Archive for the ‘low-carb diet’ Category

organic/natural food

Wow!  It is amazing how severely one’s blog readership drops off when one does not post for a few days.  I guess in the blogosphere, not posting for a week is like not writing for a year in a print-based publication.

Anyway, while my husband and I were shopping for groceries yesterday at Whole Foods Market, I decided I should write a post about organic/natural food… or what I have come to call “real” food.

Shortly after I started the Atkins diet in 2004, my husband suggested that we should start shopping at Whole Foods.  I had been in there a few times, and was always fascinated with the quality of the produce, the exotic-sounding products, and so on, but had never seriously considered doing my grocery shopping there.  After we started, however, I realized that I could never look at a conventional grocery store the same way again.

Yes, there is a reason that Whole Foods has been given the name “Whole Paycheck”… it seems expensive.  We also have a store called Central Market here in Texas, which is nothing but an embarrassment of food riches.  But after I started comparing their prices with prices of the same items at my local “regular” grocery store, I found the “regular” store to be more expensive.

You won’t find products with trans fats or high fructose corn syrup in these stores.  This is good for you!  As we’re in the process of losing weight, we need food with real nutrients.  If we eat foods with real nutrients, we will eat less, consume fewer calories, and lose more weight.  One reason we overeat is because we eat too many foods with nutrition-less calories, which makes us hungrier in the long run, causing us to eat more and more.

I’ve found a more centered sense of well-being by shopping at organic/natural food stores, too.  These markets just smell good and feel healthy when you walk into them.  It’s hard to feel centered when you walk into a grocery store and are greeted by 20-foot high Coke displays and 10-foot high Twinkies displays, even if you don’t buy them.

As I’ve tried variations on the basic low-carb way of eating throughout my weight loss journey, I’ve discovered through my research various nutritional supplements thought to be helpful with weight loss and overall health.  These stores have every supplement you could possibly need and more.

Lately, I have been reading about a general trend toward an increased demand for organic foods.  This is a good thing, in my opinion.  It encourages farmers, ranchers, etc., to not inject their animals with hormones, treat their crops with dangerous chemicals, and so on, which means an increase in the quality of our food supply for us all.  Whole Foods has been criticized as a “big box” retailer no better than Walmart, but I say, “so what?” I have no problem with shopping at a “big box” that pays its workers a decent wage and offers high-quality products.

Your thinking now might be, “Sounds great, but I can’t afford it!”  This is certainly a concern for many of us.  Actually, my husband and I have found that we really don’t spend much more money now than we did when we shopped at Walmart, possibly because we’ve cut out all the junk food.  We have decided that buying high-quality food is a top financial priority, only second to paying our monthly bills.   Our bodies, and our long-term health, deserve nothing less.

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Step 2

I want to thank everyone who’s visited and/or written such lovely comments on this blog so far.  I’ve only been blogging here for 4 days, and I’ve already had up to 40 views in one day.  And, I’m still elated that southernfriedfatty has named “Gain this!” her first “blog of the week”. 

But, as David Letterman says, “That’s not why you called.”  Step 2, for me, was exercise.  The Atkins book, which was really a bible for me in those early months of my weight loss, plainly stated that if you are not exercising, you are not “doing Atkins.”  I took it seriously.

For me, adding exercise was even more difficult than changing my diet, and I told you yesterday how difficult it was to change my diet!  It wasn’t really so much the discipline as it was the physical act of exercise.  At 300 pounds, I could barely make it up the stairs to my third floor apartment, let alone go to a gym for the explicit purpose of exercising.

I started with two things.  The first was the fitness center at my apartment complex.  At first, I was pushing myself too hard to even walk 2 miles per hour on the treadmill, and using the treadmill hurt my lower back.  A friend suggested that I should try the elliptical machine, because it creates little or no impact on your joints.  It was much more comfortable for me.  In those days, I wasn’t comfortable going to work out without my husband (who has much longer legs and has never had a serious weight problem!), but I got over that soon enough.

The second thing was Leslie Sansone’s “Walk Away the Pounds”.  A friend said she was using it; she told me it was a DVD that you could use to lift weights (toning) and walk (cardio), right there in your own home.  At first, the thought seemed silly — why would marching in place do anything significant toward improving your fitness level and lose weight? — but I borrowed hers, and then I went out and bought my own copy.  I really loved it because I could do it in 20-30 minutes, I didn’t have to go to a gym where people could see how fat and out of shape I was, and I was seeing results from it!  I remember doing it at 6 AM, before my husband got out of bed.  He crawled out to the living room, still attempting to wake up, and I was already awake, energized for the day, and starting breakfast.  I don’t use Leslie’s DVDs anymore, because my fitness level has surpassed what she provides in them, but they sure were wonderful in the beginning.  (hint: in my opinion, the music on the DVDs is a bit cheesy, so I just muted the sound on the TV and listened to my Walkman/iPod/whatever.)

It really is true that exercise gives you energy and makes you feel better… and you don’t have to be in shape already to feel better from it.  Just take it slowly in the beginning, and it will get easier every day.  After you do it for a certain amount of time, you will actually feel worse if you don’t exercise.  Today, I actually get irritated about it if I can’t exercise, such as when my job gets really busy or when I have to travel. 

People have told me, “I don’t have time to exercise”, “I’m too tired to exercise”, and so on,  when I talk to them about the weight I’ve lost.  Believe me, I’ve “been there”, more than you can imagine, and there have been times in the last three years when I really was not able to exercise because of issues in my life.  During these times, however, I felt worse, and my weight loss stopped.  Losing weight simply will not happen if I don’t exercise. 

More on how to exercise in future posts…  just like I didn’t know how to eat a healthy diet, I also didn’t know how to exercise. 

Step 1

Just a day or two after I talked with the woman at the grocery store who I mentioned yesterday, I stopped at a drug store.  I think I needed makeup remover or something else completely unrelated to drugs.

Right there, at the entrance to the store, there was a display containing copies of Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution.  My first reaction was to roll my eyes at it.  The Atkins diet had been receiving a lot of press at that time, and I’d already completely dismissed the idea of the diet.  (This dismissal was based on misinformation; I really thought Atkins consisted of eating pounds of bacon to lose weight.)  I stood there and flipped through the book for a minute, and decided it was worth a shot… I was so lost and desperate and sick at that time, I figured it couldn’t hurt to at least read the book.  So I paid for the book and the makeup remover and left.

My husband worked late that night, so I went to dinner by myself at this Long John Silver’s/Pizza Hut restaurant nearby.  While eating my fried fish, french fries, and drinking a huge Coke, I started to read Chapter 1 of Atkins’ book.  “Give me two weeks”, he promised.  Two weeks?  OK.  I can do anything for two weeks.

So, after some more careful studying of the book, and having just bought a weeks’ worth of groceries that did not follow the Atkins Rules of Induction, I returned to the grocery store.  When the staples of your diet include sandwiches made with white bread, Mountain Dew Code Red, yogurt with gobs of added sugars, waffles, and frozen Lean Cuisine meals, it is difficult to figure out how to shop for Atkins’ Induction.  I was visiting areas of the grocery store I never really considered visiting.  (You mean I have to cut up vegetables and cook meats and buy blocks of cheese that require slicing?)  As a part-time student and a full-time employee, food preparation was not in my frame of reference.

Those first few days were so incredibly hard.  My husband and I went to eat at a local restaurant that serves wonderful rolls, and I had to push the roll basket to his side of the table, so I would smell them less and feel less tempted.  At the restaurant, I had to ask for a lot of modifications to be made to my order… I was actually embarrassed to ask for no croutons on the salad and for no rice with the entree.  I hadn’t really drank a bottle of water in years — always drank Coke, Mountain Dew Code Red, or maybe milk if I was feeling health-minded.

But you know what?  Two days after starting Induction, I weighed five pounds less, down from 300 to 295.  I was thrilled and optimistic and hopeful.  Maybe this was actually going to work!  I told one of my co-workers, who had lost about 40 pounds on the South Beach Diet already, about my 5-pound loss.  She said, “Well, it’s probably just water, but it’s still weight.”  I wasn’t even sure what she meant by that… I still had SO much to learn about weight loss!