Remember what the late, great Dr. Atkins said?

His famous quote from his book is: "Exercise is non-negotiable."

I have something else to add to that: "Cooking is non-negotiable on a low-carb diet."

One can run into serious problems sticking with the diet if one is totally adverse to cooking. See, if there is practically nothing to eat, even a serious dieter will be tempted to break down and have something off plan - especially, if those off-plan items are in the house due to other family members who do not follow the same WOE.

People have discovered through trial and error that eating whole foods and foods low on the glycemic index, or more importantly, taking into account the glycemic load of foods, is the healthiest way to eat. Choosing fresh meats over processed meats is preferable. Cooking a roast and slicing it thinly is preferable to using processed, thinly sliced meats, because processed meats are full of sodium, nitrates and sometimes contain sugar. I love roast beef rolled up with asparagus or cheese with horseradish sauce or mayonnaise.

Fresh vegetables, even frozen, are preferable to canned veggies, which often contain sugars. Again, one needs to cook some of these. Salads also require some work.

I have found if I cook (and I'm a cookbook author), I do much better with sticking to low-carbing, however, I go through lazy times (yep, me too), and it is very difficult to remain perfectly true to low-carb during such times. I have a couple of low-carb Philistines in the household, so I have to cook different meals for them - almost daily. If I fail to provide meals for my husband and I - well, it's very difficult to resist the freshly baked high-carb buns or pasta, or whatever. This is especially true for my husband who is missing a vanity chip, which is what will keep me on track more often than not. I love the fact that our young, adult sons are still with us for a little while, but it does make it difficult sometimes when it comes to meals. I have to have something on hand that is equally as enticing for my husband and I. Let me tell you, it is not easy to always have the energy to be on top of things to that extent.

So, I have discovered, through the years, that cooking and baking low-carb is non-negotiable, if you want to stay on plan. If you have family members on a different WOE, my heart goes out to you. It is not always easy!

However, if you have slip-ups, and there are probably more of us that do than don't, please don't throw in the towel. Every day, every meal, do your best to make sure you have something on hand (even hard boiled eggs will do in a pinch) - a roast chicken from the store (this one is great!), an interesting salad and veggie for sides - things like that.

Also, keep in mind if you are in this to lose weight - calories absolutely do count! I don't care what anyone else says - for me, they do; for my husband, they do. It is about creating a calorie deficit - no question about it. Sure, there is a metabolic advantage to low-carbing (i.e. you could probably have a few more calories and lose weight than on a low-fat diet), however, only if you are in ketosis. This is my opinion, of course.