This article about low carb friends was the feature article in the first issue of "Coffee With Jim". Since the article was personalized, it contained the name of the subscriber at certain points. For now, pretend your name is Vivian.
Why You Must Find Some
Low Carb Friends
Dear Vivian, I want you to imagine that you've
been low carbing for just a week. And,
though it was difficult at first, you got
through the hard part. But carbs still
tempt you at times.
So now you find yourself at a big family
dinner. They have quite a spread laid out
in front of you. There is turkey and there
are veggies. That's the good news. But
there are also sweet potatoes, mashed
potatoes, dinner rolls, and waiting in
the other room are pumpkin and dutch apple
You haven't said anything to anyone in
your family (except your sister) about
your diet. In fact you're worried what
your family would think if they found out.
You plan to just take a little of
everything, and load up on the turkey and
veggies, and try to look normal, pushing
the food around on your plate
Then your sister says, "Vivian is doing
a low carb diet -- like that Atkins thing."
A sudden hush falls over the room. Then
they start in. Isn't that dangerous? All
that fat -- your cholesterol will go
through the roof. Vivian, you're not
really doing that, are you? Here, have
some more mashed potatoes.
To prove you're not crazy you have a bite
of mashed potatoes. Then, after dinner,
when dessert comes, you have "just a
sliver" of pie.
You think you did all right, but the carbs
start to do their dirty work. You start
to fixate on the pie. You can't get it
out of your mind.
When no one's looking, you sneak another
piece into your hand, and make your way
outside with it. You stand in the corner
of the garage with your pie, like a
teenager sneaking a cigarette. You chow
down, and have a moment of desperate
satisfaction. You spend the rest of the
night plotting how to get more pie.
You tell yourself it's over. You're off
the wagon. It will be very difficult to
break the addiction again. Maybe it's
not worth it. You're just doomed to be
overweight, and that's that.
What just happened here?
So, what just happened here?
Well, let's look at a little bit of human
motivation theory. We all have three big
sources of motivation for our actions.
These sources can cooperate, or conflict
with one another.
First, we have our ANIMAL URGES. In the
days when fruit was scarce and seasonal,
it paid to gorge when one ran across a
fruit tree. By gorging on carbs our
ancestors could quickly store a few pounds
for the coming winter. This was very
good, and often meant the difference
between surviving and not.
So part of our animal nature is to have a
sweet tooth -- an urge to eat carbohydrates.
And especially, once we've eaten some, to
positively gorge ourselves on them. But
now carbs are superabundant. That useful
urge now leads us to pack on the pounds
week after week -- not just in the late
Second, there are our SOCIAL INFLUENCES.
We are, like it or not, influenced by the
opinions of others. We don't typically
like to do things that will bring
objections from those we care most about.
This is often good, but, depending on what
opinions our friends and families have
toward low carb diets, this social
sensitivity can spell disaster for our
Third, there is our RATIONAL SELF. We all
have the ability to decide what's best for
us, somewhat independently of our animal
urges and the social influences around us.
Now, friend, since you're one of my
subscribers, it's a good guess that your
rational self has decided that a low carb
diet is the way for you to eat.
But your animal self still craves carbs,
and will gorge on them if given free reign.
It's a battle, but you can win it.
But the battle becomes even more difficult
when the social influences around you are
against you. When it's your rational self
against the world -- AND the animal within
-- it can be too much to bear.
So what can you do?
So what can you do?
There are three main plans for action. I
want to focus on just one plan for action
in this article. One way to avoid the
scene that opened this article is to work
on getting the social influences in your
life squarely behind you. And there are
many ways to do this. Here are two
1. You can educate your family and friends,
and request that they support you. This
might be difficult, but I've found the
following line to be deadly effective --
"I want to lose some weight, and I'm
convinced that this diet will help me
reach my goals. I CAN COUNT ON YOU FOR
SUPPORT, CAN'T I?"
There's something about the wording of
this request that will make your friend
or family member say "yes". It's
something about the positive, assumed,
statement, followed by the negative
question. I don't know why it works, but
it's deadly effective, like I said. I've
never had anyone refuse me when I use
2. Get some new low carb friends. This
was the key step that led me to finally
succeed on my low carb diet. If you can
get your social influence going the way
your brain says you should go, then you
have the ammunition you need to do battle
against your animal cravings.
The internet has made finding low carb
friends easier than ever. Go to Google
and type in "low carb forum" and find a
group that seems like it has the kind of
friendly and supportive people that would
best match your personality. Join the
forum (find a free one) and start
It sounds so simple, but for many people
this is truly the key to staying on a low
carb diet. If you haven't participated
in a low carb forum before, you might be
profoundly struck by the difference it
makes to your success. It's also fun to
have friends who share your goals.
Alternately, you can try to find a "real
world" support group. You can get a start
by visiting Google, and typing in "low
carb support group [your city]".
In summary, don't fight the animal alone.
And especially, don't fight the animal
AND the whole world at the same time.
Get some low carb friends. It can truly
be the difference between success and
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