Knowing that you may be googling for this sort of thing, I have a few words about my experience with the Atkins Diet:
I’m in my early 40’s and wanted to lose some excess tonnage. Not a lot, but enough to get back down to flat-stomach weight and shed an annoying extra chin, while preventing my gut from shoving my trousers down like Fred Sanford. I am 6’ 2” tall and started out at around 235 pounds - my heaviest ever. Atkins seemed like the way to go for me even though it had terrible ramifications in terms of what would have to be given up: breakfast cereal, as far as I am concerned, is the Perfect Food. Cereal could easily be my only food. but alas, it had to go. No oatmeal, pancakes, scones, or english muffins. The most alarming thing about Atkins is that you have to rethink breakfast entirely.
Some friends who had tried it had great success, and about 50% of them stuck with it in one modified form or another and kept the weight off. The biggest benefit, it seemed, was speed; who wants to spend a year shedding 5 pounds in tiny increments?
One thing I cheated on: You are supposed to give up coffee. The only answer I can give to such an assertion is to raise a middle finger. I had one or two regulation-sized mugs of coffee a day.
I have not read the Atkins Diet book. Instead, I’ve stuck to the Cliff’s Notes version on the website. Beginning July 1, 2006, I started the “induction” phase of the diet. This is where you force your body to shift fuel sources from sugar to fat. By depriving your body of sugars/carbohydrates, it is shunted into finding some other source of fuel to keep your body going. One hopes that it latches onto the love handles on your midsection and begins burning them off.
The first three or four days were rough, especially days 3 & 4. You know that sluggish, vague feeling you get when your sugar level drops and you head for the fridge for some orange juice? That. For days. But I found that it is not really that bad at all and if you keep glugging down water as recommended you get beyond it quickly, which is great because suddenly, upon awaking on day 5 or so, you feel great! Presto! Energy!
What to do about breakfast? Since mornings are a series of ingrained habits requiring and deserving little thought in a semi-awake state, I found that I had to form brand-new habits requiring little mental input from me. So I can now throw together 2 scrambled eggs, 2 slices of nuked bacon and coffee in about 5 minutes. This, with the occasional addition of a slice of cheese, is breakfast, lather-rinse-repeat. Add a huge glass of water (32 oz - use one of those gigungus soda cups from Taco Bell. You’ll be taking in at least 80 oz. of water a day so get it in big servings) and you’re all set.
Lunch for the first two weeks was a few slices of roast beef or turkey from the deli, a little lettuce, some cheese, two or three fresh mushrooms, some olives and that huge glass of water. I drizzled olive oil over everything but the water.
Dinner is some kind of meat. Just about any kind of flesh is fine whether off the hoof, fin or wing. Add more leafy greens, some olives and another huge glass of water. For an after dinner snack I came to rely heavily on the 3-carb yogurt from Blue Bunny.
Stop eating four hours before going to bed. It’s a good idea to have one more huge glass of water... but not after 7 or 8PM. Otherwise your bladder will awaken you screaming at 4AM.
I really didn’t see the weight start falling off until I began increasing exercise levels on about the 6th day. I walk a lot anyway, but began do more of it, plus bicycling several miles a few times a week and a little light running. In the morning I continued to do the stretching exercises and crunches I had been doing for a few years.
So in the induction phase (2 weeks) I managed to shed about 12-15 pounds. After that, when a few carbs are reintroduced to the diet (still under 30 a day for me), it melted away a little slower. I allow myself some smoked almonds for snacking now, a bowl of strawberries with cream for desserts, and that happy cocktail hour martini after work.
Now, August 25, I am at about 205.
Nothing fits except the clothes I had stuck away as too small years ago. All my pants are hanging on me. Shirt collars gap (yes! No more extra chin!) and I have no seat at all. I have no specific weight goal beyond dipping below the magic 200 mark. I plan to stop losing when I look in the mirror and don’t see any excess fat anyplace. The gut I had been husbanding is gone.
Some general observations:
I rarely feel hungry and never feel bloated after eating. Turns out all those carbs are the culprit for that huge appetite feeling. Some days, I have to remind myself to eat, and I don’t want any potatoes, rice or other starches at all.
Cereal, I miss.
Use the biggest Bladder-Buster size drinking vessel you can find to make it easier to chug all that water you’re supposed to get into your body. The water flushes the excess fat away and does wonders for your overall health and skin.
Beware the demon constipation.
Take a multivitamin to ward off Leg Cramps From Hell. Maybe extra Potassium.
When you lose a fair amount of weight, people assume you are A: Sick or B: Having an affair.
You’re right, you can’t do this forever. But you can do a modified version forever, and just be very, very guarded about how many grams of carbohydrates you are putting in your body. They are fillers that do little for you while adding significantly to your waistline.
The biggest reason to do this kind of diet is it makes sense zoologically. If homo sapiens -sapiens were in the wild in his most primitive state, he would not eat Grape Nuts, mashed potatoes or Snickers. he would eat meat, some leafy greens and nuts. Berries and fruits would be a great and somewhat rare treat. So in effect, this kind of diet mimics what evolution has set us up to eat. Just as your ears were never designed for listening to The Black Eyed Peas at full volume, your stomach is not designed to process a constant barrage of sugars and carbs.