Slimming World v Atkins

I’ve been feeling pretty crappy this week what with the pneumonia, anxiety attacks and most annoyingly a bad spell from the torn cartilage in my knee causing pain which is now untreatable because anti-inflammatory medicine can cause internal bleeding when mixed with Warfarin. I limped down to the park with Owain for an hour yesterday and he ended up pushing me on the swings. I think this makes him Felinheli’s youngest carer at six years old. I came home and went to bed for six hours.

As any man knows, when you are ill, you must refuse to shave, as outwardly signs of suffering are very important. I have taken to non-shaving with enthusiasm and my beard has joined in with the gloom by growing straight downwards in a bedraggled tramp-like fashion. Think Oliver Reed in Castaway.

The one positive aspect of the illness so far has been some decent weight loss. I’ve lost a stone in the two weeks since the clot appeared, and now weigh in at 17 stone 12lbs, which makes me only 6 stone overweight and rapidly approaching the category of extremely obese from a starting point of morbidly obese. A stone in a fortnight sounds impressive to a lot of people – particularly dieting women who struggle to shed a pound a month, but it’s not unusual in my case.

I first tried the Atkins Diet at a Doctor’s suggestion when I went for a minor operation in 2008. I was too fat to risk going under general anaesthetic, and this made me think quite hard about how I had let myself go. But the Atkins Diet? No chance – that was all sausages and steaks and bacon and cream. Yeeeuch!

But then I looked at it more closely and found that the popular impression of the Atkins system is way off the mark. I developed a pretty healthy, regular routine which saw me lose three and a half stone in under a year. It went a bit like this:

Breakfast: Kippers/scrambled egg/Omelette
Lunch: Chilli salmon with salad
Dinner: Chicken Caesar Salad/Steak and greens
Snacks: Cheese/nuts

Even better, the Atkins Diet allowed me to have a few drinks every weekend and still lose weight. I could tell how much I would lose on a weekly basis – 4 lbs if I’d been good – 1 or 2 lbs if I’d been out on the weekend. I found it easy to stick to – I became an expert on carb counting – I knew which brand of salad dressing had the lowest carb-count, and I even knew that a bottle of Shiraz had less carbs than Claret.

I can never remember how the weight went back on – I think it happens during the holidays when I tend to let it go – it might be a fortnight away, or a week camping, an extended trip to the Eisteddfod – I enjoy myself so much that I try to keep it going when I get home – and the truth of the matter is that I bloody love fish and chips or slices of chorizo on a bed of rosemary sauteed potatoes, or fish finger sandwiches on soft white bread made from the kids’ leftovers. Add a bottle of wine and I’m in my element – my willpower is broken and chocolate is devoured along with whole bags of Chilli flavoured Kettle Crisps. A slight hangover and a mug of coffee with three thick slices of buttered toast and Philadelphia Cheese gets me drooling. I’m a food hedonist. Food and drink equals freedom and gives me a sod-the-consequences rush.

But this time Mair is in charge. I haven’t really been able to do my own shopping, or make my own food, and without me knowing it, she’s been working from the Slimming World recipe book. I really don’t know what’s involved, but it’s pretty basic stuff – baked potatoes, soups, salads, the usual healthy options. And it’s worked so far – Atkins is hopeless when you need comfort food, but this is fine. Porridge for breakfast, salad for lunch and something more substantial for tea. Oh, and a pint of water before every meal to reduce the appetite, which apparently increases weight loss by 15%. I’ll be like a twig soon, honest.

About 2clots

47-year old Welsh cyclist. I suffered a dual pulmonary embolism in March 2011, following an attack of transverse myelinitis in 1994. Apart from that, I'm fine. Author of Red Dragons: The Story of Welsh Football.
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