Took a break for the week
Back on the plan as of this morning. Goal for next week, 253.
I am unclean! Forgive me my brothers and sisters in Atkins! I have fallen from the pure path. I have lain with the harlot who's mouth tastes of honey, and who's flesh is sweet. I have faltered in my resolve, and failed to resist when temptation reared it's sumptuous head. How may I redeem myself? I was in a den of sin, confident of my righteousness, when the serpent tempted me. I ordered a holy meal, filet in a bordeaux-portobello mushroom sauce(9 carbs), and all was well.
And then she asked "Baked potato, or sweet potato?"
"Baked, and loaded," I replied.
She smiled in triumph, then added to my damnation, bring oven fresh rolls along with my salad (Caesar dressing 5 carbs).
The bread smelled wonderful, and I did take and eat of it.
And it was good!
Then I did take some butter, and spread it across the bread, and the butter was infused with honey, and I ate it anyway.
And it was good!
Then the potato came, steaming hot, with butter. sourcream, bacon, and chives, and I did eat it, all of it, and it too was good!
Then, to complete my damnation, the serpent came again, and tempted me with dessert. But, my brothers and sisters in Atkins, the last shred of righteousness within me helf strong and true, and I refused the hot fudge sundae; I passed on the pecan pie ala mode; I said no to the peanut butter brownie pie.
Bent, but not broken, I left the den of iniquity. I resolved not to allow myself to fall into such a terrible trap again; failing to resist temptation, I would avoid it. And if I should falter, if I should yield, I would move on, and resume eating in righteousness, not allowing my momentary lapse to end my devotion.
Hey, if I'm going to be called a cultist, I might as well sling the lingo, right?
OK, seriously, I'm still on track, weighing in this morning at 252. I missed the goal of 251, but I'm still dropping, even with my indulgence the night before. The thing to remember, as I said above, is that you can't allow a lapse to make you quit the whole thing. Eating 1 high carb meal won't totally derail your diet unless you allow it to. It may slow your progress, particualrly if you eat enough to drop you out of ketosis, but two days later, you can be back on track and making progress.
Goal for next week: 249
« Close 'er up!
It's expensive to eat right!
Fortunately, we aren't limited to the foods the Atkins company supplies. While it is true that high carb foods tend to be the cheapest to produce and market, there's no reason why a dedicated Atkins plan participant can't find everything he or she needs at the local supermarket. Granted, when you first start on induction, having a low carb protein bar or shake handy can help you survive those sugar cravings until you go into ketosis, but as you move into Maintenance, you should have no trouble finding enough food to complete a varied menu.
I noticed in the new catalog that the Atkins Center now offers a service in California where they will ship a full day's worth of meals to your door every day. The cost?
Not only is this outrageously expensive, I think it also hurts your long term chances for success. The Atkins Plan is more than a diet; it's a new lifestyle. Along with a new way of eating, you have to learn a new way of shopping and cooking. Eating prepackaged meals makes that impossible.
Now for my numbers. I didn't hit my goals this week as far as carbs. I planned on increasing my carbs to 30 grams per day, but due to a hectic week, I actually averaged around 20 grams. I averaged just under 2100 cal/day, which is right around where I want to keep it. I lost 4 more pounds, down to 254, and put another notch in my belt. Goal for next week is to make 30 grams/day and lose 3 pounds to 251 lbs.
ATKINS MYTH #3
The reason people lose weight on Atkins is they get bored with a limited menu.
This myth is usually a follow to myth 2, that Atkins is a low calorie diet in disguise, again used by surprised researchers to explain why a diet so high in fat results in weight loss, and again, simply not true.
What follows is a list of the meals I've eaten over the last 5 weeks. See if it sounds boring or limited to you.
- low carb toast with 1 tbl no-sugar-added orange marmalade
- 1/4 cup blueberries in 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 egg omelette with 2 oz ham, 1/4 cup mushrooms sauteed in butter, 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1 tbl sour cream, 1 tbl salsa.
- blueberry protein bar
- 2 scrambled eggs w/cheese, 4 slices bacon
- Crustless quiche w/ sausage, bacon, and cheese
- Chicken salad on pork rinds
- Tuna salad with a side salad (lettuce, spinach, 5 grape tomatoes, 1/4 cup mushrooms, 1/4 cup bell peppers, 1 radish, 1/4 cucumber, 2 tbls real bacon bits, 1/8 cup soy nuts, and 3 tbls caesar dressing)
- Ham salad w/ mustard
- Barbequed beef with low carb barbeque sauce.
- Double bacon cheeseburger w/o bun
- French onion soup
- macadamia nuts
- low carb protein shakes
- soy nuts
- pork rinds w/ salsa
- Beef jerky
- 12 oz NY strip, blackened w/ bleu cheese dressing
- dinner salads same as lunch salad, only twice the size, and add 1/3 cup cheese.
- 12 oz roasted pork loin with creamed spinach and a side salad
- lemon pepper grilled chicken breast with mixed greens
- asparagus tips sauteed in butter and garlic
- broiled salmon
- pot roast w/o potatoes and carrots, but with mushrooms, onions and peppers.
- fried chicken with low carb breading
- Chili w/o beans
Desserts (yes, desserts)
- Chocolate mousse w strawberries
- Lo carb peanut butter cups
- Lo carb cheesecake w crushed pecan crust
- coconut macarroons
- Dark chocolate mousse with a hint of orange
The trick lies in taking familiar recipes and modifying them to remove the carbs. Replace sugar with Splenda, or other sucralose sweeteners. They do not break down under heat, like aspartame, so you can bake with them. Replace white flour with a blend of soy and whole wheat flours, gluten, or use ready made mixes. Replace starchy veggies with leafy greens, or, if you're in Maintenance, with legumes which provide a significant amount of protein along with the carbs.
If you look at what I've eaten, you can see that you really don't have to give up that much. The only reason for dietary boredom to set in is if you don't make the effort to learn how to cook differently, and let yourself fall into a dull routine.
Look at the above list, and think how much more restrictive a low fat diet is!
« Close 'er up!
I've been like I said before, I've been walking close to 2 miles 2-3 times a week, and I'm going to up that this week, adding in a couple miles at lunch time 3-4 days a week. The Atkins program does require exercise, contrary to popular opinion, and I want to make sure I include it in my routine.
I'm adding bell peppers and onions back into my diet, and an occasional low carb chocolate caramel bar or peanut butter cup.
Yep, I'm really suffering...*grin*
Now for Atkins Myth # 2
The Atkins Plan is a low calorie diet in disguise.
Doctors who were skeptical about Atkins, when presented with the most recent findings, are usually the first to make this claim. They never do go on to say exactly why that's a bad thing.
There are two answers to this one: "No it isn't," and "So what if it is?"
Interestingly, one of my commentors mentioned that all I needed to do was take my weight loss, compare it with my daily caloric intake, and I could determine how many calories I could eat a day without gaining weight. He said we don't need the Atkins plan, just algebra.
Well, let's see how that works out.
Week 3, my average caloric intake was 1887 calories per day. During that week, I lost 6 pounds. 1 pound of fat represents 3500 calories. So 6*3500 = 21,000 calories of fat burned that week. Divide that by 7, and I get 3000 calories of fat burned per day. So if I follow this guy's suggestion, I could add 3000 calories a day to my diet, for a total of 4887 calories a day, and still not gain weight.
I don't think so. Metabolism is not an algebraic constant.
But let's ignore all that, and consider another view. If all Atkins does is provide a framework for people to consume fewer calories while enjoying them more, what's wrong with that? The key to long term weight loss is dietary moderation; also known as ELEM, Eat Less, Exercise More. If the Atkins Plan provides an easy way to accomplish the first part, what is the problem?
« Close 'er up!
Since things are going so well, I'm going to add another 5 grams of carbs this week. I'm adding some extra veggies, like asparagus, spinach, and green beans, as well as some fruit, mostly berries. I've also been exercising 4 times a week, doing aerobic photography. I walk just under 2 miles everymorning, taking pictures to document job progress. Combining exercise with work helps me get around my lack of spare time.
For next week, my goal weight is 257 lbs.
A couple of weeks ago, I was accused of being an Atkins cultist, and what kind of cultist would I be if I didn’t try to gain a few converts to the cause? So, beginning with this update, I plan to bust a few myths about the Atkins Plan, put out some correct information, throw in a recipe or two, and annoy an ill-informed skeptic or two along the way.
Now, if you’re skinny, or you have no interest in losing weight, just skip right along to the next entry. If you’ve tried low fat dieting, and it works for you, then God Bless, and have a wonderful life. However, if like me, you’ve tried the low fat approach and had no success, or couldn’t stay the course because of the stringent diet, then come along with me; low carb may be the approach for you.
Atkins myth #1: You can stuff yourself and lose weight, as long as you keep the carbs low.
This is one of the most popular myths people use to attack Atkins and other low carb plans. How can you stuff your face with high fat foods and lose weight? I t doesn’t make sense.
Of course, they’re right. If you gorge yourself on fatty foods, no matter how low your carb count is, you’ll gain weight. It just makes sense. But here’s the catch: The Atkins Plan does NOT call for gorging yourself with high fat foods. In fact, Dr. Atkins specifically and repeatedly writes that the Atkins Plan does not allow for unrestrained binging on any foods, not even low carb ones.
From Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution, paperback, pg 123
When hungry, eat the amount of food that makes you feel satisfied but not stuffed
Again on pg 138
I encourage you to eat until you’re satisfied. Just don’t confuse being satisfied with being stuffed.
And again on page 143
Although there is no need to count calories, they do matter. Gaining weight results from taking in more calories than you expend through exercise, thermogenisis (the body’s own heat production) and other metabolic functions. Research has shown that on a controlled carbohydrate program, more calories are burned than in a low-fat/high-carb diet, so there is a certain metabolic advantage to the controlled carb approach. But understand that this does not give you a license to gorge.
So much for Myth #1.
« Close 'er up!
First time around, I went from 305 to 227 in about 7 months. My mistake was thinking that since I lost the weight so quickly, I wouldn't gain it back. I quit the plan, thinking I could eat normally without falling into the same patterns that lead to the 305 pounds in the first place.
Chocolate milkshakes and french fries are from Satan.
I gained just over 50 lbs during the year after I left the plan. Fortunately, I wised up before I gained it all back, and I'm back on it. I kept a diary last time, and to try and duplicate that success, I'm doing it again. Feel free to skip these entries if you'd like, but if you want to follow along and see whether I can lose it and keep it off long term, as well as get a few facts about the Atkins Plan, come on along for the ride.
First a personal disclosure: I've lost almost 80 pounds following the Atkins diet. My total cholesterol has dropped 30 points, my HDL has gone up 10 points, my triglycerides have dropped significantly. My total cholesterol/HDL ratio is under 5 for the first time in years. My blood pressure has dropped from 135/95 to 115/72. In short, by every medical measure, I am significantly healthier than before I went on the Atkins diet.
Yep, the diet was a complete failure.....
Ok, anecdotal evidence doesn't mean anything; we need controlled studies. Well, all the hoopla surrounding the Atkins diet comes from a new study which indicates that the Atkins diet does work, and may work better than the standard low fat diet advocated by the AHA. So how does Mr. Fumento attack the diet? Well, let's see.
First, he'll use a little misinformation.
The Atkins Diet—the famous high-fat, low-carb regime that lets dieters load up on pork rinds and Scrapple as long as they avoid potatoes and Wheaties—works. The American Heart Association has been wrong all along, as has essentially the entirely American medical establishment. Not only is gorging on fat the key to becoming thin, it's heart-healthy to boot. So say the headlines:
Nowhere in the book does it tell you to gorge yourself on fat. In fact, Dr. Atkins repeatedly says that you eat only to satiation. He doesn't recommend binging on high fat foods, but replacing the calories you normally get through excessive carbs with fat and protein. Even a casual reading of the book makes this perfectly clear, so why would Mr. fumento repeat this canard? Either he hasn't read the book, or he is misrepresenting the facts for his own purpose.
Next he relates the results of the study, in which 120 dieters followed either the Atkins or the AHA plans. The Atkins group lost twice as much weight as the AHA dieters. Mr. Fumento dismisses this as unremarkable
Gary Foster of the University of Pennsylvania co-authored a study conducted in virtually the same manner as Westman's. Foster, whose work will soon appear in a major medical journal, provides a simple explanation for the Atkins weight loss. The regimen "gives people a framework to eat fewer calories, since most of the choices in this culture are carbohydrate driven," he says. "Over time people eat fewer calories."
Damn him! Tricking us into eating fewer calories while enjoying it more.
Next, Mr Fumento examines the retention rate. After all the true measure of success with a diet is whether you stick to it or not, right?
In any event, the main issue with any diet—be it Atkins, popcorn, or jelly bean—isn't whether people can lose weight in the short-term but rather whether they can stick to the regimen and keep the pounds off not for just half a year but essentially forever. Yet completely lost in the media mania was that among the 60 Atkins dieters in the Westman group analyzed for blood lipids, the dropout rate was 43 percent.
Thus almost half the Atkins cohort couldn't stay with the steak and bacon routine for even six months. By comparison, only 25 percent of the high-carb eaters dropped out.
Interestingly, while he doesn't give a source for this info, one of the citations he makes earlier in the article contradicts this claim:
After six months, the people on the Atkins diet had lost 31 pounds, compared with 20 pounds on the AHA diet, and more people stuck with the Atkins regimen.
So which is true? Once the study is available online, we'll know. Until then, consider this:
According to existing medical research, most dieters (90% or better) regain all the weight they lost and some, as much as one third, gain back more.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the AHA approach.
Again, reading the book presents a different picture of the long term success rate of the Atkins Plan. How can you judge the effectiveness of a diet by including what happens when people go off of it?
Next, Mr Fumento casts doubt on the validity of the study because it was funded by Atkins. What he doesn't mention, but is included in one of his references, is that Westman approached Atkins, not the other way around, and that his intent was to challenge the diet.
Westman, an internist at Duke’s diet and fitness center, said he decided to study the Atkins approach because of concern over so many patients and friends taking it up on their own. He approached the Robert C. Atkins foundation in New York City to finance the research.
Let's take a closer look at a study mentioned by Mr. Fumento, conducted by Randy Seeley. fumento mentions it as supporting his contntion that Atkins doesn't work. However, reading the summery of the report, as yet unpublished, gives a different picture. The summary is available online at the Atkins Center.
Thirty-four mildly obese women (BMI of 30-34 kg/m2) were recruited for a six-month clinical study to investigate the effects of a low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors. The study included a three-month weight loss intervention followed by a three-month follow-up period during which no intervention occurred...Twenty-six subjects (76%) completed the trial, with an equal number of dropouts from each diet group. Mean weight loss was significantly greater in the ketogenic diet group than in the control diet group at three months (8.0+1.0 vs. 4.4+1.1 kg; p<0.02) and at six months (7.9+1.4 vs. 3.2+1.3 kg; p<0.02)...Blood pressure, total cholesterol, and LDL-cholesterol decreased, and HDL-cholesterol increased, in both groups. Plasma insulin levels decreased in both groups suggesting an improvement in insulin sensitivity. Triglyceride levels decreased significantly more in the ketogenic diet group than in the control diet group (65.3+17.2 vs. 15.2+8.2 mg/dl; p<0.02) at three months. These results indicate that for short periods of time, a low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet is efficacious in causing weight loss and has no deleterious effects on cardiovascular risk factors.
Sounds to me like he is saying that Atkins plan works better, and is healthy.
In fact, if you go to the Atkins website, you'll find several comparative diet studies performed over the last dew decades which come to the same conclusion.
Next, Mr Fumento tries to argue away the success of Atkins at improving blood chemistry
"Often just losing weight alone will cause improvement in triglyceride and cholesterol levels," the president of the American Heart Association Dr. Robert Bonow told me. Since the Atkins dieters did lose more weight than those on the high-carb diet, it only stands to reason that by comparison their blood levels would also improve more.
Now explain to me again how this means Atkins doesn't work? Mr Fumento quotes a study (Seeley) which concludes that people on Atkins lose more weight and have better blood chemistry than those on the AHA recommended diet and uses that to say Atkins doesn't work.
Next he closes with this little bon mot:
The media tried to fill the need, but ultimately failed the public. "It just makes people confused and frustrated," an exasperated Seeley said. Yes, and fatter by the day.
This despite the fact that fat consumption per capita is at an all time low.
Shouldn't that tell us something?
Mr. Fumento also ignores the graduated levels of the Atkins diet. While the initial phases do severely restrict carb intake, the later phases are much more liberal, and allow you to determine your body's own level of carb intake to regulate weight. In this later stage, fat calories are replaced by protein, and some carbs, resulting in a more balanced diet.
What really surprises me is that Mr. Fumento failed to zero in on the real weaknesses of the Atkins plan. First, it is very difficult to maintain proper nutrition, particularly during the early stages of the diet. Once you are on maintenance, you are eating enough vegetables to meet your nutritional needs, but until then, vitamin supplements are a necessity. Second is the issue of colon health. The Atkins diet allows very little roughage, particularly in the beginning stages, which can cause some dieters problems. A fiber supplement is a good idea, particularly during induction.
I'm disappointed in the article, which seems to substitute bias for science. I expect more from Reason.