Time for Realism

I've just advised you to work out your own version of what Atkins does for you. Now I want you to apply a touch of realism to that grand scheme. Don't be trapped by expectations. This is a typical vulnerability found in people who repeatedly fail at weight loss. They have a preconceived version of how a weight loss plan should progress and demand perfection, or, at least, a steady and predictable progress that can't necessarily be achieved-even by doing Atkins.

Your experience will not be like your sibling's or your parents', and certainly not like your spouse's. You have a body that's unlike any other, with a unique history, and as you advance in years it will not behave exactly the way it did when it was 18. And sad but true, that "bod" may never be a "perfect 10"

But you can make it the best body possible if you don't fall into the trap of demanding a perfect figure and weight loss schedule that exists only in your head. You can succeed only if you forgive yourself your missteps, rather than calling the game a failure and withdrawing to the sidelines. The same goes for the fact that you'll hit plateaus, lose a little ground or sometimes lose more slowly than you'd like. I can assure that you will most likely succeed by doing Atkins, but each one of you will succeed differently, at a different pace.

Here are three more ways to defeat yourself-and I'm telling you about them only because I want to encourage you to avoid the pitfalls.

1. Getting on the scale four or five times a day is a form of slow torture. Even the most effective weight loss plan (this one) can't produce a change every few hours, nor even guarantee that you'll lose weight each day. The human body doesn't work that way. By doing Atkins, you're making highly favorable changes to an immensely complicated system. Your metabolism will decide how quickly you lose. There is, unfortunately, no little Dr. Atkins inside you ordering your metabolism to take off precisely three-quarters of a pound a day. The ultimate proof the plan is working is that you see a steady loss over a significant period. And, as I've said many times before in this book, you may notice a change in the fit of your clothes before you see it on the scale. You simply must not demand mathematical exactitude.

2. To think that the present will be just like the past is another mind trap. Alarm bells ring when I hear someone say, "But I'm not losing the way I did ten years ago " It isn't ten years ago, Ace. I wish I were ten years younger, too. The normal pattern of human aging is that we find it easier to stay slim when we're young, and it gets harder as the decades pass. Unfortunately, this rule applies to you, too.

3. The same thing goes for exercise. Sometimes people with a fair degree of metabolic resistance find that to lose at a decent speed they have to exercise (which I urge you to do anyway). Then they tell me, "But back in 1994, I lost 20 pounds in two months without exercising " Get real. It's not 1994. Send all complaints to Father Time, Box Office Eternity.

Remember how individual your body is, and you should be forearmed against any other personal mind traps that I neglected to mention.

This is heavy stuff psychologically, and we all face it. Yet a high percentage of people do succeed doing Atkins-permanently. How?

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