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March 22, 2007

Atkins Unbound

Before I get started I want to make a weight loss announcement. As of last week, I have broken the 50 pound barrier. That's right..."292 Pound Robert" is now "242 Pound Robert". Now...on with the story...

I like talking about weight loss. I enjoy talking about exercise. It helps me to better understand how other people have struggled (some losing and some winning) in the war on weight gain. Now that I'm wearing my Token Fat Guy t-shirt, I get lots more people stopping me to chat.

NOTE: You can buy TFG shirts from my web site. If your 'starting weight' is not listed, just let me know and I'll add it in for you. Currently all possible 'starting weights' listed are from 301 pounds to 250 pounds.

The idea is that it shows people what your progress is. I like to wear mine when I'm on the treadmill. That way everyone on the rows behind me can see how far I've come.


Not long after my return from Washington State, I was approached by some one who said that he recently lost some weight on the Atkins diet plan.

Normally I'm pretty receptive to listening to other people's weight loss stories. But Atkins people scare me...badly. And I have to admit that I was surprised that anyone really used this anymore.

I know Atkins was popular for awhile but I thought it had pretty much died out after the lawsuits against Atkins Nutritionals, the company that puts out the book touting the advantages of the Atkins diet plan.

The science behind Atkins is sort of interesting. It is a low carb diet that works to throw the body into a state called ketosis. This is were the body runs out of energy stores that carbs provide and starts to burn up the energy stored in fat deposits. You might think, "Hey StrangeDOS, isn’t that the whole idea? to burn off fat?"

Well...yes...but not at such a large cost. Two points make the whole thing fall apart...

The Atkins plan would have you reduce your carb intake so low that while you are losing weight, you are starving your body of much needed fuel. Yes, if you take in too many carbohydrates you will gain weight but your body does need some carbs to operate correctly (although truthfully we in the US have a tendency to eat 'bad carbs')
The plan also allows an insane amount of animal fat to be consumed. This just go against common sense. Not to mention the recommendations of nearly any competent doctor.

The human body needs carbs, it needs proteins, and it needs fat. Yeah...you need some fat in your diet to survive. Think about it...your BRAIN is made of fat. Just don't over do it on the fat...and stay away from trans fats and saturated fats.

The Atkins diet will allow you to drop some weight...that's probably what makes it so dangerous. Just like most diets, the weight you lose at first will be mostly water weight. Depending on your size, you can be carrying around an extra 8 - 12 pounds of water. After that, you will probably lose some more weight...and some of it is going to be muscle mass. Sure some of it will be fat too...but how much muscle mass are you willing to trash while trying to reach your target weight? Personally, I protect my muscle mass as much as possible. I need it to keep my system burning as high as possible...even when I'm at rest. The more muscle I have the more calories I burn...even at rest.

Some Atkins folks will tell you they feel great, and I don't doubt it. There is an exhilaration that comes with dropping ANY weight. On top of that, there is a certain euphoria connected with cannibalizing your muscle tissue. Blah...

Of course my favorite reason for keeping away from Atkins is this...


...any diet that is so bad for you that a bunch of doctors band together and put up a web site warning you of the dangers...well...that's just more than I can ignore.

The final thing that keeps this particular diet plan on my 'no_freakin_way' list is the fat that I mentioned earlier. I've read some Adkins friendly sites and wasn't able to find ANYTHING showing that they address the problem of increased cholesterol levels. And all the anti-Adkins information that I've read shows that low carb diets are linked to increased LDL (bad cholesterol) and decreased HDL (good cholesterol). Personally, the reason that I'm dieting is to IMPROVE my health...not shorten my life span.

So my word to you, my loyal readers, is do some research on diets before you commit to one. There are some good ones out there, but there are others too that will really mess you up good.

Use some common sense...ask your doctor...hit the gym (no don't hit some guy NAMED Jim)

<-----Actor Jim Carey

There are lots of people at the gym are dieting too and can be a wealth of information.

Next week...who knows? I'll be in Michigan. Perhaps I'll be able to stay on my diet while traveling.

Either way, buzz off and bother me later.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

THat site is a little misinformed in and of itself. Anyone who associates every "high protein" diet with Atkins is missing some of the key points of protein. YOu know this Rob - protein takes longer to digest and helps make you not feel hungry all the time. Fat is even more efficient at this.
While I am by no means advocating Atkins - simply because anyone who tells you they can maintain Atkins for any period of time is kidding themselves. (It's not a lifelong change - so why bother?)
60-30-30 - embrace it. :)

March 22, 2007 at 2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do you always look so angry in your pictures..? maybe a grin in the next one? :)

March 22, 2007 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger Token Fat Guy said...

I didn't get that from the site. I thought they were talking about the affects of low carb diets and high protein diets.

I don't associate Atkins with "high protein". I associate it with "high fat". Any diet that has me eating enough bacon to clog my arteries is damaging me long term. Even if you only do it for awhile....its still dangerous.

Personally, I keep my protein/carb/fat at a 30%/30%/20% split. I lose fat, maintain muscle (or increase it a bit), and keep my cholesterol under control.

March 22, 2007 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger Token Fat Guy said...

Oh...I don't mean to be looking all pissy in my pictures. I don't photograph well. I think I get bored waiting for the flash. :P

March 22, 2007 at 4:41 PM  
Blogger Token Fat Guy said...

Blah...I can't add...

I meant a 40/40/20 split.

March 22, 2007 at 4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I meant 40-30-30 btw.

I know you don't agree with 100% of whats on that site - and they do make some good common sense points. I just don't agree that High Protien automatically also equals high fat. Protein is your friend. Little furry friends who want to be eaten.

March 22, 2007 at 4:48 PM  
Blogger Token Fat Guy said...

I agree about protein. It gets a bad rep. But protein shakes are a part of my normal diet. :)

My problem is with fat...and the types of fat that are available to us (sat fat, trans fat).

March 22, 2007 at 5:01 PM  

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