Atkins - I think I have a diet split personality disorder

08-22-2010, 08:07 PM
I've been bouncing back and forth between two diets since the first of the year. I started out doing Atkins and lost a few pounds, but then I got stuck. So I switched back to being vegetarian and counting calories (using the points system from Weight Watchers) and was able to lose more weight. Then I got hungry and tried Atkins again for all of three days (yeah, I'm soooo dedicated) but then I felt kind of icky from eating meat again and went BACK to my other way, then back to Atkins one more time, and now I've been doing my vegetarian thing steady on for a month. I'm down to a healthy BMI right now, but still on the upper end of that for my height and I still need to lose about 20 lbs to be back in my comfort zone.

But I read a lot about nutrition in the news, and so much points to this being a very healthy way of life -- and I find myself wishing it could work for me for weight loss so that I could also stick with it for health reasons. Other people in my family are Atkins people (which makes me the only vegetarian) so I feel that if I could just make the transition and do it right, that might be a good fit for all concerned. My current diet consists of a lot of carbs, and fructose! And I just read that fructose is what cancer cells feed off of.

Ug! Decisions are so hard to make. I wish I weren't so wishy-washy.

08-22-2010, 08:27 PM
And if I'd only stuck to one plan instead of switch-hitting all this time, I might already have been closer to my goal. :rolleyes:

08-22-2010, 08:50 PM
One of my daughters is a vegetarian, a very slim one...she's never had to lose weight. She eats eggs, cheeses, lots of salads, lots of veggies, steamed or sauteed, tofu, no other dairy except half and half in her coffee and yogurt. She doesn't eat sugar in any form except ice cream maybe once a month, doesn't use artificial sweetner, doesn't drink diet sodas, drinks tons of plain water, and walks her dog every day.

She eats only whole grain bread, wild or brown rice, crackers, wraps...but not very often maybe a couple of times a week. She eats a banana almost every day, but otherwise, not much fruit except for blueberries in season.

She also eats fish and loves shellfish. She's a fan of legumes in the winter, packs her lunch and cooks dinner regularly; she literally NEVER eats fast food. She will, however, drink a beer or two a couple of times a week.

I don't know if this is any help to you at all. She eats this way because she likes it. I look at her size 2 self and wonder. If she didn't have an identical twin, I'd think maybe there was confusion at the hospital. How could such a child be mine?

Have you considered consulting a nutritionist? Or ask JerseyGyrl to comment? Congratulations on your weight loss! :dizzy:

08-22-2010, 09:27 PM
I haven't considered a nutritionist exactly -- it seems an expensive undertaking. But I WOULD love to hear from JerseyGyrl. She is my hero when it comes to Atkins! Maybe she would have some good advice.

Your daughter is sooo lucky, btw! :)

08-22-2010, 09:38 PM
I think the point I was attempting to make in my post about my daughter's version of vegetarianism is that she doesn't eat fructose except in that banana every day, and she's not taking in excess carbs, especially the "white" or highly refined carbs.

Her body seems to be in balance. And, yes, she is lucky, but she also eats smart and inherited somebody else's metabolism...I'm glad she never has to fight this battle. We, meanwhile, will do our best with what we have!

08-22-2010, 10:06 PM
Ah, I see what you mean about your daughter's good carb choices. Mine aren't really bad either when it comes to the whole grains and brown rice. I'm not really into the kinds of sweets that most people think are bad for you. I eat a lot of fruit though: cherries, grapes, bananas. I eat fruity yogurt with bran flakes a lot. Some cheese, but not much. Beans and nuts are included a few times a week. Most of the raw vegetables I have are either in salads or used as garnishes on something else, like a Boca vegan burger. I like to stir fry marinated tofu and frozen vegetables and make spicy sauces for them. My metabolism has decreased over the years, that's for sure. I have probably taken a hit to lean muscle mass due to my fluctuations.

08-23-2010, 10:34 AM
Maybe you just need to decide which one you want and then change your mind set to WOE for life and don't focus so much on the weight loss. It will come off- maybe more slowly than you want, but it will come off. Keep you eye on the big picture. At least this is what I tell myself - lol! I am a rather slow loser myself, but I am not obsessed about it. I feel better, less hungery and enjoy this WOE. Big picture Firefly- big picture!

08-23-2010, 12:22 PM
That is so true! I do have trouble seeing the big picture -- it's part of my tendency to be easily distracted. You are right about maybe I need to stop obsessing over losing weight. My concern should first be long-term health -- and discovering which WOE would really, truly get me there. I get so confused when I read so many conflicting things. I can't seem to decide for myself what is most reasonable to believe. If I could do that, I could decide.

08-23-2010, 10:08 PM
And let your body decide. How do you feel the best? Have the most energy? Enjoy the process?

You might also consider this: When I dither around and can't decide what to do, which path to take, procrastinate and fiddle around, I usually have to admit I'm delaying a decision because I fear failure, am too comfortable with whatever it is I'm currently doing (or not doing), I think it's too hard or will take too long, or I just plain "don't wanna." I'm just saying that's may not be you at all, but it might bear consideration.

It makes me :dizzy: !

08-27-2010, 04:53 AM
Hey firefly!!

I was just going to post almost the exact same thing to you as Sandy did.
You can still do Atkins and not eat meat. I'm having to deal with this now as I cannot chew meat.....but there's still eggs, etc. It can be done. For me, the no ravenous hunger issue is a biggie for me! Being extremely hungry all the time is a total deal-breaker for me! Why I love Atkins the most of any of the plans and only use Atkins for weight loss and maintenance.

You can do it. Sit down and make a list of all the non-meat proteins you CAN eat and still remain reasonably vegetarian....but one that eats eggs....and maybe fish...and cottage cheese, etc. We only need a regular amount of protein on this diet. It is the FAT and the VEGGIES that we really have to eat a lot of. You don't have to eat all that much protein, really. I am maintaining just fine...even without being able to eat most meats.


08-27-2010, 11:10 AM
You might find the approach in Primal Blueprint works for you. It's kind of the best of both worlds - lower carbs (avoiding wheat more than avoiding carbs), lots of produce, a real emphasis on pleasurable tasty food. Also an emphasis on a whole lifestyle, which sounds like you might be looking for instead of bouncing back and forth between diets. Most of the book content is also found on his website / blog (Mark's Daily Apple). He doesn't have a special diet plan per se, just a great way of making things meaningful and appealing and reasonable. I'm not saying Atkins is not any of those things. Just that different things hit the spot for different people, and I don't think PB and Atkins are worlds apart anyway.

The forum at Daily Apple has a number of very supportive threads specifically addressing former vegetarians which you might especially like. They really address why you would eat meat, which I think is important if you're going to stop bouncing back and forth. You have to find a place of mental clarity about that. Once you get past that mental part, and don't feel conflicted anymore, you might find Atkins itself easier to stick to.

08-29-2010, 10:14 AM
I really do appreciate all the advice. Deana, I have heard of the vegetarian Atkins before -- but I can't find any one-stop place online with lists of foods that are acceptable as substitutes for meat, or any Vegetarian Atkins sites that really spell out how it is done. The new book has meal plans for vegetarians in it, but not Induction, just Owl -- and there are so many "fake" foods used instead of meat. Except for when I did Atkins a few short times this year, I don't eat any meat at all -- not even fish. And eggs kind of gross me out most of the time. If only there were an Atkins Vegetarian source somewhere that had things really explained in great detail.

Julie, Primal Blueprint sounds interesting. I'll check out the Daily Apple site. It would be very difficult for me to not have a very specific "plan" to follow, though. I need the rules.

08-29-2010, 11:28 AM
There are many low-carb vegetarian resources (just go to and type in 'low-carb vegetarian').

Or you can jump into OWL - you don't need to start with induction (or you could do induction the standard, meat-including way and then switch to vegetarian for OWL.

As for Primal Blueprint, it is a specific plan, with specific rules to follow. You're not going to find lists of all ok and not ok foods. Rather there are specific guidelines to follow. Essentially you're cutting out grains and processed foods trying to mimic a Paleolithic diet (the foods man ate before the dawn of agriculture).

Or, you could continue to switch plans. Contrary to popular believe, you can lose weight switching plans - if you're picking the right plans and following them closely. I've lost my weight on several plans, not just one - and I can say that it wasn't switching plans that stalled my weight loss, it was the times I was following no plan at all.

I can lose weight on high-carb plans, I just am a lot more hungry and have to cut the calories far more drastically. I lose about the same amount of weight on 2000 calories of low-carb plan as I do on a 1200 to 1500 calorie high-carb plan (depending on the carb level. The more carbs, the fewer calories I can eat to lose).

I can switch plans, but I have to remember that I can choose 2000 calories of low-carb or 1200 calories of high-carb (the choice seems kind of obvious, especially since I feel starved even on 2000 calories of high-carb).

Also, I have to remember that when I switch to high-carb, my body does need more water to process the carbs, so I will gain temporary water weight (up to 10 lbs, for me). I have to remember that the water weight "doesn't really count," because it will disappear as soon as I go back to low-carb.

I use exchange plans based on those I found on this website

08-29-2010, 06:58 PM
The low-fat/low calorie approach does seem to work for me for weight loss. It's how I've lost most of the weight on my ticker down there. There are some hungry days, but I suppose I'll just need to make sure my choices are nutritious and filling on those days and keep on as I have been doing (without the obsession about rapid weight loss.) I'm vegetarian for personal belief reasons, so when I traded my convictions for a chance at quick weight loss I felt guilty about it. That's no good for weight loss either, stress.

I think my decision is clear. (But I LIKE hanging out here at the Atkins forum!) Can I be the weird vegetarian chick who hangs out with omnivores?

08-29-2010, 08:23 PM
This thread is really interesting to me as a new Atkins person. (I did Phase 1 of South Beach for a week as a way of transitioning into Atkins. Today is day two of Atkins induction for me).

I was a strict vegetarian for 7 years (i.e., I didn't wear leather or use products tested on animals, but I did eat eggs, cheese, etc.), and I was a vegan for one year. You can probably tell from this description that the ethics of eating matter to me. That is, eating factory-famed meat (no matter the animal) just seems really cruel to me, both to the furry animal and human animals involved in the production.

I recently tried to lose my excess weight/fat by doing Weight Watchers, a plan that is really friendly to a vegetarian diet. However, unlike the last time that I did WW (and made my goal weight without a problem), this time, I was STARVING all the time and could not stick to the plan. I decided that I needed to find something else.

I stumbled into Atkins through South Beach, and I must admit that after reading Dr. Atkins' books (the 1972 one and the 2002 one), I've been convinced to give this the "college try". Before I read the books, I held some of the misconceptions about the diet that are addressed Jersey Girl's post about them.

So far, (aside from the ethical issues that I keep thinking about), this has been the EASIEST "diet" I've followed. I feel fine (a bit too energetic, even), I've been sleeping better than I have in a while, and I'm not hungry AT ALL. So, like someone said upthread, I'm waiting to see if this feels better for me. I figure that once I get used to this WOE, I can try to adopt it so that I can live with the ethical dimensions.

I'm finding A LOT of inspiration from the folks on this 3FC community -- so THANKS for that !!

[Also, (as an aside) I second the notion that fish are animals -- someone who eats fish isn't a vegetarian (at least NOT by standard, accepted definitions of the term)] :-)

08-29-2010, 10:28 PM
Firefly, I share your dilemma. I have been trying to do a paleo/atkins combo--which is also a bit split personality. I'm taking things from the induction idea that I'll do for a couple of weeks but am not following it as strictly--maybe eating a little more iceberg lettuce than is allowed--an occasional tablespoon of raw almond butter --and I'll see how it goes.

I have been eating some chicken products and a lot of eggs and cheese, which I normally really don't like to eat so much of. It feels gross and it's hard in my area to find grass fed animal products on a daily basis and I hate supporting the big animal farming industries.

Normally I like to eat a lot of sprouted legumes, nuts, greek and organic yogurt, and lots of veggies, but my weight crept up from too many dried fruits=sugar/carbs and emotional overeating.

I eat canned wild alaskan salmon from trader joes and like it a lot, but don't want to eat several times a week due to mercury.

Can you stock up on a variety of different cheeses and work them in with

Kaplods, I'm really interested that you can eat more calories if you have lower carbs and less calories if you have more carbs. This really seems to show that it's mainly the carbs that are affecting your weight loss.
Your commitment is impressive.

I love how people share here without judging. I sometimes worry so much about screwing up that I don't wanna bother managing my eating lifestyle at all but that's counter productive.

08-30-2010, 12:50 AM
Change4thegood -- Have you tried sardines yet? I just recently became a sardine devotee! They're relatively inexpensive, often come packed in olive oil, and they're low on the fish food-chain (which means that you don't really have to worry about mercury). My favorite of the readily available brands is King Oscar. I've been getting a bit grossed out about chicken, beef, etc., too -- so, the sardines have been a life saver (similar to your salmon, I imagine).


08-30-2010, 05:19 PM
SissieSue--as a matter of fact I had Trader Joes smoked Sardines for an after breakfast snack today! They are growing on me and I can teach myself to like a food that's good for me.
I didn't think of that -but you're right they probably do have less mercury. I guess I just really like the legume/nuts/vegetables scenario but I'm trying to severly reduce my carbs to get rid of the middle that has grown in the last few years.

I see your weights! Are you finding that a good way source of exercise? I started a month ago and already feel so much stronger.

09-01-2010, 06:17 PM
Change4thgood -- I have lifted weights in the past (mainly the "big three": squats, dead lifts, and bench presses), but I've slacked off lately and have only been doing cardio. I've committed myself to getting back into it because, as you pointed out, it makes one feel stronger. Plus, I just like it. It's so awesome to be able to lift heavy weights and see those muscles work!

09-04-2010, 02:08 AM
Thanks for all the replies and thoughts. It's good to know I'm not the only one who's been through this sort of thing. :)

I wish everyone a nice, long Labor Day weekend! (Hope everyone will get a day off.)