15 May 2008

Warning: Atkins Thoughts for the Day

Diet vs. way of eating. Big diff and its the diff between failure and success when it comes to controlling weight. A diet is something you do temporarily. You modify your eating habits for a time to help drop pounds. It's well known, though, that the yo-yo effect lands you heavier than ever when you stop your "diet."

Atkins is a way of eating, a mind-change about what you put into your mouth. The goal is to totally change how you eat and how you fuel your body. By eliminating the sugar swings, your whole system stabilizes.

And there are all kinds of weird side effects. For years, I've suffered from migraines. Tossing of cookies kind of headaches. Make the light PLEASE go bye-bye kind of headaches. Please don't whisper so loud kind of headaches. When they hit, I'm usually out for a day, sometimes more. But when I strictly follow Atkins, the headaches come quite seldom and almost are not noticeable. I am able to just pop an aspirin and go on. When I am foolish enough to leave this way of eating, they come back with a vengeance. Don't ask me why - I haven't a clue. Another side effect is a feeling of greater energy. When I'm eating this way, I don't get that "time to nap" feeling in the afternoon. I basically never nap with Atkins. I may sit in the chair and get very still to relax, but I find that the sleep at night is all I really need.

What's the pitfall to watch out for? Fooling yourself into allowing exceptions. You need to know your own cravings. Cin is attracted to the sweet stuff. M&Ms are sheer torture. To me, that's not a temptation at all. MY craving is for SALT. And I've learned that there is no such thing as "just one potato chip." If you take seriously the approach that you've changed your way of eating (that you're not on a diet), it gives enormous power to deal with the temptations. I kinda enjoy looking at the bag of chips and saying: "No way, Jose! You are just so NOT worth it." And then I'll treat myself to some cheese, some berries, or some other food that doesn't impact my blood sugar.

The end result? I follow the Atkins way of eating because I love how it makes me feel; I get a kick out of weighing at almost 48 what I weighed at 21; and even though the food I eat is tasty and wonderful, I find myself thinking about food a lot less. I'd encourage anyone to give it a whirl!


Christine said...

Pastor Weedon,

With all due respect it seems to me that people contemplating the Atkins way of eating should first get their doctor's OK. For folks who have a family history of colon cancer and osteoporosis the results could be disastrous. It has been well established that high protein diets cause a high concentration of uric acid in the system and that could be very bad for women, who cannot afford to have their calcium leached from their bones.

It is also worth noting that after Dr. Atkins’ death, his widow and his personal physician revealed that Dr. Atkins had indeed had coronary artery blockages, although they have maintained that these blockages had nothing to do with his death.

It sounds like it is working for you but I've gotten the same results on a high complex-carbohydrate, low fat and medium protein style of eating. My cholesterol and blood sugar levels are very healthy.

Just for what it's worth.

William Weedon said...


A person should definitely get their blood work done before beginning, and have it checked again after a couple months of this way of eating. Most people do great; but some do have their numbers go up in totally unacceptable ways. For those folks, I'd encourage finding another way of eating that would work for them.

About Dr. Atkins, he had heart damage due to an infection he suffered, I believe, that damaged the valves. It wasn't due to high cholesterol.

Susan said...

Another thought on diet...

Food allergies can sometimes cause health problems and might be worth looking into. I think migraines could be caused by allergies too?

Anyway, both my mom and sis started having health problems these last several years and they were finally tested for food allergies. Once they cut out the offending foods - especially gluten, their health improved and returned to normal.

William Weedon said...


I've wondered a bit about the food allergies too. And, with bread really side-lined in an Atkins way of eating, the amount of gluten drops significantly, of course.

Another fun thing about Atkins: you shop the periphery of the grocery store - the fresh veggies, the meats and cheeses and such. Where to avoid? THE MIDDLE AISLES. Evil lurks there! LOL!!!

wmc said...

Ditto on food allergies as the most likely cause of headaches, etc. Gluten can be a major offender. Simple carbs (corn syrup, sugar, etc) trigger an insulin rush leading to the afternoon sleepies.

The best advice I know is a) eat the perimeter of the grocery store (meat, dairy, fruits/vegetables, whole grains), b) eat intentionally (because you want to, not because it's there), c) eat in moderation, d) skip bread, pasta, etc at one meal each day, e) drink good wine, and f) once a week break every rule in the book to sass the false religion of dieting (see Robert Farar Capon - "Health, Money, and Love and Why We Don't Enjoy Them" Eerdmans, 1990)

Pr. Scott Klemsz said...

While we don't follow Atkins, we have followed a modified died that avoids processed foods, high fructose syrup, and some proteins. We notice a huge difference. My wife was also plagued with migraines. She eliminated caffeine and some processed foods and they got remarkable better. The doctors always want to prescribe drugs, we always try holistic first. Of course, my Call is to a parish Monterey County. When I was called to the seminary we were pretty odd, here we are pretty normal. LOL

Dixie said...

While theologically we may be at odds at times, I can surely give you a hearty "Amen" regarding the doctrine of Atkins. I went off for a whole week (Bright Week after Pascha) and I haven't recovered since. And I agree...it absolutely wasn't worth it! I should have limited my feasting to steak (why, oh why, did my husband discover making homemade potato chips using the meat slicer to make them nice and thin and crispy!!!). I need to do induction again to set things aright but I have been traveling and it isn't so easy to do that on the road.

It's dinner time here...better order that cheese plate from room service.

Susan said...

Hi wmc!

It's nice to see you back - I've missed you!

Christine said...

About Dr. Atkins, he had heart damage due to an infection he suffered, I believe, that damaged the valves. It wasn't due to high cholesterol.

Yes, that is the information promulgated by physicians connected with the Atkins corporate machine. However, the city medical examiner who attended Atkins let slip that, based on prior medical information, Atkins had suffered a heart attack, congestive heart failure and hypertension before his death. The Wall Street Journal had a lengthy article on this.

Atkins' family would not permit an autopsy.

Further sayeth I not.

Grasshopper said...

That's great that you've found something that works for you, Pr. Weedon.

I agree with your 4th paragraph...that's the attitude that really, REALLY gets me. Add gluttony to that...ugh. I'm of the sugar variety, also.

I hesitate to recommend Atkin's when I talk to people. I see Atkin's (and any other fad that makes your diet lopsided) as a risk to those who would not react well to it. Not everyone can have such a drastic drop in carbs and "survive". Also, a diet relatively high in protein (like Atkin's) can be hard on the kidneys, especially those who are predisposed to kidney problems.

I usually counsel people to aim for a more balanced diet with smaller portions. If you discover that you have a problem with a certain food item (gluten, dairy, etc.) then that's where customization comes in.

Again, that's great that you've found a way to keep you away from the foods that cause you problems. I would stress that Atkin's and any other book-selling diet should be properly researched and your doctor consulted because fad diets can, in the wrong people, be very dangerous.

Lutheran Lucciola said...

Well, as you probably have seen, I'm doing Weight Watchers on my blog, (which has made me commit to tracking. Very helpful), and I do agree that bad carbs are bad.

But I tried the Atkins type thing a few years ago, and I was nauseous. Most of the carbs I eat are whole, except for this giant bag of traditional NYC style bagels. I already decided when I'm done with that, I won't have any more for a long time.

Portions are what works for me, combined with good carbs, like quinoa and small portions of low glycemic converted rice (Uncle Ben's is the best!)

I think I have lost about 3 pounds in under two weeks so far.

William Weedon said...

Good for you, Lucciola! You go for it!

Shepherd said...

As someone who once lost 1/2 my body weight (I was a big old boy) I'm very skeptical of Atkins. Looked at it. But I'm a bit nervous of anything that puts you into ketosis. I'm not big into program diets etc... though I do like the nutrition piece of the item below and the metabolism information in the book from the link below. Basically for 20 years I've gone high protein, low starch, low sugar, very low fat, high green carbs and have done just fine keeping weight moderated and at 43 have no health issues of any kin.

Sort of like this better

William Weedon said...

Fascinating how many ways of eating there are out there. For me, I've done Atkins now for six years. My doc tells me to keep up whatever I'm going - so I am. :)

Anonymous said...

I had great success with Atkins and must go there again.
It was the most unusual weight loss I've ever had--I lost fat everywhere, and not just in my stomach. My body just seemed to shrink.
There's no way around what bad eating will do. Too bad.
I would be planted in Heaven not on a street of gold but of creamy milk chocolate. Mom's fudge would work.
Susan R

Anonymous said...

that's funny you commented on chips... when Bek and Dean and I were at La Fonda's the other day I was commenting (and quite possibly poking fun) at your dipping the chips in the salsa and eating the salsa, putting the chip down, grabbing another one, dipping in the salsa, eating the salsa, and putting the chip on the plate, till you had quite a pile of soggy spit ridden (is that the right grammar?) chips on your plate. gross.

Paul McCain said...

Diet is only HALF the thing. The other half?


Daily, vigorous exercise!!

You can stuff your face full of protein .... but you got to have the exercise too!!!

Anonymous said...

OK, it was driving me nuts as I read through the posts that everyone wasn't mentioning the 300 lb. gorilla in the room. Until I came to Pastor McCain's post.

EXERCISE! We are a country of couch potatoes that wouldn't need as much of these new "ways of eating" if we would get off our collective behinds. I really feel that a lot of these new ways of eating are simply treating a symptom, not the real problem.

Pastor McCain, I would argue that exercise is MORE than half the answer.

- Jeff

Anonymous said...

By the way, I didn't mean to imply that we haven't got some bad eating habits in this country, too. Chief of sinners, I am . . . .

- Jeff

Philip of Maryville said...

A few thoughts. Dr. Atkin's discussed his heart attack on TV several times and never tried to hide it. And infection is indeed the common cause for the heart trouble he had. As for weight gain, I find this statement from Atkin's family to be self-evidently true:"During his coma, as he deteriorated and his major organs failed, fluid retention and bloating dramatically distorted his body and left him at 258 pounds at the time of his death, a documented weight gain of over 60 pounds," the doctor said in a written statement. "How and why the Journal reported that he was obese remains the only unanswered question in this pathetic situation."
As for sources of criticism, it is interesting how PETA and certain professional groups behaving like unions have been the fiercest critics. Medical studies the last two years have aired on TV--not the internet--and in newspapers that support Low carb diets.
My doctor supports it, and I personally have benefited from it and enjoyed it for years.
Finally, competing sources for both sides can be cited endlessly, so I won't say more.
But please remember that Atkin's is NOT a high protein no vegetable diet. It is a way of eating that people I know have been doing for decades quite happily. We do not shun meat (which brings on charges of HIGH protein all meat animal cruelty etc.) and we eat a BIG variety of vegetables, even some lower carb breads. Again, common sense. If you try Atkin's, just be sure you read up and consult on it instead of trying to do it the way its critics say it's done.

William Weedon said...

WHO mentioned that evil word EXERCISE??? Well, okay, I admit. It is ALSO part of Atkins approach. A must even. So they say. I'm getting ready to go for a walk. It counts. :)

Susan said...

WHO mentioned that evil word EXERCISE???

OK.. now I have to chime in again. There is a condition where exercise will trigger an episode of anaphylactic shock if you eat a food you are allergic to and then exercise.

Honest, it's true! My mom had for almost 2 years before the doctors figured it out!

Anonymous said...

Yay! Exercise! Just got back from doing 30 miles on the bike. I feel GREAT!

Bill, all that open country down there to bike in, miles and miles . . . I'm jealous.

- Jeff

William Weedon said...


It is rather nice country for biking. We also have a trail that comes right into Hamel now. I still prefer walking, though. I think it might be because my bike is just not the best sort - truthfully, I wish I had one with NO gears. The old kind of bike I learned to ride as a youngster with the breaks on the pedal. Sigh. Maybe someday.

Anonymous said...

funny story...
Dean's new bike...
One gear...
and you can set it up so that if you want to you can flip the chain around and if you pedal backwards, it breaks.
Funny how that works...
course his also cost over 300... graduation from Tim, Lynn, Jessica, and I
I think its too much for you to spend on just to get your tan.

Rob Olson said...


I just started my first-ever diet, at least one that actually has a name.

At 48, I would also like to weigh what I was at 21. I've been using it for two weeks now, and it seems to make sense and work for me -- no accounting or reading of ingredients or strange avoidance of certain foods. So far, so good. (I actually don't feel like I am on some odd diet.) Well, we'll see what results over time!


Rob Olson