Monday 16 June 2003

and another thing

While I'm in a crotchety kind of mood, let me inflict another rant on you: low carbing. Please stop. Although most of you who have only known me for a year or two will wonder why I should know anything about losing weight, let me assure you that I did manage to drop quite a bit o' lard in the past few years. Almost 3 stone (over 40 lbs.) to be more precise. Please believe me when I tell you that I lost it by a very exciting method called "Stop Eating Crap and Get Yer Arse Off the Sofa". Not carb cutting, not grapefruits 3 meals a day, not liquid diets a la Slimfast, not with cabbage soup, and not by eliminating an entire food group. I ate less, and I lost weight. It's so innovative compared to what's out there today.

The reason for this rant today (like I need a reason normally) is due to the fact that the Atkins diet is everywhere these days. It was big in the 70s, made a huge comeback about 5 years ago, and now it's here with a vengeance. I think Krista says it best here, and gets the point across without an anti-Atkins alarmist attitude (say that 10 times fast) like some articles I've read telling me that my kidneys will swear at me and explode if I do a low carb diet. While I'm not convinced that high protein/low carb diets are going to prove to be permanently damaging in any severe way, I am convinced that it's lacking one of the most important keys to keeping the weight off: it's not a diet you can stick to for the rest of your life. (Unless you really, really, really like meat and dairy. And bad breath.) It's a very attractive diet because you drop a lot of pounds very quickly at first, and hey, any dieter would be excited about the idea of eating all the fat they want and still losing weight.

I did this diet for two months a few years ago, eating nothing but chicken, fish (I don't eat red meat), dairy, and the scant few veggies that are permitted. I lost around 7 lbs. during week one, a couple more in the following weeks, and then nothing. I woke up with unexplained bruising on my arms and legs. I was tired, headachey, and thirsty all the time (it's an extremely dehydrating diet - bodybuilders low carb in the weeks leading up to competitions to look more "cut"). I got my period in the middle of my cycle and when it was my regular time, it lasted much longer than usual (a bit scary considering that I'm on the Pill). I checked out low carb web sites and news groups and was horrified to discover that all of my symptoms were quite common amongst other low carbers. No diet is worth this.

So please, back away from the proteins and learn to embrace complex carbohydrates. If carbs make you fat, then why are all my Japanese relatives so tiny? Asians eat rice all day long, but you don't see a lot of hefty Japanese people outside of the Sumo ring. Now if that ain't scientific proof for you, I dunno what is.

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