Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An Updated Guide for Low-Carb Dieters - Well Blog

I did Atkins for two and a half years–the first six months saw a 40-lb. weight loss (which in retrospect, considering certain health repercussions) was too rapid. Ultimately I lost over 60 lbs. I chose it because as a musician touring in small towns, often not being able to eat until late at night when nothing but chain or fast food restaurants were open, I knew I could always get a simple (albeit boring) meal like a burger patty and salad, filling my belly while staying on course and not sabotaging my weight loss. Things like nuts, string cheese and hard boiled eggs are readily available at truck-stop and gas station mini-marts. But I also found it doable as a serious foodie–nearly every upscale restaurant I went to served the fresh seafood, green veggies, berries and cheeses that kept me from longing for the dessert tray and away from the bread basket. The key was that it was darned tasty too.

So what went wrong? Life happened. I found myself for two years interrupting my music career and instead ping-ponging between motels and hospitals in three cities, attending to the medical needs of three ailing elderly parents (my mother and in-laws). Hospital cafeterias often had eccentric hours and–when open–surprisingly unhealthful foods, as well as profoundly unpalatable healthy choices. One hospital had replaced its cafeteria with a 24/7 “gourmet” chain soup, sandwich and pastry shop serving nothing that fit Atkins, save a plain green salad….day after day for weeks. I would arrive back at my hotel starving late at night, after even the fast-food drive-throughs had closed; the staff would make the complimentary starchy-fatty cocktail-hour hot snacks available for night shift flight crews at nearby JFK. I began to rationalize that for all the running ragged and self-sacrificeI had to do (without the emotional reward of doing a validating show each night), I owed myself some meager pleasure….ergo, the pastries at the hospital and the hot hors d’oeuvres at the hotel. Then, the one surviving nonagenarian in-law moved in with us–and he has bizarre eating habits that dovetai with neither Atkins nor a balanced healthy diet. (He is steadfastly ignoring his doctor’s pleas to live a little). I could not stand to cook two different meals each day, or eat what he liked, so he relies on frozen dinners that meet his austere requirements. Sadly, I reacquired all the bad dietary habits I’ve been unable to break, and I regained 50 of those 60 lbs. (with stress rearranging the distribution of my body fat into a health-threatening silhouette). My gain also exacerbated my arthritis and led to knee injury–necessitating I reduce activity post-surgery. The only bright spot is that I still have sky-high HDLs. As much as I have grown to love artisanal breads, pastas and desserts, I realize that Atkins (or other carb-restricted diets) is the only way I can regain my health, fit my touring schedule, and partially please my palate–bariatric surgery would be unbearable.

But the flip side of the coin–no animal protein, no oil, no sweets, no dairy, no wine (and in some plans, only small portions of the most extremely complex of starches) is as unpalatable to me as the aftereffects and restrictions of gastric bypass. My husband, a cardiologist, reports that patients have an extremely difficult time sticking to diets such as Ornish; those who are successful eating that way tend not to derive pleasure from a variety of foods anyway and ate simply and unhealthfully before eating simply and austerely.

— Sandy in Chicago

Nice NYTimes articel on Updates on Atkins diet and Heart Health

To Your Best Health,

The Personal Medicine Team

Posted via email from Personal Medicine

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