Running on Atkins

On March 30, on doctor’s orders I started the Atkins diet.   Yes, I know exactly what you’re thinking- “but, wait, all the yummy carbs!’.     Ok, now I want a donut.   Anyways, moving on.     I may have spent one last weekend indulging in all the things I was about to lose.     🙂   I also bought one of the books, the newer ones- The New Atkins Made Easy.  The original book was published back in 2003 and from the free preview I downloaded online, it read more like a science book.   I didn’t want or need all that- I didn’t need to be convinced, I was doing this because I was told to.

If you’ve been reading awhile, you’ve seen me talk as nauseuam about my stomach and it’s stupid-ness (gastroparesis).    This is not the first time I have been told to limit my carb intake, however this is the most severe it’s been.    But as this current flare up has now gone on for almost a year, I made a sad face and told the doc I would do my best.

So in brief-  Atkins is a lifestyle change that believes that a lower carb intake will help weight loss and help with some recurring or long term conditions.    This is where my doc comes in.  He suggested it, so I figured I would give it a shot.

Atkins has 4 phases-

      Phase 1- Induction-     20g carbs
Phase 2- Ongoing Weight Loss- 25g-50g- for some people higher
Phase 3- Pre-maintenance  60-70g
Phase 4-Lifetime Maintenance  80-100g

For perspective- the normal recommended intake for carbs is 180-300g.

At each phase, you can add in more foods that were previously restricted.  Like fruit and some starchy vegetables among other things.   Now Atkins is primarily geared towards weight loss, I didn’t really care about that so I started at the higher end of phase 2.   Now I won’t complain about weight loss if it happens but that is not the end goal here.   My goal was to aim for an average of 40-50g per day allowing 2 cheat meals a week that should not send my daily limit over 100.  If I stuck to that, my weekly average would be around 64g of carbs.    Why cheat meals?  Because Pizza.   I cut way back on the pizza intake but I am not cutting it out completely.

That's real food, maybe I can do this
That’s real food, maybe I can do this

I read the whole book but was slow in finishing it so sometimes I was a little misinformed.   Like the time I was so proud during family dinner because I substituted broccoli for the pasta in Spaghetti.  Too bad I didn’t realize that the sauce could hide a ton of carbs!   Oops.   It took me a while to join the website.    But since it actually confuses me that’s not such a bad thing.  I downloaded the app but really just stick to the Lose It app for keeping track of daily carb intake.   I also decided to keep some notes about this little experiment was going.

Week 1-

Didn’t do the best grocery shopping, snacking is kind of hard.  Also dinner is hard but not as hard as I thought it would be.  I had a moderate headache for the first few days.   Running felt hard but doable, so I just tried to take it easy.  I was so tired, I had thought about cutting back on soda this week too but there is no way I would have made it through the week.   It kept me from becoming a crazy person.  I think I figured out how to eat out most everywhere except Mexican food.  Friday night was an accidental/ intentional cheat at Taco Bell.  I am usually not a fan but they had a new item that was pretty good but super carb heavy.  Oops!  In plus news, I dropped 5 pounds in 4 days.  Not the point of this whole experiment but interesting none the less.

Weekly Average-  72g- not too bad

I can add salt, sweet!
I can add salt, sweet!

Week 2-

Started off so much better.  I did a better grocery shopping the prior weekend so I felt more prepared.  Monday and Tuesday were great, on track counting wise.  Wednesday evening was my first weekly cheat meal but that was fine.  What was not fine was the cheating on Thursday evening, Friday evening, all Saturday and Sunday lunch.  Umm, yeah that was bad.   So bad.   I still had a headache most of the week but stomach wise I felt ok.  I learned that if Lay’s are in the house, I have zero self control.    But on the upside, I pulled off Thursday’s 11 miles on only 15g of carbs.   This was the longest run since the dietary changes took places.  Until this I wasn’t sure I could pull this off, let alone at the pace I did.

Weekly average- 106-going the wrong direction

Week 3-

Started the week out well, fell apart by Thursday.  Why do I have such problems later in the week?   I do feel like I feel better when I restrict more but it’s hard.  I really want some damn potato chips.      My mother asked if feeling better was all in my head and I said well that would work too.  🙂

Weekly Average- 90g

Week 4-

SLO race week.  This was a problem.  I felt conflicted between following the new plan vs the common consensus of carb loading prior to a race.   I couldn’t decide what would be better.  In the end I consumed more carbs than the past few weeks and it was not a good idea.

Weekly Average- 130g– Ouch

So that was month one.    Even knowing that I need to buckle down and really commit to this to see if it helps, week 1 of month two has been a failure.     I do fine while at work.  I have actually started eating breakfasts again, I figured out snacks and I look forward to my lunches.    I figured out how to eat at most of the restaurants I frequent.     Even pizza, replaced a large pizza and bread sticks to share with a medium pizza and a salad to share.

This is awesome, have no idea where it came from but I want it.
This is awesome, have no idea where it came from but I want it.

I start each week with resolve but stumble hard by the end.  Last week, cookie Friday proved too much temptation.    I hadn’t really had many since Christmas but Friday I ate way too many.  Ugh.    I think the diet is helping but it’s hard to tell since I have no follow through by the week end.   I have a little less than 2 months before I go back to the doctor, so I really want to try and stick to it to see how it goes.     Plus I don’t have a half until mid July at the earliest, so now would be the time to figure this out.   Beside the other alternative is some heavy duty antibiotics that will break the bank if my insurance doesn’t always kick in like they have warned me.  Expensive like the cash price could be a down payment on a car.  😦    So Atkins and I need a little more time together.  🙂

So, thoughts?

Any tips on how to stick to this?

Ever have to restrict something?

19 thoughts on “Running on Atkins

  1. I tried Atkins years ago for weight loss (not out of necessity like you). It’s really hard to maintain that kind of lifestyle. I don’t really have any great advice on sticking to it, but I wish you good luck. I guess just don’t be so hard on yourself when you slip up. In all honesty, the only person that’s affected by it is you if your stomach gets upset.

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  2. I have no advice. I tried Atkins once briefly for weightloss and was a hungry, angry asshole for a few days. I tried South Beach a few years later and got fainty when exercising, so I stopped that too. I’m sending lots of positive vibes your way!

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    1. Haha, the first week or so I couldn’t decide if I felt more cranky or stupid. Everything seemed so hard! I’ve never tried South Beach, truthfully not sure what it is. 🙂 I think it helps but I need to stick to it long enough to tell. Thank you!

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  3. Good luck to you! I haven’t done atkins but you’ve got a great attitude and are off to a great start as long as you keep working at it. I can’t believe you made it 11 miles on such low carbs (wow).

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    1. I was so nervous about that run! I knew I needed it for training but running had seemed so hard those first few weeks. Thank you! I am hoping I can control the cravings a little more in month 2…at least I’m going to try. 🙂

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  4. Jessica @ VEGGIE RUNNING MOMMA

    that sounds really hard.!! is this the same diet Kim Kardashian said she lost weight with.? well it sounds really hard, I’m a pretty disciplined person, but I don’t think I could do it. lol
    maybe try planning your meals in advance.? like for the whole week, so that you won’t be able to slip up at the end of the week, I’ve heard that helps for some people

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    1. I am not sure what diet she used- I admit that I am usually not current with celebrities. I used to be better when I read People but I stopped that when I started commuting. I no longer had a corner news stand to go to. 😦 I pre-plan all my breakfasts and lunches. I take everything I need for the week in to work on Mondays. Weekdays are the time I stick to the plan the best. I have meals planned for dinner but somehow in my 45+ minute drive home, I usually change my mind about what I want to eat. Or call my mom and have her meet me somewhere. I eat dinner out a lot…oops.

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      1. Jessica @ VEGGIE RUNNING MOMMA

        oooh gotcha. haha. I don’t blame you.! it’s hard to drive past all of those restaurants and not want to stop.

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  5. dgobs

    OMG that pizza shirt is amazing! Also amazing? Your first month at this diet. Maybe not as perfect as you’d like, but I can only guess how insanely tough it is to restrict carbs that much. *high five* for how you’ve done so far!!

    I had to cut way back on certain foods a few years ago when my cholesterol levels starting getting out of hand, and it was definitely hard. I remember talking with a dietician and being like “What do you mean no mac & cheese several times a week?? And no Pop Tarts? No Pad Thai?? What kind of tyrant are you?!” Granted, I did need a slap in the face about that diet. You can’t eat like a college freshman forever! 🙂

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    1. Right?! I read it and sing a long in my head or out loud in public. 🙂

      Thank you! I need to keep telling myself that I have cut my intake by more than half and it is nothing to frown about. Yeah, I admit I eat dinner out too much. It’s never fast food but it’s still not good. I need to work on reigning that in. I’m sure my pocket book would appreciate it too. 🙂 One of the medications I am on is designed for lowering cholesterol but can also help stomach issues. I cracked a joke with my doc that at least it would a healthy side effect!

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  6. The only time I’ve had to restrict things were when I was pregnant (spoiler alert: wine) so I don’t really have any advice, but I think it sounds like you are doing great with it so far and it will only get easier with time. 🙂

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  7. You seem to fall off the cart at the end of every week
    Your metabolism speeds up when you start eating breakfast, it also increases on carb restriction.
    You will have to increase the amount of calories your take on board or you will start binging every week. Your body thinks your starving it. It will make you eat the first thing that comes to hand.
    Good luck

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    1. I am slowly learning to up my calories. It is such a departure from I’ve done for so long that it seems wrong. It is nice eating breakfast again and not having my stomach rebel. I am still working out snacks, this is where being super picky outside of the restrictions does not help. I need to branch out more. Thanks!

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      1. You will find you have to eat 3 substantial meals with 2 moderate meals/snacks in between aim for eating every 3 hours
        Humus is not bad if you make it yourself. Tofu will take a bit of getting used to but stops over indulging processed meats. I know this is not what you want here. It it helps preparing salads and food in plastic tubs instead of grabbing a sub or tortilla wrap.

        Concentrate on reducing your sugar intake. Reducing less blood sugar dips will help the – eat the first thing that comes to hand – binges.

        Good luck.

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