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Tried and True: An Effective Weight-Loss Plan.

Updated on June 7, 2013
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Dr. Middlebrook is a self-publishing expert, author (pen name Beax Rivers), online course developer, and former university professor.

Does High-Protein/Low-Carbohydrates Actually Work? Would I Do It Again? Would I Recommend It?

Everyone seems to be larger than they want to be these days, me included. That means there will always be a lot of talk and excitement on the Internet about one diet plan or another. I am someone who is always fighting the notorious battle of the bulge, and I make no excuses or apologies for it. It's part of my life, and it seems no matter what else I may be doing in my life at any particular time—the need to lose a few (or more) pounds is usually a constant companion, along for the ride of my life.

What to Do?

If this sounds like you too, then like me, you might have a hard time trying to decide which, if any, weight-loss plan to try out. This is what led me to decide it might be a good idea to revisit some of my "greatest hits," or the most effective of three popular plans I have tried in the past. In this Hub, I will walk down my memory lane with the weight-loss plan known as the “High-Protein,” “Low-Carb,” or the “Atkins” diet. Today, after trying many other plans over the years, it is still the most truly effective of all the plans I've tried.

The Atkins Diet . . .

The Atkins Diet—also known as the “high-protein” or the “low-carb” diet requires you to eat lots and lots of protein while minimizing your consumption of carbohydrates. It sounds easy, because when you’re on it, you get to eat all the meat, fish, and poultry that you want—within reason, of course. You don’t really have to count your calories, because the main idea is that by eliminating carbs from your eating, you will trigger a “fat-burning” process known as ketosis. (Read what the Mayo Clinic says about the Atkins Diet/Weight-Loss Plan.)

I think the thing that drew me to the plan in the first place was the idea that I would not have to count calories, and also that I would not have to buy a lot of new food items that I either could not afford, or did not like to eat. So, I guess you could say the simplicity of the diet was attractive to me. Also, as someone who loves eating meat, fish, and poultry, it sounded to me like I could really enjoy eating while being on the Atkins weight-loss plan.

I first tried Atkins when I was a teenager (yes, it has been around that long!). As expected, I found the diet to be delicious, because I got to eat tuna salad, fried chicken, and bacon! Keep in mind now that my insides were all still young and relatively new at that time, and I didn’t encounter any, ah, elimination problems from eating mostly meat and precious few veggies. I remember that the diet worked extremely well for me. I developed my own exercise plan, and after being on the diet and using my exercise plan for a whole summer (around three months), I was able to lose weight for the first time in my life. I got down to the size I wanted to be back then, and I remember being very happy with the results I achieved.

After high school, I went to college where I gained a pound here and there until one day I again had a need to go on a diet. I remember that I went on Atkins a few times in college, always with great success. I also remember going on the diet again several years after I got out of college with my bachelor’s degree. I was in my early twenties by that time, and I remember having basically the same results as the first time I was on it, when I was in high school. Again, I was very pleased with the results. Over the years sometimes when my weight would fluctuate, I would go on Atkins, and whenever I did, I always lost the weight, that is, until I turned the big four-oh! That’s when the “elimination” problem started, and that’s when I decided it was time for me to look for another way to lose weight. I didn’t have the information I needed at that time to simply add more low-carb veggies, or more beans, to my diet to increase fiber. So I decided, in the interest of "elimination health," I had to discontinue Atkins, so I abandoned it for other programs.

The way I understand it, the high-protein/low-carbohydrates diet works by decreasing the body’s production of insulin. Eating carbs increases your body’s insulin production, and when the pancreas creates insulin, it turns on the body’s fat storing mechanisms. Also, when you eat carbs, the body burns glucose from digesting the carbs, instead of burning fat. Also, eating and processing carbs causes your appetite to increase, and you will experience hunger. But when you consume mostly protein, it turns off (or way down) the insulin production, and your body burns fat for its fuel or energy. When that happens, your appetite becomes reduced, you feel full, and hunger is satisfied.

Does it Still Work?

There is no doubt in my mind that this weight-loss method works. The Atkins weight-loss plan has been modified several times over the years, and there are many other diet plans (including the South Beach Diet) that have used the same high-protein/low–carbohydrates principle, that have been modeled based on Atkins.

Now that the diet has introduced more complex carbs into the plan, it even works well for those of us who need help with, ah, elimination. Consumer Reports, in 2007, had Atkins ranked at the bottom of their diet books ratings. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect it may have had something to do with the fact that dieters who use this plan often find themselves gaining the weight back. For me, I think the idea that you can eat all the meat, fish, and poultry that you want sticks in your mind, even when you add carbohydrates back into your diet. Still, as far as diets go, this is one that actually did the job for me. I lost weight when I stuck to it, along with a plan for regular exercise.

Would I try it again? Yes, but with the modifications that have added more complex carbohydrates into the eating plan. Would I recommend it to others? Yes, because it does work.

© 2012 Sallie B Middlebrook PhD

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