October 21, 2001
In this issue:|
| ave a spooky, fun, but very SAFE Halloween!
On with the newsletter!
"Asking yourself 'What If . . . ' "
As I sat down with a coworker this week, we began to talk about the journey from "there" to "here"... about how I'd found the Atkins diet back in the 70's, but had rejected it as so many others did as "those who know best" told us low fat was the way to go.
Then she asked me the question so many others have: "Don't you wish you'd stayed with low-carbing all along?" My first thought was what it's always been before ... "sure." But instead I took a little time to really think about that seemingly simple assumption. I wasn't able to give her much of an answer at the time, but over the next few days I kept thinking about it. It's very much like Dickens' A Christmas Carol, or even It's a Wonderful Life. Would I really want to change things? What would be different? What if I hadn't spent far too many years of my twenties and thirties FAT?
Agree or disagree, I am one of those people that believes sincerely that we are all on this earth to learn; to have a purpose; to make a difference. Most of us can't walk on the moon or find the cure for cancer, but we can all "make a difference". And we all have lessons to learn.
Take a few minutes to think back on those times in your life when you really grew... when you became a bit wiser... when you got a lot stronger. Weren't those the very times that you'd faced adversity? The good times may be our goal, but it's the hardships that
No, thinking back on it all, I am very glad I faced the obstacles I did. The family tragedies, the financial hardships, the personal losses. Each become the threads that make up the tapestry that is our lives. It's what makes us interesting, empathetic, and three dimensional.
As a female living in a fat body at a time when thin was most definitely in, I knew the pain of the stares ... the whispers behind my back. I knew what it was like to have to make up lies and excuses to avoid situations where your girth would be a problem. I couldn't "get what I wanted" with a coy wink or a flirtatious stare. I had to do the work. I had to earn every rung of every ladder I climbed. And I am the better for it.
Most paths I chose to take during those years were shaped by my life's situation. The easy path was rarely open for me, so I took the one more challenging. It was the same with weight loss when I was ready to face it and make it work. I came into it without a sense of blind trust. I had to know for myself. I had to do the research. And as I learned, I took others on my journey with me. Sharing in my epiphany made it more real, and more valuable.
People sometimes write to let me know I've made a difference. They've been kind enough to express their thanks and share their stories. They see my help to them as a gift... and it IS... but it's not my gift to THEM, it's their gift to ME.
I'm a big fan of memorable quotes and always keep those that touch something in me. In this case, I am reminded of the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, "It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself."
Out of despair and out of pain, the human spirit rises. It always has. It's never been more clear than as we have seen across America since September 11th.
Each week I get emails from visitors that beat themselves up for getting into this situation. For gaining weight. For slipping from the diet. But I want to remind you that those seeming failures are a gift. They are what you learn from. What you can later share with others. A path without hills and valleys would be a boring one indeed. And as you find your way down your path, remember what Douglas Adams wrote: "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be."
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Getting Enough Sleep
Over the past several weeks, I would expect many of you have not been getting enough rest. It's certainly been that way for me and judging from the letters we've received, true for a whole lotta people. When I first began low carbing, one of the great benefits for me was that I was able to sleep better. But this doesn't mean stress filled circumstances can't still interfere.
Between the terrorism America's been dealing with, and the upcoming holidays, getting the proper sleep is more important than ever.
Not getting enough sleep can leave you tired and grumpy. Many car accidents can be traced to drowsy drivers. Too many sleepless nights can affect your job, your family and your personality. In fact, a lack of sleep can be more dangerous than alcohol - reducing reaction times by up to 50%.
Research shows that even one night of disrupted or missed sleep by a healthy person can drastically alter his or her chemical balance and cause daytime sleepiness and fatigue. It can cause you to let your guard down and make poor food choices — when you're too tired to care, you might just give in to what's convenient, or to a dish offered by a well meaning friend. And yes, that can certainly cause a cycle you don't want to start.
Remember how eating sugar and carbs made you sleepy in the afternoon? It will happen again with one poor food choice, making your sleep patterns MORE problematic and starting the no-sleep loop all over again. So don't underestimate how important it is to get control of it right away.
So, how much sleep do you need?
Generally, adults need to sleep one hour for every two hours awake, which means that most need about eight hours of sleep a night. Of course, some less. Children and teenagers need an average of about ten hours.
The brain keeps an exact accounting of how much sleep it is owed. The term "sleep debt" was coined because accumulated lost sleep is like a monetary debt: it must be paid back. If you get an hour less than a full night's sleep, you carry an hour of sleep debt into the next day-and your tendency to fall asleep during the daytime becomes stronger.
During a five-day workweek, if you got six hours of sleep each night instead of the eight you needed, you would build up a sleep debt of ten hours (five days times two hours). Because sleep debt accumulates in an additive fashion, by day five your brain would tend toward sleep as strongly as if you'd stayed up all night. From this perspective, sleeping until noon on Saturday is not enough to pay back the lost hours as well as meet your nightly requirement of eight; you would have to sleep ledger.
So how do you get more sleep?
Well, it depends on WHY you aren't sleeping. If it's an ongoing problem, long-term insomnia, or a sleep disorder, don't assume it will go away, or that you can live with
it — see your doctor.
But if it's the usual stress and lack of time problem that comes to many of us this time of year, there are some simple steps you can take to get more rest:
Low Carb Connoisseur Kick's off Cool Weather with Hot New Products!
Below are some of our favorites of the recipes sent to us by visitors. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
French Farmhouse Garlic Chicken
Sour Cream Chicken Salad
Baked French Toast
No-Bake Orange Cheesecake
Buttermilk Pork Chops
Without the Sugar
I've taken my kids off sugar since I've discovered the dangers as I became a low-carber. But as you know, Halloween is ALL ABOUT sugar (candy, candy, and more candy)! I decided the best way around this is to have a Halloween Party for my kids and their friends so they can dress up, have fun, and avoid all the sugar.
Any suggestions for activities or food? (My kids are 5, 7, and 8.)
Dear Lisa —
Wow. I really applaud you for not giving in to the pressure and for making an effort to make a difference for your kids!
A friend of mine recently shared these suggestions with me, and I'll pass them on!
How about replacing those traditional candy treats with "make and take" arts and crafts sorts of things that provide hands-on real life experiences, encourage imagination and creativity and good memories of good times? Research shows that children today have hundreds more hours of watching people do interesting things on TV than actually doing interesting things themselves. Use this fact to make your party stand out.
Elect to spend time on your party and let the kids help! Don't make everything ahead. Instead, have materials and space ready and let the kids decorate, make refreshments and something to take home and create their own party. Think about what they can do best, have the most fun with and learn the most from doing.
Plan an outdoor activity — If possible, consider a trip to a pumpkin patch or apple orchard, go skating, borrow enough wagons to allow coasting down a (small!) hill, go for a short hike, collect fall leaves. Arrange them between two sheets of wax paper and iron the wax paper "sandwich" with a medium hot iron to seal the leaves in.
Make your own decorations — let the kids crepe paper the house, tie spider webs with bight colored yarn, trace or stamp designs on paper tablecloths using Halloween cookie cutters.
Let the kids help make and serve refreshments. They can mix punch from fruit juices, and serve sugar free cookies and cakes! Take a selection of recipes from the site's recipe area and use food colorings to make appropriate Halloween looks! (The "Sugar" cookie recipe at the site can be decorated to look like the cutest pumpkins!)
They'll feel like a valuable member of the group, have a great time helping and you'll be amazed at their skills and ideas — if someone will just let them use them!
See if you can add an "old-time" activity like a hay ride, apple dunking or playing pin the stem, or nose on a pumpkin or Jack O'Lantern.
Have guests come in costume. Encourage them to make their own and keep it a secret. It encourages creativity, helps develop an eye for possibilities and builds anticipation of the great unveiling.
It may all seem very old-fashioned, but it might well be the Halloween your kids remember for a long time to come. Good luck!
Thanks for all your letters, everyone! I get hundreds of letters each week and try to answer as many as I can.
Thanks for reading! Keep your suggestions and questions
coming in — we always want to hear from you! Remember, we
can't address every request and query, but the ones we hear
about the most or offer the greater potential to help others
will surely make their way here.|
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