Atkins; Phase One - Induction
I have been on a diet for the past two weeks. It came to a point where I was just feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. And I can’t even say its baby weight because I put it on after I gave birth. I made the mistake of eating like I was still breastfeeding except I wasn’t. So all those naughty calories just stuck and BAM! Suddenly I had put on 7kgs! I was 3kgs from my baby weight when Her Madesty was 3 months old. How could I have let this happen? Instead of losing 3kgs, now I have to lose 10kgs! Sob! So, it was time for drastic measures. No, I couldn’t “just cut down on the food'. If I could just control my eating habits, I wouldn’t have found myself in this predicament in the first place.
I did a little shopping around on the net for diets. There are so many out there but the two that shows consistent results have got to be Atkins and Dukan. My friend is on the Dukan diet and she swears by it. Its quite similar to the Atkins philosophy but I think it is less severe in terms of its variety but its also less tasty as it doesn’t allow for any oil or fats. So with that in mind, I embarked on the first phase of Atkins; Phase One - Induction. A grueling 2 weeks of protein and total net carbs of 20g. I soon discovered how little 20g of carbs are! Anything vaguely fun and tasty naturally has more carbs. I can eat cups and cups of lettuce and that would be fine. But ¼ cup of pumpkin and I’ve already used up ¼ my daily net carb. Do you know how little ¼ cup of pumpkin is? Its tear-jerkingly little! I also look back and think that I must've had 1000g of carbs a day previously.
I needed to do this diet because I really had to break my bad habit of snacking. Its pretty bad as I'm so use to eating a little here and a little there. I can't blame it all on work either. So since I can’t have sugar and carbs anymore so why bother snacking right? The first three days I really missed my sugary snacks and resorted to snacking on beetroot. Beetroot! Is this what you skinny ass people do? Snack on beetroot? Its so sad.
Atkins definitely gives you results but its not without controversy. After all, eating so much meat and practically zero carbs can’t be good for you. I read about Atkins being bad for your kidneys and cholesterol. So I decided to test it for myself. I did a blood test 4 days into my diet. My cholesterol, as expected, was over the healthy limit. I was relieved to find that it was only my LDL (bad cholesterol) that was elevated. My HDL (good cholesterol) was well within the norm as was my Triglyceride levels. My kidney and liver function were good. And the only thing that showed the symptoms of Atkins was found in my urine sample. Ketones. (Lifted from Wiki - Ketones are metabolic end-products of fatty acid metabolism. In healthy individuals, ketones are formed in the liver and are completely metabolized so that only negligible amounts appear in the urine. However, when carbohydrates are unavailable or unable to be used as an energy source, fat becomes the predominant body fuel instead of carbohydrates and excessive amounts of ketones are formed as a metabolic byproduct. Higher levels of ketones in the urine indicate that the body is using fat as the major source of energy.) So the good news was, my body was beginning to burn fat but the bad news was, I was dehydrated. I swear I drink close to 4 litres of water a day but I’m constantly parched.
Homemade fishballs with chicken broth, choy sum and spicy chili sauce.
There is a misconception that you can have as much fat and protein as you like. They encourage a sensible amount of good fats and only about 170-220g of protein each meal. So while technically I can eat a whole turkey for lunch, its probably not a good idea. I am conscious of what all this protein might be doing to my body so I try to eat mainly fish followed by chicken and hardly any beef and pork. Do I feel hungry? Honestly, no because protein really fills me up. The only thing is, I still really miss my sugar. I dream about having chocolate cake. Sigh. And the only sugar substitute allowed is Splenda. I bought a packet and it sucks!! I’ve never bothered with artificial sweeteners so maybe that’s why I think its gross. It sucks so bad that I don’t bother putting it in my coffee anymore. The taste is not even close to sugar and the taste stays in my mouth for hours. Gross. It’s amazing how everything taste so amazing once you start appreciating the simple things again. I had grilled salmon with fennel salad and it just tasted soooo good. The salmon tasted so sweet and the fennel really packed a punch in terms of flavour. I was totally satisfied because everything was just so tasty.
That’s the thing about Atkins. You really have to spend time planning your menu and buying good quality produce. And that’s why Atkins is a very expensive diet! I’ve more than doubled my weekly grocery budget. For me, if I was going to do this, I would do it right. I've followed the diet exactly. Which makes life a little harder but its so worth it. I can still go out to eat but at selected restaurants where I know I can have lean proteins. Japanese is always good. I just have sashimi and some teppanyaki. I know it would be easy to reach for the quick options like sausages and canned meats but I just don't want to go down that road. That would be like replacing one bad habit with another. Having said that, I did have a couple of sausages and chicken wings at a friend's barbecue over the weekend. See, its still a pretty sociable diet. Oh, but I guess it would be a big turn-off for drinkers as you can't have any alcohol at all during these two weeks.
Today is the last day of my two week induction on Atkins. I’ve lost 9lbs. That’s a little over 4kgs. (I switched my digital scale to lbs because its more fun seeing the pounds come off!). I’m almost halfway to my goal. I think it probably helps that I’m fitting in some form of exercise at least 3 times a week. I’m ready to move on to Phase 2 of Atkins: Ongoing Weight Loss. I get to introduce some fruit! Yay!