Look I am trying to find out if this whole low carb thing really works. I would love for someone to tell me their success story with it and how they did it. Me, I am just cutting out all carbs. I just started though so tell me if I am doing something wrong.
I tried Atkins about a year and a half ago and was miserable - my mood was very low and I simply dtopped after about a week. I like carbs too much to never eat them again, and I know that if I try to stick with something that restrictive, I am just setting myself up for failure. I truly believe in moderation in all things.
Well, I'm the exact opposite of Marilyn. Atkins definitely works for me! I have tried numerous diets -- Slim Fast, low fat, calorie counting, etc. -- and, I ended up heavier and hungrier. Low-carb eating keeps me satisfied. I finally have my hunger under control. I have more energy than ever before. I've actually stuck to it, going on two (?) years now. I know a lot of folks have the motto of "everything in moderation," but moderation doesn't exist for me when it comes to sugar, so I have to cut it out completely. And, I'm OK with that. And, I've never been a big bread or pasta eater, so low carb is a perfect fit for me. But, each individual person has to find what works for them. Many people have success with calorie counting or low-fat, but it definitely wasn't for me. Try low carb out, and if it doesn't work for you, try something else until you find a way that you can get and stay healthy.
It definitely has worked for me!! I couldn't lose weight on 1200 calories a day/low fat but I've lost 47 pounds on 1800 calories a day doing Atkins. I agree with jdogg -- everyone has to find what works for them.
BTW, with Atkins you DON'T cut out all carbs. You must eat 20 carbs from the induction food list -- getting most of your carbs from veggies. Do not fall prey to the so-called low-carb food products. They are NOT what low carb is all about.
I have not felt the least bit deprived while doing low carb -- which I'll do for the rest of my life. I've been doing it since June 29, 2004, and although I have plateaued (because I've increased my carbs to about 125 per day), I have not gained.
I had to completely replace my wardrobe, so I'm happy to stay at my current weight until after my two vacations -- September Baltic cruise and October 5-day shopping/theater spree in Manhattan. I figure by then my body will have adjusted to the current weight such that I can kickstart my weightloss and lose the last 20 pounds I want to lose -- which I'll do by cutting back Atkins induction for a few weeks and then gradually increase my carbs and food choices.
i have been on atkins for 6 weeks and have lost 22 lbs. this is without even exercize even though i just bought a treadmill so as soon as it is shipped it will be. i love the diet because you never have to be hungry! i have done many others but never kept it off because i felt deprived, however i dont feel this way on atkins so i am optimistic.
South Beach is better and healthier then Atkins. You will do much better on South Beach. I have done them both. I had success on both... however I could not stay on Atkins for to long... where I can last much longer on SBD.
Manicgurl, the most important part of losing weight is learing to love yourself enough to want to make changes. Looking at the comments under your name I think you should be looking into learning how to love yourself first instead of dieting (for the time being). Once you do realize you are not an ugly fat chick and that you are a beautiful person, I have no doubt losing weight will be easier. Focus on the inside gurl instead of the outside and you'll see the outside change.
I started out at 171 pounds...went on Atkins and lost 30 pounds withOUT exercise or being hungry. I improved my self image of myself and actually started liking the way I looked. Got lazy and ate carbs and gained 10 pounds back that I'm currently working on. Would I switch to some other WOE/diet?? NO WAY!!! Why? More energy (yes, you probably won't have much energy at first due to getting the bad carbs out of your system) and not feeling hungry all the time. And Atkins isn't bad for you despite what critics say about it. Yes, it's restrictive...but if you've tried all the other diets, fads and pills out there (I've been there, done that. Won't again) you've got to at least give this the 2 weeks for induction to see for yourself. But you've got to read the book about it to FULLY understand how to do Atkins. I think it's great you've cut down on carbs alone....I know a person that lost weight making her own low carb menus up. YOU CAN DO THIS
Hi all! Okay, I don't even know where to begin, so I'll start with giving you my background/diet profile. I can also assure you that any technical info I give you comes from EXTENSIVE research in nutrition and exercise physiology. I have done 8 seperate research papers on various diets and their effects on metabolism and set point. I'm not trying to sound like a know-it-all, it's just that I have a lot of time on my hands, so I spend alot of effort studying anything that interests me.
Background: I was always thin, until I became a mommy. I had a lot of pregnancy complications and ended up with Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism. Hashimoto's is an immune issue, wherein your immune system mistakes your thyroid for an outside invader...and slowly destroys it. I won't go any further into it, but let's just say that I have a consistently slow metabolism. Anyways, my doctor tried to simply give me a thyroid hormone and systematically lower my calorie intake, until it got to the point where I was on 800 calories a day, and still GAINING weight. At that point she referred me to an endocrinologist (basically a metabolic specialist). Long story short, the specialist figured out I had Hashimoto's (not just regular hypothyroidism) and proceeded to play around with my thyroid, fine tuning everything constantly, as my thyroid levels fluctuate. She then insisted that I go on a meal replacement diet through the local hospital (every hospital has this program, you just drink 5 shakes and eat 1 protein bar a day, no normal food). I think I could have stuck with it, if it hadn't of been for those "support group" style meetings. I was the only person in the group that was under 50 (I was 22). I quit. Next, I joined L.A. Weight Loss...but it was just sooo much work, plus they put your weight loss on the scale in high regards, all the while ignoring obvious muscle loss...a serious sign that their plan is more of a short-term fix. I quit. Next, I joined Medical Weight Loss Clinic. I only lasted 2 weeks on this one. They recommended lots of expensive supplements...which taste super nasty. After almost two weeks of feeling dizzy, nauseaus (sp?), and having headaches and hunger pangs I started checking into things futher. Come to find out they had me on 800 calories a day. I don't care who you are, if you eat less than your RMR (resting metabolic rate) you are losing weight in the form of muscle and water. Sure, I lost a few pounds, but I gained them right back again. I quit. Next, I tried Weight Watchers. The meetings were annoying, and the people in there were...strange. The leaders were perky, and in my opinion simply spouting off cliche's and catering mainly to the morbidly obese individuals in the room. Oh, and don't even get me started on the "points". I just wanted to be told what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. I'm sure many of you are in the same boat right now. You have a goal which is to lose X number of lbs in X number of days with the least amount of physical discomfort all the while not going broke in the process. That's the point I was at when I made an appointment with an alternative medicine doctor. I was kinda hoping that she would prescribe me some pill or something...I didn't care what. I still remember sitting face to face with her and saying "I don't care what I have to do, what pill I have to take...you know what works...so tell me what to do, and I'll do it". She gave me an exasperated look, furrowed her brow, and said "if you really want to lose weight quickly you could always just do a low carb diet, like Atkins or Protein Power". I had never heard of a low carb diet before (this was a few years back, before low carb became all the rage again), so I asked her to explain to me the basics. She explained everything, but I guess I was more than a little skeptical I said "are you sure this will work, and I won't be hungry"? She assured me that it would work, and that I would never ever be hungry. I was sold, and as soon as I left the appointment I went straight to the bookstore and bought both Atkin's and Protein Power. I spent a good portion of that day reading, and then making meal plans for the following week. There were very few differences between the two books, but I decided to go with Protein Power's recommendation of 30 grams of carbs during the induction phase. The next day I began, and was surprised at how easy it was. I weighed in that morning at 206, wearing a tight size 18 pants. I followed the plan to a T...I'm talking every aspect. When it tells you to "add carbs back slowly after induction, but make sure you're still losing", that's exactly what I did. The problem was that even adding them back extremely slowly I couldn't take in more than 45 grams a day without gaining. So I did what it told me to, and followed plan. Approximately 12 weeks later I was down to 140 lbs, and wearing a pant size 7. It was easy...okay maybe not easy, but easier than anything else I knew of. The problem was that I grew to resent it. Afraid to eat certain foods that I was craving because it would knock me out of the hard earned state of ketosis, cutting out an entire food group (bread and grains...sure it says you can add them back later/once you've lost the weight, but don't count on it), and the list goes on. I was also sick and tired of defending my low-carb lifestyle to my classmates at University. Remember, I lost all of the weight throughout the course of a semester. My classmates literally watched me shrink before their eyes. I became really adept at defending my diet in front of health science teachers and students alike. In case you're wondering, although my degree is in Human Resource Development I had to take a few health science classes as well. Anyway, after losing all the weight, defending the diet, trying to slowly up my carbs (to no avail), and completely losing all interest in foods that I was allowed to eat...I became frustrated. My doctor (the one who originally turned me on to low-carb) finally came to the conclusion that my body was not going to stand for additional carbs, and she suggested I stay at 45 grams a day indefinately. Meanwhile, I was busy researching nutrition and physiology books, trying to figure out what I could do...I didn't want to eat this way anymore, at least not to this drastic extent. That's when I stopped reading all of the scientific stuff put out by pro-Atkin's advocates, and started relying on actual evidence that has been compiled by exercise physiologists nutritionists, and medical doctors with nothing to gain. Like many who follow a low-carb way of life, I was convinced that it was some kind of conspiracy by supporters of the original food pyramid...that they were just set in their ways and would not listen to or even consider all of the wonderful benefits of eating low-carb. I know I'm not alone in this, just check out the wording in any one of the low carb books...it sounds like their rying to let you in on a little known weight loss secret...just between us *wink wink*. But if you really research all of the objective data available out there you will discover that the truth about low carb diets is much different than those who stand to profit from your following it would lead you to believe.
The Truth: Low carb diets are really low cal diets, with the added diurtic effects associated with ketosis. Among other less important side effects, ketosis causes your body to expel glycogen, the main thing you need to understand with this process is that as it depletes its glycogen stores, it also depletes the water molecules that are attached...as well as the intramuscular water stores. It also causes weight to be lost in the form of muscle. I guarantee you that much of that weight you see coming off is in the form of water and muscle...which in turn slows down your metabolism. Don't get me wrong, you will lose fat too (this is after-all a calorie restricted diet), but the majority of the weight you lose will come from area's you don't want to lose (organs, muscles, etc).
Disclaimer: I am not one of those anti-atkins nut-jobs. I do not work for the U.S. government, touting the food pyramid as one of the wonders of the world. I am not a disgruntled person that tried Atkins, but just couldn't stay away from the "evil white stuff" and blames my lack of will-power on Atkin's. I was a low-carb cheerleader...until I realized the consequences and the (almost) inevitable outcome (the weight re-appears, eventually...in more than 85% of everyone who loses weight this way). Now of course regain is common in all forms of dieting...it is just more common in low-carb losers than it is in reduced calorie diet losers. When I first started low-carbing I was impressed, the food was yummy. I even recruited my parents and a few of the gals on my bowling league over to the low-carb wol. They have since regained it all, and then some. Why "and then some" you may be wondering...well, because by the time they had gone through induction and OWL they had significantly less muscle, and therefore a lower metabolism, than when they began. They too loved the food, initially...but eventually it gets old, and you get to the point where you would jump your granny for a trip to Dairy Queen. Ask yourself "can I eat like this forever"? Even though you might be able to up your carbs after you've lost the weight you'll never be able to eat normal again...because when you start ordering the bun on your hamburger you can bet the weight will begin slowly creeping back. Can you eat like this forever? Are you sure?
What works for the long-term:
1. Calculate your RMR (resting metabolic rate) using a calculator (like the one on caloriesperhour dot com) and make sure to factor in your activity level. This done, now you know your acceptable calorie level. This in mind, go about your normal eating habits for 3 or 4 days, writing down everything that you put into your mouth. At the end, calculate your total daily caloric intake. You should be shocked.
2. Now that you know why you were gaining weight, it's time to do something about it. You need to plan out your meals for the next week, here are your guidelines:
- Don't skimp on the protein. Protein in the form of whey protein powder is excellent.
- Get your carbs from low glycemic sources...look around for a glycemic index on the web. Stay away from high glycemic carbs as much as possible, but don't deprive yourself of something you're really craving...just eat a small portion.
- Devide your calories as evenly as possible between 6 small meals. Don't go more than 3 hours between meals, if you do you'll be more likely to over eat.
- Try to eat as many whole foods as possible. The closer to how they are naturally found in nature, the better. If you must use a meal replacement, Myoplex shakes and bars are the most complete ones I have found.
-Take a vitamin and essential fatty acid every day.
-drink between 80-100 oz of water a day.
-Green tea is helpful, something about it is thought to help speed metabolism
As far as exercise goes, I like to follow the guidelines outlined in the "Body for Life" book. Basically, intense 20 minute aerobic intervals 3 days a week, but not on days you strength train. Strength training with heavier weights, til the point of...well, pretty much til you can't do any more. I do believe that there is a Body for Life forum on 3FC somewhere. You can't go wrong with it...it will work for you! Best of all, you will end up with a faster metabolism, and much more freedom of choice once you lose the weight (and while your losing it as well). Oh man, I've been typing FOREVER! I hope that this info helps someone. Remember, there are no quick fixes that will help in the long run. I have full faith that anyone with the initiative to come to this website has the strength inside to help them learn to lose their weight the right way. I can attest to how horrible it is to have to start over...I only wish that I had tried it the right way...the first time.
Good Luck to You All...and God Bless!
With much respect,
In the Beginning: 07/01/05 - 211 lbs, Jeans: Lane Bryant Size 18/20
**Current Stats**: 12/18/05 - 154 lbs, Jeans: The Gap Size 10
Hi Amanda, very interesting post! I agree with a lot of what you said, but one thing that I'm reading about the weight loss in glycogen stores - that wouldn't be ongoing weight loss, just the start of the diet when glycogen is depleted. Same goes for South Beach, or any other diet that claims a quick weight loss at the start, or a jump start program. Once you balance out though, you move into the fat and muscle loss.
Anybody will lose weight via muscle loss if they lose too fast, not just the low carbers. Some bodybuilders also follow low carb (like my trainer when he's preparing for some competitions) and they cannot compromise muscle loss. The body can only lose so much fat at once - anything additional in a fast weight loss is muscle, regardless of the type of plan followed. (I've read that 1 percent of your weight is a healthy loss per week, but I can't remember offhand where I read that.) I can see why you did lose so much muscle. You had a weight loss many people dream about, not realizing that 60+ pounds in 3 months is more than a woman of your size could have shed for pure fat loss.
I totally agree with you about strength training. It's a very important part of weight loss, and helps tremendously for those of us with shot metabolisms!
We're fat chicks, not doctors. Please see your physician before taking advice found on the internet.
THANK YOU so much for the information you posted! I am printing it out as I type! I have been low carbing for about 3 years on and off! First Atkins... which only last a month or so in reality. I got so tired of eating that way. When I did it I did not eat those things... ever! So it was very hard for me.
Last year I did the SBD! I lost a little over 30 pounds in about 6 months (I think it was more loss in shorter time.. but I threw away my journals so I can't remember for sure). But once I stopped eating that way... it ALL came back on and then MORE as well!.
Through out talking with my doctor, reading all of these books (my husband hates I spend so much money on books lol) and speaking with others I have FINALLY figured it out! Low carbing is EVERYTHING that is causing ALL of my problems today!!! I new I should have listened to my Mamma! Lol... just kidding.. but she didn't want me doing this!
I have been back on the SBD since 7/21/05. All I am doing it GAINING weight! I talked to my doctor... it is because once you do it... you ruin your metabolism more, it won't work as well if at all again!
Of course.... quitting smoking on 5/16/05 has NOT helped my weight loss this time at all since 5/12/05! But that had to be done too! My mom has lung cancer.... my grandpa died from lung cancer, now Peter Jennings dies from it, and now Dana Reeves has it! To scary for me to continue.... although I still want one daily! But I won't do it!!
Anyway I figured it out! Low carb diets has caused ALL of my problems in the past couple of weeks! My husband and I just realized that all of my problems started a little bit after I restarted the SBD plan!!! I have read all of this in books the past few days... and I am finally figuring it all out!
I now suffer from depressions, jittery speeding muscles, insomnia, panic and anxiety attacks (normally only during storms but at almost all times since SBD), memory not working right, nervousness, exhaustion, lack of energy big time, real tired by day but can't sleep at night before 2 or so in the morning, my muscles hurt all of the time, I don't want to talk to anyone.. not even close friends or family, and a few other things. This is all do to low carb diets!!!
When I was doing WW I did NOT have any of these problems!!! Now I do! Problem solved!! Now I know what I need to do... and it is NOT taking prescription drugs to resolve my issues! It is better diet!!!
I started Atkins back in July 2003 I had a wheat intolerance and thought Atkins would help me with my meal planning. It did I lost 23lbs and i disagree with those who say it is restrictive...on induction you have to be inventive with your menu but the allowed food list is extensive (as a food lover i found it a challenge to come up with different dishes that satisfied me and the induction phase!) I have stuck with it for 2 years now and by the time you get to life maintanance your meals are difficult to distiquish from a none (healthy eating ) dieter!!! My husband switched to my WOE (as they do when they can't cook for themselves lol) and he also lost about 28lbs he looks fantastic on it and hasn't eat a more varied diet in his entire life!!
Low Carb diets get a lot of bad press - if they are carried out exactly as they were intended they provided a healthy way of eating...the usual cry is Akins diet contains no fruit or veg - not true, induction says you can have 400gm of salad veg...most of my overweight friends who diss atkins don't get that a week!!!
Hmm that's me done, i'll get off my soap box now...thanks for letting me vent my feelings!! lol
Tracy - Glad to help. I was not trying to bash low carb...just shed some light on a lot of the research behind it that I was unaware of when I was following it. And I agree with you, the more you go on and off of it, the more your ability to lose using that method is diminished. I have been extremely thrilled with the results I am getting eating 6 meals a day, and I hope you consider trying it. It really revs up your metabolism, and helps to keep hunger at bay!
All - When I originally posted, I was afraid that something about the wording I used would lead people to believe I was confusing Induction with OWL...trust me, I'm not. The fact is, that even when you are rigidly following the plan during OWL, you are still not eating enough carbs to maintain and adequate glycogen supply. Everything you do throughout the day (gardening, housework, shopping...anything that involves movement) draws continuously from your glycogen reserves. After induction, in order to continue losing weight, most people can not eat over 50 grams of carbs daily, and many cannot eat over 40 (a fact which Atkin's did not dispute), what this means is that unless you are sedentary throughout your day (spend a lot of time sitting, with no intentional exercise) you will continually have a glycogen deficiency. This is not speculation, it is fact. Although this does create a stable blood sugar level, it will also cause your body to draw its energy from muscle. When there is a glycogen deficiency your body will defend its fat stores much more agressively than it will work to protect your muscles. As far as the idea of weight training while low carbing, there is a serious roadblock. Okay, in order to repair muscle (something that needs to take place after you do any kind of productive resistance training), your body needs glycogen...plain and simple. Without sufficient levels of glycogen your body will attempt to repair what little it can, and then actually break down what it can't repair. Nomatter what you have read in a diet book, it is just a fact that; with or without weight training, 20 grams of carbs or 50 grams of carbs, aerobic exercise or soap opera's and tv remote thumb aerobics - without sufficient glycogen available you are losing muscle, and therefore water. You are dehydrating your innards, and drawing energy from your organs. Please, read some of the available info from good doctors who don't stand to make big $$$ off of a book deal. Or, if you believe that M.D.'s aren't very schooled in nutrition (as many of them are not), then read some of the free research material put out there by nutritionists and exercise physiologists, none of whom have anything to gain by keeping you fat. They are not unschooled, or ignoring the latest nutritioal information (as I originally thought when I was a low-carb advocate). There is no conspiracy. There is a medical term for the type of weight loss which occurs due to carb restriction...it's called WASTING. It is the only reason why I encourage you to also read research by M.D.'s...because M.D.'s are generally pretty familiar with the effects of wasting, and the internal damage that it can cause. The only time when the benefits of a low carb lifestyle actually outweigh the potential risks are when we're dealing with a severely obese individual (like, say, 350 lbs. +). In their case, it's better to get a good amount of weight off quickly, in order to lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, etc. But unfortunately, low carb diets have a great deal of appeal for yo-yo dieters (as I was), offering a quick fix with the least amount of discomfort. If I had to guess, most people on here don't have more than 90-100 lbs. to lose (many have much less than that I'm sure). For many of these people, Atkins will seem like the miracle cure, the answer to their dreams. It caters to every physical and psychological desire you feel you need. It starts by telling you that your weight gain is "not your fault" and goes on to tell you that "you've been lied to by the doctors you've entrusted to care for you". So at this point you're like "cool, not my fault...darn those stubburn undereducated doctors" (at least that's how I was). Then it goes on to tell you that exercise isn't the key, moderation isn't the key...just eat until you're full! Man, who wouldn't go for that! Then you spend the first two weeks eating things that every other diet (and that smart little voice in the back of your head) tells you isn't good for you. And like magic, 2 weeks later...you're 10...12...14 lbs lighter! How cool, you didn't have to exercise, didn't have to count calories, and didn't have to measure portion sizes...you ate until you were full (which, by the way, fills a deep psychological need), and lost more weight than you lost in a month of starving yourself on a low fat diet. Sure a lot of it was water (and muscle, but Atkin's doesn't tell you that part) but as you transition onto OWL, and the weight loss continues you grow content, fullfilled with your way of eating. Sure, it's restrictive as far as carbs go, and your daily allotment of carbs that you can eat while still losing is 40 (or maybe your lucky and it's 50), but food starts to lose its appeal. The steak without the potato doesn't taste quite as good (and don't even get me started on those cauliflower mashed potatoes, yuck), and man...what I wouldn't do for a sandwhich on bread that actually tastes like bread. Here is the important part...the part I missed when I was still low carbing...what happens when your food starts to lose its appeal? That's right, you EAT LESS OF IT! Coupple that with the fact that your body is now eating itself as fuel...you now have one of the most unhealthy forms of low calorie diets in existance...and you're following it! Don't get me wrong, I did too. I understand its appeal. But even if you pretend that your body isn't eating parts of you that it shouldn't be, forget the fact that your metabolism is now seriously confused, and don't even consider the muscle loss...Can you really eat this way forever? What if your maintainance level is only 80 grams of carbs a day? What if it ends up being even less than that? Are you sure you can sustain this forever? Do you think that all the warnings of the M.D.'s, exercise physiologists, and nutritionists are really askew, that they are just misguided or unwilling to accept the truth? Would you be willing to bet your long term health on it? Have you already placed that bet? Just remember, most people who lose weight doing exactly what you are doing gain it all back, and then some. As a whole,those people were no more or less dedicated to the plan than this group is as a whole. Can you beat the odds that they didn't? If you asked them if they thought they would beat the odds, what do you think they would have said? Please research before you take this too far. You can lose the weight sensibly, I promise! If I can lose the weight even with insulin resistance and Hashimoto's hypothyroidism, you can lose it! If you want to do something about your carb intake, just make sure that you are eating mostly low-glycemic carbs. This will have the desired affect of keeping your blood sugar stable, while simultaneously promoting fat loss and muscle retention. And as I said in my previous post, eat 6 small meals a day with the main goal of never being FULL, but also never being HUNGRY. This will rev up your metabolism, and keep you from overdoing it. The only time when it is advisable to eat high glycemic carbs is right after an intense exercise session (to promote muscle repair, growth, and retention). If you want to look to a book for guidance, check out Body for Life. The advice in that book is sound, backed up by tons of long term research and scientific proof. Also, it is doable...even in the long run. Good luck to you all, and God bless.
In the Beginning: 07/01/05 - 211 lbs, Jeans: Lane Bryant Size 18/20
**Current Stats**: 12/18/05 - 154 lbs, Jeans: The Gap Size 10
Ok - so I have stayed silent on this one for a while now BUT I can't stand it any more.
As everyone is aware, or should be if you have done a bit of research, The Atkin's Diet is referred to as 'the Carb Addict's Diet'. There is a reason for this. There is a segment of the population who respond differently to carbs than normal people. They respond to it mind and body much the same as to an addictive drug. To us it IS a drug. If you research this there is real science behind the addiction and how our bodies, addict's bodies, process simple carbs. And I'm not talking about only the research the Atkin's people talk about. There are many independent studies about this. Not everyone is a carb addict - some people are more sensitive than others -some people are not sensitive at all - some people have never had carb cravings in their lives. Those people don't know what I'm talking about as they have never experienced it.
Atkin's or other low/restricted carb WOE are not for everyone - but they are not DESIGNED for everyone, people! They are designed for people who are sensitive to simple carbs and have no control over them. I'm sorry but you may quote a much research as you want and I will never believe that eating healthy, balanced, controlled meals where 'I' am in control will hurt me. 'Nough said.
A house is not a home without the clickity click of doggie feet!
I eat healthier NOW (no chips, junk food, etc) than I did before starting Atkins. You're saying that's WRONG now? Hm...I'll take this WOE over the way I was eating. "Use a little self control"....tried that...how do you think I got this way to begin with?? I now eat veggies instead of a fries or chips. I never ate much fruit to begin with so I'm not missing anything now am I?!
And I'd like to add: Amen to what Ms Spotdog has said!!!! (and as she said... " 'Nough said."