Atkins after the first week

When I stood on the scales this morning it hit 73kg right on the nose. Before I started the diet last week I was at 77. That’s 4kg in one week. Whatever else you can say about Atkins, the only other times I have lost that much weight that quickly are when I’ve been stuck in bed with Scottish Barfing Syndrome (SBS) and unable to eat anything at all.

But not even that kind of weight loss can make up for the fact that this diet is making me utterly miserable. I’ve learned that for me, the pleasure I derive from food resides in carbohydrates. By cutting out the carbs, I’ve cut out my joy.

After a meal I feel full but never satisfied. Before meal times I don’t feel hungry, I feel nauseous. The thought of having to eat meat turns my stomach. Intellectually I know that’s partly a low blood sugar kind of thing. I know that I’ll feel much better after I’ve forced myself to eat something. But at the time I really do have to force myself to cook, or to sit down to eat. For all the enjoyment I get from a nice chunk of beef or a succulent roast chicken, I might as well be scarfing down those multi-coloured protein cubes you got in 70s science fiction films. They’re just about as appetising.

As I was walking by the bakery section in Safeway on Friday, I almost lost it. I had to suppress a hysterical giggle bubbling up inside of me. I had visions of running over to the fresh bread counter, ripping the crust off a large bloomer and burying my face in the soft, warm expanse of white loaf. Then I’d take my clothes off and rub the crust all over my naked body just to see if I could absorb any more carbohydrates through my pores.

To summarise: Atkins is effective for me, and I’ll keep it up for the second week of the “induction phase” (20g carb/day) on the off-chance that my body is just taking a long time to adjust to the new balance of nutrients, but I really don’t like it. It doesn’t feel like a diet, it feels like punishment. On a calorie-controlled diet (1500kCal/day) I do feel hungry, but the hunger feels virtuous. It doesn’t make me miserable. We’ll see how it goes, but a week from now it may be time to switch.

2 Replies to “Atkins after the first week”

  1. Dear Martin and Abi

    I’m terribly sorry to read about your misfortune. I once tried the Mayo Clinic diet, and it lasted a whole morning before I got fed up and ordered a sandwich.

    The problem with most of these diets is that they fail to take account of the relationship with food an individual has, which (metabolic quirks aside) is always more responsible for the weight problem than the food itself. It figures that if you’re inclined towards pre-cooked convenience food with high fat and sugar content, you’ll probably pile on the pounds eventually. But if you’re cooking from varied fresh ingredients, sticking to a healthy, balanced and regular regime, avoiding snacks between meals and not binging, in the long run, you’ll probably stay fairly thin. I’m no nutritionalist, but nobody I know who enjoys cooking and eats sensibly has a weight problem, unless there’s some thyroid problem in the picture.

    So how do you deal with that spare tyre you didn’t have when you were twenty? In parallel with a spot of exercise, preferably before breakfast, may I suggest Nigel Slater’s Food-watching diet? It’s scientifically formulated for those of us who actually like eating, and also opens up some cool weblogging possibilities. Anything else is fad fodder for masochists and anorexics.

    good luck with the weight loss 😉


  2. Actually, Abi is having a much better time of it than I am. The absence of bread and rice doesn’t bother her. So when I switch to low-calorie next week, we’ll probably still be able to cook a single meal for all of us, but we’ll just have to eat different parts of it. 🙂

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