Make Your Goal Specific
You’ve set a goal now, and that’s great! But make sure your goal is specific. Planning to lose 35 pounds, for example, is far better than planning to lose “some” weight. You will likely lose some weight, but you probably won’t lose the full 35 unless you hold it in your mind as the destination of your journey.
The journey metaphor is apt. Imagine getting in the car to go on a family vacation without a clear idea of where you wanted to go. You’d drive around aimlessly, and you would certainly get somewhere, but it probably wouldn’t be the same place you’d end up if you’d chosen a destination at the start. It’s the same thing with weight loss. Any behavioral psychologist will tell you that you are more likely to achieve change in your life if you have a specific picture in your mind of how you want to change.
In other words, once you’ve said, “Okay, I will lose 35 pounds and I will weigh 140 pounds again,” go even further. Instead, imagine how your body will look, think about the clothes you hid in the back of the closet that you’ll be able to wear again and the admiring looks from your friends and family. Imagine actually being comfortable in shorts or a bathing suit or feeling confident on the ski slopes or going for a jog! If you are like many people, over the years that you’ve gained weight your world got a bit smaller.
When you went to a pool party, you came up with some excuse to avoid going in the water. When your kids wanted to play, you just weren’t up for it. When your friends hiked up a hill with ease, you had to lag behind, huffing and puffing-or just had to call it quits. At work, you may have had a great idea at a meeting but been too self-conscious about getting up in front of the group to express yourself.
A Second Chance
I’d like to introduce you to someone who did get off the Atkins bus. Fortunately-in the long run anyway-he got back on the bus and has committed to being a permanent passenger. Back in 1979, Gary Rizzio, a computer programmer from Colorado who is now 45, lost 60 pounds doing Atkins. But while recuperating in bed from a broken ankle, he alleviated his boredom with all-out indulgence in the junk foods he used to eat. That broke the spell, and before long his weight was back up to 250, and there it stayed for the next eighteen years, when he had a mild heart attack. His family history in heart disease and diabetes ran deep. His doctor was blunt: “Diet and exercise,” he said, “or you’ll have a short life.”
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What OWL Does for You
Your goal-for a large percentage of you, your destiny-of reaching your desired weight and staying there for life is best met by realistically considering which levels of carbohydrate intake apply to you. In OWL, you will take the physical and emotional well-being promoted by fat burning and combine that with the gustatory pleasure of an increasingly varied diet. Specifically, on OWL you will:
How to Do OWL
There are three key differences between Induction and OWL. The first is obvious: You will consume more carbohydrates. Second, whereas during Induction you ate your protein and fat foods, plus three cups of salad and other veggies (and the special foods such as avocado, olives and sour cream), OWL allows you much more choice. That means now you can craft a weight loss regimen that is uniquely yours. But it also means-and here’s the third key-that counting grams of carbohydrate is truly your responsibility.
Your Own Private, Personal Number
Life in the twenty-first century means lots of numbers to remember, what with cell phone numbers, bank PIN numbers and the like, but I’m going to give you the tools to find out another number that is just as essential for your lifestyle. Remember these two basic principles:
- When you do Atkins, your rate of weight loss is generally proportional to the amount of carbohydrate you consume.
- The level of carbohydrate you consume can be measured. By attaching numerical quantities to the carbohydrate foods you’re eating, you know how much you can safely eat.
The Wise OWL Mind Set
The OWL phase is all about choice. The choices you make should focus on healthy and pleasurable additions, with a strong emphasis on foods that contribute both. As you add foods in roughly 5 gram carb increments, you can probably move beyond vegetables to other foods, such as nuts, berries and possibly grains. Although you will be eating primarily natural, unprocessed foods, you will find an increasing number of convenience foods created for people seeking to follow a controlled carbohydrate nutritional approach.