By Tony Wagner Citizen Columnist
Dear Mr. Fitness:
I have recently discovered the Atkins Diet and really like its results so far. I like to walk a lot and lift weights. However, my energy level has dropped increasingly, along with my strength, since reducing my carbohydrate intake dramatically. What is your opinion of this diet, and can I still keep a toned and bigger (not huge) upper body with limited carbohydrate intake? I've lost 13 pounds, but my goal is to lose about 30 to 35 pounds. Your opinion is well respected by me.
-- J. C.
Dear J. C.:
I thank you for the kind remarks. Let's see if I can help.
You did not elaborate as to the precise number of grams of carbs you ingest daily, nor the length of time you have been on this diet. No matter, let's press on.
To answer your first question, I think the low carb diet is good. As I have stated in this column innumerable times, Americans eat far too many carbs. I believe that this, as well as other factors, have led to incredible obesity and health problems. In fact, the term "low carb" is somewhat of a misnomer. It appears low carb to those who pound down the tremendous amounts of sugar.
You should think of this as a lifestyle change and not a diet. In other words, you should continue to eat like this all of the time.
I feel you are experiencing an initial adjustment (metabolically speaking) to the diet. This would make you feel a loss of energy and some strength. The billions of cells in your body need to come to terms with less carbohydrate. This takes some time.
Recall that your cells have been awash in sugars for quite some time. Suddenly, the removal of said sugars freaks the body out. No need to overcomplicate the matter.
The other possibility is you are not ingesting enough carbohydrate in the diet. You may have to fiddle with the amount of carbs you are eating daily. Perhaps up your intake 50 to 60 grams daily and see what happens. If you are still losing body fat with this increase and feel more energetic, then you are on the right path.
I wish I could be of more assistance, but I do need a bit more information. E-mail me again and let's see if we can keep you moving in the positive direction you have already begun.
-- Mr. Fitness
Tony Wagner, aka Mr. Fitness, has more than 30 years of fitness and nutritional expertise. A certified personal trainer and fitness author, he has helped thousands of people get into and stay in shape. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and come visit at Bodyzone Fitness Center, 2740 N. Roosevelt Blvd., 292-2930.