I must say that dieting can get pretty boring after a while. Atkins is a wonderful concept that really does seem to get results (I got a friend of mine going on it as well, he has had similar results to me, which is good). However, part of Atkins that really does suck is that the food selection is rather limited and the combinations not always very appealing.
I haven’t eaten any of the Atkins branded food, but from everything I have read most low carb substitutes for breads and cereals are pretty much between bland and crap. I don’t have any interest in paying out the big dollars to find out the stuff is not enjoyable, and being in Canada, the only options are all fairly pricey. So that gets cut off from the list, which leaves me most selection in the veg sections. I am not a big veg guy, so I feel pretty darn cramped.
The results have been excellent, but I now know for certain that I have no interest in living a long term super low carb lifestyle. It creates social issues for spending time with my friends (right now I am basically a bitch to eat out with, most places are just not suitable for a super low carb diet), means I spend more time shopping for food and preparing it rather than enjoying it, and I spend inordinant amounts of time trying to plan meals and such if I do want to go out with friends. It is a burden rather than a help.
A little story. When I quit drinking (after getting poisoned at a webmaster event by someone who slipped something into a drink) I had to deal with the issues of social situations. Going out with people and having them buy a round of shots, only to find out that I won’t drink it (“come on, it’s just a shot!”), dealing with how to order things in public places, how to not slip back down the slope… dealing with a personal version of the 12 steps that makes me an honorary friend of Bill… some things are hard to do, and honestly only that my body would get violently ill at the slightest hint of booze kept me on the line in the first year. The offers, the shots right in my hand were powerful temptations to avoid.
In the end, the social aspects of not drinking are way harder to master and control than the need for a drink. I don’t need a drink anymore at all nor do I crave it, which makes me feel better about myself. But those social situations, the stares, the looks… people assuming you have a “personal problem” because you choose not to drink. It is a tough road to hoe.
Atkins for me feels the same way. I have never had an issue in my life with being different (I pretty much have always marched to my own drummer, fife, and bagpipes), but this hits in a weird sort of circumstances that requires me to be something that truly isn’t socially acceptable: I can’t eat out without ripping menus apart and being a real pain in the ass to eat with (I have already done water and coffee for a meal while my friend ate because nothing on the menu would come close). I don’t like that feeling, I don’t like making excuses for not being able to go out.
The other part of the deal which annoys me is that very few if any restaurants in Canada (and especially Montreal) seem to be clued in on Atkins / Low Carb lifetsyle choices. Most places don’t, as an example, have a simple choice alternative to potatoes that isn’t another starch (rice, noodles… hello carbs!), and almost none of the servers are able to tell me if the meat would be breaded or if the sauce would be natural or thickened, or if the univeg of the day has a sauce. Try to order anything with that, and it is pretty much a dead end. I have yet to find a single establishment with lowcarb choices on the menu that are actually very low carb. Atkins isn’t ready for prime time in Montreal, that is for sure.
Anyway, I am lucky in many ways. I am approaching my target weight, I have slowly been readding carbs into my diet, and I am getting more exercise than before. This whole process is teaching me good from bad, and has helped me to wean myself totally away from sugar drinks (pop or soda, depending on where you live) and making better food choices. I won’t stop ordering better stuff when I go out, and I certainly won’t go back to the high starch high sugar situation that got me where I was to start. But I do know that I need to be able to live and be social, to eat reasonably and stay fit.
More news as I keep going and attempt to flatline my weight for a while… 🙂