If you’re trying to lose weight, it helps to have a specific plan. I found this out the hard way. Over the past few months I’ve watched my weight creep up very slowly into my discomfort zone. I resolved to reverse the trend by “trying harder to eat healthy food” and to “walk more.”
Seasoned dieters will point out that these vague resolutions were destined to fail, and unfortunately that’s what’s happened. However, my scale has galvanized me into action and I have prepared a very specific plan of attack. I’m going to walk 10,000 steps per day (based on my pedometer) and I’m going to follow the Atkins Diet.
Some of you may gasp, “But Dr. Val, surely you know that the Atkins Diet isn’t healthy!” Yes, that’s what I thought initially too. However, a quick review of the new Atkins Diet site suggests that it may not be as bad as we make it out to be. The old “all you can eat bacon and cheese” approach is not really what Atkins is about. Instead, it’s a staged approach to cutting down on the refined carbohydrates in our diets. The first stage (which only lasts 2 weeks) is quite strict (only 20 grams of carbs/day) but after that you can begin adding back some of the complex carbs that are important to a balanced diet. Spinach has almost no carbs – so I’m going to give Popeye a run for his money this week!
Here’s what I like about the Atkins Diet: 1) it’s really easy to follow 2) you never have to feel hungry 3) I’m an omnivore, so lean meats are enjoyable to me 4) it addresses my personal dietary issue head on: carb addiction.
What I don’t like so much is this: 1) protein can be quite expensive, so expect your grocery bill to increase on this diet 2) you must not cheat, especially in the induction phase – it will throw off the whole process 3) no more cereal or Nutella - ack!
The Atkins Diet is not for everyone - those who have a history of gout, kidney stones, osteoporosis, or kidney problems may not be good candidates as a high protein diet can trigger gouty and kidney stone attacks and can worsen osteoporosis. Also, vegetarians might find it difficult to get enough protein from carb-less sources. And finally, red meat consumption is associated with colon cancer, so if you’re planning to stay on the Atkins diet for long periods of time, try to limit the red meat intake.
However, research has shown that a very low carb diet is an effective approach to weight-loss (perhaps even more effective than other diets) and has a favorable impact on blood cholesterol, insulin, and glucose levels.
Wish me luck on my new journey – and feel free to join me in my online weight loss group so that we can do this together.
This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at RevolutionHealth.com.