Atkins = Wow!


Well, in case you hadn’t realized, I stopped posting.  I’m sure you know the reason… yeah, I fell of the wagon.  Again.  It all started innocently enough… a flirtation with a cookie.  A lunch date with a pizza.  Then it was a late night fling with a chocolate bar. 

You know the story, I’m sure.

So time went by.  My blood sugars were out of control.  My last HbA1c was 10.something too high, which is, in case you’re unaware, WAY too high.  If the toes on my right foot met with some type of calamity, they are unable to tell me due to nerve damage.

I spent May and part of June in California with my Mom, and my son flew down solo to join us for the last few weeks of June.  We had a blast!  The Kid and I took an overnight to San Francisco, rode the BART train for a few hours, one end to the other, and had fun at Pier 39. 

When I went down in May, Joe (the hubby) and The Kid started Atkins.  Now, we’d talked about Atkins a few times over the years, always shaking our heads at how people could do that diet, without veggies or fruits or bread or grains.  Yes, we were misinformed, but that seems to be the norm with this program.  Joe is a researcher at heart, so he bought the books, researched exhaustively to ensure the program is compatible with diabetes and to come up with foods that are interesting and fun.  He knows my love of fruits and carbs, and he knows this would be potentially horrible for me, but the reasoning is that weight is easy to drop quickly with this program and if we can get down to a modest goal weight, we can transition to Weight Watchers or some other maintenance program and use Atkins as a means to an that end.

Joe found that Atkins is great for diabetics as it eliminates the carbs that tend to raise the blood sugar.  My doctor said it is not good for diabetics as it can tax the already vulnerable kidneys.  So, massive water intake is a must to keep the kidney’s flushed.  She gave me her very tentative blessing as long as the animal fats are kept to a minimum, meaning stick to fish, chicken, and pork as much as possible.

The first several weeks they were on the program, Joe and The Kid cleaned out the freezer and pantries.  There was much to throw away and a huge amount was donated to the church food drive at my son’s school.  This way, there is nothing available to feed cravings in moments of weakness.  We have never done this before, so it was a radical step to throw away or give away that much food.

Joe has done great.  He has lost 55 pounds in 2 months (yeah, we have that and so much more to lose).  He is the type of person who can just shut off the craving center of his brain.  He has no cravings.  None.  He’s never been a craver of sweets or carbs.  Pizza, yes.  Burgers, yes.  The occasional steak, yes.  He has had to buy new pants and new belts, and he looks terrific!

The Kid’s goals with this program are different than ours.  Joe and I are in it for weight loss.  Period.  The Kid, while over the 99th percentile for his weight, is not grossly or morbidly obese.  He has 30 pounds or so to lose to get to the 50th percentile for his age and height.  He has a belly, which he never had until he turned 7.  For The Kid, the goal is to just slowly lose, ride the bike for a half-hour a day, and over a longer period of time, his weight will meet his height as he continues to grow.  Or, more simply, stop the weight gain until he gains height to make up the difference.

The Kid has done pretty good, though his cravings are massive, just like mine.  His “cravings toddler” is nearly as spoiled as mine, and while I have a little self-control that comes with adulthood, he does not.  However, we just had his annual checkup yesterday and he’s at the 96th percentile in his weight, so we are meeting his goal.  He is looking good.  His belly is slowly shrinking and we’ll be able to more easily find pants to fit him for school this year, which is a plus.

When The Kid joined me in California, we carbed out, knowing that when we got home, it would end for me and again for him.  We got home on a Sunday and Joe got us a pizza from our favorite place, which was really nice.  He got wings so to avoid the carb-filled pizza crust.

Then on Monday, it began.  And wow… shock to the system is a mild way to put it.

I love fruit.  I may not always have it, but I usually pick up at least 2 kinds of fruit at the store all the time.  Grapes and bananas usually and strawberries and cherries when in season.  I like the easy-to-grab-and-go fruits, but I also love oranges and watermelon.  So having a “diet” that has NO FRUITS in the first phase is very hard on me.

The first misunderstanding with Atkins is that you get no carbs.  Not true.  In the first phase, which is usually for 2 weeks, you are allowed 20 carbs.  So… I read labels more now.  You subtract sugar alcohol listed from the total carbs and that’s the net carbs.  There are carbs hiding in most every food. 

There are some foods I can have a lot of and not worry.  Celery, for example.  But carrots are not allowed in phase 1.  I can have all the lettuce and spinach I want, so big salads are my usual lunch.  I spend most of my carbs on the veggies that have limits and on cheese, salad dressing, and the Atkins foods.

For breakfast, I have a 1-egg scrambled or omlet with onions, spinach, bacon (the precooked pieces from Costco), peppers and cheese.  Every other day, I have an Atkins shake instead.  I may have coffee but I have to use real cream as the powder creamer that I love has too many carbs for the amount I usually use.   Breakfast is a hard meal for me because I’m so used to toast or bagels or some other carb.  Even on other diets, I would have cottage cheese and fruit with granola, all of which is off limits right now.

For lunch, I try to have a big salad with onions, peppers, a little bit of cheese, some type of meat (I have canned salmon or I use ham or whatever might be in the fridge).  I miss having crackers with my salad, but that’s not as hard.  I also might have leftovers from dinner the night before.  On weekends, Joe makes a tasty lunch, like Costco hotdogs split with cheese.  And we eat a lot of broccoli.

Dinner is the wild card.  Joe makes many very tasty meat-based dishes.  To replace our beloved pizza, he found a recipe for a “meatza.”  It is a ground beef  “crust” that is prebaked then topped like a regular pizza, with a small amount of sauce (counted toward the carbs) and TONS of veggies topped with mozzarella cheese.  A small slice of this creation is very filling and REALLY tasty.  We got some very tasty chicken burger patties at Costco and they are wonderful on their own or topped with cheese.

With the meat main dish, we usually have a salad or steamed broccoli.  Joe does a browned butter and mizithra cheese broccoli that is out of this world.  We have sausages (chicken or pork) and shrimp/lagostino with broccoli.  We have an older recipe for a cauliflower casserole that has pasta, but add chicken and delete the pasta and it’s just as good.

For snacks (we eat every 2 hours or so), I have celery with Laughing Cow cheese or homemade beef jerky or a handful of grape tomatoes (to equal 2 medium tomatoes) or a cheese stick or a few mini pickles or 6 large olives.  For the evening, we have some tasty Atkins bars.  I almost feel like I’m cheating if I have one of those because they DO taste like candy bars!

So… how am I doing on this program so far?  I started the 1st of July or thereabouts.  And as of Monday, August 1, I’ve lost 15 pounds.  Nowhere near the success of my husband, but there are reasons that it’s harder for me.  Of course, I’m a woman and it is and always will be harder for a woman to lose weight.  I’m on insulin, which is fat-binding and that makes it harder to lose weight.  I’m also much more sedentary than Joe.

I have cravings that are incredibly hard to ignore at times.  This is sometimes hard for Joe to understand because he literally has none.  I just had “that time” which triggers tremendous cravings for chocolate.  The Atkins bars filled that craving nicely.  I have had massive cravings for fruit, especially watermelon (it IS summer, afterall).

We haven’t added exercise yet.  Joe wanted to get under his initial goal before adding exercise so he wouldn’t have a heart attack, which I appreciate.  And me, well, I’m just lazy.  The Kid has been exercising on the bike, so that’s good.  🙂

Anyway, that’s the update.  I’ve been on this longer than my last attempt, so that’s something.  I’m just now finishing my Dark Chocolate Royale Shake.  Yum.

345/330/250 (start/current/initial goal)  Will change to final goal when I hit the initial goal.  🙂

Day 10 – Hanging in there…


I gave into a craving yesterday morning.  My stubborn toddler appetite wanted fast food for breakfast and I’d denied her for a few days.  See?  I was a responsible parent to my appetite a few days and she wore me down.  (Here comes the justification… wait for it…)

BUT… I got a breakfast burrito at Burger King rather than the much higher fat croissant sandwich.  It still has eggs, cheese, and sausage, but in a single, regular-size tortilla.  And when I got home, I had some fruit with it and coffee.  The rest of the day went fine as planned.   Today, my appetite didn’t make any such demands having been sated with yesterdays slip.  Usually, just one bad choice would have permanently derailed me, leading me to a fast food lunch and possibly pizza for dinner and then the next day, why bother.  But I did it.  I gave in a little and was then successful.

I’m tired these days.  The world is wearing me down, and that makes me want to gorge on my comfort foods… macaroni and cheese, cookies, chocolate, crackers.  I’m sensing a pattern here.  So I’m a stress eater.  I feel stressed and out of control because there are so many things going on in life (not directly… the family is fine) that I cannot control by even a tiny bit.  Yeah, I can write letters, get involved, carry a sign, wear a banner, vote… but honestly, I don’t see that it makes a bit of difference in how things will turn out.  That makes me very frustrated and, well, angry.

So I guess I’m an angry, stressed eater.

I slept a lot last weekend.  It’s just easier sometimes to pull up the covers and sleep.  I have my handy, dandy MP3 with some wonderful Tingstad and Rumbel on it, so it’s soothing and comforting, drifts me right off to sleep.  And sleep I did.  Joe let me, for a change.  I guess if we can’t go out for breakfast, there’s no reason to get me up early.  Perhaps I’m a tad depressed.  The antidepressants can only take care of so much.

Okay… I’m an angry, stressed, depressed eater.  There’s another pattern!

At least Joe has been happy lately.  Not because of the world of course, but because we’re actually sticking the plan.  He and Bren are doing the bike more often and have had more energy.  I’m getting a handle on the the appetite brat.  And when JOE is happy, he cooks.  He bakes.  He creates.  And then I’M happy because we can EAT tasty treats!

All right… now we’re getting somewhere I think.  I’m an angry, stressed, depressed, happy eater.

Angry + Stressed + Depressed + Happy = EMOTIONAL EATER

When I’m on spectrum of emotion, I eat.  When I’m working, I’m usually just neutral (unless I have a job from this one doctor in particular… grr…) and I don’t really want to snack much.  Well, that, and anything I eat makes noise from inside and that makes it hard to hear what the doctors are saying.

But one news story… or one problem with Brendan and the school… or thinking about the world… or enjoying an evening with my family… all peaks and valleys give me the desire to consume.

Okay… okay… this is good stuff right here.  I don’t just feed the anger or the depression… I feed the EMOTION.

So that leaves me with a few choices here… I either need a lobotomy (do they even DO those anymore?).  Or I need a hobby.   Or I need to find some type of outlet to feed the emotions other than food.  Or I need to have a food available that is healthy to have occasionally to feed the emotion.

We’ve done some really good work here, people!  Take a break and we’ll re-convene sometime in the next few days to discuss our options.  🙂

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