Sometime in high school, I was introduced to the concept of the Atkins diet. At the time, I was close to 190 pounds and hanging out with the boys on the weightlifting team. My diet was similar to the boys, as well. I’m pretty sure I was consuming close to 5,000 calories a day, plus or minus 1,500. I didn’t count calories so much back then, as I felt I had found a community among my fellow over-eaters.
In science class, I overheard one of the popular girls chatting with a classmate about a new diet. It consisted of eating copious amounts of cheese, beef jerky, sausages, and other mouth-watering items. In fact, I’m quite certain I was drooling on my binder in the row behind them. I had never heard of a diet that allowed you to eat horrifically fatty foods and still lose weight. Had I overheard a discussion on diet Utopia? This couldn’t be true.
When I got home from school, I turned on my computer and signed on to AOL, the cacophonous dial-up a harmonious backdrop to my inhalation of potato chips. I’m dating myself with this one, I’m sure.
I typed into the search engine something along the lines of “cheese and meat diet” and the Internetz poured out information on the hallowed Atkins diet. It existed!
After approximately twelve minutes of intensive research, I declared myself an expert on the subject and a renowned nutritionist. I realized it was time to stage an intervention on the refrigerator, which was packed with unhealthy foods, such as fresh apples, green grapes, whole grain bread, and other vile atrocities of good nutrition. Was my mother trying to kill me? Gah!
I threw away everything that so much as resembled a fruit, a grain, or a starchy vegetable, debating whether or not a call to the DCF was too extreme in this particular case of child abuse. After deciding to let it slide this one time, I pulled some money out of my hidden stash and grabbed my book bag, intent on restocking the fridge.
I biked the two miles to Winn Dixie, the only grocery store in our suburb, and proudly grabbed a cart, prepared to save my family from the path of obesity.
[I should probably interject at this point to note that both my mother and father are thin, healthy, normal people who eat well, exercise, and probably have NO IDEA where my weight obsession came from.]
I stocked up on packages of turkey bacon, ground beef, cheese, sour cream, and gallons of heavy cream. Did you know you can eat whipped cream right from the can as long as you choose the sugar-free kind? This was going to be the best diet of my life. I was going to get skinny AND eat double cheeseburgers? HOORAH!
I returned home with my loot, much to the shock and dismay of my parents. Unfortunately, I was at an age where they couldn’t really regulate or control my diet, as I was old enough to make my own food choices and dumb enough to think I was capable of making these decisions.
I won’t go into too many details about the Atkins diet, but let’s just say its affects on the GI track are less than attractive. In fact, in less than two weeks of a strict diet of melted cheese on top of fried meat and I was in the doctor’s office. I didn’t lose weight, but I definitely learned that moderation is key when it comes to fried, cheese-encrusted anything.
While I do feel a diet low in white, refined sugars is likely a good thing, an extreme low-carb diet, such as Atkins, can be a bit too much for any rational human being. Or at least this one.
Fruits & veggies are a good thing, especially for your intestines,