Beginning Induction Weight- ( 1/2012) 142-145
Lowest Weight ( 2/2013, approx) 123
Current Weight- 126-128
Exercise: Running about 2-3 days per week, inconsistent at times. Strength about 2 times per week, plus very active job – 8 hrs daily of speed- walking, bending, stooping, climbing, stretching. pushing a heavy cart around corners. (core work 🙂 )
So, induction was the hardest. It requires strict diligence and adherence to the plan- staying at 20 grams of carbohydrate intake per 24- hour period, and this needs to come mostly from salad and other vegetables. So, there pokes a hole in the myth that Atkin’s is all about bacon and steak. I’ll tell you that in those early days, you do eat a goodly amount of meat, eggs, and cheese, because there’s only so far salad greens will go in fueling the body. And, it’s almost free food, because you are getting almost no carb content in those items.
Somewhere around week two, you might cave-in, gorge on pizza and ice cream, and never go back.
But if you’re one of the determined few, who have decided that if you’ve committed to something, you will stick it out until you see results, by the middle of the third week, and especially if you’re new to Atkins’s the weight seems to just fall off. Pants are looser, your face looks thinner. True, some of it is water. Your body simply becomes more efficient and less bloated at this stage.
By now, temptation may really hit hard. You’ve been so good, you’re losing weight- how about a night off of the old diet? You could take a free day at this point, but it will either stall your weight loss, or make it just that much harder to ‘get back on the horse’, but assuming you are very strong, you could have your night, and get back on the plan, none the worse for wear. It’s just that the night off needs to be very rare. Better to keep on with the plan, slowly increasing the amount of carb content by a mere five grams of carbs; assuming you are still losing weight. My body was tough this time around! It took me three MONTHS of induction to get to the point where I had lost just seven pounds. The first time I seriously did induction, it took only ten or twelve days.
The next stage is almost as hard. You’re allowed some of the phase 1-2 bars, shakes and meals now, but there’s still a huge emphasis on eggs, cheese, meats, and salads, veggies, and just berries. All other fruit is too full of sugars- and while they are natural, they are still sugars.
At this point, at about two to three months in, a lot of people just can’t take the lack of bagels and pasta anymore. They get tired of their normal weight friends and family who are scarfing pizza and bread sticks and who are eating ice cream looking at them like they are crazy. “Look at me. I’m not overweight. I eat what I want. Why are you doing this?” “What, you’re not eating whole wheat bread but you eat extra bacon?? What kind of diet is this? Your heart is going to clog up and fall out!” So, you try not to roll your eyes, sigh, and try to explain the science. Their eyes glaze over as they chew the pizza crust, and smirk at you.
“Just eat less of everything, and don’t stuff yourself. You’ll be fine”. I’m sure there is a lot of truth to that. But what if sugar and carbs act like a drug to some of us? What if not overeating these kinds of foods is harder for me then giving up smoking was? What if staying away completely until I beat this ‘addiction’, both chemical and psychological, is the most effective thing for me right now? what if I told you that I eat more vegetables and fiber now than I ever did when I ate smaller portions of only what I wanted?
My previous life of ‘eat what you want, just less…maybe”
Breakfast: Leftover huge hunk of carrot cake, or huge bowl of cereal. Neither stick with you long, so I was starving way before lunch
Lunch: Big sandwich, maybe even a sub, and all that bread. Chips, diet pop- ha ha, and two big cookies, or a similar treat. Always had dessert after lunch. If not, then a one-two hour later ‘treat’, like a candy bar. Invariably. Also, if there were any other dessert type foods offered in the break room at work, I would eat that, too.
Dinner: Huge rib-eye, side salad, two crescent rolls.
Dessert- big bowl of ice cream with Hershey’s on top.
Now, no- I didn’t eat like this every day. But way too often, it was something very similar to this. Any time I would look at what I’d eaten that day, I would be disgusted with how many calories I’d racked up, and moreover, I’d be amazed at the fact that I always still felt I could eat more!
Bio chemistry, blood sugar balance, and habit:
Perhaps there is a test that could tell us that some of us are more sensitive to the effects of high glycemic foods than other people are. Perhaps there is a test already. Maybe it’s the same test used to test diabetics. How soon after subject A eats this glazed doughnut ( or icky cup of orange syrup at the doctor’s office) on an empty stomach does the blood sugar level peak? How high is that peak? How long does it last? When it comes down, how quickly and to what level does it adjust to?
I can tell you that a breakfast of coffee and doughnuts is a disaster. Maybe not for most people, but for me, yes. I suffered tremendously with low-blood sugar- hypoglycemia, any time I lived on my carrot cake or cereal breakfasts. Why? After the rise, there is always a fall. Why doesn’t that happen to everyone? I don’t know. Why do only certain people get diabetes, or Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s? Everyone is different, with a realm of expected possibilities. Parkinson’s is possible, growing a third eye, not so much.
If you find that eating a high carb diet; that is- one with a lot of refined flour product, bread, sweets, chips, french fries, battered and fried foods, sugars and syrups, and you always feel hungry, you sometimes get light headed and clammy/sweaty between meals, and you can’t seem to turn down a junky snack, you’re a junkie. You’re hooked, and your body is running on cheap, adulterated food. It’s not good for you for many reasons.
When I was a sugar junkie, I had horrible mood swings, manic highs and low lows, skin troubles, scalp issues, anger management issues, and more. Besides that, I was overweight and miserable. I couldn’t seem to figure out why I was always ready for candies, cakes, and ice cream, no matter how much I’d eaten. Turning it down was torture. If I said no to dessert, I’d scarf a quick breakfast just to feel better about eating the ice cream at ten a.m. The next morning! Does this not sound like an addiction? Insert the words “Martini” wherever I used “dessert”, “junk food” , ‘candy’ or ‘ice cream”, and you might see my point.
“But food is just food. It can’t be addiction. It’s all in your mind”. Sure, addiction is largely in the mind. This is why taking the physical chemical imbalance out of the equation is only half the battle. But, it’s very helpful and important. Drug addiction is largely psychological, too, but we have to give up the drug, not just talk to our minds about it. If it helps, think of it not so much as addiction, but rather habituation. We are creatures of habit. We tend to want what we are used to . This is both a blessing and a curse, depending on what we are feeding ourselves. The physical aspect of this manifests itself, in terms of sugar and carbs, in a spike in our blood sugar levels when we eat the offending foods. We feel satisfied. It’s only a matter of time, though, before the blood sugar level crashes and we want to poke it back up to where it was. So we eat the Little Debbie snack cakes or grandma’s fudge, or a can of Pringles. We feel better, but maybe guilty, and like crap again when the crash comes, and so the cycle starts again. The body doesn’t get what it actually needs, good nutrition, and we’ve basically put sugar in our gas tanks.
I believe that people who have maintained a balanced diet over their lifetimes and who do not have a weight problem, intuitively know what their bodies need and listen to that rather than their cravings. They don’t get up in the morning and become tempted by carrot cake. They eat eggs or cereal, and they’re perfectly fine, running smoothly until lunch, which they eat in balanced fashion, probably not caring one way or another about a cookie or two, or a candy bar. I never see my husband go out of his way for a snack after lunch, nor does he usually consume cookies with it. On the other hand, he can eat a giant poppyseed muffin for breakfast and not go mad with hunger prior to lunch. I would. Why?
Insulin resistance: Here’s a great post by Suzanne Robin:http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/can-produce-much-insulin-2833.html
Hypogycemia? All About it: http://www.naturalways.com/sugar.htm
I am not a scientist, so best to get the facts here. Again, balance is an ideal. A great concept, and eventually able to be maintained. If you have had success with balancing your diet and maintaining your weight without removing certain foods from your diet, why are you reading this post?
Yes, it can be done, but if you are way out of balance, you may need to take serious steps to get back into it.
Best Health and Wishes,