Sunday, March 25, 2012


It has been around ten years since I last ate a low carb diet.  I was in my mid twenties and just starting to gain enough weight that I was technically obese if you looked at my BMI.  Back then I followed the Atkins program of Induction, On Going Weight Loss, Pre-Maintenance, and Lifetime Maintenance.  I also exercised quite a bit while on the diet.  If memory serves, I lost a ton of weight, but when I got to the third phase of Pre-Maintenance one day I found myself writhing in pain on the floor in my kitchen calling the 911 operator to send someone.  I was passing a kidney stone for the first time and didn't know it.

One of the main challenges of a low-carb diet is you need to drink lots of water.  The reason for this is your body sheds much of it's excess water weight in the first phase called induction.  If you don't drink enough water, your brain also instructs the body to release a harmone that makes your kidneys retain salt and water, but it does this at the expense of wasting your body's stores of potassium.  Electrolyte balances also get out of whack if you are dehydrated.  So, the kidneys are strained some what in this phase if you do not drink enough water.  

My theory back then was that I didn't drink enough water when I was on Atkins ten years ago, which caused my kidneys to be strained, and somehow that led to a kidney stone being passed.  I ran this theory by the urologist after I passed my first stone and he said it was possible since most of us have kidney stones just waiting for an opportunity to dislodge, and if we become dehydrated our kidneys shrink causing the stones to be dislodged from the tissues they are attached to.  Especially when we exercise and shake them out.

So, this time around I intend to drink at least 60 ounces of water throughout the day, so I minimize the chances of passing a stone.  There are more tools available now such as a website, cell phone apps, a new official guide, strategies for vegetarians, and new clinical research.  One of the new pieces of information I read about was to include a small amount of salt with every meal.  Chemically this helps keeps your circulation primed and your energy level high.  I remember getting fatigue and headaches when I was on the diet last time, which is also an indicator my body flushed all the sodium out in the induction phase, and I wasn't consuming enough salt to replace what I lost.  

According to Atkins charts for my height and weight, I should eat between 82-171g carbs per day when off the diet.  I know for a fact that some days I ate 200g or more carbs without thinking about it.  During the first phase of the diet, the limit will be 20g of carbs per day.  Shakeology will need to be shelved for a while it seems.  

Last night I put together my grocery list for the first week using the Atkins website, and I ordered all the food online from a local store.  They will be delivering it this afternoon.  It was a higher than normal dollar amount, but I ordered a lot of food.  One of the benefits of the Atkins diet is you never go hungry.

When you consume high protein foods, the protein gives you energy.  If the food is low in carbs, and low in calories, then you do not gain weight if you eat more than normal.  So, if you get a hunger attack you can eat as much as you want without falling off the diet.  The only way you gain weight on this diet is if you eat food with high carbs, or high calories.

I have been drinking Shakeology drinks for a couple months now, and while it is effective at making me feel better overall, the only way I can drink it is with little, or no, additives.  The reason is most of the fruit and other ingredients recommended with have a ton of carbs, and calories, and as a result I gain weight.  Even if I cut out the fruit juices, I am getting quite a bit of carbs from the powder itself.  Drinking Shakeology straight is fine for a while, but every day it gets a bit more unappealing.  I investigated juicing, and began to switch over to that occasionally.

My main concern was that I might have to stop juicing on the Atkins diet.  Fruits are not allowed in the first phase for the most part, so recipes would need to be vegetable juice only.  Once I get a list together of acceptable vegetables, I think I can get some recipes figured out for my juicer.

During later phases in the low-carb diet, I might be able to add fruit juices, and Shakeology, back into my diet.

The meal plans I got off the Atkins website for the next 7 days are:

I'm a little pissed.  I checked some of the recipes before I ordered them for serving quantities, but the ones I looked at said it was for two or three people.  I didn't realize that some of the other recipes were for ten people!  The automatic recipe list the website provided had way too much food on it.  Unfortunately, I already bought all the food.  It's ok though, I'll place the meat in the freezer, and I modified the eating schedule so I can get through all the meat I bought.  Next time I will need to check each recipe for quantity of servings. :p

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