Okay, so there are 2 diets I have done, several times each. (How sad is that?) Atkins, and Weight Watchers. Let me just start off by saying - any form of dieting is hard, at least for me. It's a struggle, and it's not getting any easier now that I am 30. When I was in my early 20's, I could easily lose 5 pounds a week. Not so much anymore. I am going to continue doing WW for now, but I'm doing a low to no carb version of it.
When I did Atkins a few years ago, I did it as a test to see if I could actually survive one day without carbs. Wow! It worked! I did it... and the next day, it got easier... and easier... you know why? Because I had so much more energy! Protein rocks! A lot of people have this misconception about Atkins - like people on that diet are stuffing their faces with cheeseburgers and bacon all day long - and that's just not the way it works. A typical Atkins day for me is this:
Breakfast - 1 or 2 eggs with a slice of cheese, coffee with cream, water
Lunch - Grilled chicken breast with salad and other veggies.
Dinner - Salmon, steak or chicken, with veggies and salad.
You can also induldge in some fruit - berries, watermelon, etc. It's the high carb fruits you should try to avoid, at least for the first two weeks.
You will be amazed at how much energy you have after doing this for a few days. But yes, it's hard. No bread, no potatoes, no white sugar... but the results are FAST. I don't care about long-term... I just want to lose the weight! Yes, if you stop dieting you will gain the weight back, but that happens on every diet, not just Atkins.
Now a new study shows that Atkins is the best diet to be on! Ya!
From The Ottawa Sun:
Women who followed the Atkins low-carbohydrate diet lost more weight over a year than did those on three other popular diets -- and their blood pressure and cholesterol levels also dropped to a greater degree, a study has found.
On average, women randomly assigned to the Atkins diet lost 10.4 pounds after 12 months, compared to 5.7 pounds for women on the LEARN diet, 4.8 pounds for Ornish diet followers and 3.5 pounds for those on The Zone weight-loss plan.
Individual results varied, however, with some participants in all four groups losing up to 30 pounds, says the study by Stanford University researchers, published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"Many health professionals, including us, have either dismissed the value of very low-carbohydrate diets for weight loss or been very skeptical of them," said lead researcher Christopher Gardner, an assistant professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center in California.
"But it seems to be a viable alternative for dieters."
To conduct the $2.4-million study, 311 premenopausal, non-diabetic, overweight women were randomly assigned to follow either the Atkins, Zone, LEARN (Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitudes, Relationships and Nutrition) or Ornish diets. The four were chosen to represent the full spectrum of low- to high-carbohydrate weight-loss plans.
The Atkins diet, popularized by the 2001 re-publication of Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution, is the lowest in carbohydrates. The Zone diet, also low-carbohydrate, focuses on a 40:30:30 ratio of carbs to protein to fat, a balance said to minimize fat storage and hunger.
The LEARN diet follows guidelines reflected in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's food pyramid -- low in fat and high in carbohydrates. The Ornish diet, based on bestseller Eat More, Weigh Less by Dean Ornish, is very high in carbohydrates and extremely low in fat.
At the end of the study, women following the Atkins diet had larger decreases in body mass index, triglycerides and blood pressure compared to women in the other three groups.
"It's a very simple message," Gardner said in a release. "Get rid of all refined carbohydrates to lose weight."
Besides targeting high intake of sugar and refined-flour products, the Atkins diet is the best at encouraging people to drink more water, Gardner said, noting that when people replace sweetened beverages with water, they don't generally eat more food but consume fewer calories over the course of a day.
Dr. Arya Sharma, chair of cardiovascular obesity research at McMaster University, said it appears that diets like the Atkins plan are easier for people to adhere to because the high-protein content is more filling.
"Patients are less hungry and tend to eat less overall with these diets than with other diets where there are more or less restrictions in the kinds of foods that patients can eat," Sharma, scientific director of the Canadian Obesity Network, said yesterday .
Although Atkins dieters shed the most pounds by the end of the year, they also gained back more weight in the second half of the study than those in the other three groups.
Gardner said the women in the Atkins group had lost an average of almost 13 pounds after six months, but ended the one-year period with a final overall average loss of 10.4 pounds.
Critics say low-carbohydrate diets can lead to health problems, but researchers found that none of the health indicators measured in the study was worse for women on the Atkins plan.