Mary Ann, here's ideas that have helped me. I tried Atkins diet twice, once in my early 20s and a year ago. Both times failed. After a few weeks on Atkins my parents came to town and took me out to dinner. I thought it wouldn't hurt to cheat and eat a baked potato then get back on program the next day. Before I left the restaurant I began swelling up and getting very uncomfortable feeling. It was, I guessed, a reaction to carbs and coming out of ketosis too fast. Plus, I think I was further into ketosis than the IP program has you get. It scared me and I decided NOT to get back on program but to quit the diet altogether even though I had been successful losing weight.
I DO NOT CHEAT with carbs or alcohols. If I'm going to eat more than the prescribed amount of food, I make sure it's IP approved. The diet is working very well for me so I don't want to mess it up. Plus, I don't go off program by eating more than prescribed very often because I figure, why drag this thing out longer than I have to? I want to lose the weight, go through maintenance, and get back to a normal life.
This Christmas my boss brought homemade cookies into work and left them in the cubicle next to mine. I listened to people going for one cookie after the next and describing how perfectly moist and delicious they were. It was maddening at the time but, today I can barely remember it. Had I given in, I would also barely remember the joy of the cookies but, my weight loss would be less. That very night I went to a study group and again, there was a table full of cookies sitting on the coffee table in the living room. I sat through an hour and a half of people eating those cookies non-stop, one right after the other, like they were downing vitamins. That was even worse than the office scene earlier in the day. But, I began to think of it as desensitizing myself like the way I do horses when I'm training them. You can't stop a horse from spooking by avoiding the spooks. You have to help them stand by and get desensitized to where things can go on and it doesn't have an effect.
I realized that most of my life, I had never not participated in eating sweets. I had always given into the overwhelming desire to indulge. But, in ketosis the desire for sweets is not as overwhelming as while I'm taking in carbs. I also thought about how sickly the mental feeling I get when I've eaten too many carbs, I literally feel a little depressed and anxious afterwards from the effects of too many cookies, sweets, or whatever.
So, I've realized that after I'm through with losing, I still should not eat carbs the way I did before. I'm going to miss the IP diet when I'm off because it gives me the extra strength to avoid indulging.