How to Avoid Low Carb Pitfalls (with Jimmy Moore)
If you're thinking about starting a low-carb diet, you're likely to encounter a few potholes along the way. Whether it's plateaus, avoiding good fats, or eating too much protein.
We had a chance to talk with Jimmy Moore, and get his advice on how to handle these obstacles. Since switching to a low-carb diet, Jimmy has lost over 200 lbs, started a low carb blog, and has helped spread the message on the benefits of low carb living to thousands of people. Here is our interview with him:
SlimKicker: Was there a turning point in your life that led you to seriously start a low carb diet?
Jimmy: Yes. I was morbidly obese weighing in at 410 pounds in late 2003 and my body was giving me lots of subtle signs that this wasn't a very good idea. Ripped pants getting in and out of my car. Popped buttons on my dress shirts. Trouble fitting in movie theater and airplane seats.
Of course, the snickers and comments made by people about how gross I looked as well as the embarrassment I experienced trying and failing so many times on diet after diet. I knew trying something new was what I needed to do beginning on January 1, 2004 when my life changed forever.
That's exactly what high-fat, low-carb living provided for me--with AMAZINGLY spectacular results!
SlimKicker: What are some common pitfalls/mistakes you see people make when doing low carb?
Jimmy: There are several things that people get wrong about low-carb diets. They think it's only about weight loss when the health improvements are much more interesting to me. Neglecting the importance of eating healthy saturated fats from animal-based sources as well as coconut oil when you cut the carbohydrates is one of the reasons a lot of people fail to stick with their newfound low-carb lifestyle.
And finally, I'm realizing this about myself but I've been eating TOO MUCH protein which can actually be just as bad on your blood sugar and insulin levels as consuming too many carbs. But this is a journey and you learn a lot about yourself going through these common pitfalls.
SlimKicker: How did you get past that initial period when your body is adjusting to lower carbs?
Jimmy: The very quick weight loss (about 15 pounds in the first two weeks) and knowing that I had to do something for the sake of my weight and health motivated me to do it. Of course, it didn't take too long before I started feeling better after detoxing from coming off of sugar and refined carbohydrates.
One thing to help with this that I wish I was made aware of at the time was the need to eat more salt in the form of daily broth from bouillon cubes. Plus, eating more fat with some protein when the cravings hit. These are the real secret to finding the lasting success people so desperately desire.
SlimKicker: What advice do you have for those that experience plateaus?
Jimmy: Patience. There was a 10-week period during my 180-pound weight loss in 2004 when I didn't lose a single pound on that scale. Typically this would be very frustrating to most dieters and it would lead them to give up.
But I had already lost 100 pounds when this happened and I decided to just stick to the plan and to keep doing those things that I knew had been working for me.
When the weight loss began happening again on the scale I noticed that despite having a plateau for nearly three months, I actually lost 6 inches off of my waist. It taught me an important lesson that the scale is not the be-all, end-all determinant of your success on your healthy low-carb lifestyle. Keep on keeping on!
SlimKicker: What's your opinion on having 'cheat days' when trying to lose weight? I know Atkins seem to suggest it would be bad for your body, and derail fat loss. Did you have cheat days while you were doing low carb?
Jimmy: I actually did do what I like to refer to as "planned splurges" during my weight loss experience on the Atkins diet. These were for one meal (not a whole day!) and it was only about every 6-8 weeks.
But if I had it to do all over again, I would not have done this. The fact of the matter is if you are obese and sick, then you need to learn how to be satisfied and nourished with real, whole foods that a high-fat, moderate protein and low in carbohydrates.
You wouldn't allow an alcoholic to have a drinking binge, so why would we allow a carboholic to do the same? If you feed your body well then you'll find the need to "cheat" will quickly disappear.
SlimKicker: How should one determine the ideal number of carbs for them? is it case of trial and error? go to a nutritionist?
It's totally a trial and error thing that the individual will have to determine for themselves. Unfortunately, most nutritionists are stuck on the high-carb, low-fat mantra and won't be much help.
There are exceptions to this, but they are few and far between. I list some low-carb friendly doctors for people to get medical help as they go down this journey to better health. Check it out at http://lowcarbdoctors.blogspot.com.
The best place to start is at 20g total carbohydrates daily and see how you do. Keep in mind not to skimp on the fat and choose quality protein at every meal. If you're doing well eating that way, then stick with it.
Some people will be able to consume more carbs than that up to 75-100g daily, but others (like me!) have to stay pretty low to experience the results they desire. Once you find your personal carbohydrate tolerance level, then stay in that sweet spot for optimal weight and health maintenance.
SlimKicker: How has your quality of life changed after you lost all that weight? Physically you were lighter of course, but how about emotionally, and mentally?
Jimmy: You have no idea how much emotional baggage you have been carrying around until you make a drastic change in your physical appearance. People start talking to you who never did that before.
You begin to exude a certain confidence that wasn't there before. It's a total shift in your attitude that can be overwhelming for a lot of people. Learning to live with the "new you" is something not a lot of people are talking about.
While the change on the outside has happened, it doesn't always happen in your head. Even after dropping triple-digit weight I still felt like a fat guy. I could see there was a lot less of me in the mirror, but my mind's eye could still see that 410-pound man.
You fight your inner demons and those who expect you to fail despite seeing amazing weight loss success. And I can tell you this doesn't go away with time either as I'm still battling this nearly nine years later. It's a process you have to go through and allow yourself to be proud of yourself for making some extraordinary changes happen.
SlimKicker: Do you have any future plans for yourself or the blog/podcast?
Jimmy: My future plans are to keep doing what I'm doing with a long-time dream of having my own nationally-syndicated health talk show either on radio or television to expose this message to a wider audience.
There are hundreds of millions of people out there who need to know why high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb living could work for them and I feel it is my duty to share that with as many people as I possibly can. I'm not going away anytime soon and I plan on continuing to write books and get the message of hope that low-carb living offers out there for all the world to see.
We are experiencing a revolution and I intend on being there when this way of eating goes completely mainstream! It's gonna happen sooner than later.