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Sharon Osbourne's Blog

Los Angeles, California


Tips for Success
Never skip a meal!

Favorite Atkins-Friendly Food
Roasted turkey with green beans

Real Solutions for Unhealthy Eating Habits

Chances are, if you’re overweight, some common (and not-so-sensible) eating habits contributed to those extra pounds. If you’ve become accustomed to eating a bowl of ice cream every night while watching your favorite sitcom, for example, going without it can feel like a huge sacrifice. Similarly, if you’re used to noshing on chips or pretzels on your way home from work, giving them up can be challenging. But if these behaviors seem impossible to abandon, there’s good news: Doing Atkins may just be your one-stop solution.

How? Many of those poor dietary habits can be caused by eating a diet high in refined carbs, which can result in unstable blood sugar and frequent hunger, a lack of satisfaction and a preoccupation with food. Enter the Atkins Nutritional ApproachTM, however, and you’ll find that controlling carbs can help you stabilize your blood sugar and make those bad habits a thing of the past.
That said, there might still be times when you need a little extra artillery to resist falling back into a dyed-in-the-wool pattern. To figure out the best way to change your behavior during those times, it helps to do a little soul-searching. Ask yourself: What is it about eating popcorn at the movies that you like—is it the salty, crunchy texture, or does it relieve the boredom you feel waiting for the movie to start? If you’re an after-dinner picker, ask yourself why you feel the urge to nosh after eating a meal—is it the result of unstable blood sugar caused by a high-carb meal?
Once you’ve identified some of the underlying issues, it becomes easier to do something about the habit. You don’t always have to give it up totally. You can either find the low-carb alternative or a way to distract yourself from the craving or habit. One of the key strategies for correcting these habits, however, is to always eat regular meals and consume enough of the right foods.
Here are six problematic habits with real solutions:
Situation: You usually eat ice cream while watching TV.
Solutions: The good news is, when you’re controlling carbs, you’ll begin to notice that your hunger is better managed and you feel more satisfied, so you’ll probably be less distracted when you’re watching television and less likely to think about food. Every so often, however, it’s okay to savor a serving of low-carb alternate to a high carb food. When you’re sitting down to watch your favorite shows, rather than eat, replace one habit with another; for example, try exercising—riding a stationary bike, using the elliptical trainer or doing calisthenics—while you watch. Or give your hands something to do by knitting, folding laundry or doing other chores.
Why they work: Enjoying the lower-carb version of what you crave will satisfy your hankering. Moving your body will distract you from the urge to eat. In fact, a study conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that when middle-aged men increased their exercise, decreased TV viewing, and stopped eating between meals, they lost an average of three pounds without really trying1.
Situation: You always eat popcorn and other high-carb snacks at the movies or sporting events.
Solutions: Eat before you go. Bring some soy chips with you if you crave something crunchy, or tote an Atkins Advantage® nutrition bar or a perfectly portioned resealable plastic bag of nuts. Keep your hands busy by tracking the score at a ball game. If you arrive early for any event, bring a magazine to flip through.
Why they work: You’ll get the sensory pleasure you crave with the snack alternative. And you’ll distract yourself from wanting to eat by score-keeping or reading.
Situation: You turn to food for emotional comfort when you’re stressed out.
Solutions: Decompress with a relaxation technique such as deep breathing, stretching or meditation, or by getting some exercise, even if it’s just taking a walk around the neighborhood. When controlling carbs and maintaining steady blood sugar, most people also find that they cope with other stressors better.
Why they work: Relaxation techniques are the only things that counteract the impact of stress on the body. A study found that when people who suffer from night-eating syndrome—which is often associated with stress—practiced 20 minutes of a muscle-relaxation exercise daily for a week, they exhibited lower stress and anxiety and less of an urge to eat in the evening2. Exercise is helpful because it releases feel-good brain chemicals that have a calming effect on the body and mind.
Situation: You snack on your commute home from work.
Solutions: Save one of your between-meal snacks for the ride home, and keep a water bottle handy. When you’re doing Atkins, you should be eating regularly, so be sure to have a good breakfast, and take the time to eat at well-chosen intervals. You’re more likely to feel hungry when you’ve eaten erratically during the day.
Why they work: If you’re truly hungry after work, the snack will stave off your appetite until dinner. But you may just be thirsty, since people often confuse thirst for hunger. (A flavored, no-sugar-added water drink can offer a nice way to refresh yourself without carbs.)
Situation: You raid the pantry after dinner.
Solutions: Brush your teeth right after dinner, then fill the time with a stimulating activity such as reading a good book, checking e-mails, doing a crossword puzzle, calling a friend or playing a board game with your kids.
Why they work: Brushing and flossing your teeth lets your body and brain know that you are done eating for the day, especially because you won’t want to have to do it again before bed. Engaging in a stimulating activity will take away the post-dinner urge to eat, which is usually due to boredom.
Situation: You overeat at parties.
Solutions: Never go to a party hungry—it’s better to go with a full stomach—and don’t have more than one drink. While you’re there, keep a glass of water in your hand, and stand away from the buffet table. Seek out the cheese, nuts and other low-carb options.
Why they work: If you show up at a party hungry, it’s easy to overeat when faced with a myriad of tempting food choices. Also, alcohol, particularly wine, can stimulate appetite and cause people to consume more calories than they would if they drank something nonalcoholic3. Holding a glass of water will prevent you from grabbing food unconsciously. If you want to enjoy an alcoholic beverage after Induction, opt for a white-wine spritzer to decrease the amount of alcohol you’re consuming.
Selected References
1.                   Coakley, E.H., Rimm, E.B., Colditz, G., Kawachi, I., Willett, W., “Predictors of weight change in men: results from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.” International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, 22(2), February 1998, pages 89–96.
2.                   Pawlow, L.A., O’Neil, P.M., Malcolm, R.J., “Night-eating syndrome: effects of brief relaxation training on stress, mood, hunger, and eating patterns.” International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, 27(8), August 2003, pages 970–8.
3.                   Buemann, B., Toubro, S., Astrup, A., “The effect of wine or beer versus a carbonated soft drink, served at a meal, on ad libitum energy intake.” International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, 26(10), October 2002, pages 1367–72.
Published Friday, August 14, 2009 11:46 AM by colette_heimowitz
Filed Under:
colette_heimowitz said:
Good idea about using a low carb substitute. I have also found drinking water in place of food satisfies my oral fixation and does not pack on extra calories.Sometimes we confuse thurst with hunger.
August 17, 2009 11:50 AM EST
vbenavidez said:
Hi Everyone In Jan 2008 I decided to do something about my weight (253) and started a daily walking program and changed my eating habits. By September 2008 I had lost 53 pounds. I walked everyday religiously, ate smaller portions, partially gave up junk food. Was up to walking 5-7 miles per day. What an accomplishment. Fast forward to September 2009 - I stopped walking and went back to my old eating habits = Result 45 pound weight gain. Tomorrow I grocery shop for Phase One. Tomorrow I bring out the tennis shoes to get back to the track. Wish me luck!!!! PS - Tristan, look at your local Craigslist, I bought a Sears Pro Form treadmill for $40.00.
September 21, 2009 02:53 AM EST
lshope said:
HELP!! I have a question. Can Stress keep you from losing weight? I have been on induction for 2 weeks, (100% Atikins) have lost 5 lbs. Seems to go up and down the whole 2 weeks but thank goodness it is not a gain. Stress is really bad right now. Just a thought maybe htat could have an effect. Linda
October 03, 2009 07:16 AM EST
jmoore4135 said:
Can I do Atkins if I work 11pm-7am?
September 04, 2009 01:31 PM EST
Chicky507 said:
Hi Chelby, I just read this and was quite impressed with the fact that you originally lost 103 pounds - WOW. Try to remember how you felt then. Are you waiting to gain back the remaining 20 pounds - then what? At least you did it in the past - I on the other hand need to lose 80 pounds and I can't seem to get started. Wanna help one another?
August 27, 2009 10:33 AM EST
cmoore1798 said:
Hi there - I just joined and read your story. wondering how you are doing and if you found any help? I have 40-50 to lose and am on this journey YET AGAIN myself. Hope you are doing good.
August 26, 2009 02:22 PM EST
chelbedoo said:
I've done low-carb most of the past 7 years, but cheated often and would begin again on yet another "Monday".... the first 3 days are always the hardest for me, how do I get through the "sugar withdrawl" those first 3 days? I enjoy nuts, bacon & eggs (not boiled or deviled), steak, salad, cheese, all meats except for shellfish, tuna, or salmon, the only seafood I eat is some kind of white fish on the forman grill with some seasoning salt. Seriously though, what are my options to tame the sugar beast? I started induction today, and eneded up slipping with 6 small steak fries with my bun-less burgers, and later had an individual bag of Coconut M&M's, a few almonds, 1 Reese Cup, and 2 squares of a Hershey's Special Dark (the Giant bar). HELP!!!! My son stopped me from buying cake at Wal-Mart. I really need some help, I'm on my own here besides my best friend who does this with me, she caved and made brownies tonight...what can we do? Bread isn't my problem, I can pass on taters, don't care about ice cream much, and can live without chips and popcorn but sugar, chocolate, and cake.....I'm just awful! I really need some advice so that I can re-start Day 1 all over again tomorrow! Oh, and what about the first days of induction headaches? I suffer migraines really bad, how can I get through this transition? My past success has faded... I lost 103 lbs. and gained all but 20 lbs of it back. I don't want to do this again! I think that is why I have ignored the lbs. creeping up then snowballing because I know what a hard road I had ahead of me to get it back off, now it's not a few or 50, but 83 lbs! Ok, sorry for rambling. But that is what I'm all about, any feedback and help would be greatly appreciated! Love to all, Chelby
August 21, 2009 01:56 AM EST
wenhan179 said:
Collette - I have a question...I started two weeks ago and have been following the diet to the letter from the book. I've had every meal plan for the first two weeks of Induction. I lost five pounds in the first week and had lost an additional three at the week and a half mark. Today was weigh in day and I gained two pounds since Saturday. I have been doing yoga and walking my dog for 20 minutes a night. I drink 86 oz. of water a day. What am I doing wrong? I decided to stay in Induction for one more week thinking maybe my body will catch up, I don't find it difficult because I have goal of wearing a bikini on my upcoming vacation. I had 25 pounds to lose when I started and thought I was well on my way, is there something I can do to jump start additional weight loss? I must be doing something wrong. Thanks.
August 19, 2009 05:35 PM EST
michellejonesva said:
And then because you've drunk so much water, you get up to use the bathroom a gets you out of your seat and moving. :)
August 18, 2009 01:01 PM EST
donnaly38 said:
Someone told me after induction go off for a day. Is that recommended? Please let me know. Thanks. I finished induction couple days ago, but I have not went off my diet. Thanks...
September 27, 2009 01:33 PM EST
BethAnn1 said:
Reading this made me realize a habit that I need to deal with. I work a lot of hours (sitting) and most of the time is spent alone. I've picked up the habit of reading while I eat. Now it seems that no matter when I read, I want to eat. These two activities have linked up and I believe it has a lot to do with why I'm overweight. I'm going to use the low-carb substitutes when reading at night and maybe put on some music during lunch at work instead of reading. Do you have any other suggestions? I am only on the 4th day of induction, but things are going well. Cravings, so far, are very much reduced.
August 14, 2009 12:17 PM EST
BethAnn1 said:
Yeah, water. Good to drink and gives me exercise too!
August 18, 2009 05:23 PM EST
nitpic44 said:
Chelby, Have you tried substituting sugar free chocolates and candies, or Atkins candys for your sugar cravings? I also make sugar free jello with whipping cream or heavy cream. And to everyone else, I know exactly what you mean about feeling bad and struggling to get thru the beginning stages - but if someone asks me if I am pregnant one more time, I will scream! You just have to do whatever it takes to stay positive. Excercise helps with the depression - sometimes if you can just force yourself to get up and go for a walk, then you have accomplished a piece of your goal. Just don't give up. Do it for your knees! Good luck everyone!
August 27, 2009 11:21 PM EST
stingray69 said:
Wow I just got on 2nd day and the coffee Arg! had McD's for breakfast at 11am because I was on a fast for blood work cholesterol , I feel like s#$* in this morning slowly got beter after taking a drug for my High blood presser called lisinopril-hctz 20/12.5mg tablit's one a day . how do I get off it using the Atkin's diet as a base . HELP I'm 36 and don't want to die young . Oh yes I am a Carbo freak . I have all the habit's above . I suck . depressed and frustrated. I need to buy the book I know . But need the help know.
August 26, 2009 10:05 PM EST
st0nes said:
For low-carb reading I recommend Tolstoy. Try Anna Kerenina first.
August 28, 2009 04:37 AM EST
sax said:
My downfall is eating after supper in the evening ,the craving feels unbearable at times I know it sounds dumb !!usually lunch meat or sweets .
August 28, 2009 03:38 PM EST
spence1203 said:
I will be starting on Monday and I am nervous. I was on this diet some years ago and I realize now that I kept my weight off longer than any other diet. I love bread and pasta, but I do eat the whole grain kind. I recently lost 20 pds on Nutrisystem. This diet kept me from eating with my family, participating in work related events, and bbq's. I am the cook in the family, so I hated it.
August 29, 2009 04:58 PM EST
islandgallinda said:
Chelby, my heart goes out to you. I have been dealing with this crazy sugar compulsion for over 15 years now. It happens so suddenly....I have no thought of eating sugar and then all of a sudden, I'm driving by a donut shop and just have to pull in and buy a dozen assorted lovelies. Of course I have to eat the whole dozen before I get home so no one knows what I have done. It's so sick and I feel so ashamed of myself. I've been on Atkins 5 or so yrs. ago, and had some success, but I wasn't that serious. Now I'm serious. This just can't continue. The only thing that really helps me is protein. Keep chicken breasts, eggs, ham, etc. handy. This will stabalize your blood sugar. Good luck.
August 31, 2009 06:50 PM EST
Jinay said:
I am a 40 year old Mother of 3, 21, 9 and 7. I have lost weight doing low-carb before and for whatever excuse I can come up with, I stopped and gained the weight back, plus some. I am determined to get off the 50 lbs. I need to lose. I'm a stay at home Mom and have access to food all day. How can I stay motivated? I'm scared I will fail once again like I always have in the past. Which of course, brings my self-esteem even lower. I have two little girls and I don't want to pass on my poor self body image to them. I'm just really scared I will fail.
September 01, 2009 08:32 PM EST
molly12591 said:
I want to know if i can consume cocoa,dreid un sweetend, and coconut, dried. in trace amount?
September 03, 2009 03:09 AM EST
molly12591 said:
sorry i forgot to mention, iam on induction.
September 03, 2009 03:11 AM EST
Hi, I keep reading and hearing of people gaining back the weight and then some after going off the Atkins diet, I'm a little concerned, I realize if or when one decides to go off the diet, for obvious reasons you cannont just go hard core on carbs again, but why does this happen and how can you prevent it? Any facts, did anyone not put the weight back on after goin off Atkins? Thanks!
October 21, 2009 10:44 AM EST
tristanwatson said:
Hi everyone, I am new here, started induction yesterday (a Wednesday, I know, weird) but am doing well so far. Cannot bring myself to give up caffeine though since I am prone to migraines and caffeine sincerely helps those to be less frequent. But I am drinking TONS of water. I am better this round (attempted two weeks ago and slipped one day on the weekend on a date). Decided that I am going to not date again until I lose 20 lbs. I have 55-70 lbs to lose. That is hard to say out loud since I have never been this heavy. But I am motivated and really want to have success this time. I am hypoglycemic and have IBS so this diet sounded the most appealing for the affects, side effects, etc. I like all of the allowed foods with the exception of being allergic to shellfish but find it gets boring after about 2 weeks. I need to stay on induction longer also since I have a slow metabolic rate (snails are faster than mine). I went grocery shopping and stocked up on all the allowable foods and bought things for my little boy that I am not tempted by or like so hopefully I should be ok. However, getting to the gym and exercising is my biggest issue right now. On the weekends I tend to make it without issue but on weekdays when I commute an hour one way to work, I find by the time I get home, the gym is the last place I want to go and spend time not to mention putting my son in the childcare there after being gone from him all day. Grrrrrr..... if I had the money, I would buy a treadmill at home but for now, that is a pipe dream. Any recommendations for a good, highly successful and fun workout at home? I am looking forward to keeping up here though for help and motivation and support. I agree with Raven, blessings to all and don't give up! I don't plan to either! Tristan
September 17, 2009 05:23 PM EST
g-jan said:
Hey everyone....we started induction last week and I am finally through the headache phase....every day. But it got better after day 3 and headache. I am finding that I need to combine new foods together in order to keep it interesting. I lose interest in salads pretty quick but love cruciferous I am combining. I tried the cauliflower mashed potato idea...liked that. I am a nighttime muncher...after dinner especially. However, I save one serving of cheese and my tea for the evening and that has helped...I love cheese and have to be careful. I too have a lot of weight to lose, but I must (over 100 lbs) because I feel worse than a 100 year old woman! Gonna do it!
September 19, 2009 02:15 PM EST
snookered said:
Hi Tristan, I found that if i went to the gym once a weekday or even on the weekend, I was in front as I have a family to take care of and work full time. I also bought a fitness/pilates dvd for about $20 from local Kmart and I do this at night after dinner when everyone is off doing their own thing or in bed. I spend 1 hour a night doing it. You can also do it in the morning, but since I love my sleep and as much as I can get, I tend to stay in bed as long as I can in the mornings. Try it and see how you go. Good luck and let me know how you are going. Cheers Michelle.
September 22, 2009 08:22 PM EST
snookered said:
Hi everyone, This is the first week of induction for me and im excited at the future for the first time in a long time. I can't tell you but you all probably know how many diets I have tried. Even ridiculous pills and starvation drinks - aaagggh!!! How stupid was I and how gullible. I am so glad to have come across Atkins. Yes, I feel a little yucky today and a bit tired and headachy but I know it will pass. The cravings have not been bad at all and the food is awesome, love getting online and printing off more recipes to try and my husband is also on Atkins (and doesn't know it) because he is eating what I am eating and he has commented on how good he feels this week - how alert and energised after only 3 days). My kids eat the meals I prepare but I do add extra carbs for them as they are so active and burn so much and they are already skinny. The ingredients are so easy to get, I can even buy the prepared shakes ready to drink from my local store. For the past 10 years I have struggled with my weight going up and down. I want to get back to my ideal weight and have 50lb to lose and hope to have most of it gone by xmas this year. I stuck a page with my current weight and my new weight goals on my bedroom wall so I just cant get away from it every day I wake up and my menu is on the fridge. For all those out there who have tried so many diets and fads, dont give up on this way of life - its not really a diet but a lifestyle change I think. One for the better too. Good luck to you all and keep focused - its hard to break those habits especially when you are distracted by work, kids, family, bills, general life stuff, but take some time for yourself. Cheers, Michelle.
September 22, 2009 08:29 PM EST
Becca32 said:
Hello everyone, like most people I felt awful when I saw the scale hit 246 and that was back in Dec of 2006, fast forward 3 years and I am still struggling with this yo-yo dieting. But I did find out through out all of this is that I love running, but lately I have felt so bad about gaining all the weight I lost back. I felt like a failure, but I am getting back on track. I love the fact that I work at a grocery store where I can get all the foods that I need for the induction phase, plus I joined a gym so I can get back to running. Good luck to all of you and wish me the best in my life style change.
September 21, 2009 06:37 PM EST
billydee03 said:
Becca... I wish you the best... and you love to run? you go girl!!!... It hurts when I run but knocking down some weight will definatey help.
October 07, 2009 09:40 AM EST
NancyI said:
I just started up again, day 5; phase 1. I lost 80 lbs 6 years ago and have gained about 50 back. I want to feel good like I did before. My memory was better, my self confidence was better and I enjoyed sports with my two boys. I'm 43 now, might be harder this time. My scale is broken! ARGH! Have no idea what my starting weight is, but I was determined to start even without the scale. Question: is there anything wrong with eating just the sausage and egg from a McD's Sausage/Egg McMuffin? I travel a lot for my job and I cannot store food in the car. What kinds of fast food are acceptable during the Induction? Are there any useful websites out there for low carb fast food? Thanks, and thank you everyone for all of the supportive information!
October 23, 2009 06:14 PM EST
NancyI said:
I just started up again, day 5; phase 1. I lost 80 lbs 6 years ago and have gained about 50 back. I want to feel good like I did before. My memory was better, my self confidence was better and I enjoyed sports with my two boys. I'm 43 now, might be harder this time. My scale is broken! ARGH! Have no idea what my starting weight is, but I was determined to start even without the scale. Question: is there anything wrong with eating just the sausage and egg from a McD's Sausage/Egg McMuffin? I travel a lot for my job and I cannot store food in the car. What kinds of fast food are acceptable during the Induction? Are there any useful websites out there for low carb fast food? Thanks, and thank you everyone for all of the supportive information!
October 23, 2009 06:16 PM EST
mzrave said:
Hi All :) I am in the same boat with you all. . . did really well with Atkins in the past, however this past year I have put so much weight back on. I feel yucky :( My life has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster since losing my fiance to a drunk driver, which has caused my weight to go up and down. This past year has been the worst ever. Also, I am a semi-vegetarian, with only poultry and seafood into my diet, so I end up eating alot of soy products. It's a trickier way to do Atkins, but I believe it's better for me, so I sacrifice speedy results for better health in the long run (and a clearer conscience, but that's another story). I have also discovered a wonderful technique to help with headaches, pain, stress, weight and medical issues called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). It doesn't cost you anything and you can practice it on yourself. I was skeptical at first, then I started experiencing real results, so I am trying to make a habit of starting my day with EFT. Many blessings to everyone and never give up! Raven :)
September 05, 2009 02:01 PM EST
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