As your personal fitness trainer my passion is to teach, coach, understand, push, prod, cajole, investigate, research and apply, over and over… As a ‘Fitness Role Model’…well…I feel vulnerable with weakness, so, in hopes we can all learn, from my own weakness, here goes…My Confession.
Last year I had a number of clients who started stubbornly on the Atkins diet despite my warnings. Immediately I saw almost profound results in their weight loss. I reminded them it was the loss of water weight, and warned of the strain on the kidneys and the high cholesterol risk.
During this time I was mastering my yoga practice as a complete vegan but found that my immune system had been profoundly compromised and I was currently on my third cold for the fall season Atkins was in the media again because of new study results indicating lowered cholesterol. I went to the Atkins book yet again with a more open mind, and decided to try the diet. I liked the contrarian view point to the current AMA position of the low fat diet, which seemed to be producing a society of increasing obesity. Atkins view of sugar as the culprit making you fat, not fat, made sense and the extra work from all the protein for the kidneys it’s benign. I wanted to use his diet as a tool to get myself entirely off of any sugar. I started out on the high protein, low carb aspect of the diet. As I reintroduced the animal proteins into my diet I could feel myself get stronger and the colds, finally stopped. I also saw my muscle bellies start to open and swell again. The cold of winter was not as painful as it had been while on my vegan diet.
I then summoned up the courage to start bringing fats into my diet, including bacon, egg yolks, cream cheese, heavy cream, whipped cream, even bacon rinds. On a daily basis I would marvel at having eaten these “forbidden foods” only to awaken the next day thin, svelte. I couldn’t believe this, result! I was loving eating all these foods so familiar yet banished since childhood
I was in full swing eating the high fat, high protein, low carb diet at the time when the pictures on my website were taken. http://www.vitalsignsfitness.com I felt strong, but I had no energy!!! My walks on the beach were lethargic, I had to force myself to go that extra mile. I was thin but I felt like a beached whale. My love affair with Atkins continued a few more months. I followed his prescriptions religiously.
Eventually I had to add more carbs, I needed more energy. By carbs I mean vegetables, salads and whole grains. At this point I gained back the total of two pounds I had lost on Atkins. Body fat went from 16% to 18%, my energy was better. After 7 months I decided it was time to get the blood checked out and to my horror discovered that my cholesterol which had always been around 150 had rocketed up to 300!! Luckily my HDL to LDL ratio was still at a healthy level. Thanks to my forcing myself to exercise, I kept my HDLs high.
I immediately started drinking hot lemon juice with cayenne pepper every morning to clean my blood. I have now thrown away all the high fat foods and have once again, come back full circle to moderation and balance. A balanced diet. It takes a little more discipline but my energy is back and I can now eat the same meals as my husband so dinner preparation is simpler. My weight has not changed since I gradually introduced the carbs. I avoid at all costs the “white foods” flour, sugar, milk. I drink unsweetened soy milk I avoid foods in packages, boxes and bags. I feel a fine layer of fat but that’s okay its winter, I need it, and in the summer, heat always melts it off. I am completely off sugar and alcohol to keep blood sugar low.
Author: Deborah Caruana RN, MES, CPT