Atkins Nutrionals has gone belly up, filing for bankruptcy this week. The high protein/low carbohydrate craze is now officially over and we can all eat bread and pasta again.
Of course, we always could eat bread and pasta. For a while, we just chose not to.
Like nine percent of the country’s adult population, I followed the Atkins diet. In February of 2003, my husband told me about a co-worker who lost a whole lot of weight following Atkins. And it got rid of his gas too. Since I’d been suffering through noxious emissions for some time, I said “let’s go for it.”
So we resolved to follow the Atkins principals to the letter, which was like being told everything we knew about food was wrong. Meat is good. Bacon is good. Even pork rinds are good. Eat as much as you want. Instead you must limit the fruits and the vegetables.
And we did it. I started every morning with a large helping of sliced ham and melted cheese. I lived off Monterey Jack cheese as it had 0 carbs. For dinner, I painstakingly measured out the vegetables, heavy on the collard greens and cabbage. Carrots, onions, and green peppers were high in carbs, so we substituted squash and brocoli and green onions. Pasta, rice and potatoes were so carb laden that we avoided them like the plague.
The pounds disappeared. I lost five pounds the first week and kept right on losing. Eventually, I got down to 128, a weight I had not seen since I was under 30. During that time we feasted on meat. We’d go to Golden Coral and have two and three helpings of steak, with vegetables and nothing else. It was great. Feel full all the time and lose weight.
Looking back on it all, the Aktins Diet was a lot like making a deal with the devil (which is not to imply that Atkins Nutrionals is in any way Satanic, of course). You get what you want, but in the end you’re worse off than when you started. Because there’s a catch. That catch is you can never eat carbs again. You have to eat meat and cheese for the rest of your life.
No one can do that. It’s like eating in black and white. You miss the cake and the bread and the pasta. The problem is, once you start eating it again, you’re still in the habit of eating all that meat and fat as well. Carbs and fats together make you gain weight fast. Before you know it, you’ve gained back all the weight you lost and then some.
And that’s what happened to me.
I’m back with the tried and true Weight Watchers, of which I’m a lifetime member. They always take me back and they always have a sensible diet which works if you follow it. Unfortunately, it does require such pesky annoyances as portion control and exercise. But I’m back to having cereal with half a banana for breakfast again, which is a lot easier to take than the meat and cheese.
I know I can’t go back. But I sure wish I could.