Day Seventy-seven (F, 110318) — Program Review: Atkins

This is the second in my reviews of the diet programs I have done.

Yesterday I discussed my experience on Weight Watchers.  Tomorrow will be 4 Hour Body. Today we are focusing on . . .


Bottom line up front:

  • PROS
    • I learned about macronutrients and which foods contain what types
    • It is really easy to follow
    • I was rarely hungry
    • I stopped craving carbs after 3-4 days on the diet (BIG, HUGE reason I liked Atkins)

  • CONS
    • I found it tough to transition from weight loss to maintenance
    • We found it hard for me to do Atkins while the rest of the family did not
    • It can be expensive given the amount of protein eaten and if supplements and food products are included
    • Worrying about being in ketosis or not distracted me from the overall purpose of becoming healthier

A few years before the three years represented in the graph (3/08 to the present), I had done Atkins once before and successfully lost about 30-40 pounds.  I don’t remember why I stopped doing it but I do remember gaining it all back by the time I started WW above.

This time, I started Atkins a little before Thanksgiving 2009.  I had been off of WW for a month or two and gained about 20 pounds.

(It sure does come back quickly, doesn’t it folks?)

I was ready to go back to something I knew would work for me and which would not involve learning a new program.

It find it ironic that I ended up rereading all of the Atkins stuff so I could to cement my knowledge of the system and make sure I did it right.  Having fallen off the wagon before, I wanted this time to be a for-the-long-haul lifestyle change.  About the only thing they recommend which I did not do is taking certain supplements.

A big difference between this and Weight Watchers was that, on Atkins, I never felt hungry.  Since there were no points to count or calories to track, if I got peckish I could grab 3 or 4 ounces of ham and snack all I wanted.  Cheese was good, too.  So was diet soda (though the Atkins program officially frowns upon them).

When I had done Atkins previously, my wife had called it the sausage and cheese diet.  This time, my favorites were steak, ham, and chicken.  I had a tendency to find things allowed on the diet which I liked and eat them to the exclusion of most everything else. (Keep this in mind when I discuss 4HB tomorrow…. ;-))

My biggest problems with Atkins were:

  1. The expense associated with buying so much protein
  2. My wife (sorry, hon)

I ate steak all the time.  Usually with mayo as my condiment.  Mmmmmm.  Good stuff.

I also ate ham and sausage most every day. Cheese was popular.   Eggs were cheap but most of the other stuff wasn’t.  Then there were the Atkins bars.  Expensive little buggers, those.

I would guess that our monthly food expenses were about 15-20% higher than if I just ate all the carb-filled foods the rest of the family ate.

As for the second problem, my wife has a problem with the Atkins diet.  I don’t fully understand it, but it’s one of those hot button things that can cause an argument in a flash.

Her basic issue is that my food is different from the family’s food.  What she makes for dinner was not what I could eat (with limited exceptions) and if she made the stuff I could eat, it cost too much or the kids didn’t like it.  If only I would eat what the family at and be sensible about how much I ate.  Yeah . . . I heard that a time or two (hundred).

The problem is that I know my weaknesses: I snack like crazy when uncontrolled and I have a sweet tooth.  One of the most important reasons I like(d) Atkins was that once I reached ketosis, I stopped craving carbs.  I could go to a party with cookies and chips all around and not feel the need to snack on them.  This was important to me because I was being honest about my weaknesses and taking positive steps to minimize the problems they would cause.

But my wife could not stand it and I lost all her support for the program.  Even though I generally cooked my own food, and she needed cook only her carboriferous wonders for herself and the kids, that mere fact that I would be eating something completely different from what the family was eating still caused lots of tension.

Personally, it never bothered me that we would be eating different dishes . . . but it bothered the heck out of her and that bothered me.

In the end, I quit Atkins in the fall of last year; right around when you can see that spike start to rise in November 2010.  Because I was frustrated and dejected by what I saw as my wife’s scuttling of my attempts to be healthy, I semi-unconsciously set out to prove to that if I’m not dieting, things are going to get worse.

I ate myself into oblivion for two full months including all the holiday gorging I could stuff in.  (Get it?  Stuffin’ . . . like Thanksgiving?  I crack myself up sometimes. ;-))

If I wanted it, I ate it.  And I’d often ate several of whatever it was just for good measure: Twinkies, cake, ice cream, Hostess cupcakes, almonds and cashews, pizza, cookies, burgers, chips, rich sauces, coffee with heavy cream and sweetener, milk shakes . . . . . et cetera, ad infinitum.

I was remarkably successfully at proving just how bad it could get. =(

Then, a week or two before Christmas, I found The 4 Hour Body.  I decided that this was bullspit and that I could do better.  So I dedicate myself to becoming healthier at the start of the New Year.  Thus was born New John for a New Year.

Tomorrow, I’ll look more deeply into my experience on the 4 Hour Body program.


Today was my sixth Workout B (legs and chest).

  1. Leg press 14 reps — 230 pounds
    • Next time 240 pounds
  2. Decline press 8 reps — 135 pound
    • Next time 140 pounds
  3. Stationary bike – 3 minutes at 90 RPM for 0.82 miles


Breakfast: four eggs over medium, bacon, sausage, AGG, multi-green supplement, kombucha

Breakfast 110318

Yeah Dennys!

Lunch: Freebirds!, water, multi-green supplement, AGG, kombucha

Lunch 110318

Cause I'm as free as a bird now, and this bird you can not change..... =)

Dinner: TBD

Other food throughout the day: black coffee


9 responses to “Day Seventy-seven (F, 110318) — Program Review: Atkins

  1. Pingback: Day Seventy-eight (Sa, 110319) — Program Review: 4 Hour Body | New John for a New Year·

  2. People always like to claim that Atkins is bad because people gain all the weight back once they stop.

    Well….er….. that can be said of almost all diets. That’s just the nature of game. We don’t do anything in moderation. Low carb, low fat, low calorie, it doesn’t matter. Once the diet it over, most people go back to their old habits.

    Maintaining your weight is in some ways harder than losing the weight. Once the diet is over, people tend to stop weighing themselves, stop counting calories, stop reading labels, stop working out……. It has nothing to do with the actual diet.

    I started my blog to FORCE myself to keep doing all the right things once I reach my ideal weight because I know it is going to be a battle to learn how to maintain my weight and add certain foods back into my normal routine.

    Nice read

    The Grumpy Man

    • I 100% agree with you about going on or off a diet. Regardless of the plan, if you allow yourself to fall back into old habits, guess what happens……

      I think the key is to adjust the plan to accommodate a broader meal selection but keep the sensible rules, rather than abandoning it completely.

      I started my blog to FORCE myself to keep doing all the right things once I reach my ideal weight because I know it is going to be a battle to learn how to maintain my weight and add certain foods back into my normal routine.

      Yeah, I wish I had done that. I think it’s a darn good plan, Grumpy.

  3. John,

    Keep at it. Looked at your pictures today, and your bod is improving, you can really tell where the love handles are disappearing.

    You’ve also made me realize how much my wife is doing for me on my behalf. Essentially making me a great salad everyday, and/or cooking sausages, etc. as I live on the Atkins diet, or at least some version of it.

    I too love not craving the carbs as I am a carb addict. Like you, I don’t just go over the edge, I jump off of the cliff.

    Anyway, keep it up keep at it and don’t get too frustrated. This is a marathon, just pace yourself keep trending down and all will be well.

    One last thing, tell me your son is still doing well and I’ll be a happier reader.


    • Thanks for the encouragement, Rick. Things are definitely easier on 4HB with my wife’s support.

      Funny thing is, in my mind, 4HB and Atkins are almost the same. Emotionally, however, merely saying “Atkins” to my wife can create a bad reaction. But I’m not going to bring it up. 😉

      (Sure hope she doesn’t read this. ;-))

      And yes, my son is doing great. He’s had his eight week check up and everything has turned out as well as it possibly could.

      Thanks for asking. =D

  4. Pingback: Day Seventy-six (R, 110317) — Honesty, New Resources, and Program Review: Weight Watchers | New John for a New Year·

  5. Pingback: Day Ninety (R, 110331) — Three Months In, New John and His Amazing Diet Contortions | New John for a New Year·

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