Thursday, March 1, 2012

ADVANTAGES/PROs of this diet (cons I'll do in the next few days)

So I started this diet on the 7th of January, and now, on March 1st -- even with a final three weeks in which, thanks to the move to China, I was being a bit slack about sticking entirely to no-carbs -- I've lost 12 lbs: in short, all the extra weight I was carrying. I fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes, and in fact weigh less than I did on my wedding day. I'm at the stage where actually I don't want to get any thinner (which is not something I expected to be saying!). So to summarize the advantages of this diet:

1. It works. If you do it, and even if you don't stick to it absolutely completely, the pounds do come off.
2. It's conceptually simple. Avoid carbs -- potatoes, pasta, bread, flour -- and eat meat and vegetables. While I did have the odd moment of confusion (I bought corn-on-the-cob thinking this was a good vegetable, before being put right by one of you) mostly, it's not hard to know what you're supposed to be eating, and what you're not supposed to be eating.
3. Being able to eat as much as you want of non-carb foods is liberating.
4. The diet feels healthy. Despite Atkins-style diets having a somewhat bad reputation in this regard (did Atkins die of a heartattack or is this just urban legend?), it doesn't feel to me, personally, to be justified. What happened to me, is that a lot of the starchy fillers I was eating were replaced by vegetables at mealtimes. I ate more vegetables in January than I probably have in any month ever before.
In terms of other food categories, meat consumption was about the same for me, pre- and during diet. The only thing which I'm not sure about, which went up substantially, is egg and bacon consumption. I don't think bacon is very healthy, eggs, I think probably are healthy, though I don't know the data on this. I'm generally pro-fat (love butter, olive oil) so this stayed about the same for me pre- and during diet.
5. Some acne I had developed on my nose went away - thanks to the diet?
6. I felt my digestive system was a lot healthier (I'll spare the details on that...)

OK that's all I can think of right now.


  1. Atkins slipped on ice, smashed his head in. He was 72.

    I'm glad the diet worked for you.

  2. Sophie - I just wanted to thank you for sharing your journey with us. I have been directing people both to this blog and the original article. The information presented by Gary Taubes has allowed me to lose weight in a simple manner I never imagined possible.

  3. I've just landed at this post after reading your interview with Gary Taubes at The Browser. I'm glad to see your little n=1 experiment has been so successful. Well done.

  4. If meat is good, bacon is also good. It's mostly fat, anyway, and you are ok with butter and olive oil. Compare the fatty acid profile of each. You may be surprised at what you find out. Kudos on your success and great interview with Taubes.

  5. Based on my own experience, I think an advantage of low-carb, high-fat approach is that it takes lot more effort to overindulge. For example, if I open a can of Pringles potato chips, it is ridiculously easy to empty the whole thing without much thinking. Instead, if I have a plate of salad, ranch dressing, some boiled eggs, a few pieces of nuts, and a slice of German rye bread with butter, I am not very likely to want a second plate. By the way, this is how I eat lunch during weekdays and I have been doing it for about 1.5 years.

    It works. However, it takes a while (perhaps as long as four months?) for it to kick in. One nice thing about switching to low-carb is that I now have a better control over my appetite. During weekdays, I attend night classes, so having dinner is very inconvenient. (Difficult to keep up with lectures when feeling bloated!) I can just skip dinner with minimal discomfort and let my fat take over from there.

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  8. Whatever happened to the promised "cons"?

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  13. Atkins died from slipping on ice.
    Atkins gets a bad rap because people don't follow it correctly and use a lot of hear-say on how to do it.
    This is the diet in a nutshell: 14days induction - same as Taubes, after 14 days start adding food back in and monitor how many carbs is your tipping point where weight doesn't come off weekly. Continue to phase 3 and phase 4.

    This is how people think the diet works:
    Eat as much greasy spoon food as you want.
    They fail because they eat chicken wings, ribs etc covered in sugary BBQ sauce.

    Thanks for the blog post, I found it by sheer happenstance.