A couple of weeks ago, I allowed myself to be convinced to try out the Atkins diet.
I’m forty-one years old and carrying twenty or so more pounds than I’d like to be, which would still put me above the supposed ideal weight for my height. I don’t know what the real ideal weight might be as I do have some decent muscle mass under the extra flab and I’m a little broader across the shoulders than the mythical “average”, but I digress. I’ve been thinking about dropping some weight for a long time, and thought maybe it would start me in the right direction.
The basic principle, and I’m seriously simplifying, is convincing your body to burn its own reserves of fat by cutting out carbohydrates. You’ll add them back in later, but they’ll be whole grains at that point and only natural sugars. Fewer of both.
Doesn’t sound too difficult, does it?
Yeah, well. I spent five days hungry. Too much protein is hard on your body, or at least it was on mine, and I couldn’t take in enough food to quell my stomach. Now, that’s not supposed to happen, or at least not for very long, but it never got better for me. Five days doesn’t seem like a long time, but it sure felt like it. I probably would have adjusted eventually, but there was another factor: toast.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had toast for breakfast every morning I could find a bread-like substance in the house. Not giving up toast for a diet, sorry. If that seems silly, you try not eating one of your favourite foods ever again. Not so silly now.
But I’d still like to drop a few pounds. The secret to weight control, doctors will apparently tell you, is to burn more calories than you consume. Makes sense. So you can consume less or burn more. A better idea is to do a little of both.
I’m fairly active. My job has me up and moving around for most of my workday. Trying to learn how to run again has resulted in a couple of injuries from pushing myself harder than I should, so easing back on that might be a good idea, but I’m not ready to quite yet. I also practice karate and do plenty of things with the kids. Overall, my activity level is pretty good for the most part, and upping it a little will certainly help.
Next, no more junk food. Not that I eat much, but I have a weakness for cookies, chocolate, and chocolate chip cookies. Wean myself off of that for the most part and maybe cut back the portion size a little bit on regular food, and we can come up with a calorie deficit. I don’t want to lose the weight really quickly; that’s not all that good for your system and my body probably isn’t as elastic as it was in my 20s.
A stupid amount of tracking and analysis later, I’m after a 2000-calorie day, net, i.e. food – exercise = 2000 calories. I can still eat whatever I want, just a little less of it, and I have to make a ritual of logging what I’m eating and doing. There’s an app for that. Actually, there are a whole lot of apps for that. Pick the one you like best.
The result so far? Not two weeks and a day in and I’m three pounds under the low end of what I consider my normal weight range for the last year or so. It’s a start, and I’m pretty pleased with the early results. I’ll let you know if I hit my target.