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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 pies.

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 inconspicuously.

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 Summer.

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 diets.

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 biggies:

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 this line.

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 participating.

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 failure.

Jim Stone is the author of "Stop Cheating
On Your Low Carb Diet!", found at
Jim also offers a free monthly newsletter at


You may reprint this article as long as you keep the resource box intact, and make the links in it live. You may substitute appropriate phrasing where I have included personalization (the subscriber's name). Otherwise the text must remain unaltered. Any exceptions should be requested explicitly.

Thank you for reading this.


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