By Nina Nethery
‘Tis the season for letting your special someone know just how truly special they are to you. If your partner is working hard to control his or her weight, you may need some pointers on how to be supportive without interfering.
Low Carbers understand that they alone are responsible for what they put in their mouths. You are not expected to help control their behavior, and it’s best that you not get into a pattern of critiquing what they choose to eat. Still, it can be a very loving act for you to keep your chips and donuts away from the one who is working so hard to develop will-power.
When you choose a restaurant for a special evening out, think carefully about the choices on the menu. “American-style” restaurants with beef, poultry, pork and seafood entrees plus a salad bar are the best choices. Many restaurants are learning to accommodate low carbers by allowing veggies to be substituted for potatoes without a surcharge. Not so prudent choices are Italian and Mexican restaurants where pasta, breading, beans, rice, and tortillas are hard to avoid. Beware of restaurants that serve everything in a sauce; Oriental restaurants tend to use sugar and French restaurants tend to use flour, turning low carb foods into very high carb meals.
Sometimes well-meaning friends and family members come across as unsupportive when they don’t really mean to be. If you say “You look fine the way you are. Why do you want to lose weight?” you are missing that your partner is uncomfortable and simply wants to feel better both physically and emotionally. If you say “Why did you choose such a restrictive diet?” they may hear you saying that you don’t believe they will stick with it. If you say “I’ve heard a lot of bad things about that diet,” your partner may not feel encouraged to share with you all the positive things he or she has been learning. And worst of all, if you say "Don't worry. This tiny piece of cake won't hurt you" you are not understanding that the resulting sugar-high will be followed by a sugar crash that will undermine the dieter’s physical well-being and mental resolve.
Low carbers tend to be folks who adopt healthy lifestyle choices after they have done some studying. They have embarked on an educational journey. They learn about nutrition and metabolism and ketogenesis and FDA food labeling regulations. They discover that the low carb diet mitigates all kinds of health issues including mood swings, lethargy, indigestion, trouble concentrating and diabetes. If you enjoy talking about healthy living, your low carber will soon be a much more interesting and enthusiastic participant in these conversations! If you are concerned about some aspect of the diet, the two of you can research the topic together.
Of course, the very best support would be for you to join your loved one on the low carb journey. There are many reasons to do low carb besides weight control; everyone feels better when their sugar levels are low and stable. Just by cutting way down on sweets, white flour and white rice, hydrogenated fats, starchy vegetables, and heavily processed foods, you will soon discover a new you! Eating the low carb way is much easier when there are two to share the meal planning and preparation. It can be lots of fun to try new recipes together. If you are not at all interested in weight control, you can always supplement your shared meal with an item that your partner isn’t eating such as whole grain rice or bread.
If your low carb’n loved one is struggling to start an exercise routine, you can help by planning walks or jogs or bike rides together. If you both join a gym, you can be exercise partners and keep each other motivated.
Your loved one is about to find a new level of health and personal pride. He or she has made a very courageous decision to take responsibility for their own health. Your support can turn their journey into an adventure!
Note: Much of the information for this article came from the Atkins Center website, www.Atkins.com. Please visit this site for more information. LoCarbDiner.com is a certified Atkins Retail store.