Fightin’ the flab the Atkins way – red meat and all |

Fightin’ the flab the Atkins way – red meat and all

Jane Stebbins

Officials at the World Health Organization have decided the whole wide world should go on a diet.

And, just like the flag-waving after Sept. 11, 2001, who am I to argue with a worldwide movement?

I admit it; I’m packing around a few extra pounds. I’m an American, for crying out loud! I don’t have abs of steel; I have flab for abs.

OK. So I’m in my 40s. That doesn’t mean I have to pack around a pouch on my belly, or a shelf on my rear. So two weeks ago, I decided to go on the Atkins Diet, better known as “doing Atkins.”

Everyone who isn’t “on Atkins” – and you four people know who you are – have heard of the diet. You eliminate all your carbohydrates, those vital building blocks that come in such foods as cookies, cereal, linguine, oatmeal, corn, potatoes and everything else I love to eat.

Your body shifts into a carbo-hyperdrive and begins operating on all the fat stored in every cell in your body, including your eye balls.

You tell me this sounds like fun. But I bought the book. I read the book. I mean to follow the book as strictly as some people follow the Bible – OK, maybe even more so.

The hardest part about “doing Atkins” is that I’ve been an on-again, off-again vegetarian for years. The idea of eating all that red meat – and chicken, something I haven’t touched in decades – made my bunny-huggin’ skin crawl.

And I absolutely must eat breakfast. I haven’t had breakfast since the Johnson administration. I like breakfast; don’t get me wrong. I just don’t like it at, well, breakfast time.

No milk. No alcohol. No fruit. No pasta, no bread, no potatoes. My life as I knew it was over.

Three meals a day – I just about fell over laughing. I never eat three meals a day. I’m a reporter, I have a second job, I own a teen-ager – hello? I eat on the run, I eat when I feel like it; I eat once a day. On a good day.

And I “should” do a little exercise. Yeah. I’ll work on that, too.

So, I psyched myself up. The book says “doing Atkins” results in weight loss – guaranteed. “Doing Atkins” has been known to clear up heart arrythmias, which I have. Cholesterol levels and blood pressures plummet in most dieters “doing Atkins.” Of course, they do kind of hint that most dieters are morbidly obese, unlike me, who only want to shed 10 or 15 pounds.

But all that meat. Three meals a day! And breakfast – groan …

I was going to have to ease into this. There is nothing like putting a T-bone steak in a vegetarian stomach to get an ambulance at your doorstep in seconds flat.

As I strolled the unfamiliar meat and poultry aisles, the folks at my grocery store asked me if I was lost. Friends said I fell off the veggie bandwagon.

I was a stranger in strange lands. Pork roast, rump roast, sirloin tip – all a new language to me.

But I was ready.

The first day, I gagged down breakfast: two eggs, over-medium, and three strips of – ech – bacon.

Lunch: A can of tuna and a hard-boiled egg. Not bad.

Dinner: Chicken. I think I’ll get used to it.

Fish, turkey, asparagus, two cups of lettuce with oil and vinegar. All the butter I want.

I’ve kept the carrot – or actually, a jicama, a vegetable that’s absolutely delicious slathered in 450 carbs of blue cheese dressing – in front of my face to keep me going.

Oh, I have been tempted. Ice cream, a cold glass of Fat Tire beer, chocolate and Brussels sprouts. Haha! That’s a joke. Brussels sprouts aren’t a food.

And I admit I’ve almost slipped a few times – and Dr. Atkins says slipping is the kiss of death! – like when I almost licked the spoon I’d used to scoop ice cream for my daughter.

I have three more days before I graduate into Phase 2. I have more energy than I’ve had since high school, which most of my friends agree isn’t necessarily a good thing. I have lost eight pounds. My heart problem has just about ceased.

I can’t wait until Saturday, my graduation day. At that point, I can add such fun things as coffee, fruit and a noodle or two. And a nice glass of merlot.

Until then, keep your temptations to yourselves.

I am an Atkins dieter. I shall not be deterred.

When she’s not counting carbos in every bite she eats, Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or

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