If you like this article, you can also read my article 101 thoughts on losing 100 pounds.
In 2000, I weighed approximately 315 pounds. By 2006 I weighed 200, although this year I’m back up to 220 (baby fat – nothing like having a baby to ruin a diet/exercise plan)! But I have lost 100 pounds off of my maximum weight and kept it off. I wouldn’t say it was easy to do, but the rules to do it were very, very simple. There were three categories, and I’ll cover the first, diet, in this post. The other categories were exercise and overall discipline.
I think the problem most people have with Atkins is (a) your food selection becomes fairly limited and (b) they don’t follow his instructions. I lived that book’s instructions like they were gospel. Read the book and follow its instructions first, but I have a few tips in addition.
1. Eat lots of fish and chicken. You can do a lot of different things with fish and chicken in terms of preparation and spices. Turkey, beef and pork are a little trickier to work with. I love turkey so I didn’t mind eating it a lot, but I largely avoided beef and pork.
2. Keep lots of cheese for snacking. I like salty foods, so my biggest snack issue was dropping the Doritos. Cheese works much better as a snack food than meats or veggies.
3. Don’t ever touch bread or pasta. After I had been on low-carb for a while, “low-carb bread” and “low-carb pasta” started coming out. I still avoided them. I think part of the low-carb lifestyle is just that, a lifestyle. Reintroducing breads and pasta just puts you back in the mindset that they are legitimate food choices. They aren’t, ever, when you’re trying to do Atkins.
4. Drink a lot of liquids and if it helps curb cravings diet soda is OK. Atkins says you shouldn’t drink diet sodas – it enflames your sweet tooth and splenda/aspartame have unknown effects on the body’s chemistry. However, I still drank diet Coke when I was on Atkins and it helped with any cravings I had for sweets, so I think it’s a good substitute. I did introduce my 8 X 8 habit: 8 ounce cups of water 8 times per day. I was never a big water drinker prior to going on Atkins, but trust me – if you drink enough water, you will be full at least for a while.
6. Don’t be embarrassed! I was a fervent evangelical for Atkins. Some people thought it was funny that a man was dieting, but I viewed it as something I could be proud of, particularly after I lost 100 pounds. Dieting shows willpower and determination. Fatness is a by-product of lack of will. I know, I know, some people have biological predispositions to obesity, yada yada. I am sure that’s the case, but 99% of us are just lazy.
7. Learn to cook. To survive I had to learn to cook. You can’t go on Atkins and eat hamburgers and cheese for two years. I became a bit of a gourmand during this time, whipping up all sorts of fancy fish dishes, chicken-and-veggie mixes and a lot of ‘modified’ dishes. You would be surprised how many good recipes can easily be altered by substituting diced cauliflower for rice, or shredded peppers in place of pasta.
Try following these steps in addition to the book. Exercise and mental discipline are also important steps which I will cover in future parts of this series.