Atkins, WeightWatchers, and the Evils of Sugar

Saying you want to lose weight and eat healthy is way easier said then done.  Eating healthy in America where all kinds of food and treats are there to tempt you is difficult and takes real commitment, which is something I struggle with. I’m good at staying away from junk foods when I’m home (we don’t have any in the house) and grocery shopping isn’t an issue, but going out for dinner with friends? Going to the bar? That’s when I get into trouble. The bread on the table, the butter, pasta, pizza, and often in astounding (American) sized portions.  Learning to resist or to indulge in moderation, to not eat everything in front of me, is hard.  I’ve done it before, I know it’s doable, but getting back into that mode is a struggle.

I spent all of January and the first week February on Atkins, and it wasn’t bad.  I stayed away from sugars, grains, and bread but ate cheese, nuts, meats, and vegetables to my hearts content.  It was nice not having to count calories, or track what I was eating.  I knew what I could eat, what to avoid, and to check how high the carb count was on foods.

Cutting sugars out of my diet made me less anxious and less stressed, which is fantastic.  If nothing else, I did learn from doing Atkins that sugar really is addicting and creates cravings, but if it’s cut from my diet for a day or two, the cravings are gone and it becomes easier to control what I eat.  However, as soon as its reintroduced, those cravings are back in full swing.

While I didn’t gain weight on Atkins, after the first week or so neither did I loose any.  Over the 5 weeks, I lost 6-7 pounds, but all within the first 10 days or so and after that I just lost and regained the same pound.  While it’s good to know that I can maintain my weight on that, what I want is to loose, which led me back to WeightWatchers.

I lost around 50 pounds on WeightWatchers 5 or so years ago, which I regained after moving out of the country.  I know that if I can actually stick to it, track, and follow the plan, that I can loose the weight again. What I like about WeightWatchers is that it offers more flexibility than Atkins. As long as I track it, I can eat whatever I want, though, of course, it’s all about moderation.  The flexibility makes it easier to go out to dinner with friends, have a drink, eat an occasional sweet.  This can also be a challenge for me because it makes it easier to justify eating things that I know aren’t good for me, but that I can have as long as I have the points available, whereas on Atkins I found it was easier to stay away from foods that I knew I couldn’t have, it was more cut and dry.

I’m still trying to stay away from sugars but what I’m finding is that since I know I can have anything as long as I track it, its harder to resist if bread or cupcakes or whatever is in front of me, so that’s something I’m going to have to work on.  I feel better when sugars aren’t a big part of my diet, so it is worth it if I can avoid eating it.

I’m also trying to avoid processed food and eating too many grains and pasta as well, to really stick to fruits, vegetables and proteins (though I’m not much of a meat eater) as much as possible. And Greek yogurt. I do love Greek yogurt with mixed berries.  Exercise isn’t a problem, I go to the gym for an hour or so usually 5 times a week, am trying to increase how long I go each time, an try to convince myself that I like running. I’m doing 1/4 mile on the treadmill and the plan is to slowly increase the distance I run, but attempting to talk myself into actually enjoying running is a whole different problem.

So, this week is going to be about committing to getting away from sugars again, sticking to the plan, and trying to get back into the mindset I need to be successful and lose the weight and I want and need to lose. Again, this is all easy to say, and its easy to think ‘yeah, I’m going to be 100% committed to this,’ and another to actually do it.

The end goal: be able to once again do 12 hour hikes (without dying) to see views like this

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