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Lovin’ the Atkins diet

Published: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 11:27 a.m. CDT

Disgusted with myself back in March, I went on the Atkins diet. I had been on the Atkins diet years back, when Atkins was all the rage, and had lost a bunch of weight, but eventually grew tired of it. I had read Dr. Atkins’ book and was impressed. He maintained he could cure diabetes through diet. Then I stopped running because of a foot injury and really put on the pounds.

For those of you who don’t know, the Atkins diet is the one where you can eat all the protein and fat you want (meat, eggs, cheese) but no carbohydrates, especially sugar. Fat has had a bad rap. Sugar is the culprit. When you combine protein and fat with carbohydrates, your pancreas kicks in, producing insulin, and you build body fat. Eat protein and fat alone, and you burn the calories. It also kills your appetite, instantly — a big plus when you’re dieting.

I don’t know of an easier diet. Meat and eggs are my favorite food. (Buddy likes it, too.)

Don’t click your tongue and lecture me about cholesterol. I’ve had my cholesterol checked before and after going on the Atkins diet, and it’s a very respectable 170. Once again, it’s only when you add carbs that your cholesterol goes through the roof, as well as your appetite.  

I also quit drinking diet pop. All of the diets recommend no soda pop, diet or regular. I was drinking four of those 24 oz. bottles of diet pop a day. The redemption people loved me. I’ll have to admit, the first day without soda pop was sort of tough, but it was only for the first day. I’m now a water man.  

For movie snacks, I smuggle in pork rinds. It’s amazing how much less expensive the movies are when you’re not buying popcorn and soda.     

How much weight have I lost? Thirty pounds — about 10 pounds a month. You don’t want to loose weight too fast, or you’ll get sick and put it right back on. I know from experience. My waist size has shrunk from 40 inches to 36. My goal is 34. 

In March, I weighed 230 pounds. I’m now down to 195. I really hate to admit this, but according to the BMI (Body Mass Index) Chart, I was obese. I couldn’t believe it — I’ve been such a critic of obesity in America. There are three categories of obese — Obese I, II, & III, with III being the worst. I was in the Obese I category. I thought I was just overweight. Shows to go you how we can trick our little minds.  

I’m now in the “Overweight” category, and heading for the “Healthy Weight” designation of 175 — my high school football weight. I have no doubt that I will achieve it.  It’s maintaining that will be the challenge. I may do the Modified Atkins Diet when I’m at “healthy” weight, which is Atkins through the day, then a salad for supper, followed by a normal meal, not to last more than an hour, thus preventing the insulin rush.

Do I have cake and ice cream at my grandkids’ birthdays? Absolutely! Then right back on Atkins the following day. The Atkins food I love most, and this is sinful, is cheddar cheese wrapped in bacon. OMG, is this delicious, and the pounds roll off!  Why suffer?

I do half-an-hour of aerobic exercise three-to-four times a week, on the treadmill or elliptical machine, and weigh myself once a week — at the end of the week, before the weekend binge eating starts. I record my weight, which is a great motivational tool when looking back and, most importantly, it doesn’t lie. Following the aerobic exercise, I do a few minutes of anaerobics (strength training) ± pullups, pushups and situps. When I started, I could barely do four pushups and ten situps. I couldn’t do a single pullup. I can now do 30 pushups, 50 situps and four pullups. The pullups are for if I ever get caught hanging from a cliff, I can pull myself up.

I’m feeling better physically, mentally and love the comments. Getting back into my “skinny” jeans was a real treat. With all the soccer hoopla lately, someone asked if I played soccer. “No,” I said.  “Why?”   

“Well, you look like you do.” I could have kissed them.

Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at (319) 217-0526, email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com, or visit his website at www-empty-nest-words-photos-and-frames.com. Curt also records his stories at www.lostlakeradio.com.

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