Falling off the Atkins wagon

I weighed in at 74.5kg this morning, 2.5kg (about 5lb) down from my starting point last Monday. Instead of feeling delighted at losing so much weight in such a short time, I felt miserable. The last couple of days have been awful.

I have had no energy, no appetite, no joy. My concentration is shot to hell. Food that I would normally savour, like mature cheese, bacon, or roast beef, has tasted dry and dead in my mouth. The very thought of having to eat something has made me nauseous. Despite drinking litres of water, my mouth and tongue have felt dry and thick, to the point where I have been having trouble speaking.

On the positive side, I tried on my kilt again after weighing myself, and found that it fit comfortably again, albeit with the buckles at their loosest notches.

So today I was struggling with the question: what was really my goal with this quick diet? To fit into my kilt in time for the wedding on Saturday, or to lose as much weight as possible in time for the wedding? That is to say, should I carry on with the low-carb torture for another three or four days, or should I consider my mission accomplished?

The course of the day decided it for me. I couldn’t face having any breakfast at all, and at lunch all I managed to eat was a small packet of pecan nuts. By late afternoon I knew I couldn’t face another three days of this. It’s over.

Earlier today, Abi and I did a bit of calculating to see how much the various bits and pieces of my soul weigh:

Order of departure Item Mass
1st Joie de vivre 200 g
2nd Good humour 1,800 g
3rd Appetite 500 g

Dinner this evening was chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas, and baked beans, my favourite food. My mood picked up even as I was cooking it, and actually sitting down and shoveling mashed potato into my mouth was…glorious. By the end of the meal I felt giddy from the carb rush.

If I ever talk about doing a low carb diet again, will someone please stop me? Yes, it’s effective, but it’s not worth it. Having been through Atkins once before, I knew it was going to sap my will to live. I had thought that foreknowledge and a fixed end date would make the diet easier to bear, but they didn’t.

Curiously, this time round I didn’t have the same monster bread cravings I had last year. I didn’t even mind the absence of chocolate. Instead, I found myself lusting after bananas, marmalade, muesli, and the simple pleasure of a glass of cold milk. Not that I wouldn’t have killed for a slice of toast…but I might have been gentle about it.

5 Replies to “Falling off the Atkins wagon”

  1. I sympathise, since impending failure to fit into my kilt was one of the main reasons I decided I had to do something about my increasing girth. But crash diets don’t work. Here’s what did:

    Eat less and exercise.

    Specifically, don’t snack, except fruit. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, slightly smaller portions than normal – don’t overdo it. Buy a rowing machine (www.concept2.co.uk). If you don’t like it, send it back within a month and get your money back. Get a heart rate monitor. Stick to the basic conditioning program – pretty soon you’ll do 30 minutes solid rowing, which isn’t too shabby.

    You *will* lose fat. I won’t guarantee you’ll lose weight, but you may find that it’s better distributed!

  2. Dave–yup. Eating less and/or exercising more is the only way to do it. Diets are really just mental judo to get your mind off of stuffing yourself on the food you really want to eat.

    Right now I have to face the fact that I live a pretty sedentary lifestyle, and I like eating too much. Working in an office where it seems to be customary to go to Starbucks for lunch, and have a mid-afternoon coffee break with muffins doesn’t help.

    My short-term goal was just to fit back into my kilt. In the longer term, I’d like to get back down to the lower end of the 70-75kg bracket. But I’m not in any great hurry. I know I’m overweight, but I’m not unhappy about it. It’s only when I feel unhappy about my weight that I start to do something about it….

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