore. Of course, the weight came back."

My answer: Being bored comes up a lot. If you cook, there is no need to be bored because there are so many substitutes for high-carb foods. Some of them can be purchased, but some you must make yourself. Really, pick any cuisine in the world, and there are lots of low-carb choices. With a few spices and condiments you can have almost unlimited variety. Explore the recipes on this site for inspiration.

As far as the weight goes, I talked a little about this in my recent blog about Oprah's weight gain. This is why I am actually opposed to setting a goal weight. When I started to lose weight this last time, I took the role of an interested observer. My goal was not a weight, but to eat in the way I knew was healthiest for my body, and to achieve the best health possible. What happened to my weight, I felt, was none of my business. I feel that many people are derailed by the number on the scale, and this number is largely out of our control. Some people will lose a lot of weight, and this is wonderful! But even a moderate weight loss can make a huge difference in our health, and that is the most important thing.

I hope others will help these good people and others on the thread in the comments below. And again, please come join us in the Forum!


Photo © Lucian

January 23, 2009 at 8:14 pm
(1) Gracie says:

I hear bored a lot and frankly it confuses me. There are so many recipes here and in the forum I can’t make them all! And so much variety n the foods I can eat. I was always big on veggies, but I’m eating much more than I used to. And some new ones have become very good friends! I love the energy I have, and the fact that my diabetes is totally controlled by the diet & my latest A1c is 5.1. I am determined NOT to die by inches, just so I can have fries or pasta! Not when there are so many more things I can have instead.

January 23, 2009 at 10:07 pm
(2) Karianne says:

Hi Aggie,

I don’t like to cook either and I felt a bit overwhelmed when I read recipes with all those weird ingredients. I’m still wondering what chia seeds are. I sure hope they’re not what they put on those chia pets you see advertised around Christmas time! I’m not into grass eating. :)

Here is the way I look at it. First, there is no rush. You don’t need to start with recipes with a lot of ingredients you never heard of. Try new things gradually. After a while of trying a few new ingredients they won’t seem weird to you.

As far as cooking, there are a lot of things you can eat that take little or no cooking.I’ve already gotten a deli chicken and eaten it at lunch everyday until it was gone. I cook one big thing and eat it till it’s gone but then I don’t mind eating the same thing for lunch or dinner everyday as long as I don’t have to cook every night. Then sometimes I feel like cooking. I get inspiration from others on the board. One thing I never used to do was alter a recipe. I just followed it to the letter. After reading how others change recipes all the time, I tried it and it became kind of creative and fun.

I think the main thing though is attitude. I just decided I was going to do it with “no excuses”. I don’t like to cook? So what? I’ll do it anyway. The ingredient seems strange? So what, will it kill me if I try it and don’t like it? Those are excuses and I won’t allow myself excuses. I don’t want to eat something healthy…do it anyway. Missing pizza? Experiment until you find a low carb pizza you like but don’t whine about not being able to have pizza. (I found one after many tries). Like the saying goes “Just do it.”

Here is a quote that helps me that I found on the Dr. Phil site.

“Give yourself permission to say, “I don’t have to want to do this all the time.” By acknowledging that, you can respond to it accordingly. People who watch what they eat and exercise regularly don’t necessarily want to, but they understand that their actions have consequences. They’ve programmed themselves for success.”

Hope something here might help.


Here is

January 24, 2009 at 2:34 am
(3) sharonf says:

One of the best things anyone can do is join in at Laura’s forum. The people there are so friendly & informed, whatever your problem is there is always someone there to lend a hand. Knowing that long term success is totally acheivable is so encouraging & I have never heard any back biting, just love & support. Making yourself a priority is really important, as well as planning ahead.if you know you are going to be late back from work & tired, make sure you have something ready to eat or really quick & easy. I love stir-fries for this………ready done veg, ready sliced meat….5 mins in a wok & bingo, hot, tasty & healthy dinner!!
BTW karianne………….yep, the chia seeds are the same ones, just not sprouted!!

January 24, 2009 at 4:17 am
(4) DAR says:

I’m a diabetic, too. I cook with a lot of different ingredients, like chia seeds, coconut flour, shirataki noodles, etc. But I didn’t start out cooking with them; I started out with basic meat, eggs, cheese, nonstarchy veggies, etc, and gradually tried new things.

I and others have many recipes on the forum. Some of them have new (to me) ingredients and some are made from the basics. I find it’s a lot of fun to experiment with things that keep my weight and BGLs happy. It keeps me from getting bored to dream up new recipes, too.

Besides the recipes, the forum is a great place to find support and encouragement. It is a lifeline for many of us and people have said without it, they would have given up (and have in the past).

We’re all in this together and it really helps to share each other’s ups and downs (literally!). Sticking to low carb CAN be done; I’ve been doing it for nearly 6 years and others have been living a low carb lifestyle for longer than that. You can do it, too! 8+)

January 24, 2009 at 10:29 am
(5) Wille says:

A help could also be watching this lovely video about LC and diabetes. At the end I got tears in my eyes of hapiness.

January 26, 2009 at 1:58 pm
(6) Cytherea says:

Has anyone ever heard of black rice? And how much carbs are in them?
I can’t seem to get on the forum anymore..

January 26, 2009 at 2:50 pm
(7) Jeanne says:

Attitude is key. You need to make this a way of life and not a diet. If you focus on that aspect you will become more and more creative with food choices and meal planning. You will start to look for meat, dairy, nuts on sale and plan ahead. It only started to work for me when I took “diet” out of it. I do record on fitday.com but I stopped weighing myself. I agree that carb cravings will over rule you every time if you don’t get it under control. My suggestion is to eat low carb for several weeks and not worry about the quantities. By then you will feel super good and then you can start modifying your eating if you need or want to. Wait until you feel good enough to do that. Make a committment to yourself that you want to feel your very best in 2009. The drop in weight will be an extra bonus. When I eat wheat, corn and other grains I get really depressed and am a completely different person. Eating low carb frees me emotionally, spiritually, and physically. If you keep struggling with going off your eating plan a couple of really good books to read are Misery is Company by Anne Katherine. She also wrote a book titled Boundaries and The Anatomy of Food Addiction. Also start listening to motivational CAN DO tapes. Les Brown The Power of Purpose is the best series I have listened to in a long time and got me back on track. Get off the sugar and junk and you will see a huge difference in your attitude and outlook and then educate and inspire yourself to continue to do and want the very best for you.

January 26, 2009 at 6:02 pm
(8) lowcarbdiets says:

Cyntherea, what happens when you click on “My Forum” beside my picture at the top of the page?

Do you mean Chinese black rice (sometimes called “forbidden rice”), or wild rice? Either way, they aren’t low carb, I’m afraid, see:




January 26, 2009 at 8:11 pm
(9) Joan says:

I had to change my eating for my epilepsy. Yes it was tough at first, only because I couldn’t find the info I needed on how to do the ketogenic diet. But I persevered, figured it out and found the forum after I had given up on finding support. As usual, when you stop looking, you find what you need. So I started the “Keto Korner” and “Ketogenic Kooking Recipes” to help anyone out there searching for help. This forum has been such a blessing! As odd as I felt, I was welcomed with open arms and approval! ***Warm Fuzzy***
As to the “boredom”…I have to disagree! I find I need to simplify! Too complicated! Too many choices!
Have a great day!

January 27, 2009 at 7:18 am
(10) Jan says:

Two years ago I lost 35 lb (South Beach) and have now gained 25 of it back. I cook healthy for myself and husband who has had multiple-graft bypass surgery. I hav e recently been using the Special Carb Diet for IBS and intermittent diverticulitis. Trouble: my LDL cholesterol and triglycerides went up dramatically while using the SCD: no grains, no dairy except yogurt, lots of fruits and veggies, and breads made from almond flour. I can’t seem to coordinate/blend the low-carb requirements. I an 71 years old. Can you help?

May 31, 2009 at 9:25 am
(11) denisegolding says:

I find the choice of veg. too small – no root veg. at all, which leaves caulie, cabbage, broccoli, mushroom, cucumber, lettuce, a very little capsicum, tomato and beans, a dozen or so peas. The first four are usually way out of our price range these days, and that leaves very little in the way of veg. I miss my fruit – love apples, pears, bananas and oranges. The berries which are low enough to eat are also way too expensive, I can only have them for a treat very occasionally. I’ve never been a big meat eater, don’t eat pork or shellfish, and can cope with only a little chicken. Fish isn’t a favourite either, not the cheaper ones, anyway. So just what do you eat?
I know there is a difference between living to eat and eating to live, but most of the time I just can’t be bothered even eating, I’m not enjoying it very much. I will often just grab a protein drink (0.4g carb per serve), sometimes put in an egg and nutmeg, occasionally a spoonful of peanut butter, but that’s not a healthy way to eat. So then I crack and grab something I’m not supposed to. I can’t keep it out of the house because my husband likes his (bought) biscuits (cookies), chocolate covered icecreams, block chocolate, ginger (my all time favourite – I’ve been known, years ago, to eat 1kg in 3 days), and homemade sultana cake and rock buns, plus other fancy cooking. Doesn’t that sound ‘poor me’!!
I know it can be done,I’ve done it, but the lack of variety is starting to get to me. I’ve lots of lovely recipes, but most are not things that I really enjoy much of (except for the desserts which should only be treats). We can’t get many of the ingredients (freight is way too expensive over the net, and I don’t have a credit card anyway) and most of the ‘different’ ones like almond meal etc. are also very expensive.
Oh me, oh my, it all boils down to determination and dedication, so I guess I’d better stop whinging, pull up my socks, and get stuck into it. (It does help to get it off your chest!)

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