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Atkins Diet: No Energy to Exercise


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Hi all,

I was wondering if anyone has advice for me. I'm doing the Atkins Diet, because I know a  few friends who have "done" it, or in fact live by it, and they are beautifully slim and toned and obviously it's a massive hit among celebrities. I've currently only just started and am in the induction phase. For those who don't know, the idea is to limit your carb intake to a very low 20g a day (that's 20g of net carbs; fiber and polyols are subtracted from the total). This means basically only eating meat, cheese, eggs and green leafy vegetables.

They say the best results are achieved if combined with exercise (pretty obvious), but the problem I'm having is that I'm finding it incredibly hard to limit my carb intake to 20g while also meeting the minimum of 1200 calories a day that is still "safe" without eating an extortionate amount of cholesterol and saturated fat. There's something that for me just doesn't feel right about stuffing down this much meat and fat. I tried to be modest with my meat/fat intake yesterday and when I went for a run I could only maintain 5 minutes before I felt like I was going to faint.

Is this diet just a direct path to ill health? Or does anyone know of a good food source that is high in calories but low in fat and carbs? Should I just time when I eat my biggest meal to fall just before I exercise? If you have any experience of this diet, have you had similar problems and how have you dealt with them?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

27 Replies (last)

Hi there, 1200 calories is too low during induction.  I love doing Atkins but have to be in the right mindset to do it, However, it is the way of eating for me by far.

You need to eat some extra calories and add some extra low carb veggies to your daily intake until you adjust to the diet.  That's what I had to do. 

Also, water, water, water!  That pushes the ketones out of your body, keeps the lightheaded feeling away, keeps you feeling fuller longer and of course, hydrated.  I get that light headed or faint feeling with dehydration during Atkins.

I'm just starting to calorie count again as I've been chowing down like a mad woman since Christmas! 

I will be starting Atkins on Monday, April 9th (Easter Monday).......hope you are still doing Atkins yourself and have much luck with it!

PM me if you have any questions.

Also here is a great site for recipes: http://www.genaw.com/lowcarb/recipes.html

 

The atkins diet is very hard. It does not give longterm results unless you eat 20 carbs for the rest of your life. Once you start eating more carbs you gain it all back plus more. Trust me, my dad did this and lost alot of weight but then he ate more carbs and gained it back plus more very quickly

Many years ago I did a modified Adkins type diet and although I lost weight quickly as soon as I ate like normal people it all came back on - luckily it didn't bring extra friends with it, but that happens often as well.

If you want something that isn't high in fats and full of processed foods.  Just eat a good variety of ALL macronutrients and eat fewer calories than you burn.

To fuel workouts you need carbs.  Carbs fuel the body.  If you limit the fuel your body needs to work you will get dizzy.

I also have issue with low carb foods due to the fact they usually add a lot of fake sugars to the food to add taste.  

Just eat real food, Shoot for a balance of carbs/ protein and healthy fats.

I do a 40/30/30 plan.  Lots of lean meats, unprocessed carbs ( whole grains, fruit, veggies) and nuts, olive oil and if you like advocados those are good fats too.  

 

Keep in mind that ANY diet that restricts a certain food, certain amount of carbs, calories, fats etc. when stopped, the weight will be gained back! 

Look at it this way......if you eat 20 carbs and lose weight and then go from eating 20 to eating 150 then of course you gain weight.  That's why with Atkins you add "5" carbs per day as you progress to know what your "Carb Limit" for gaining it all back will be. 

Same with Weight Watchers, and believe me, I know as I've done it.......If you are allowed to eat 27 points for and lose weight for example and stop eating 27 and start eating 52 points........what happens?  You gain weight!!!!!

Atkins is no different for gaining as any other diet......You increase carbs in moderation and when the scale starts to go up again, decrease your intake!  If it were Weight Watchers, you would decrease your points.  Simple

Also:  Don't eat "Low Carb" foods, eat real food.......fresh not processed.  Veggies are your friend, and when you get off of induction and are increasing your carb intake, start with fresh berries like blueberries, and blackberries and strawberries. 

If you're a fan of the Atkins diet, you should look into Paleo diet instead?  Or perhaps something even more open and well rounded like Abs Diet or Body for Life?  These are all good books I'm recommending, with good information about eating a well-rounded diet with less restriction than Atkins.  Let's not forget that Atkins lost a ton of wind from its sail when Dr. Atkins died of heart disease at a young age. 

Atkins was actually somewhat old when he died.  His diet is still a bunch of hooey, but he was in his 70s, which isn't super old now, but isn't that bad.

What sweetchiliheat said is right.

I did Atkins for 7 years with great success but was running a lot, too. As soon as I stopped exercising, I gained 20 pounds relatively quickly. I often felt dizzy when I worked out on Atkins.

I've lost the 20 plus five more eating a balanced diet and counting calories. As well, I'm back to working out again and seem to have more energy.

I miss all the cheese and meat I used to eat, but I enjoy the beans, grains and sweet potatos now!

Good luck!

And this is why we don't do low-carb, your performance simply sucks if you don't have the carbs you need to fuel your workouts. 

Original Post by amerikaj:

If you're a fan of the Atkins diet, you should look into Paleo diet instead?  Or perhaps something even more open and well rounded like Abs Diet or Body for Life?  These are all good books I'm recommending, with good information about eating a well-rounded diet with less restriction than Atkins.  Let's not forget that Atkins lost a ton of wind from its sail when Dr. Atkins died of heart disease at a young age. 

He did not, that's a blatant lie from the PETA propaganda machine. He slipped on the ice and fell, hitting his head and falling into a coma, later dying from complications related to his accident.

 All the same, I don't like low-carb diets in general because of the way they tend to invent mythologies and non-physiological nonsense about diet, health and fitness to create the false impression that there's some sort of magic happening when all that's really going on is that fat and protein is really satiating so people will naturally eat less.

Five people that are close to me have been on this diet that I know of.  All of them lost quite a bit of weight.  All of them gained it all back plus some once they tried to maintain. The one who was severely obese told me that she hated it because she did not have enough energy to even try to exercise. I think that she occasionally tries it again (slightly modified) with little to no longterm success.  As others have pointed out, unless it is something you will be able to or want to stick to forever, it will not work and you are torturing yourself for no reason.  Well to me it looks like torture, maybe not for you.  I love fruits and vegetables of all types and would hate to exclude any of them.  If you do continue with it I hope you do not turn it into an all bacon blue cheese diet like some people I know....Undecided

When you first cut your carbs drastically it's a big change for your body to get used too.  This can result in the "carb flu".  I eat paleo and started by gradually reducing my carbs from 200 to 150 and so on.  Now I stay between 50 and 100 usually with no problems and am slowing losing weight and feel it's sustainable.  I don't get sugar cravings and it's much easier to stick to my cals.  There is no real corelation between dietary fat and cholesterol/heart disease in most people as your body makes it's own cholesterol when needed.  If you don't feel able to eat enough healthy fats and more protein, this is probably NOT the diet for you and you may need to re-evaluate.

These are all really interesting replies. I'm not sure where to go from here. I agree that in order to maintain my ideal weight I need to think of any diet as life-long thing, and naturally I've always restricted my carbs (at least no starch - rice, pasta, bread...etc.), but 20g is just so extreme. I feel like I'm not able to eat the things I love; fruit, nuts, lots of vegetables, yoghurt...etc., and on the contrary am being forced to eat things I really don't like; fats and excessive quantities of meat.

I guess this is just the induction phase, and I'll be able to add in low-carb additions that'll make my diet a bit more varied and nutritious. I think I'll just stick it out for two weeks and then see how I feel/what I gain after I add the extra 5grams. If I start to gain all the weight back and am forced to return to the 20g, then I'll just try a different kind of diet. It's only a 2 week loss after all.

In terms of working out, do you think it'll still be effective if I do light circuit training, pilates and weight training at home rather than cross-country running? I find this a lot less draining than running. I exercised for half an hour today with little to no rest just doing sit ups, push ups, weights, aerobics, dancing...etc., and I felt pretty good afterwards. I'm pretty unfit as well at this stage which I don't think is going to help me see the most weight loss out of the induction phase, but I guess it's unrealistic and unhealthy to expect to lose anything like the 15lbs they claim you can in 2 weeks.

I get anaemic regularly and it occurred to me today that that might be the problem as well, so perhaps the dizziness is exaggerated by that. If anything I guess lots of meat and iron-rich foods would be ideal for me at this time.

Thanks for all the advice everyone!

I would give weight training a shot.  

Here's a link that talks a lot about the paleo/primal diet so you can do some more research.  I tried Atkins many years ago and could not sustain that low a carbs. Now I like to think of it from the perspective of protein, , healthy fats, nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies, sticking to the lower carb ones and as eating wholesome foods, not low/no carb.  There was not enough variety in the Atkins diet for me.  On the other hand, you have to expect to eat more protein/meat, and fats to get the proper number of cals for this diet.  Although nuts are a good high cal source of healthy fats to fill in with.

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/low-carb-flu/# axzz1qFxNj2RL

 

I did Atkins to the T and lost a lot of weight. Unfortunately it also comes with risks your kidneys are only designed to handle so much protein at a time. I was diagnosed with early kidney disease because of it. At least that's what my dr assumed caused it. I started eating healthy and a well balanced diet and I am much healthier. To the point that there is no sign of kidney disease anymore. Although I am on meds forever to help my kidneys work less. I really do not recommend this diet.
Original Post by scrambler22:

I did Atkins to the T and lost a lot of weight. Unfortunately it also comes with risks your kidneys are only designed to handle so much protein at a time. I was diagnosed with early kidney disease because of it. At least that's what my dr assumed caused it. I started eating healthy and a well balanced diet and I am much healthier. To the point that there is no sign of kidney disease anymore. Although I am on meds forever to help my kidneys work less. I really do not recommend this diet.

Be careful, your doctor may be an idiot.

Low carb diets are no different to any other successful diet, its just a form of calorie restriction.  As Melkor said, protein and fat are more satiating so you are feeling fuller earlier.

People training hard may notice some issues with performance in a reduced carb state.

There is no physical reason you will suddenly balloon once you add carbs back in.  The problem is that most people got fat because they have disordered eating so once they leave a strict diet, they have not cured their disordered eating.

 

Carbs do retain water, so there can be a water-weight gain as you re-establish equilibrium.  Atkins works because when people cut carbs out of everything, they eat a lot less.  Once they "reintroduce the carbs," they often eat a lot more than they should and gain the weight back.  It's not the carbs fault.  When you suddenly have carbs, a lot of fattening foods are now possible.  You might eat a bunch of pizza.  Can you say it was just the dough that added pounds and not the cheese, added grease and toppings too?

This is true.  Also with the initial weight loss, most of it is water, as in any diet really.  

 

Your calories seem too low, low-carb or high-carb you'd probably still get dizzy.  I've read in many places that Atkins isn't ideal for people who train.

Low - Carb is not too popular on this forum.  I'm neither for or against it to be honest.  

I'm doing the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet and lifting heavy.  Energy was down for the first 2 to 3 weeks, after that energy levels felt pretty much normal.  Haven't lost much in the way of max strength levels either, but bare in mind I lose weight off 3,500 cals per day.

 

 

 

 

 

Original Post by michaelduff:

Original Post by scrambler22:

I did Atkins to the T and lost a lot of weight. Unfortunately it also comes with risks your kidneys are only designed to handle so much protein at a time. I was diagnosed with early kidney disease because of it. At least that's what my dr assumed caused it. I started eating healthy and a well balanced diet and I am much healthier. To the point that there is no sign of kidney disease anymore. Although I am on meds forever to help my kidneys work less. I really do not recommend this diet.

Be careful, your doctor may be an idiot.

Low carb diets are no different to any other successful diet, its just a form of calorie restriction.  As Melkor said, protein and fat are more satiating so you are feeling fuller earlier.

People training hard may notice some issues with performance in a reduced carb state.

There is no physical reason you will suddenly balloon once you add carbs back in.  The problem is that most people got fat because they have disordered eating so once they leave a strict diet, they have not cured their disordered eating.

 

I don't think this guy actually anything you typed?  People without an M.D. should not try to make a medical diagnosis ever. And if you had one you would know that you do not have enough information to make even a guestimate about what problems her diet restrictions were causing her. 

 

These kinds of health problems consistently happen to people following a very low carb diet.  

Original Post by amerikaj:

Original Post by michaelduff:

Original Post by scrambler22:

I did Atkins to the T and lost a lot of weight. Unfortunately it also comes with risks your kidneys are only designed to handle so much protein at a time. I was diagnosed with early kidney disease because of it. At least that's what my dr assumed caused it. I started eating healthy and a well balanced diet and I am much healthier. To the point that there is no sign of kidney disease anymore. Although I am on meds forever to help my kidneys work less. I really do not recommend this diet.

Be careful, your doctor may be an idiot.

Low carb diets are no different to any other successful diet, its just a form of calorie restriction.  As Melkor said, protein and fat are more satiating so you are feeling fuller earlier.

People training hard may notice some issues with performance in a reduced carb state.

There is no physical reason you will suddenly balloon once you add carbs back in.  The problem is that most people got fat because they have disordered eating so once they leave a strict diet, they have not cured their disordered eating.

 

I don't think this guy actually anything you typed?  People without an M.D. should not try to make a medical diagnosis ever. And if you had one you would know that you do not have enough information to make even a guestimate about what problems her diet restrictions were causing her. 

 

These kinds of health problems consistently happen to people following a very low carb diet.  

I didn't make a medical diagnosis but saying your kidneys aren't designed to handle too much protein at anyone time suggests he doesn't know what he is talking about or she is misinterpreting what she is told.

Thousands of people are put on very high protein diets in a bid to get obesity down.  People with epilepsy are placed on ketogenic diets where almost all their calories are derived from protein and fats.

 

 

27 Replies (last)
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