First of all, without breakfast I had, of course, the predictable case of the shakes. And the equally predictable headache that usually came with them. However, I managed to hold body and shakes together until I got into Atkins’ office. I was faced with a waiting room full of really fat people making me feel a bit foolish, but no less determined and a crew of very nice nurses who ushered me off to an examination room where, I was weighed, my urine sampled, and then I was off to the blood tests.
One blood test per hour was the schedule, for five hours running. It seems that the glucose tolerance test is simply not conclusive in less than that amount of time. Fortunately, I am not a person who objects to having my blood taken. And it is lucky, for there was a lot of it spilled, so to speak, on that first visit. There was the first drawing of a blood sample, this one called a “fasting sample,” to find out just what the shape of your blood is in after, say, twelve hours of no food. Then comes the surprise.
You are required to down a bottle of what I consider to be the most revolting substance yet dreamed up by medicine. It’s really nothing more than glucose, but it’s been doctored with cola and given the unlikely name of “Glucola.” Even comes in a Coke-shaped bottle obviously some medical-supply man’s idea of wit. At least the Atkins nurses were kind enough to tell you to take your time getting it down. Obviously, they were afraid it might come up.
One-half hour later, another blood test, to see what the effects of the Glucola were, followed by four more blood tests one per hour.
Now, I wondered why the nurses kept popping into my examination room to ask how I felt and to know if I felt faint. Sure, I did. I always did if I skipped breakfast. Perhaps that’s one fortunate side effect of low blood sugar. It makes breakfast a necessity, and as any nutritionist will quickly tell you, breakfast is the most important meal of any day. “Break fast.” Your tummy hasn’t had a treat for at least twelve hours. Think how you’d feel!
After five hours of blood testing, I faced the doctor, quaking a bit and wondering what it would all be like. I must say, Dr. Atkins did not seem sympathetic to my cause. I ll grant you that his waiting room was full of 300-pounders, or so it seemed to me, so that my 124 pounds of avoirdupois seemed to make him more impatient than worried about my weight problems. His first impression seemed to be that I was intent on becoming a rail-thin jet-setter type. It took a while to convince the doctor that I was serious and that, on my 5’4″ frame, those 124 pounds were too heavy to carry with comfort.
I was given a list of foods that were allowed and asked to read it carefully. O.K., so far, so easy. Then I was asked whether I understood. Thinking, “I’m not a nincompoop, after all,” I haughtily replied, “But, of course.” Only to find that on being asked to repeat the instructions, I hadn’t gotten it quite down pat yet! Later, it was to become such a way-of-life, way-of-eating, to me that it would take some time before I could change my habits back to the low-calorie life.
This is the way the Atkins low-carbohydrate high-protein diet works. You are given a small folder that is, in essence, a glucose tolerance test, and this routine is to be used for one week only. It is a no-carbohydrate list, and any swerving from it can completely wreck your diet. For, you see, in one week you will be tested to see just how your body is reacting to such a regimen.
It involves a complete about-face of all your preconceived notions as to what a diet must be. First, there are absolutely no limitations on the amount of food intake, as long as that food intake comes from the list of foods allowed, and those are, of course, the foods that are low in carbohydrates.
Now let me point out that, while fats are among the foods allowed fats like eggs and butter and mayonnaise the Atkins instructions state quite clearly and concisely that these may be eaten in judicious quantities. Those critics of the Atkins method may consider “judicious” to be synonymous with “enormous.” I do not, nor does Webster. So let the critics look to their dictionaries before they condemn.
I do not believe those who claim this is dangerous. I suffered no ill effects other than from that pesky blood sugar, which is my body’s snafu, not Atkins’!
However, if you believe that you suffer from low blood sugar, check with your doctor before you embark on any program that involves omitting sweets.
In the beginning, if you’re hypoglycemic, it’s going to be rough there are some sort of withdrawal symptoms, and you’ll need expert advice in seeing you through them.