i’m hungry

i’m sitting here at work, and i’m hungry. I had my breakfast at home (3 eggs, scrambled) as per usual, but didn’t bring me some atkins bars for the hungries that attack me around 10:30 or 11. as i sit here, being hungry, i think back to a rather heated discussion my wife and i had last night on the subject of diet.

her stance (at least what i am able to hear of her stance-we all have filters when it comes to close loved ones) is that Atkins is too high fat to be a healthy diet. Now, i’m boiling it down to that because it’s easier to discuss and think about when it’s simple.

at the core, the atkins approach is about cutting out sugar and other “empty” carbs. It’s about choosing the carbs you DO eat, from healthy, un processed sources. There are actually four levels to the process; the first one is what everyone thinks of: “induction.” Induction is a two week process by which you drop your carb intake to 20 grams a day. You get those 20 grams from lettuce and other specific veggies. After the induction phase, there’s “ongoing weight loss,” which is where I’m at now. You still count carbs, but you add an extra 5 grams to your daily allotment each week that you continue to lose weight. When your weight loss stalls, you drop back to the previous level of 5 gram increments, and stay there till you reach your final 5 – 10 pounds of loss needed. Then you go on to pre maintenance, then lifetime maintenance, which I don’t know enough about since I haven’t gotten there, yet.

What’s freaking summer out, I think, is the use of higher fat food items in my eating. There are red meats, full fat cheeses, butter (ahh, delicious real butter), and full fat cream and sour cream. There are also plenty of what most people call “good fats,” like olive oils and nuts and such.

The Atkins approach is to eat enough of the dietary fat to stay satisfied and full. In addition, the low and controlled carb eating allows these fats to not stay in your system. He says to stay away from trans fats, as well. There are studies in the book that he references that show that cholesterol (both good and bad) drops as a result of eating this way. As do the triglycerides. I have yet to go back for a blood draw (i’m waiting a bit to make sure there’s movement), but I expect to see similar results.

Add to that running 2 – 3 miles a day, 5 days a week, plus some basic weight lifting, and I think i’m healthier now than I ever was.

Summer sees me eating more saturated fats than she thinks is healthy. Now, I don’t grab a big greasy cheeseburger every day of the week. I eat more pork, turkey and chicken along with the beef, and I eat less bacon and nitrate cured meats than I ever have. I’d venture to guess that my total saturated fat intake is less than it was when I wasn’t paying attention, and was still eating sugar and crap carbs (crarbs?) and being a fat pig. I definitely eat more veggies than I was, and more often. Once I’m able to add back in low-glycemic fruits, and eat whole grain, high fiber breads and such (in the last two phases of the atkins approach), I’m thinking i’m golden.

I appreciate summer’s concern for my health, i truly do. i wonder–if the diet weren’t named after one guy, would she still be as worried? it can seem like a “cult of personality” thing, but there are many people who call Dean Ornish bad names, too. there are many people who “do atkins” that do it wrong. there are many people who “diet” who do it wrong. they all gain weight back when they start eating unhealthily after they lose some weight. what i like about this atkins approach is that it seems like I can eat this way for the rest of my life. in addition, there’s a big chapter in the book about diabetes and how this approach helps keep it at bay.

Time will tell, and I’m all for reading new studies that actually show that eating a high protien, higher fat diet is worse than a high protein, low fat diet. I haven’t seen that study, yet. All the ones i’ve seen only compare high protein to high carb eating styles, and the low carb eating routines seem to do best.

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