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One Golden Shot      

     Taking Your One Golden Shot...
      or "Ode to a Fudge Cake"...

A frequent topic in letters we receive at Low Carb Luxury deals in some form or another with results from multiple attempts at low-carbing. A typical letter goes something like this one I received this week:

"About ten years ago, after the birth of my first son, I went on the Atkins Diet for the first time. It was really pretty easy and I dropped the weight quickly and felt very good. Unfortunately, I went back to my old ways and gained it back. By then the thing was "low fat" and friends warned me off of Atkins so I tried it "their way" and lost a few pounds, but felt terrible and starved. I finally ended up quitting dieting altogether as I was crabby, weak, and HUNGRY all the time.

So, here I am ten years later, now needing to lose 50 pounds instead of the 15 to 20 I wanted to lose in the first place. I am back to Atkins and once again a believer, but this time around, I am not getting the results I did before. The weight is coming off MUCH more slowly and I find I need to stay at a lower carb level to stay in ketosis than I did the first time around. What am I doing wrong this time?"

The answer is that this writer is probably not doing ANYTHING wrong. She simply missed her "one golden shot". What "Golden Shot", you ask?

It's a phenomenon we hear about over, and over again. You can count on it being a part of at least one letter we get every day, so I can assure you it's not an aberration.

For whatever reason — and there are many theories — we all (especially females) seem to have this One Golden Shot. The first time we ever embark on a low-carb eating plan if we do it RIGHT and if we don't cheat, we get some really amazing results without appreciable sacrifice or difficulty. I often see people who lose quickly and effortlessly while taking in around 35-55 grams of carbs per day and staying in ketosis. But should you falter and leave the diet for an appreciable amount of time — especially long enough to gain all or much of the weight back — the next time around takes more effort, weight loss is slower, and it takes more carb restriction to get results.

Indeed, once an individual has played this hand multiple times, it can take great effort to get the desired results.

I can attest to this as I am a many-time diet failure. My "Golden Shot" was in the 70's. In a short amount of time I lost 68 pounds and felt terrific. There were no low-carb "specialty" foods, and no access to special ingredients to make my own. There was no internet support, and indeed I was living in a tenuous situation, so stress was high. But I still managed to do well and to do so with little effort. Then, one hot fudge cake in a Big Boy Restaurant with a friend undid all that. I'd mentioned to the waitress that I had not had a piece of bread, a bowl of cereal, a glass of milk, or a slice of cake in an entire year. She told me I'd surely EARNED a piece of that fudge cake for all my hard work. And that was that. I never managed to scramble back on the low-carb wagon. At least not for years.

The next time I tried it, I had more difficulty and I could not get those rapid results. The effort it took to get to that ketosis-comfort-zone was considerably more. And like the writers of my letters, I was being warned against the dangers of Atkins. So I'd abandoned it again. Years of yo-yo dieting ensued and each time strengthened my body's resolve to put up one hell of a fight against losing an ounce.

Five years ago I made the decision — this was it. I HAD to succeed this time, or I was going to have surgery instead. I was scared to death of the idea of a gastric bypass, but I could not — and WOULD NOT — continue to live my life as a fat girl. I was sick and getting sicker. I knew I would not be living a long life and every bite of sugar robbed me of another day. And so I began.

What a struggle. This time around was the hardest. My body fought me tooth and nail. I had to get down to as little as 5 grams of carbs a day in the beginning to lose. I learned what stalled me and what my triggers were. The internet was a Godsend. I read everything I could get my hands on. I searched out reports and studies that hadn't made the mainstream dogmatic press. I started a library that now fills many shelves in my office.

In short, this time I had to give this endeavor my heart and soul. My "easy path" was long since spent. I can now look back and know I am a success. I can say it with pride, with joy, and with a knowledge that my life has been given back to me. But I also am acutely aware that this was probably my last stand. Success was my only option — look at what the alternative would have been. One hundred and six pounds later, I am blessed to be able to write to others, help where I can, and offer a bit of advice learned the hard way.

If you are low-carbing for the first time, please understand that this is YOUR "Golden Shot". The others will be harder fought. If you feel you are struggling now, it's because (and pardon my bluntness) you don't know what struggling is. Run with this opportunity — don't squander it. And don't look back.

If, on the other hand, you're one of the millions relating to this story with a "been there, done that" feeling, remember, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and success is still waiting for you. There are just more curves in the road on the way. Things that may have caused no problems your first time around may prove problematic now. For us second (third, forth) timers, we probably have to avoid all trans fats (no margarine, no shortening.) We can be triggered easily by a few drops of high fructose corn syrup, or sodas containing aspartame. We have a greater need for supplements that go beyond a good multivitamin. For us, CoEnzyme Q-10, L-Carnitine, Chromium, Taurine, Magnesium, and more may be what makes all the difference. We must be that much more religious about drinking our water every day.

We all started out with the dream we could succeed. Faltering doesn't mean we need to wake up from that dream. In the words of Henry David Thoreau:

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; there is where they should be. Now put foundations under them."

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