Are any of you on one of those low-carb diets? How’s that workin’ out for you? Historically I’ve been a scoffer of Dr. Atkins and his many imitators, but this article has made me rethink. It doesn’t argue that Atkins is necessarily right, but rather that the “low-fat” solution we’ve been indoctrinated with for the last 25 years isn’t scientifically proven either. The Snook and I are now seriously considering giving carbs the boot. We’re both moderately active (he walks a lot and I’ve been running more and more), and we eat a lot better here than we did in England (fresh veg, less takeout, etc.). But we don’t *feel* any healthier. I know my own weight loss has stalled. Perhaps this might be a viable alternative for us. My biggest concern is just what to eat. I mean, take away the pasta and potatoes and bread and what’s left? So again I ask, have you ever tried anything like this? What does a low-carb daily menu look like?

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  1. Lots of meat, eggs, and full-fat salad dressing. It sounds good, and it is for a few days, but when I did it, I got tired of it all really quickly. You’d be amazed at how many things suddenly become off-limits when you go low-carb.

    That said, I *did* lose weight on it (especially in my stomach), and that article is pretty damn convincing, isn’t it? Now I just try to avoid as many carbs as possible (mainly sugar), but I don’t think I could ever cut them out completely. Just my 2 cents…

  2. 2 more cents

    I’ve never tried Atkins; it seems too extreme, but ever since I read the Zone I’ve been trying to eat less carbs. I almost never have pasta or bagels any more, and I used to live on them. And I try to avoid sugar as much as possible; now that I’m more conscious of it I’ve realized it makes me feel horrible.

    I think a good low carb menu includes lots of vegetables (steamed, raw, salads, stir-fried, roasted), some fruit, a few nuts, some whole grains (like oatmeal or brown rice), yoghurt, cheese, and fish, chicken, or tofu.

    I have a theory that to effectively diet, it’s about eating more (healthy stuff) and not about eating less. There’s not much room for junk food after 5 servings of veggies, 2-3 of fruit, 2-3 of milk/soy, 1-2 of protein, etc..

    All this said, I rarely practice what I preach, and eat more chips than tofu, but when I do eat the way I think I should, I always feel better. The sugar thing is a great start.

    I’m serious about starting my diet tomorrow; maybe I’ll start posting recipes or something…

  3. 2 cents and 2 cents and 2 cents …..

    I’ve tried it. Notice, I said TRIED. Once I took out all of the carb-y things, I realized something: I eat a lot of carbs. The pasta (mmm), the bread (MMMMMM), the rice……My main problem is that I hate veggies. I can stand potatoes, bell peppers, onions and mushrooms…..But that’s it. But I HAVE cut red meat out. And I’ve lost a pound or two because of it.

    So, if you take in account the lack of red meat, fish (ewwww), pasta, breads, and rice…. that leaves me with shrimp, peppers, onions, mushrooms, AND THAT’S IT. Do you know how many ways there are to eat shrimp? Not many!! So if anyone COULD post some recipes for we picky folk, it’d be much appreciated.

  4. Howie, you remember what a fan I was of Atkins. And when I say “fan”, I mean someone who hated it (but did it, because it worked). I am a constant exerciser with a small addiction to ice cream and carbs, and yes, the diet is really hard, but there are ways to make it healthier – lean meats, egg ehites, etc. It is crazy, America loves carbs (as do others, I’m sure, but we are SUPER ADDICTED!) but it does work – especially if you just want a quick boost. I wouldn’t recommend it for super long, but it is a good jump start if you have been struggling. I was going to restart tomorrow, actually, after gaining a little weight on fuel-me-up drinks and whatnot for that walk. So, I’ll let you know how it goes, if you want- maybe I’ll have a little Atkins – tracker on my log for a few weeks. A guinea pig, per se.

  5. TD – thanks. I checked out an Atkins book today at the library and I’ve been reading through it. One problem I have with these schemes is that they seem to reduce food to just this idea of putting fuel in your body. Unfortunately I enjoy food WAY too much for that. The Snook and I love going out for rich meals and drinking good wine. I honestly don’t think we could go for very long without pasta, rice, or bread. All these low-carb websites urge that it’s not a diet, it’s a way of life. Well then, if the choice is between never eating bruschetta again and staying chubby, chubby I shall be. We’ve been talking about it though, and I think if we do decide to make a change, we’re going to aim for a *reduction* rather than Atkin’s whole “induction/20 gram” plan. There’s no way we can stick to that. I’ve decided that the first step is to rid our kitchen of all the forbidden foods. Thus I’m going on a total carb bender this week. 🙂

    (P.S. Did you ever get that Pilates tape I sent you?)

  6. NO! NO PILATES TAPE! AWWWWWW! I am in Ohio now (you know that, right?) and our mail is f-ed. Supposedly, it is coming in a big heap this week. AWWWwwwwwWWWWW! Oh my god, I’ll act like I didn’t hear that. YOU ARE AWESOME!

  7. Oh yeah, p.s. – about the actual post – I think something that is misleading about his books is how he seems to say that you have to stick to that 20 grams deal the whole time. That’s just for two weeks, then you can bust it up – according to how your body reacts to carbs. Like, I was only “safe” at 35 or so, but I’ve known people that could do around 50 or 60 a day, leaving you a couple of breads, a coke, etc. Let me know how it goes. I’m doing it today, so I’ll keep you posted. Oh – but one thing – drink coffee, or have an emergency sugar packet on hand for next week. I practically guarantee a headache the first day or so. Also, don’t beat yourself up if it blows – many a strong person has run screaming from this diet.

  8. my TEN cents (i read and think so much about this shit, i’m exploding with information): atkins is kinda a nazi, and nobody – NOBODY – should have to give up pasta for the rest of their life. i’ve read a little on him, kris, but reviews i’ve read seem to indicate he’s full of honky. not all carbs are bad for you! complex carbs = good. whole wheat pasta. brown rice. etc. carbs are energy to burn – remember how they tell you to eat pasta the night before a tennis tourney or long-endurance activity like that? you need SOME carbs. plus, telling anybody to eat as much “protein-rich” red meat and eggs and fatty dressing is insane – eventually, you won’t have to worry about your weight anymore, cause you’ll have a heart attack and die! i read that while it is true that the majority of people lose weight on protein-rich, low-carb diets, most of that lost weight is water and it’s difficult to keep the pounds off (since the diet is so difficult to maintain). here’s my quote of the day: you need an active “lifestyle” and a healthy “diet,” not to be “dieting” for the rest of your LIFE.

    BUT – you are totally on the right track, i think. all low-fat or fat-free stuff IS a lot of honky, because they put more sugar in to make up for the loss of yummy fat. so in the end, aiming for a low-calorie, lowER-carb diet is the way to go. watching saturated fat is more important than eating no fat at all (so you don’t have to scream when you read that a tablespoon of olive oil has like, 32g of fat – hardly any is saturated. same with nuts.) and avoiding red meat is always good.

    anyway [i’ll shut up soon] i think you might need to step up your weight-lifting (building muscle burns fat) or get some variety going in your workouts. if you’ve stalled and no weight’s coming off, it means something’s gotta change a little. maybe try the food diary, too, like i recommended. the issue might not even lie within your workout – you may just need a little more awareness about what exactly you’re eating each day.

    go for the WW thing. i wish i had A) the time and B) the money to do something like that. you will NOT be the fattest person there, and besides…the biggest person there will probably be the most courageous and deserves a lot of respect. you are beautiful and a trivia whiz and pretty damn funny (even though you have dreams in which i’m a bigger psycho than in real life) – so even if you blow off everything i suggest, it’s fine with me as long as you’re happy and you find something that works for you. (and if you do find something that works, let me know so i can try it!)

  9. Thanks for everybody’s advice (and my sister’s compliments!). I’m still confused and all up in the air about this. There was a big slashdot discussion on the article today that didn’t help at all. I thought I’d be positive, though, so I went to the grocery store tonight expecting to get lots of lovely and yummy protein rich foods with which to make our dinner. Instead I just wandered around entirely frustrated by the lack of ANYTHING low-carb. Even the sausages all had “cereals” listed as an ingredient. So I just bought some meat and a bunch of green veg. I was feeling pretty flummoxed, so I headed to the bookstore and bought “The Zone” (which is low-carb like Atkin’s, but not so hard-core). It appealed to the Snook’s scientific nature so he and I happily set about figuring out our body fat percentages and stuff. (Apparently most women’s percentage is around a third. Mine? More towards HALF. Yikes. Lydia voice: “Lord, I can scarce draw breath I’m so fat!”) So we did all that, and then figured out how many “blocks” we got to eat, and then eventually worked our way into planning tonight’s dinner. That’s when everything got insane. We were supposed to eat three “blocks” of carbs each. Do you know what counts for a block in “The Zone”? An entire head of lettuce. Three cups of bok choy. Twelve spears of asparagus. Like, that’s TONS of vegetables! Snookums didn’t think he could eat one “block”, let alone three. So we chucked it. We’ve decided to just try cutting out carbs whenever we can, and eating lots more fresh veg and less junk food. I guess we’ll see how that goes.

  10. Awww…Aim that was beautiful. I think its time for a group hug.

  11. the only way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more.

    and what amy said. best of luck to you, girl!

  12. not necessarily eat less, just eat better.

  13. That’s what I thought too, B, but I’m what I’ve been reading is changing my mind. Yeah, exercise is still important, but there’s more to it than simply calories. Human beings now eat all this crap that their system was never evolutionarily optimised for. Look at the rise of instances of Type II diabetes. I’m seriously starting to think malnutrition (as in, eating the wrong things) is more important than how much of the good things you eat. Anyway, I guess I’m starring in my own little experiment here. My own weight loss had stalled using traditional methods (okay, I wasn’t totally strict about it, but I was as strict as I’m ever gonna be), so we’ll see if this makes any change. I’m on Day Two!

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